Disturbing The Dead

entry picture


We'd buy the hot pies
Vanilla slices 
Sealed in paper bags with a twist of the wrist
By the young girl in the pie shop/cafe
And then 
We’d sit 
And eat 
In this churchyard 
On benches inscribed with rusting bronze plaques
One called Walts bench has the following on it
Tony waller 230963 14042015
Together forever, in brackets
A similar age to myself 

Virtually every bench speaks
Tells a tale in brevity
Of a life lived
Remembrances dotted in between monstrously large funeral slabs
So that there's almost nowhere to walk
For fear of disturbing the dead
But we could sit 
And eat
And we did

The busy shops and market just a few steps away
Relentlessly invaded by
Hungry tourists
In turn hounded themselves by hungrier gulls
The commotion never hit our ears
The solemnity of the location
The taste of hot filled pastry
 keeping us content
In this noiseless place

Except for whispering trees and a couple of palms planted near the church doors 
flapping awkwardly like wounded birds in the brisk December breeze 
A mother chides her daughter saying “don't run, don't run! “
She doesn't see why not
Life carries on
People  walk past hurriedly 
I see us three in the past
In our own way 

Once I deceived me Dad into us attending the church's strawberry cream tea garden party held on the vicars lawn
He was like a fish out of water
People were milling around Rev Hodges like flies round shit
Offering us scones and tea
All laughing 
All talking too enthusiastically about nothing worth enthusing over 
Me Mum kept her head down while me Dad made excuses
And we escaped

I was forever blamed
For the doomed afternoon
Then I remember this is the time of year Mum died
And I see my Dad
The pain still in his eyes
As he sits surrounded by memories 

In his bungalow an ancient buckled biscuit tin spews forth
A damaged old pile of photos
Onto the fifty years old coffee table 
Many settling on his lap
He can no longer hear
The vinyl albums are gathering dust
Xmas presents given to him
Once gratefully received
Are still wrapped
In a corner of his wardrobe

He can no longer drive to the cemetery
To leave flowers
To weep 
His thumb lightly holds the creased reflection of her Image as though it was spun gold. 

◄ The Close

The Ocean Inside The Shell ►


Profile image

Martin Elder

Sat 2nd Mar 2019 18:19

Jon this is a beautifully crafted slice of real life that so many of us can relate to so easily.
Thanks for posting this
Nice one my friend

<Deleted User> (19913)

Sat 2nd Mar 2019 02:34

Hi Jon, I can't believe I missed this. I felt as though you took me on a tour, and invited to tea with your Dad as he reminisced. I could imagine his hands clasping the photo. Absolutely beautiful.

Profile image


Sat 9th Feb 2019 12:32

An amazing piece.
Brilliant childhood memories. Can just picture your dad at the church strawberry cream tea!

Profile image

Mae Foreman

Fri 8th Feb 2019 11:21

Incredible piece! It speaks of the living as well of the dead. "Spun in gold". Amazing!
Thank you ?

Profile image

lisa donohoe

Fri 8th Feb 2019 11:11

This is fantastic poetry , the insight to the memories you hold so dear to your heart and the pain and broken soul of your father has brought tears to my eye's. pain is not often beautifully written. You however have made this piece into a short movie which I admire.
Well done ???

Profile image


Fri 8th Feb 2019 10:37

Thanks to everyone who's so far liked or commented on this Poem.
It came to me more or less as it is while walking through the Churchyard

I think inspiration for it came from my Dad's current state of health, the time of year also plays a factor, being the period that my Mum died, between Christmas and New Year and the contrast between now and then.

Thanks again everyone.. Much appreciated

Profile image


Fri 8th Feb 2019 09:59

You have spoke often about your dad and your relationship with him so I have some insight.
Maybe I see this differently but for me this isn't reflective of happy days.
Your a markedly different man to your father just as I am to mine.
Wigan might as well of been the moon for you "you couldn't of been more out of place"
Memories of youth aren't all golden and getting old gives us one overwhelming thing of value.... Clarity

As ever we'll done.... R

Profile image

keith jeffries

Thu 7th Feb 2019 20:52


A beautiful memory tinged with sadness yet full of colour and life. Your poem took me straight there. I was sitting on the next tomb stone. Well done as always.
Thanks for this

Profile image

chris yates

Mon 4th Feb 2019 18:26

Such a journey through life yes full of emotions and love the line ," like flies around shit" very Alan Bennet he also likes to shock with his language and the last line "the creased reflection of her image like spun gold " so poignant well done Jon

Profile image


Mon 4th Feb 2019 14:16

A cornucopia of detail with its agonizing emotion impact drawing us through wonderful settings - a lovely read and full of surprises. Great work Jon. Barmcakes fixes the north in my mind.


Frances Macaulay Forde

Mon 4th Feb 2019 04:28

So sad, but so relate-able and a wonderful journey into your memories. Thank you, Jon.

Profile image

Dave Caplan

Sun 3rd Feb 2019 22:59

What an excellent description Jon;
childhood memories are indeed spun gold.

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message