My ally gone. The day before my tenth birthday.
Now I am with the dark suits and dresses,
Amongst the orchestra of sobs, coughs, and creaking pews.
Great-aunts I’d only seen as words in mum’s tired address-book,
Their raining eyes turn to downpour
As The Lord is my Shepherd is sung or bawled.
Rainstorms on legs. Some sang with belief, others grief.
As his frame slides out towards flames, the heartbroken,
Some seeing a reflection of their own frailty,
Some still pouring into hankies converged on Mersea Island
where we were comforted by Shepherd’s pie
Served by aprons on stilts.
All in Arthur’s memory, his thanks for our compassion.
Remembered amongst Royal Copenhagen blue-white Tableware,
Shy behind a bespoke glass shield. And burning silver-cutlery.
Nothing was as old as the ancient chest
Which survived Nazis and was liberated from
A Danish castle, even older than the great-aunts.
Paul Attwell lives in Richmond with his partner Alis, and Pudsey the cat. Paul’s experiences of depression and ADHD shape his work. Blade is available from WrongRoosterPublishing at https://www.wrongroosterpublishing.com/ Early Doors will be available mid-May. Paul’s poems have been on IS&Tears, Runcible Spoon, One Hand Clapping and Amethyst.