Old friends

Up and beyond the pile of primroses
near the top of the hill
I stand before my grandparents.

They are 16 years apart,
and sinking on one side:
no flowers for them –
they are strangers here.

Just behind and to the right
is home to my loving parents,
nearly 40 years apart.

They lie on the level, beneath a tree,
and I put bluebells in
the appropriate container:
it is my father’s birthday –
he is 102.

The numbers game is compulsive,
and I search out three aunts and an uncle
and many older people I once knew,
but the fact is they are not here:
the ground has closed over them.

They are no more than pictures in my head,
these people who are dead.

They have moved on
and we have moved on too:
they are no longer required.

Barely a tremor marked their passing:
not many people noticed,
and not many will notice
my departure. Blink

and you will miss it.

Somewhere out in the universe
or beyond
my old friends are waiting for me
to be born.


Written recently after a visit to the Rosary Cemetery in Norwich, and read at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft.