Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ceremony (The Poem of the Dead)



The poem of the dead is made of this:
dirt or fire, bones and skin, worms or ash,
favourite things, a book, a ring, a guitar or just a toy,
a song to carry out the coffin out, tears and wine and tea that’s not too strong,
a cruel blue sky, consoling rain, the weather as a voice,
one shiny car, quiet movements made, a stunning Bible line,
a few lyrics from Dylan Thomas’s light, white flowers, a Stop sign,
a priest whose words just sink away, the incense in the air,
a friend who laughs, a mother’s cries, a father’s face of stone,
a hand upon your shoulder now, a strange car ride, a bird’s cold tune,
a child who lost another, cakes and bread and garden chairs,
the note they left, the will they wrote, the things that we have heard,
their favourite clothes, and when it passed, take a handful of this soil,
the milk is here, the beer is there, an aunt from way up north will speak to you,
new machinery creaks them into fire, a curtain closes slow,
a hallowed be thy name is called, the sunlight on the graves,
smoke rises from a chimney slow, we turn our eyes and walk away,
by night the loved ones, still, are gathered around the songs we used to know,
the family lives alone with loss, the ceremony is tomorrow.

- Mark Mordue


* Graveyard photo taken on south coast of New South Wales using my iPhone.
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