Rarely has the uncertainty of death been so succinctly and well-expressed, both in words and image, as in the gravestone of Phineas C. Wright. The large gray granite monument can be found near the northwest corner of Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, Connecticut. The large graveyard is relatively flat, crowded with monuments in all styles, orderly and neat, and bisected by narrow roads. So much is said by the face of the deeply incised bust, dressed in a formal suit, complete with a watch chain across the chest. His mouth with the slightest frown and the eyes gazing into the distance suggest deep worry. Is it fear, doubt, or skepticism that clouds this face?
By the size and artistry of the stone, Wright was clearly a man of means. Perhaps he was ambivalent about death and leaving the predictability of this world for the unforeseeable in what was to come. It is a common concern. “Going, But Know Not Where” could be the motto of many, both in this life and after death.
David K. Leff
Visit David’s website at http://davidkleff.com.