In Bunhill Fields

Jamie Gartley | 9 March 2018



In Bunhill Fields there lies at peace
more folk than Wembley filled back
in twenty-three. A welcome treat
to those Londoners who rush and
rush on by. An old poet sits
a distance from the stone that marks
his death, attracting some noisy gits
that disturb the well-earned quiet
and rest of spirits best ignored;
ignored as they have been for years.

Even when German bombs explode
they sleep on in their eternal
homes, and let history pass by.
The wind and rain shaved the stones clean;
few names are seen, but some still sigh
when they find the story of the
three brothers who died too young -
none more than three years old. A shame.

Trees that saw Romans are now wrung
around the painted-peeling fence.
The ground misshapen, uneven:
this place is uninviting. Left
for years, abandoned, no grieving;
no longer what it was, it’s now
home to birds and squirrels and cats.
A nursery, playground, buffet.
Nature reclaimed this plot that flats -
newly-built, not cheap – look down on.
They look at the sky, not the dead,
of this I’m sure. It’s a comfort.
Like the tomb where mice make their bed.

This is no place for the living
I think as I light a Marlboro.
the gatekeeper sees me do it
and does not care. I turn and go.


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