There is more life in this place of death
than on the teeming street outside.
Small children on their tricycles
ride happily beyond the sign, ‘No cycling’
for, really, who will be disturbed?
Certainly not the dead, and not the trees
which prosper, unmolested. People
walk the paths all day, a shortcut
from their lives or to their livelihoods.
A cat in search of fun will often
swagger in to sniff out river rats,
complacent mice or some unwary bird.
Roses cheer the statuary splendour
of rich men’s pompous tombs. Tourists
on a history trail are keen to hear
the tales of famous residents and smile
at the more bizarre accounts. Here’s a man
whose leg was buried first. He lived
a long life till he joined it, and here now lies
the legendary champ whose glove adorned
the grave until some villain stole it. There
are all the brave young Frenchies who were drowned
in World War One and never made it home.
And on St Patrick’s Day, a crowd will gather
to sing, ‘Oh Danny Boy’ by the memorial
to those who fled the Famine and sought refuge
among their Celtic brothers. It’s rare
that you’ll hear weeping inside the gates
except when cat brings proudly
his booty home.
First published in Reach