22 Apr


When the ground beneath his feet stopped shaking, the steam cleared, and quiet returned, the priest at the top of the railway cutting resumed work:   burying Lizzie Grace.   Lizzie’s sister, Nell, comforting Bill Grace and his daughter, felt the vertigo of age when she looked into the grave.    It was 1918 – the fourth year of Death and War; there was Famine; but it was Pestilence that got Lizzie:   Spanish Flu.

a tiny germ killed her?
what did it
do that for?

Nell married Bill and had two daughters; one of them my mother.   Grandad delivered ice.  He was given a truck to replace the horse and cart.  Diesel goods trains interrupted his burial, in the same grave as Lizzie, 40 years on.  The trains were loud and frightening, and I thought that the walls would cave in.

Child at the grave
immortality is such a
brief illusion

In 1969 Nan said to me, ‘they hadn’t flown when I was born’, while we watched men ride a Saturn V rocket to the moon.   Soon after that, 15 years a widow, Nan followed her sister and their husband into that grave.   It was an electric train that day.   It whistled and

the whole world shook.

 swirls his tea-pot so
I saw his great-great-grandma
do that long ago.

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Posted by on 22 April, 2011 in POEMS, poetry


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