The Crypt

The roll of the dead

Flickers past my gaze

From behind a frosted face.

As hunkered down

Over balanced book; with pen in hand

I try to fill the blanks.

And row by row

The names go by

Till all become a blur.

And vexed am I with

Folks of yore who named

All their children

"Nicholas" or "Ruth."

Till cramped of hand

And froze of neck

I curse the dread disease

That brought me here

To this dull crypt

To while away the hours.

© 2-10-95 C.E. Carl
© rev. 1-16-96 and 2-15-96
© rev. 6-2-15 C.E. Carl Elias

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© 2015 Liz Elias

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Comments 11 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

Hi MsLizzy, interesting topic for a poem. That said, I did enjoy the read. Well done.

drbj profile image

drbj 19 months ago from south Florida

Now your poetry has me shivering, Lizzie. Write a happy poem now to cheer me up. OK?

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 19 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ Jodah - Thanks; glad you liked it. It is a strange one, I agree, but it does capture the feeling of staring at a microfiche reader, trying to decipher ancient, faded penmanship from century-old census records. ;-)

@ drbj - LOL Aw, shucks--this was supposed to be a funny spoof! ;-) I guess it was too much of a 'specialized niche' topic for general enjoyment; those of us with the 'disease' of searching out family history will get the joke better, I guess. I actually edited it and eliminated the last 3 stanzas, as they didn't flow well. ;-) Maybe I should put them back, for that "happier ending." LOL

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 19 months ago from California

LoL, my family apparently had a thing for naming women with the initials GGG. Apparently there are generations of ladies with these initials in my Irish family. Nice.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 19 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, tirelesstraveler!

Hahaha. That's funny. I had a set of ancestors who named their firstborn sons "Nicholas" in alternating generations; in other words, the child would be named after the paternal grandparent, so there were not "Jr. or III" designations. Since dates were missing, it took me a long time to figure out which Nicholas belonged to which generation. LOL That is what inspired this poem.

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 19 months ago

It looks as if you are connected to a fmily tree. It sounds as if the family names are mostly alike and you are becoming tired, or confused, because of the 'same names'. Why you were the one who was drawn to this, I do not know.

I voted up, shared and pinned it.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 19 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

LOL, Kevin. Family history has been my hobby since I was a young adult with my own kids. It made boring history seem less boring to see the familial connections to events we had to study in school.

Thanks for the vote, share and pin!

annart profile image

annart 19 months ago from SW England

I know what you mean about doing the family tree; too many people called James and William! Great poem, well crafted.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 19 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thanks, Ann;

Glad you liked it, and "got" it. ;-) It can be so frustrating, until finally you get a break and that "aha!" moment!

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

My dad has invested so much time in genealogy -- not only his ancestors but also my mother's and even my husband's. He ran into weird naming issues, too, like a case of when one child died, the parents had another child several years later and named him the same thing.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 18 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, Flourish!

LOL--yes, it can become mind-numbing and all-consuming if given the chance.

I have seen the circumstance you mentioned, as well; in fact, my own mother was named after (in place of??) a child of the same name who died in infancy. Personally, I find that rather macabre.

I also just noticed that in my reply to "tireless traveler," above, I told only half the story; I mentioned only one name, but it was actually an alternating "Nicholas" and "Hugh" that caused the confusion in that set of relatives.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience!

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