More from the Remote Churchyard 


The air is like stove-heated milk.

Not quite ready for hot chocolate

But warm enough.

I wade through it.


The breeze catches the warmth

and throws it in my face.

There to do little 

to comfort or relieve.


Above, the house martins

race over their sky tracks.

Scooping their prizes

of late afternoon insects.


Below my feet the ground is sharp.

The remnants of May,

sliced down to stubble and waste.

Thick and unyielding


It’s farming country.

Knowing how to take a hay crop,

but not how to tend

a garden of graves.


I think about snoozing adders

and move to thinner places.


Unrecognised wildflowers.

Unrecognised butterflies.

Moths perhaps.

Each, a tickle in the grass


Purple something,

Yellow something,

Grey Flappy thingy.


I walk,

knowing I need 

a friend to name them,

so I can pretend

I know them too.


Six yew trees stand sentinel in the West.

One in the East.

Each charged long ago

with warding off all that is evil.


They must have been busy.


There are sinners here, 

lying with the saints,

but mostly here lies those

who did the best they could,


Inside the church,

the air is cool and damp. 

It smells of neglect,

of ancient times and lost purpose.


Fixed to the wall of a window recess

is Phillip Christopher’s memorial stone.

Died in 1763.


Perhaps he knew George III was king,

Maybe he knew that

things were falling apart in America,

and that India was being claimed


His memorial stone is half empty

Space for Blanche

He wanted to be near her.

So where is she?


I hunt outside.


This is where

the ‘best beloved’

become the soonest forgotten.


Lost in both time and mind

the ‘united forever’ are


underneath thick ivy.


If lucky, the ‘sorely missed’

host iridescent lichen

and shine in the light.


I find an early stone

and pick away the ivy 

with my fingers.

It resists and fights me off.


Sufficient to read its message

‘prepare to meet thy God’

And to know that


Blanche isn’t here.

© Gaynor Kavanagh