At Her Mother’s Grave

At Her Mother’s Grave

(For M.S.)

The dull thud of grób, like earth returning to earth,
Amid the colour-flames of flower-sellers greeting us
At cemetery gate. Everywhere, ever-greens have sprouted ⎯

Like asparagus-tips, spearing the ground from below:
Thuja, leylandia, picea, pinus amid the thick grave-cluster.
Tombs ⎯ great gleaming slabs of polished granite

Like king-size beds where the spouse waits for the
Final coupling. Signs of remembrance ⎯ candles lit,
Spirit-flickers in flames of cold and sombre Autumn.

She finds her way through a labyrinth of infinite decorum,
As if signs and unsaid markers were not enough.
Carved in sandstone, the slab is trifolium window, 

As if torn from an English church, each leaf a delicate
Note of loss for mother, daughter, son. The mason’s finish
curtailed, cut short as a life made less, unlived.

The fabric of family torn and rent so that ragged edges
Of grief, rage, loss sound across decades, half-healed,
Like scar tissue. Here, a discarded Christmas wreath, its

polystyrene excrescence, the world’s unwelcome sign.
Yew and holly intertwine here, berries bright for birds’ eyes
Bear the seeds in bodies born of air, berries bright

Like tears shining with effulgent light of candle-flame…
On the cold stone we lay one pearl-pallid rose, three
Lilies, intertwined to mark the spot, the hour, the day

Where Agnieszka lies. Lamb of God, God’s daughter ⎯
A life given, so another begins. Words unsaid and thoughts
unthought, there is no moment between us, only silence.


Giles H. Sutherland
January 2014