I was at St. Mary's, attending the hymns and prayers,

My friend, now gone. The first funeral I've ever attended,

The readings, Lazarus' rise and the promise made,

Seemingly absurd,

"I am the resurrection and the life,

The one who believes in me will live,

even though they die;

and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

Do you believe this?”

My thoughts turn to the answer:

"Are you fucking kidding!?

My friend who lays here dead 

Lived by believing in you

And even when in doubt

Cast her eyes to your word for answers,

I will not believe that promise for this,

But neither will I assign blame on you,

For that is the due of those who caused it,

The car crash that claimed her life.


I came to pay my respects to her and her family,

And not to listen to a sermon not withstanding"

My thoughts remain known only to me,

Almost startled out by the sight of the small coffin,

All around, friends and family grieving, crying

So many old friends, seemingly,

Only an occasion so startling could again congregate,

The final prayers are said,

The event, still surreal in my mind,

Only to become more so,

At the cafe that had been closed,

To cater only for those who attended,

As the solemnity of the event seemed to disappear,

As the sparkling conversation, burst into a roar,

Of the hundreds that had arrived,

And cake was loaded on to cardboard plates,

Accompanied by squash, tea or coffee,

Like my youngest sister's last birthday party.

If not for the pain of my shoes,

Both rubbing the skin off my feet,

I would have dismissed it a particularly distasteful dream,

After the journey home,

During the night,

I was trying to sleep,

Then the full weight of it dawned.




◄ The Night

An Evening ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 15th May 2012 17:47

This is a good theme, and well-handled, honest. I do like honest. I commend you on 'seemingly absurd'.

The surface appearance of a funeral and its exuberant 'wake' often has to be more deeply understood. Folk customs become just that because they have meaning; otherwise they'd die out naturally. The question is surely: which is more important after the service, the dead or the living? The surface gloss of the 'sermon' is nonsensical, I agree, but the glib words are just shorthand for very deep philosophy. Most people can't be bothered to think intensely about anything; they float along on these fine-sounding phrases without the foggiest idea of their value. Even the religious leaders.

Your poem set my own thoughts flying. I have so been through this anguish myself. I had to learn more, really study, and think, just to be in some sympathy with my fellow man.

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Lynn Dye

Sun 13th May 2012 23:01

This is very good, Joshua. I like the way it goes from questioning the sermon to the whole sadness of the event to the "party" afterwards being a distasteful dream. And finally, it is in the night time that the full weight of it dawned.
So true and real, well done.

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