Thoughts in an Old Cemetery
Poem by Iris Carden
I walk between neglected plots the soil now housing the dead, As I note the names, the stories and dates, Odd thoughts appear in my head. A metre by two and another two down, Is their final, their permanent, home, Whatever in life they thought they had, this is all they can now claim to own. Ancient woman, near young farmer near housewife, tradesman, and child. Another child, another and another before vaccines, disease ran wild. Here they all are, forgotten by family by descendants, by the town. No longer tended, nor needed. None remembered, or of any renown. The giant monument stands beside the modest headstone stands by the unmarked grave beside another and another one. I wonder what difference it made, the size of that memorial stone, in your century below the soil, where you lay all alone? Did your family think they loved you more, than all of your neighbours around? Did they hope to buy you heaven? Or status in this charnel ground? Death’s a leveller, so they say, but here in the old cemetery. It’s still clear who had the money, and whose death had to be free. Now the mourners have left the flowers long gone, Great monument long forgotten, just like the small stone. The town bustles by too busy to notice the old cemetery Here we are left by ourselves the stones and soil, the dead and me.