Monday, April 04, 2011

Lovecraft and the Sprague Children at Swan Point

Normally, I make my cemetery postings on my cemetery blog, but recently Susie and I went out to Swan Point in Providence to take in the sunshine and blue sky and center our karmas. While Susie took off on her power stroll, I drifted aimlessly, following no particular agenda.

Sited on the west bank of the Seekonk River Swan Point is the final home to numerous notable new Englanders (odd alliteration here I know), including Union General Ambrose Burnside, a controversial military figure during the American Civil War, and H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), whose epitaph reads: "I am Providence." According to the cemetery guide, he wrote these words to a friend in 1927 upon a return from an unpleasant journey to New York City. (Lovecraft was a lifelong resident of Providence.) There was a phase in my life when I consumed Lovecraft's works with the same obsessive compulsion that also drove me to Leon Uris, Harold Robbins, Arthur Koestler and Joseph Conrad.

I also found my way over to the poignant figures of Sprague children, Mary (1850-1860) and William (1857-1860), brother and sister, resting together for eternity:

Farewell darlings we have laid you
Side by side beneath this sod,
Buds of earth all fadeless blooming
In the garden of our God.

When you go to the cemetery be sure and stop in at the office, located to the left as you pass through the impressive rock entrance. Even if the office is closed, a handy map and historical walking tour guide are always available and free.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I was sad to have missed the annual Lovecraft reading at the Ladd Observatory in memory of his death. It used to be held at Swan Point when I first moved here, but I think they weren't fond of the gathering, so it moved.

The words on the Lovecraft plaque on the Brown campus (on Prospect St.) always remind me why I chose to stay in Providence.

"I never can be tied to raw new things,
For I first saw the light in an old town,
Where from my window huddled roofs sloped down
To a quaint harbor rich with visionings.
Streets with carved doorways where the sunset beams
Flooded old fanlights and small window-panes
And Georgian steeples topped with gilded vanes.
These are the sights that shaped my childhood dreams."