Balanced on fingertip supports
And splayed inward leaning legs,
As precarious as life itself,
A platform, barely head height.
Prone under the mourning clouds,
The cold capstone stretches to accept
The burden of the newly stiffened dead,
Our dearly blessed, our sorely missed.


The Men sing:
Raise up our dear one above The wolves’ slavering wet jaws.
Keep the body safe in love From the badgers’ tearing claws.
Let no insidious serpent from beneath,
Nor rat, nor mouse, nor creeping mole,
Nor rampaging boar with berserk teeth
Drag any flesh into its hole.
Offer our loved ones to the skies
To be carried upward before our eyes
By choughs with bloodied stalks and beaks
To the airborne fate we all shall seek.

The Women sing:
Drape their forms in daisies white,
Yellow primrose and mourning willow,
Saddened sorrel to show their plight
And scented violet as a pillow.
There no nettle, bramble or gorse
Can sting or wound our loved one’s corpse.
We, the left behind, silently savour all our memories
Of their songs and warmth and love.

Adrian Rodda 10th March 2013.