Will Heaven Happily Shock?

The author commissioned a newly worded gravestone for his three forebears. It now accurately reflects the shared chronology of their unhappy endings…


Mid-war, Easter Monday, bitter reverse

of resurrection, Grandpa’s faith waver:

strangle-hands unholy, contrarian cursed

all sermons about his Lord and Saviour.


Grandma from neighbours returned

and saw note: “police presence required” –

intuition about sick son caused concern:

filicide it later transpired.


Her husband absent, out on a walk

from which he would never return,

how neighbours and nation would talk:

drowned body and conscience churned.


That midnight, a canal dredge revealed

rigor mortised cadaver of a troubled soul:

hopefully heaven-bound, maybe healed

but was his name on God’s sacred scroll?


That double funeral hit the headlines,

the pastor rebuked clamouring crowds,

widow and sibling sought hopeful signs;

tongues wagged, the traumatised cowed.


Remarriage brought Grandma little solace;

she deleted herself from life with death:

violence silenced her Hallelujah chorus,

an overdose silence her trembling breath.


Grave wording misled, wrongly hoped,

slayer assigned sentimental sop:

sly mix of ages and dates provoked

  • will heaven have me happily shocked…?

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