Kelly Ann Izlar

Cosmic Mariner

There’s a story I love about a Georgian poet  and celebrated Savannahian Conrad Aiken.

His parents, who killed each other when he was a child, were buried next to each other in beautiful Bonaventure cemetery outside Savannah on a tussock overlooking the Savannah River. Aiken would visit them often, writing and reading near their shared gravestone. One afternoon, while gazing out over the water, a boat bearing the name “Cosmic Mariner” passed by close enough for him to wonder at the poetic name. His curiosity peaked, he went home and consulted the ship’s log, which answered none of his questions; the ship’s destination was listed as unknown. But this struck Aiken’s fancy and stirred a sense of awe. And when he passed away and was buried next to his parents, his gravestone bore this epitaph: “Cosmic Mariner: Destination Unknown.”

Aiken's tombstone in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Aiken wanted his gravestone to be a bench for visitors to stop, rest and drink martinis. Not sure how the cemetery officials feel about that these days. But it's a lovely spot. Here I am checking it out