Before & After (Poetry)

23rd January 2018
i.m. John Frederick Hillier

Unusually for us
we arrived a good few minutes
ahead of time
and already there were groups of people standing
talking while they waited
in the January cold

As Arctic wind unleashed its chill
cut through clothing
chattering our teeth
the sky’s wide dome apparently indifferent
to all that happened there
so far beneath

Then came the cars at last
approaching black and steady
with family and flowers
                                in company
with that so-simple wicker casket
while the crowd lined up ready
to follow them on in

A service of rememberance
free from piety but full
of stories that made his life more real
for us and all who knew him
wrapped in thought’s warm reverie
we drove the long way home