Walking to my garage through my local church graveyard over the years, I have often pondered the poignancy of the hundreds of near identical slate headstones lined up row after row. Every one represented a life lived, with gripping tales to tell interspersed with heartache and joy.
Yesterday, on the eve of my 80th birthday, a line of verse came into my head which, when I got back to my shop, I developed into a full-blown poem. It brought my thoughts into focus. I hope you like it.
There is a graveyard near my shop jam-packed with myriad stones,
Lined up in serried ranks of slate to be their final homes.
They once had dreams like yours and mine of how they would succeed,
And win a place of some esteem to meet a deep-felt need.
They wanted not to slip away and none to speak their name,
As through the years of toil they sought their little share of fame.
They wanted friends and family to visit and recall
A life well-lived of joy and tears, in which they gave their all.
And so, perhaps, for several years their hopes would be fulfilled;
But time strikes down the left behind and they themselves are stilled.
The grass between the stones grows tall: no human foot is trod.
The wind blows cold between the slates, all vanish in the sod.
The rich and famous of our day, they too will pass from view;
Their fate no different from the rest as life begins anew.
We strut our hour upon the stage, then comes no more our sound;
Gone from our eyes, beneath our feet, a slowly sinking mound.