All Hallows

“On almost the incendiary eve
Of deaths and entrances,
When near and strange wounded on London’s waves
Have sought your single grave”
Dylan Thomas’ ‘Deaths and Entrances

For Martin’s requiem and laying of the ashes
I do not need to seek you out
this soul-searching Hallowed night
red-eyed are rememberings
fiery flashbacks come thundering
like Valkyrie over belongings
left in plain sight,
left behind

Within cold coverlets, duck down has settled flat
sheets hang drying with a ghostly stare
and in the top most corner of your room
spiders are threading shut the door

But not for you the Underworld of earth
dust and air and water your elemental grave
undertow of Thames waves down its Londoners
makes exit at the entrance, past All Hallows, Kent
the church we always meant to visit and never went

In the Imaginary Garden, Susie invites us to seek inspiration for our own poetry from a beloved dead poet: “Diá de los Muertos – Bits of Inspiration
[Read and hear Richard Burton reading  “Deaths and Entrances”]

18 thoughts on “All Hallows

  1. This is poignant and sad – we surely sense the distance our beloved dead have to travel in the things they left behind, in all we meant to do. Will it take every saint in the reliquary to sing them back?

  2. This is raw.. incredibly evocative and fresh with the sense of loss, hurt and tears. I could feel every word and line break of this beautiful poem, Laura.

    1. the lack of touch is surely the hardest part of all
      – thank you for this prompt Susie – Dylan Thomas has been a poet I have turned to this last month and was good to be able to invoke his words as preface

  3. Isn’t it curious that often it is the things we don’t do rather that those we have that trouble us later in life. When someone we love dies a part of us dies as well and we can’t stop remembering life as it was.How touching the last two lines were.

    1. “all those things we have left undone” – fill us up with regret…maybe even fills the empty other half we have lost along with all the good times too

  4. This is so raw and filled with the mood of all saints. The mood of London makes me think of Dickens while the longing for the closeness of a grave is so strong. We all seem to go with Dylan Thomas today.

    1. All Hallows makes me think of Dickens and the opening scene of David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’ but in fact it was another church on the estuary penninsula – St James, Cooling

  5. I lost a beloved family member last week, your words touched me deeply.

  6. Richard Burton’s reading is just wonderful – he always did justice to Dylan Thomas’s words. Your poem is a beautiful tribute, Laura, to Martin and to one of my favourite poets. I admit it made me tearful, especially the references to ‘belongings left in plain sight’and ‘duck down has settled flat’. It doesn’t take much, does it? As a born Londoner, with a sister living in Kent, I followed the wistful undertow of Thames to ‘the church we always meant to visit and never went’.

    1. Burton’s rendition is so beautiful and grand. The church at All Hallows on the Hoo Peninsula is now high priority and am happy that almost the last memories of Martin are of a wonderful weeks holiday on the Kent coast at the end of September – As Londoner you will know how much the east born are drawn further east!

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