Neighbours once, and neighbours still – their earth brought
home from Flanders fields, from heat of Sindh,
or the Atlantic chill. Falling asleep,
as in their mothers’ arms, they crossed the bar,
lie here under the trees, are scattered dust
and memories. They left us years ago.
Memories now marble, stippled with moss,
ancient and hallowed, shadowed by willow,
tenacious tree roots wrapping round their bones;
lichen stains their cold and silent stones.
Oh, to forget ambition; the stress and
rush of it, the fuss and fret and lust for
cash and stuff: power, mansion, riches, fame
all just selfish, rotten, worthless fluff. I
ache for an older way, desire that life
where a man kept faith with his close pals and home;
no flattering letters cut into his stone.
His epitaph be mine at my life’s end:
“Here lies an honest, inoffensive friend.”