A Walk, to Remember


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Mum’s Care Home is next to the cemetery,

Affording me some rather mawkish pursuits,

Like a health-giving walk amongst the dead!

This encouragement to physical exercise,

It occurs to me,

Is an exercise in egocentricity.


In my morbid ramble between the stones, 

I search for those I may have known.

Based on the dates of their demise,

Or names remembered from my youth.

My feelings, as I peruse these graves,

Are complicated, ambivalent and confused,

But what is poetry, if it tells not the truth?


‘We glimpsed you briefly through the trees

But you blew away in the morning breeze’


This epitaph brings tears to my eyes,

Enough to make me sympathise,


But, in the end, it’s all about me.


Life is lived, our lives are viewed,

Through the prisms of our own content.

Does each one’s death diminish me?

Does ego’s dominion ever relent?


For whom am I weeping, if not for me?

A sense of relief. I outlived my friend.

A sense of dread, of honesty, 

I will join him there, certainly, 

In the end.


One day, someone will look down and say,

“I was at school with Johnny B!


He hasn’t lived as long as me!”


◄ Repeating Patterns

Scarborough Festival ►


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John Botterill

Wed 6th Jul 2022 11:30

Thanks so much for your comments,Stephen. I think I sometimes 'doctor' my poetry to be socially acceptable. Here, I though, no, be honest about my true feelings!. So it's a bit Darwinesque! 😀

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 6th Jul 2022 08:54

I love the way you combine poetry, tragedy and humour, John. Yes, that sense of relief, similar to when you leave a hospital after visiting someone who is ill. It's not admirable, but it's there.

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John Botterill

Tue 5th Jul 2022 13:15

Thanks for the likes, Aisha, Bethany and Clare, Nigel. 😀

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John Botterill

Tue 5th Jul 2022 07:55

Thanks Keith for your thoughts on my poem and for your appreciative comments . I am glad I'm not alone in my graveyard meanderings 😊
Thanks Holden for your lovely comments.
Thanks too for the likes Julie, K. Lynn, Frederick and Carol. 😀

Holden Moncrieff

Tue 5th Jul 2022 02:07

An excellent poem, John, really powerful and honest! 🌷

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keith jeffries

Mon 4th Jul 2022 23:15

This is masterful in the way you take the reader into this place of rest and identify yourself with those tomb stones you see. I have often wandered around such places and pondered on those inscriptions, calculating their age and speculating on their lives and professions. Your poem connects us all to the next world and our fragility in this. The words, "I will join him there in the end" speaks the unalterable truth.
Thank you for this

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