Live! At the Whiney-A-Go-Go!

February 1, 2007

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod

Filed under: life, travel, writing — letslucky @ 9:52 am

So there I was, standing in Westminster Abbey, and noting that the tomb sculpture of Mary Queen of Scots has my nose. She is my ancestor. I have her to blame for this damn nose.

But nothing prepared me for the poet’s corner. I knew that I’d see a monument (but not the grave) of Shakespeare. I knew that writers and poets are filling up the space. I didn’t expect to be able to put my hand on the tomb of Chaucer. I didn’t expect to stand in front of Edmund Spenser’s grave. I didn’t expect to see the names of Wilde and Browning and Byron and Dickens.

These are the men who shaped the words that shaped ME. My heritage from them shows way more than any nose. I had to leave and find a nice quiet corner to weep in. And when I got done sniffling, whose grave was under my feet? Afra Behn.

I’m always uncomfortable in a very old abbey or cathedral or whatever, wearing down the names on the gravestones just by walking on them. But this time was different. I was walking on my heroes. More than that — I was wearing down the very same stones that my heroes walked on. So maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe my contribution to the patina is like theirs, and I can affect the future the way that they did.

Upon leaving, I did as I’ve done every time for the last six years that I find myself in a church. I lit a candle for another writer, Lin. This time it wasn’t to send her strength. This time it was in her memory.

Love can almost save your goddamn life. Love can almost save your goddamn life. Love can almost save your goddamn life.



  1. .

    Comment by Jeffrey — February 1, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

  2. One of the most moving acts of the written word.

    Comment by don frazier — February 2, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  3. Wow.

    Comment by alchemist — February 2, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

  4. Courtesy of google:

    “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds. It is she–shady and amorous as she was–who makes it not quite fantastic for me to say to you tonight: Earn five hundred a year by your wits.”
    — Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

    Comment by alchemist — February 2, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

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