The Poetic Prose Of Persons Passed
When the living expire, there exists an expert to assist in the disposal of the deceased - the mortician ( from the Latin morbido middle-mano ). These professionals pick-up, prep and properly plop the passed into plots, allowing the departed’s dependent, or survivor, ( from the French soir jeudi huit-cbs ) to avoid death’s unpleasant undertakings ( from my bastardizing undertaker. )
Yet in years of yore, death was dealt with in a faster fashion as no one wished a bloated body lying long about the abode. After a memorable memorial, mourners would cart the carcass off to the outskirts of town for interment, close enough for locals to lament those in repose while still situated enough away from the stench of decay so as not to permeate the public nose.
Far from frightening, cemeteries were the predecessors of public parks. Due to their locales, these rest-repositories were often the first sites seen when nearing villages ( or last, if leaving ) and most towns took pride in assuring the grounds appeared pristine and peaceful.
To that extent, communities posted greetings to arriving visitors in forms of poems, proverbs or prayers placed on placards along the borders of their boneyards. The most prevailing prose was a lyrical lull called a coo. The coo was meant as a warm welcome with words of wisdom woven into a soothing sonnet, cooing a message masquerading as a happy, hearty ‘howdy!’ This venerable variety of verse became known as a Hi! Coo, being that it was positioned facing travelers approaching the vicinity.
What made the Hi! Coo unique was its formulized format – the
first line consisted of five (5) syllables, followed by a
second line comprised of exactly seven (7) syllables and a third line, capturing the concept, composed concisely of another five ( please refer to aforementioned ‘five’ ) syllables. This dated ditty serves as a shining sample…
Cometh Thee To Town
Spend Thine Coin With Us – Drink Down!
Touch Not Our Women
… and this excellent example to those exiting a hallowed
A Heapin’ Helpin’
Of Our Hospitality
Y’all Come Back Now, Hear?
… called a Bye! Coo.
As hard times befell communities, many merged their coming and going coos to create the all-encompassing Die Coo. Later, the Vowel Famine Act of 1693 ( negating double-o-ings not deemed de rigueur ) left the mourning masses with the
daintily downsized DieKu ( plural, DieKus ).
With population implosion, space became scarce for stashing of stiffs and fewer cemeteries designated DieKu divisions. Still, the form was far from finished - like all artistic accomplishments, the DieKu flowed with the future. Its fame was to flourish in the vast inviting vision that is a graveyard - its grave stones.
Thus, communities began to dictate DieKus utilizing family names on tombstones. However, this development had a distinctive drawback - many a DieKu could not be implemented until a family with a much-needed surname needed to inter a much-deceased family member in the appropriately appointed plot. Worse, few families had prepositional paternal pasts - the family line of Is, The and Of families tis not a long line, at all. Brevity and Bereavement bonded.
Once done, the DieKu was a civic centerpiece.
was the patriarch whose moniker was part of this mournful masterpiece! While a lively limerick lamenting a local lush would work wonders at a wake, the DieKu, it was deemed, would weather well with wit. Sadly, as generations gave way and others were buried amongst those stones which had at one time held a meaningful message,the individual words, names and phrases of most DieKus lapsed into the languished landscape of modern mundane markers.
Today, the art of the DieKu can still be found in most cemeteries, provided, of course …
... one knows where to wander.