Thursday, November 14, 2013

Burial in the Early Morning

"What voice colder than the wind out of the grave said: ‘It is over’?"  No Time.  RS Thomas 1913-2000

And it was also a bitterly cold morning in Edgewood cemetery that early morning.  Yet the sky was already bright blue and the huge diggers and earth-movers were already at work in the nearby woods, making space for even more houses.  But they stopped work when the cherry-wood coffin was placed on its trestles.  I wonder if the workers stood there and peered through the trees out of curiosity and respect.  Who knows?  The night before gave us the first hard freeze of the season and in shaded parts of the graveyard the grass still glistened white.  With the undertaker I slowly began to feel the cold creeping up my legs.  No amount of cassock and layers can prevent that intrusion.  And gathered around an open grave there was no bodily warmth for any of us.  The words of the prayer book went by quickly.  Tokens of her enjoyment in life were placed with the coffin.  She had been sixty-four years of age.  Death seemed to be in a hurry, as we were to get back into the warmth.

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