251 – The Day We Burned Grandad

Poem number 251
The Day We Burned Grandad
He burned in all his glory
On a Thursday, late in May
Not quite a viking send off
But impressive, in its way
A hundred people gathered
Men were men and women cried
Hands in laps and eyes on shoes
The birds still sung outside
We played some frank sinatra
And some jazz (his secret vice)
The vicar didn’t know him
But the things he said were nice
His sister spoke of childhood times
Of japes and scrapes and tears
The memories sharp and vivid
Through her own advancing years
Then we launched him, like that viking
To the sombre curtained sea
And we burnt him good and proper
Hankies twisted on our knees
And afterwards we gathered
In his garden, in the sun
With loosened ties and cups of tea
And sandwiches and buns
There was talk of golf and cricket
And the roadworks, and the news
Occasionally we spoke of him
And second guessed his views
Then eventually, as time moved on
The crowd thinned out once more
‘Til at last we waved the stragglers off
And gladly shut the door.
Just the four of us, alone again
The debris in the bin
A sherry and a cognac
One more toast to absent kin
It was done, this day of burning
And tomorrow we’d move on
Gradually adjusting
To the thought that he had gone
But for now an early night, relief
We’d made it through the day
And he’d burned in all his glory
On that Thursday, late in May.


327 – Playing With Bones

Poem number 327
Playing With Bones
Palaeontologists play with bones
Of creatures long since dead
A bit of femur over here
And there a bit of head
I don’t know why they play with bones
It seems a trifle staid
But a lot of people do it
So I guess it’s quite well paid
Perhaps I’ll start to play with bones
Just call my boss, and quit
But then again, perhaps I won’t
‘Cause old bones smell of shit.

386 – Many Did Not

Poem number 386
Many Did Not
They left in their millions
They left family and friends
Never knowing if they would ever hold them again
Many did not.
They left their allotments
They left their houses and flats
Never knowing if they would ever see them again
Many did not.
They left their businesses
They left their jobs and careers
Never knowing if they would ever work again
Many did not.
They left their ambitions
They left their hopes and plans
Never knowing if they would ever get to dream again
Many did not.
They left. They fought. They died.
They left all that they had
Never knowing that they were all that we had.
We yearned for them to come home
Many did not.
The families were never held
The gardens were never tended
The careers were never re-launched
The dreams were never fulfilled.
They left, never knowing if they would ever return.
Many did not.