heaven happily shocks

the author recently commissioned a newly worded gravestone for his three forebears, that accurately reflects the shared chronology of their unhappy endings…


Mid-war easter Monday, such ironic reverse

of resurrection, grandfather’s beliefs faltered,

strangle-hands no longer holy: sin-cursed

  • how barren now, Sabbath-palmed psalter.


door-note stated: police presence required,

grandmother returned from friends nearby,

her sick young son was resting, always tired;

(negative local gossips never nuance as to why).


absent her husband in council semi-detached,

from canal-side walk he would never return,

resolution showed small faith: self-despatch

  • drowned Christian conscience churned.


that midnight, canal dredge sadly revealed

his lifeless body, long-departed troubled soul:

hopefully heaven-bound, emotionally healed;

tell me – does he now in New Jerusalem stroll?


the double family funeral hit Derby headlines,

officiating pastor rebuked clamouring crowds,

widow and older child sought hopeful signs;

terrace tongues wagged, the traumatised cowed.


grandmother later wrote herself out of picture,

remarriage  brought no salvation or solace;

did society, or psychic-self, make stricture?

finally, violent-silenced her Hallelujah chorus.


in “better place” – their small stone suggested

  • absent any muscular scripture that mocks,

that vain grave phrase I personally contested:

revelation text redeems, heaven happily shocks…


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