It was a wicker coffin
or casket as the funeral directors like to say,
to make you feel less sad.
She would have liked the simplicity
but not the cost. She hated fuss.
The flowers were white lilies and gold dahlias
their life and colour lapping round her body;
she liked flowers, but would have said
What a fuss – and what expense!
The church was full and faces were
both sad that she is there no more
but glad of all she gave
in her unpretentious way. She would have said
What are all these people doing here?
Outside, we took a sprig of rosemary
from a basket – that’s for remembrance;
and I half-heard her tut-tutting
What, more fuss?
The day was grey
the grass sodden and lumpy with clay
as we stood around the gaping grave
and saw the casket enter
like an animal returning home
for winter hibernation.
We watched as the train of life set out
with her in her carriage.
We were still there when the train returned
and we counted the carriages, one more gone.
We looked at each other, standing in the station, and we wondered
whose carriage would be next.
(copyright: any quotations from all or part of this poem must be linked to this post)