Treasure Island

James B. Earley

(5 April 1934 / Mounds, Il)

Eighteen Souls


Woodlawn Cemetery...Santa Monica
…Just beyond...........the Palisades
Where eighteen souls…lay buried
…….Within....a plot....beneath..the shade

…Of a gnarled…old tree…growing
From a seedling destiny placed
…On hallowed grounds…at Woodlawn
Where eighteen souls…embrace

…In…some sacred…convocation
From a cast…of many drawn
…Eighteen souls.....were favored
Amongst..thousands...dead...at Woodlawn

Whyler....Franco.....Lockwood...D iaz
…Some…of the chosen…few
Of eighteen souls....summoned
…To that spiritual......rendezvous

With the gnarled…old tree…growing
...Whose roots…some reason….sought
To touch….eighteen souls…at Woodlawn
…And those...eighteen souls.....escort

Into…..millennia…......ca lled…......forever
…Where God…has etched…that last...Decree
On....its scroll.........may joy........be written
...For eighteen souls…
....................................... Eighteen souls
........................................ .............And the quaint
....................................... ..............................Old tree

Author's note:
Soon after the 1994 'Northridge earthquake' Los Angeles....my wife and I literally stumbled across this extraordinary spectacle. Indeed a striking scene...replete with poignancy all its own. Imagine a large tree...its roots surfacing dramatically, tenacles traveling some distance, then abruptly...disappearing into...18 individual grave sites!

Woodlawn Cemetery...1847 - 14th St....Santa Monica CA 90404

Submitted: Monday, February 25, 2008
Edited: Monday, June 03, 2013

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Comments about this poem (Eighteen Souls by James B. Earley )

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  • Janice Windle (4/5/2009 6:06:00 PM)

    Thanks for directing me to this one, James. It conjures up a vivid image and a contemplative mood. (Report) Reply

  • Cathleen Hodgkinson (4/2/2009 8:01:00 AM)

    Eighteen Souls...has probably been one of my most favorite poems of yours and this saga is beautiful...all cemeteries are are thought provoking if we allow them to be. Each monument planted celebrates a soul that has loved and lived and has a story to tell. And the way this poem is penned, I feel as if you've brought me there. You have a way of doing that in your poetry. That's what makes you such a respected poet regarded by so many of us that follow your work. PERFECT Mr. James! -Cathy (Report) Reply

  • Patti Masterman (3/27/2009 5:53:00 PM)

    Wow, this is amazing, and touching somehow. Thanks for writing this. Wonderful title and story too. (Report) Reply

  • C.R. Clark (3/26/2009 6:57:00 PM)

    This is a very touching write, James. You have penned such an excellent discription that I can visualize the place in my mind. A great tribute to the eighteen souls. Best wishes my friend.
    Richard (Report) Reply

  • Carol Rhodes (3/25/2009 2:37:00 PM)

    In spite of my fear of cemeteries, my questioning of the need for them, this is a magnificent picture of a very sensitive and delicate scene. Not to offend you or anyone, but I've jokingly (but seriously would like this) told my husband to place my inert outstretched body atop a gorgeous mountain peak for the delight of the many flesh eating birds or animals. My gift to them, you see, in payment/thanks for all the sweet, loving, wonderful animals whom people slay and ingest every day. You are a true poet, James! My best, Carol (Report) Reply

  • James B. Earley (3/25/2009 10:15:00 AM)

    In 'Eighteen Souls'....I write only of an observation....and a personal prayer. The visual..its interpretation...its spiritual connotation....I leave to others. (Report) Reply

  • Myrtle Thomas (3/25/2009 10:05:00 AM)

    I too applaud you his work of art, I see the tree as a living monument to the ones buried there. How great would that be that nature did plant a monument for them.A fine piece of poetry an excellent penned write. I hope you check mine out also. a 10 (Report) Reply

  • Ivor Hogg (3/25/2009 5:44:00 AM)

    Well crafted my friend. What more fitting monument could there be than to feed a tree. (Report) Reply

  • Marie Shine (3/24/2009 3:16:00 PM)

    A very well crafted poem James.Unique in it's subject and full of memorable imagery.Thank you for sharing.A 10 from me. (Report) Reply

  • Jim Norausky (3/23/2009 3:23:00 PM)

    A very unique and creative combination of subjects in this finely penned tribute.10 here. Jim (Report) Reply

  • Susan Bagley (3/23/2009 9:55:00 AM)

    James, what a very perceptive and interesting poem. I might have seen that tree and been inspired to write about it there with graves beneath but to pull it together in the thought you have presented is something I would not have invisioned. It is very unique and I like very much what you have done with it.
    Applause! ! !
    Susan (Report) Reply

  • Mark R Slaughter (3/23/2009 4:05:00 AM)

    Well-constructed thought provoker, James. The reference to the old tree as a monument is extraordinary as it forms the fundamental for the whole poem.
    Mark (Report) Reply

  • Linda Winchell (3/22/2009 4:55:00 PM)

    My, My, and Oh My! What a tribute to the eighteen souls you have written! I can't even find a number to fit this one Sir James. You are a master of rhyme and words. We should all be so gifted as you. God Be With you. Linda (Report) Reply

  • T S (3/22/2009 4:43:00 PM)

    An excellent write as always
    a perfect 10
    Tracy (Report) Reply

Read all 30 comments »

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