Digging a Grave by Simon Cockle

The lush cemetery grass, the dead’s roof,
is where you begin.  At dawn, look
for a pleasing aspect within touching
distance of yew trees, shrubs.  Mark out
a man-sized oblong with cooking twine,
shave the sods and file neatly in lines.
Dig down: your spade bites through clay,
stone shards, clay pipes, dogs’ teeth
and the like.  The sun will shift above you
but, today, you will set before it does.
Down, down through the ages until you feel
the earth’s fingers clutch at your heels.
Spread the bottom with autumn’s leaves
or sawdust, then climb the ladder out
of the grave mouth’s yaw.  Line the sides
with butchers’ grass and sweep the dirt away.
All that’s left to do is wait to fill it up again;
your soil, your work and the life you made.

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in iOTA, Prole, The Lampeter Review, An Algebra of Owls and the London Progressive Journal, amongst others. He was invited to read at last year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival as part of the Poetica Botanica event. He teaches English in a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems. More of his poems can be found at https://simoncockle.wordpress.com/ .





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