Saturday, February 4, 2012

“I am No Longer a Friend of Graves” © Mike Absalom January 17th 2012

On the road to your house,
between the stout hedges of
pollarded ash trees
that line the dandelion verge,
I see a brand new tombstone
granite grey and sleek,
like a strange overnight
It looks a little out of place amongst the
darling blackberries.

If I were to stop my car and
get out
I would be able to read the
name on the stone
and ponder the quality of the
marble and the fine execution of the date.
I might be curious about the
person who died here too.

But I am no longer a friend
of tombstones.
When I was young I would
spend hours among them,
eating the blackberries and
slowly spelling out the names of the dead.
Now I am old nothing has
There are just more names and
I can spell better.
The blackberries, though,
still taste eternally out of this world!

Someone has planted roses
beside the stone.
They won’t last long, for
they will be smothered at the end of summer,
once the dandelion clocks
start ticking,
just like Scheherazade, if
she had finished her story,
and all us humans too for
that matter.
But at least there are no
plastic flowers!
It is a cruel joke to
suggest, as they do,
that immortality means
eternal non-biodegradability.

If I were to stop my car and
get out
I would most likely be killed
for this is the Curve of
and I would only be one of
many who have signed off here,
scrawling their final
signature illegibly across the macadam.

So I slow down to Pensioner
ignoring the homicidal
honking of a crazed flasher behind me
who, although having as
legitimate a claim on immortality as I do,
does not realise that most of
it can be spent
on the other side of the

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