Breathing in the Graveyard

I took the time to stop tonight,
And walk in a nearby graveyard.
Whose ground this is I know,
But He does not mind my seeing it before
My time.
I came quietly as I could, though only the muse
Had arrested me.
I asked their pardon for the intrusion,
But said I meant no disrespect:
I came as a student, to learn how to be dead.
They were much better at it than I.
One vacant space was there.
I took my cap off, crossed my hands on my chest,
An amateur at dying.
Eyes closed,
World spins round my grave,
Myself temporarily withdrawn,
Touching this world the least I could.
Something told me not to sleep there,
Not to parody the masters of rest,
A gift they achieved before me.
My time is not yet come.
I left, again silent,
Like a child who does not understand many things.
And now to sleep.

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The Wicked Man

A man walked on the lonely heath,
And winter’s bones were white.
The black crow call floated pale
In the chilling evening light.
But all that stirred in the northern wind
Were the lonely leaves of winter.

The mist unrolled on the wild moor,
And silence seized the air.
The white mist swirled around the man,
And trickled through his hair.
And all that stirred in the northern wind
Were two thin hands that weren’t there.

Slowly, slowly, wisping white,
They drifted round his throat,
And brushed there with a touch as light
As ash on water floats.
He screamed: and stirred the northern wind,
In terror, cold, remote.

But as he turned, a chill north wind
Shivered its way through the snow
And all he saw on the lonely heath
Were the lonely leaves of winter.

Before the Threshold

One day I will find myself standing before that unmortal arch,
That stretches to encompass earth’s mighty bourn,
And all those born will surely pass its bound.
Beyond, who knows?
A door may yield both ways,
And outside the mere entrance to a grander in.
The crowd that sways in agonized expectation floods through,
The throng sighing in whispers of all land’s tongues,
And yet each man walks through coldly alone.
Yet not unlit: for gleaming in the crowd stand tall angels of humanity
Casting light not theirs, for the blind to see.
Their steps are clustered round with those that fear the dark.
Black veils and empty arches hold no fear for these,
Beyond them lies the home they always sought.
I, too, am prodigal from that land:
Be patient yet one minute, oh Father:
My feeble light forbids but feeble steps.
I give my last breath to the world’s restless wind,
Unweighed by sorrow’s cursed gravity.
Home on the horizon, heart raised like a victorious banner
Soon to set foot upon the firm, strong soil
Of that good land.