Beyond the lychgate

reading the name of someone known


She’s named on a small tag
on the low edge of a yew tree grove,
long from the stone temple,
where white crosses form uniform rows;
she had died peacefully, when ready,
in control, and contented.
For others with sanctioned graves,
it was too late;
doomed, before they could know it,
the guiltless combatants,
the poor soldiers of the Lord,
or some other indifferent God,
who, when newborn,
reaching joyfully out to futurum’s edge,
were archaically stunted instead.
She felt privileged.
Right to the end, her secular philosophy,
warmed her like a loose-fitting overcoat.
But appalled too,
seeing so few similarly protected,
knowing acquisition
simply arose from freedom to choose.
A sprig of two red roses was laid:
one, still in bud, cut off too soon,
a token of compassion,
for the religious, and all war dead;
the other, in full bloom,
for her, whose long tranquil life,
though owed to their own causal plight,
and sacrifice,
should have been the lesson
they ought to have learned,
but, it would seem,
never will.






© Gothicman 2017
critique and comments welcome.

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9 Comments on "Beyond the lychgate"

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The stark contrast between the resting place of a woman who, by a free choice, has lived a long life, contentedly and unaffected by any conflict and the graves of young men killed in their prime on the battlefield in a cruel war, whose plight should have sounded a warning to further generations, but wasn’t heeded, is eloquently and poignantly expressed here.


I enjoyed this, Trevor, if enjoyed is an appropriate word, the bitter silent rage you express at wasted lives compared with the ideal of life spent in peace with others and the world. Gerald.


Lovely poem, very sad, makes one think of the cruel differences in life and death. I really enjoyed the pictures your words painted too. Sue.

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