Kelly 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