Monday, 9 October 2017

Monumental folly


<Audio>

And why are the graves so big or so small?
Angels pointing skyward with no hands at all.
Or standing rock-fast on feet with no toes,
in the crypt mists of autumn, dew drop nose.

And there lies a rusty chain carrying a ball,
pointed like a mace but with no face at all.
And angels, with frost-broken wings do yearn,
over slumped headstones, all golden embossed.
But see, there, a desiccated urn,
on a pauper grave, wooden and crossed.

And why are the gates locked on family mausoleums,
where their effigies in stone lie silently bedded?
And why is there a sculpted anchor with chain,
rocks and ropes, the white horse’s mane?
Set squares and dividers, here all the trades be.
But why on earth, should this matter to me?

Glossy marble phalluses, and angular obelisks are
lording it over lichen engraved and fading headstones,   
where, long ago, with dry tears was written,
the name of a child in infancy smitten,
or tell of the sad soldier who fell in the war,
or how husband and wife did pass hand in hand,
looking for their home in the promised land.

And why are the graves piled up so high?
Four and twenty black bones lie in a pie.
Too many for comfort at the closing gate bell.
To be in heaven is heaven,
but to be buried is hell.
So why remembrance in such a grand way?
To impress the ones left behind who surely will say ...
Why are the graves so big and so small?
Grandeur for some, for others, nothing at all!

Today, when on and on the grim strimmer grazes,
betwixt the grave grasses, splattering green blazers,
worn by headstone cricketers, long-shadowed and fielding,
or at the crease standing, just one last innings? 

With dusk comes the bone fox
trotting foxily home,
studiously ignoring,
until, when everything’s still,

crumbles the day,
in the twilight of gods.
Goodbye anon sleeper,
so tight in your box,
under your monuments,
be they big, tiny or small.

And reader remember,
what the tombstones say.
Death the dead leveler
is coming your way.


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