Monday, 4 June 2018

Graveside Poem

for Lorraine
and in memory of our father, Christopher Niland (1940-1991)

I stood there
at my father’s grave
for the first time,
while the rain soaked my clothes.
The poem which I’d meant to write
before I had arrived
remained unwritten;
I’d found I didn’t have the words,
and so I stood there
at my father’s grave,
and listened.
My sister asked,
‘Do you need some time alone?’
I wasn’t ready,
so I put my arm across her shoulder
and we stood there
at our father’s grave,
Chris spoke, and said,
‘This is the end of a very long journey,’
and after I’d asked to be alone
I felt some chasm close;
I felt a feeling
deeper than the grave
that lay before me.
Tears and rain became one,
and in the almost silence
the words I could not find
arrived and spoke their truth
I was lost to you

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