In Loving Memory

A floral tribute.

He sells flowers for the dead,
at the cemetery gate.
Lilies, roses, chrysanthemums.
He does that every year
on the First of November.
Always there, rain or shine,
for as long as I remember.

There is an element of risk
in a venture of that kind
if business is not brisk,
a fact he’ll find to his cost.
The bereaved don’t feel guilt
bringing their own wreaths
to honour the dead,
but his stock might wilt.

We don’t feel it’s our fault
if his enterprise fails.
We are alone with our grief
as we search for the family vault
or the marmoreal memorial
with the flickering flame
and grandfather’s portrait
underneath his name.

A perplexed marble angel
observes our proceedings
from the top of a plinth
but remains mute
as we tidy up the tombs
removing moss and weeds,
replacing faded blooms
in a loving, floral tribute.

© Luigi Pagano 2019

© ionicus 2023
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So thoughtfully penned! Touched by the empathy for a fellow being who is struggling to make an honest living out of dead but is sadly neglected and treated indifferently by the mourners who are busy with the ensuing funeral formalities. The rhyming pattern makes it an interesting read. Thankyou for sharing Luigi.


Nice tribute,Luigi. It must be difficult in Anglican UK for these flower sellers. As no doubt you know, Chrysanthemum sales are big business for florists in European Catholic countries.


A moving tribute, Luigi. I also loved the usage of ‘Marmoreal’. You managed to remind us of the changes which come to pass during our lives, some welcome, some not so welcome. I myself have been trying to focus on shopping at local and small businesses as much as possible because we are losing the very things which helped shape us. It’s always a pleasure to read your work, my dear.


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