Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.


i.m. Liz Stafford


In the crematorium I try to sit,

if I can, where I can see the lawn

sloping up towards the landscaped copse,

and, today, blue sky. I assume the dead,

even if you could, would not begrudge

this longing to be elsewhere, to be free.


You have prepared for your death: choosing

the readings, and the hymns any pragmatic

atheist might know, briefing the eulogist

with selected work and leisure anecdotes.

I admire such fortitude, such command.

‘…send not to know for whom the bell tolls…’


At the funeral of a neighbour’s son,

among the family anecdotes

was one about a rope swing his dad had made.

The young man when still a very small boy

would swing ever higher from the garden oak

over the wall, the towpath and the canal.


I think of that now – pretty sure, like me,

that whatever risks you took were in your head

but were no less vertiginous for that.




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Tricia
    October 27, 2018

    Thank you for this poem remembering a rather interesting and special woman.

  • Geoff Wall
    October 28, 2018

    Elegy is so difficult, when we moderns do it without the comforts of magical thinking. But this poem gets the full sad discomfort.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *