Burial Ground

Who comes up this hill once more,
This tired and weighty rise of sods and stones
That has seen your kind and mine
Forever and before?

Who lies below and underneath
Their sodden, treading, trudging feet,
That stir the settled earth mixed recent
With the sullen, sogging rain,
Having seen not sign of animal or man
For decades of the winter’s frigid dark
And summer’s baking, swelling heat?
Who comes up this weed-bred, rocky lane?

Who approaches now as night encroaches,
Blackening travelers’ blistered toes?
Who goes beyond their fear
To wander near this haunted place?
Who respects, with awe, these fallen kin,
These long forgotten men of yore,
These women’s bones therein the dirt,
Whose memories time has sought for all its days,
With vigour, longing to efface?

Who wears the darkened lace of mourning,
Grieving in the dawn and evening,
Even as the sun set years ago upon their heart?
Who challenges yet time
As they climb up through lime-washed picket post and wire
To read inscripted eulogies carved in an ancient art?
Who laments these sorrowed, bleakened rhymes?

Who besets these hell gates black,
Spilling salted tears upon corrupted earth with longing,
Yearning for their long departed to come crawling back
With rattling hail and banshee wail,
Arisen from the frozen dirt, the seldom-hindered turf,
Their unimpeded stretch of years of rest now interrupted?
Fallen, beckoned by the calling of the living,
Conscience clawing at their consciousness
Like wolves in winter, hunting in their pack.

Who bends low to pluck the weeds
From over their shallow sleeping beds?
Who places fresh cut flowers now
Above their wormed and rotted heads
That turn no more, nor see, nor care,
No longer knowing when to reap the fields
Or plant the new year’s seeds,
Having long past lost desire to spawn a beating heart?
Who regrets this awesome span of years apart?

Who now departs, enwrapped in woolen coat
And cape and weathered cap,
Shaking undesired grime from sturdy leathered boot,
Looking back not once, not more,
Not looking at this place at all
As navigating bracken, bramble,
Down this forlorn tor they stumble,
Setting damp eyes squint against this sulky, sleety gale?

Who vanishes from sight and soon’s forgotten
Then, as quiet, ghastly silence once again descends
Like covers hauled by kindly mothers softly
Over sleeping babes to ward the chill
And challenges in measure of this lonesome night,
In measure more of this folklore,
This sad, eternal tale?

April 2008 Derek Wilson

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~ by delboywilson on April 3, 2009.

2 Responses to “Burial Ground”

  1. love it! You’re right. It’s very Poe-ish

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