The two diggers wait patiently,
Sharing a smoke between their labours,
Grateful for an hours rest,
While the sods lie neatly stacked,
And a green cloth covers their toil.
Friends, file dutifully into the Church,
Or stand outside,
Staring at their thoughts.
Aware of their own mortality,
They bow their heads,
Or clasp a heavy hand behind their backs.
The speakers crackle into silence,
Before the minister's words carry across the valley,
Coming to rest on the distant hillface.
"Our first hymn" hangs in the air.
Breaking into life only at the familiar refrain.
The minister avoids the expected,
And gives us a sermon for the man.
No filling in the gaps here!
"A man with more friends than aquaintences"
He might have left it at that.
Memories are triggered in four hundred heads,
As the man is resurrected by our thoughts.
Who said there's not an after life?
The image breaks as another hymn is sacrificed,
While the minister sings only the notes he can reach.
I watch you carried from the Church.
A last exposure to soft summer air.
The bearers' heels leave their imprint on the grass,
As your life left its on ours,
Trapped now in the past.
Laid down on boards above your slot,
The last rituals are played out.
Lowered hand over hand,
You come to rest,
At peace in your beloved ground.