(for John Green)
Scissure in spit-splitted earth, heaped
Sod and soil and clay, until
This mundane boxed antithesis
Of birth lies beneath backfill.
May dashes along the hawthorn,
Dandelions button the field
With galaxies of garish suns
That must flourish and then yield
To time blowing by like the breeze,
Dispersing life while leaving
A flaccid stalk and lifeless head.
Soughing, as the gathered grieving
Cast other blooms, single roses
On to the wicker casket
Lowered through sod and soil and clay,
A parody Moses basket
In that deliberately chosen,
Unconsecrated ground. No
Pious words or promises
For one left lying below.
Age brings increasing absences,
Each an indelible gap
Through which we are all travellers
Travelling without a map.
And think how all too easily,
“Time drags!” is said with a sigh.
Then there comes the final moment
When a lifetime has sped by.
While those presently left behind,
Knowing too well what’s to come,
Stand in that terrible silence,
Stand in the wake, feeling numb.
This final reckoning of years,
A life, in passing, so brief,
Yet, a life of such significance,
Its passing’s worthy of grief.
Friends, these are now our dying days,
Where the uncharted route lies,
And we gather as we dwindle,
As we say our last goodbyes.
With a final bowing of heads
We do or don’t speak to God,
Then turn and leave as that cleft is
Filled by clay and soil and sod.