Snow covered the churchyard as they laid him
in his final place. Smoke from a compost fire
went straight up, forming charcoal colours.
White flakes turned grey.
Through breaking light I heard someone say,
“He traded with small machinery firms.”
A chapter read from his life, nothing learned,
the remainder a closed book.
Later, at the wake in his suburban house
flames reflected in the black leaded hearth.
Insubstantial shadows crowded
the living room’s matt painted walls.
Outside, sleet dissolved onto wood ash,
Snow formed dark viscous pools.
Soon to be no longer mourners headed home,
loosening ties, removing hats.
Ghosts and ghouls drift,
white shifts to black and back
in a grey world, curling like bonfire smoke
vanished as the last stars faded in a clearing sky.