The story keeps on coming back,
a man my father knew,
that grazier across the
a story that my father spun
to last me all my life
of how a man should not behave
when burying a wife
All through the
the priest there going on
about St Peter and the gates
through which his wife had gone.
His sobbing at the grave, Dad found,
was harder still to bear
Then men in suits,
the women in the best they had to wear
knew deeper down it couldn’t pass,
no matter who had died.
Extravagance like this was always
better kept inside.
At last the man who sent his beasts
to die on Tuesday gave one final,
high unseemly cry and
‘Mate,’ he yelled. ‘Don’t go. Don’t go!’
And scrabbled at the wood.
A friend reached in to fish him out
as any Christian would.
The women in their hats stood back.
Two men jumped in the trench and skidding on the polished lid
The clergyman intoned‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
’They heard the broken moans coming from a side window.
He hammered at the wheel.‘Mate,’ he yelled.
‘Don’t leave me
the mourners now were drifting
My father always finished here as if he’d gone too far.
But I could hear the slamming doors,
the hearse without much chrome and
dual decisions made to miss the wake and head straight home.‘Mate, oh mate!’ the man had cried, releasing all their fears.
The sound of boots on coffin wood survives them down the years
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