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At the end of October we took a group to Mexico City, Patzcuaro and Janitzio to observe Day of the Dead in Mexico. One of the most moving visits was to Tzintzuntzan Cemetery…the inspiration for this poem…. Continue all the way to the end to see the photos which caused me to write this!

Tzintzuntzan Cemetery

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Is a very special celebration in Mexico.

The days prior to All Saints’ Day

The Mexicans visiting the graves of their ancestors.

Decorating the gravesites

With brilliant orange marigolds

And offerings of food and drink

Displaying mementoes of their loved ones

And generally celebrating lives passed.

Graves are neatly attended to,

Candles are arranged and lit,

Lighting the way for the return of the souls

In some areas – as “mariposas monarcas

Monarch butterflies returning from the north at this time of year,

Every year.

Visitors are awestruck,

Not just by the abundant flowers and wreaths,

But by the devotion of the friends and families

As they tirelessly complete the decorations.

At one grave stands a four foot white floral horse,

Complete with rider –

Overhead a photograph of a sixteen year old boy,

Who passed way too soon.

On yet another tiny gravesite,

A wooden cross, a plaque, flowers

For a stillborn child –

The Barbie doll that was once to be hers standing vigil.

One cannot help  but to feel sombre

By the surroundings,

But yet joyous to see such love and remembrance

Of those here to remember –

Not without tears and prayers

Tzintzuntzan Cemetery.

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