Mercian Hymns IX

By Geoffrey Hill

The strange church smelled a big ‘high’, of censers and polish. The strange curate was just as appropriate: the took off into the marriage-service. No-one cared to challenge that gambit.

Then he dimissed you, and the rest of us followed, sheepish next-of-kin, to the place without the walls: spoil-heaps of chrysanths dead in their plastic macs, eldorado of washtand-marble.

Embarrassed, we dismissed ourselves: the three mute great-aunts borne away down St Chad’s Garth in a stiff-backed Edwardian Rolls.

I unburden the saga of your burial, my dear. Yo had lived enough to see things ‘nicely settled’.