Meditations on an autumn afternoon

Angel in Victorian Cemetery in Bristol, UK
by Joe D at


Late afternoon, among the graves

I step between the head
stones, make my way
to the one place
that has held sway
over my life for so

by the open expanse
of brown grass,
white marble and
polished granite, no
visible certainties exist, only
grey stone cherubs
worn faceless
by time and trial.

the narrow lane, the
Hebrew section
stretches out
in pristine rows
of Stars of
David etched on black,
and polished stones
left on mothers’ graves
by guilt-ridden
children—a cairn
after a whispered

but here
where the children lie
the angels accost me
from every side—
a multitude of dominion in
plaster and cement,
on bended knees,
or with hands raised
like Michael, the warrior
—always hovering, voiceless
winged watchers
of the ophanim
and the seraphim.

Muted by their silence
I collect branches, scattered
debris, empty beer
bottles, wind-
blown faded petals, the
refuse of the living
strewn across the dead.
I become the caretaker
of the forgotten.

In this place—
this hollow hallowed
stretch of waste-
land—my decades-old dreams
have lain fallow,
here in this godless
bank of biers,
awash in autumn roses
and neatly trimmed box-

love our departed
but despair
of our living.
Who knows, truly,
the prayers the angels whisper
when no one can hear,
or the secrets buried
in the hearts
of the dead.

L. Liwag

September 19, 2012
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk


Music by Vienna Teng, “Say Uncle”

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