Lines Written at the Grave of Alexander Dumas

Cemeteries are places for departed souls
And bones interred, 
Or hearts with shattered loves. 
A woman with lips made warm for laughter 
Would find grey stones and roving spirits
Too chill for living, moving pulses . . .
And thou, great spirit, wouldst shiver in thy granite shroud 
Should idle mirth or empty talk 
Disturb thy tranquil sleeping. 

A cemetery is a place for shattered loves
And broken hearts . . . . 
Bowed before the crystal chalice of thy soul,
I find the multi-colored fragrances of thy mind
Has lost itself in Death’s transparency. 

Oh, stir the lucid waters of thy sleep 
And coin for me a tale 
Of happy loves and gems and joyous limbs
And hearts where love is sweet! 

A cemetery is a place for broken hearts 
And silent thought . . . 
And silence never moves, 
Nor speaks nor sings. 

From Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen. This poem is in the public domain.