Saturday, 6 October 2018

The Service

I learned to touch the dead
a stolen lock to treasure
a toe like hardening putty
With the same necrotic pallor

I learned to dress the finished flesh
in nostalgia -
her wedding gown where moth eggs nuzzle
his cardigan
my dear boy’s scarf
still warm and sacred with the scent of yesterday

For you I become
Our lady of corpses

Half clown half saint -
Our lady of rites and remains

grooming your lost
for nowhere
composing them for furnaces
or the ground that crumbles
- the earth that slips through fingers like hot sand -

Here in the coolness of cemeteries
and mist
where stones cling to names
and memories

Here where the thread root fingers
into the cuts of sorrow
and chiseled epithets

I learned to stand with the mournful
my hands folded like fake prayers
Privy to their
mutterings, their seance of flowers
And shaken leaves and broken sticks -
loitering with their whispering and sighing
and pathos
for they know the clouds are wonders
and that the jumping blackbird is
singing messages from the dead
to the living.

Too late
too late -

they do not answer.

Let our messenger
of solace
be but one blade of the greenest grass shivering
let time stretch out
and her green heart weep.

© S. O. Fasrus

MPs demand answers on funeral poverty as the cost of saying goodbye soars

Figures obtained by ITV News show those eligible for government funeral assistance face an average debt of nearly £2,000

S.O. Fasrus: Social Justice Campaigner & Social Research Interviewer. Her verse and poems; some comic; satirical; and serious; can be found online. Recent poems are in New Verse News, Culture Matters, and Poems for Grenfell Tower.