Remember way back when I said I would soon post about “possibly the coolest headstone ever?“* Well, five days later here it is!

I found it in the Mt. View Cemetery here in Ashland. Coming from Washington, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grave marker made of wood. (It makes sense. Given the rain there, those markers would be nothing but lumps of moss after a few years.) Yet, this particular marker I’m writing about is only one of four I’ve seen at the three cemeteries around here.

Since I have never seen a wooden marker, it still amazes me — partly because it’s unfamiliar, but also because it seems so temporary. Of course, this one is topped with a copper covering. The metal cap must protect the end of the wood from rain and snow. Maybe in this climate it will last for years.

The third image above is a close-up of the brass plate on the front. It has an inscription that reads:

Irving Tracy Lord

I asked no other thing,
No other was denied.
I offered Being for it;
The mighty merchant smiled.

Brazil? He twirled a button,
Without a glance my way:
“But, madam, is there nothing else
That we can show today?”

Though it’s not credited on the marker, the poem was written by Emily Dickinson, and is titled I Asked No Other Thing.

One curious thing is that Irving Lord died in 2001 — not that long ago. For some reason, that seems too recent for a grave marker to be made of wood. Obviously I’m stereotyping grave marker materials. Shame on me!

Do you know any of the history behind Irving Tracy Lord and his headstone**?

* I can’t truly say this is the coolest headstone ever. I can’t even say it’s the coolest one ever that I’ve seen. Let’s just say it’s “pretty cool” and leave it at that, okay?

** The term “headstone” seems misleading. Should it be “headwood?” That sound vaguely pornographic. What about “headcopper?” Um, kinda clunky. May I suggest we agree that “headstone” encompasses a broader definition that accepts grave markers of all denominations or materials!

Mt. View Cemetery and Emily Dickinson
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2 thoughts on “Mt. View Cemetery and Emily Dickinson

  • 03-01-2014 at 4:09 pm

    This is my father’s headstone. The wood is a piece of old walnut brought back from a basement of a house in Istanbul; it was probably blessed or acknowledged in some way by an Orthodox priest there. Dad was a poetry lover, a mystery man in many ways, and his 3 interesting children decided to make this marker special while remembering that after us, and perhaps after my children (his grandchildren), no one will need to remember my dad. So walnut is good. The poem was found marked in his Dickinson collection, and it says quite a lot to me.
    The alternative poem was maybe going to be “The Windhover” by Hopkins, but this one was pretty close to the mark.
    Thank you for noticing.

    • 03-01-2014 at 4:57 pm

      Wow, thank you so much for writing! It is really interesting to hear the story behind this headstone. It really is cool to know something more personal about this. Since I no longer live in Ashland, I can’t immediately run out to look at it again, but I plan on visiting soon and will make a point of stopping by.

      How in the world did you come across this post, anyway?

      Thanks again for sharing such an interesting story!


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