“Rows” by Stephen Kingsnorth

A strange condition for a row
amongst the headstone rows that flank
the hill side cemetery,
that hangs and flows,
marble chips and chips off marble, chip paper,
scree of lager cans and driven flowers;
sunlight bearing on the granite backs
lapidary curlicues of the shade.

Does she entreat or remonstrate
as they pace on and through the slabs,
an avenue of undying love inscribed,
he silent, power-walking ahead against the wind and mood?
She, some pace behind,
outstretched arm and cupping hand towards him,
relaying, I assume,
the beg to hear her, or impress the point, backhanding.
I wonder if, affected by the tight clipped yews
and angel wings and comforts versed,
and likewise outstretched arms,
she solicits advocacy of heaven.

But as I muse on irony,
the hope of ancient dead to hold sway,
to influence for good,
I realise that in her extended hand
is her phone.

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English and Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church with Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies. He maintains a PoetryKingsnorth blog.

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