With a friend in Brompton Cemetery,
a place of atmospheres, imaginations
riotous as tumbling headstones, Gothic
arches, bones and mausoleums, houses
for the dead - whose status symbols had lost
nothing of their daunting powers or show.
We, having gone to rub some stones, had joked
initially of folk ensconsed in houses
fit for royalty, had funked a guided
tour of catacombs, and wondered briefly:
did we see just then a curtain twitch, some
slight stirrings there behind the window glass?
And last of all, before deciding on
our tasks, had gloried in the richness there
of mini-beasts and life in all its forms.
His hands to hold the paper in its place
and mine to ply the wax heel. Slowly, soon
the texture seemed, square inch by inch square, to
evolve some sort of face - which then resolved
itself: turned features into notes of music,
settled for a score, a crumbly mix of
breve and semi-breve and crotchets quavering,
more ably realised by my friend's voice
than by the wax heel in my hand. What might
have then ensued had we not been disturbed?
Towards us on the path, a slow procession
of three men, one wearing a white apron,
the other two in dark blue dungarees.
Between the two a white wood kitchen table
on which a bird cage sat without a bird.
The man in white held out a padded stool.
We watched until they'd disapeared from view
behind a tomb with jackal-headed guards -
a mausoleum on Egyptian lines.
"Pets at Home" sales up.
Twenty thousand extra tops -
England tops for dogs