I was killing time today walking around my local village and wandered into the churchyard, a location I have not visited for some time. Many of the tombstones are weathered and crumbling and a number of these are stacked unceremoniously against one of the ancient walls (12th Century)ready to be recycled as…what? This is a poem I wrote a couple of years ago but seems to be appropriate.
Views from a Forgotten Grave
Knapped flints cling to church and tower
Unchanged since this grey stone was set,
When pestilence still swept the land.
Skewed lichen-crusted slabs now glower
In disfigured symmetry. Coarse wet
Grasses slap against the bland
Inscriptions, chewing weathered edges
Of huge tombs, whose cosseted bones
Lie as lonely as these ancient yews.
Those Sabbath songs and sacred pledges
Merely hollow echoes from cold stones.
All too soon they fondly lose
The promise for us all to ‘Rest In Peace’.
Those heaps of headstones stacked against that wall
Will only now be cleaned then cut to size,
Renewing pathways for the soul’s release
Inside this church. Their prayers were for us all
To be remembered but, in truth, here lies.