I was sorting through some photos I had taken on a recent visit to Oaxaca, Mexico and some of the more remote surrounding towns. This was glimpsed from the window on the way up to one of these remote towns…I don’t recall which one, at this point. But the area has been settled and Christianized since the 16th century, so there’s no telling the age of this cemetery.
Burials in the early days weren’t marked, or at any rate, not with anything that was going to endure for very long. In recent times, Mexicans have tended to build little shrines over or near the graves.
Below are a few lines from a poem by Miguel de Unamuno, the Spanish poet and philosopher, entitled En un Cementerio de Lugar Castellano (In a Country Cemetery in Castilla). It describes a typical cemetery on the plains of Castilla, windswept, abandoned looking, behind adobe walls – very similar to our Mexican cemetery above.
Corral de muertos, entre pobres tapias,
hechas también de barro,
pobre corral donde la hoz no siega,
sólo una cruz, en el desierto campo
señala tu destino….
Corral of the dead, between humble walls,
made like them of clay,
poor yard where the sickle no longer reaps,
only a cross, in the barren field,
points to your destiny…
Below is a very beautiful video/musical arrangement of the poem.