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Over Tennyson Down

How strange that I, six times a year,
should now fly back and forth
over the place where mum and dad
went courting in their youth
and low enough to fix the spot
where they rejoined the earth.

How strange that they, for sixty years,
believed the simple lie
that death is but the passport to
reunion in the sky
and joyful recognition that
the righteous cannot die.

And were they face to face with God
while we, through darkened glass,
caught only glimpses of the truth
of what had come to pass
as, emptying their plastic urns,
we spilled them on the grass?

My dears, you thought the fable true:
your ashes re-collected,
your youthful beauty formed anew,
your bodies resurrected.
Alas! That I look down on you
is not what you expected.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by the author