Cemetery Park – a poem by Will Griffith

Cemetery Park
 
Row upon row of recovered slabs
ease back onto iron railings,
clustering in renovated space.
 
Sixty-nine, forty-nine, nine,
here and there, a full house.
 
Half-covered verses slant into earth,
trite end-rhymes thrown up
like Titanic’s terminal gasp.
 
Causes of death flatly declaimed
like news of a passing train:
drowned, killed, passed, taken,
stand well back from the platform edge.
 
Where headstones once affixed their plots,
sandwich crumbs pepper consecrated land
in strange, eucharistic slow-motion.
 
A giant sundial is the crowning glory,
a noble, great, uplifting thing, towering arm raised
above granite quoins to bisect the hours.
 
Tired kids shuffle on their way to shops,
scuffing an inscription which sticks in the throat:
remember those who are buried here.
 
And so we strain in abstract prayer
for solemn applause of our own devising,
while mourners have long quit the stage.
 
All the while, we forget small pieces of ourselves 
sunk in airless pits,
pieces of time, pieces of love 
laying low,
just for a while,
until the great call comes.

Will Griffith is a theology graduate and former chorister who now teaches philosophy in a secondary school. He has had poems published online and in print, and has work forthcoming in Reach Poetry (Indigo Dreams), and The Chamber Magazine.

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