It Usually Rains at Funerals
And so the organist plays Elgar’s Nimrod –
the Enigma Variations, and we all file, silently,
outside into the sunshine... playing with mobile phones,
fiddling with the car keys in our pockets – staring at our shoes...
most of us not knowing anyone from Adam;
it’s like that, on new estates; you tend to keep yourself
to yourself. A tragedy, of course, the next door neighbour – only
twenty-five...two kids, too. I’d only laid eyes on him, once or twice.
You know how it is, in this day and age.
Wouldn’t have gone, were it not for his wife. Wondered
if I might cut it short...could maybe say,
‘Sorry – must get back to work, pressing engagement.
Shame I couldn’t stay. I only came to pay my respects. And yes –
the flowers are splendid – nice the weather’s turned out OK.
Normally it rains –occasions such as these.’
But you don’t, much as you’d like to be anywhere
so you join the rest of the mourners for the customary wake
in the village hall, but you needn’t have worried.
Once the tea urn gets going, and the sandwiches
and cakes, uncovered, sporting their lace doilies
there are less embarrassing things to discuss than death –
no longer the need to feel awkward
about being alive.
Much harder to ignore the old, grey church
on the hill, and the woman – still stands outside
looking at the sky; a blameless blue, which, at its clearest,
is the most empty – save, a wisp of a moon,
in broad daylight, already pacing.