The first sensation, vague dismay.

Too young, too young to die.

At home, alone, that Sunday morn,

Too numb, too numb to cry.


Crowded pub in nights to follow

Anaesthetised with beer,

Angered by people’s public sobs

While I could shed no tear.


Past tense and parrot sketch remarks

We speak of disbelief

Deceased, passed-on, he’s dead and gone;

Words hollow, shorn of grief


A churchyard we all gathered round,

Black ties, dark suits and glasses.

A collective mass of faces past;

An assembly of old school classes


Friend and family, young and old,

Their sorrow uncontained.

And through it all, unnaturally;

My emotional chill remained.


Six bearers carried him in a box,

And placed him in the ground;

Dirt tossed to thud on maple lid,

An eerie, final sound.


Then to the comfort of the bar,

A vibrant presence missed;

Young folk talk of days gone by,

Old friends, we reminisced.


As day gave way to darkness,

A lighter mood prevailed the wake,

Among the singing and the laughing crowd,

My reserve at last would break


Tight chest and shallow breathing

Unexpected, surging tide

And as the choir around me sang

I cried and cried and cried.

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