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…