He liked to start bottom left
in the graveyard where
Underneath Lies Interred
The Body of Bridget the widdow of the late
Richard Howell of ffynnon velen
Who died on the 14th March 1763
In the 76th year of her age.
His high speed plastic wires
Scythed through the buttercups and daisies
Sent ladybird legs flying and bees knees
Dislocating with decapitated heads.
THIS Plain stone is here erected
in memory of Phebe Phillips
the affectionate and beloved wife of James Phillips
of Blaentrafle of this parish
She died Aug 22, 1820. Aged 48 years.
In his haste to lay the wildness to waste
He never noticed the mouse tail detach
Or the painted lady lose her wings
Or even the woodlouse lose its house
Forgotten for a twelve month year.
There were two caved in tombs
Where creatures fled and hid
To hold paws over ears as the grim din approached
The shadow of the man darkening the sky
As he moved on up the bank.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF Rees
BELOVED HUSBAND OF MARY DARBY
WHO MET WITH A FATAL ACCIDENT
AT EMPIRE COLLIERY CWMCWRACH
FEB 18, 1949, AGED 43 YEARS
He paused to wipe the summer sweat
With a handkerchief from his brow
The two stroke engine idled waiting
Whilst a robin fed on bits and bobs of shredded snacks.
Henry Bodyromb OF THE SMITHS ARMS
THY WILL BE DONE
Also Henry, son of the above
Aged 2 months
With a self-satisfied smile he had to admit
That it was beginning to look a whole lot neater
This patch of land that the living neglected
And parishioners remembered to forget.
“Affliction sore long time I bore
Physicians were in vain
Till God was ples’d my life to ease
And freed me from my pain”
With the dried grasses now levelled
And the gravestones splattered
The sun hung over his head.
But there under foot
Barely six feet down
The dead muttered complaints
Of deathly disapproval.
I was reminded of this poem – written in April 2017 – after reading ‘Slabs’
by my poetry friend DJB: