Runcible Spoon

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Shadow Ground



A blackbird tips one eye

to worms of graveyard grass.

It’s nest is buried in bushes nearby.

Cries from the village playground

quicken the morning.


A breeze dances leaf shadows

across each stone, darkening

the red and gold names

fixed to their ground

by a brace of quartz dates.


A group of teenagers

sit near the entrance,

laughing at selfies, listening

to scraps of tinny, insistent

music on their phones.


Lichen shrouds some tablets.

Others, worn away, bear nothing

more to May’s inquisitive light

than the faint suggestion

of a recess in their stone.


A middle-aged pair

walk past, their talk’s

rhythmic animation fading

to the field edge where

they let their dogs run off.


One angel’s lost a wing; stares sadly

at the fallen seraph limb.

All shape’s gone from some graves;

sheared across their simple slabs,

their halves pile like rubble.  


An old man lays flowers

awkwardly on a recent cross.

Stands, head-bent.

Nods to me as he leaves

by the gate beneath the yews,


beyond which the distant view

shows fields of grazing stock

or wind-ruffled crops

rising in plots up a hill’s vivid green

to the bare blue sheet of sky beginning.