Poems » lynn crosbie » stones from ashbourn churchyard


       Jesse Quantrill, Miller
The toll taken, the grist drest:
Here the bran, the flour with Christ.

      Abel Paternoster, Gardener
Here's a man who tossed and turned
Beds of clay for sixty years.
Now he's fast asleep in one,
Don't disturb him with your tears:
Rest which most men merely won,
Abel Paternoster earned.

       Rosemary Young (1729-1747)
Whitest of white once, ruddiest of red,
Here rests my fair one in her final bed.
Though snatch'd from earth in beauty's early bloom,
Her memory flowers even from the tomb
And warms that breast which would a garland wear
But feels too much to bear its fragrance near.

            Mary Girling
Eighty years old and late November,
Hurry! I shiver --
Colder than I care to remember:
Throw the quilt over.

  Matthew Wealthy (1848-1882)
  Matthew Wealthy (1873-1882)
Since smallpox took all my wealth
I am forever beside myself.

      Alfred Backus, Cesspit Digger
Backus never took a bath.
When his starched and spotless neighbors
Spurned the man but spared his labours,
"Septic Alf" bided their wrath.

Now they're all that dirty, he
Bids them welcome him with love
As the prophet and founder of
Their sod-roofed community.

 Reverend Philip Wainwright
Served His Lord
And the Members
Of This Parish
To the Utmost
Of His Capacity
For Thirty-Seven Years,
Three Months, and Nineteen Days.

A Service Deemed Sufficient
By the Lord, as Witness
His Calling him Home
To His Bosom;
But Not by the Members
Of This Parish, as Witness
Their Leaving his Widow
To Bear the Entire Burden
Of This Memorial.

Sarah Pearl Brimblecombe
Her only rouge was blush.
  She shunned the brush,
Abjured pastels and paint's
  Alluring taints,
And cherished black and white
  Until the night
She put her charcoals by,
  No longer shy,
And gave up drawing breath
  To limn death.

    Infant Travis
Ere we named him
Death had claimed him.
We would be giving
Names to the living,
So sleep, little son
Without one.

Harry Kemp, Shoemaker
  Long life passed
Where hammer and nail
Told bickering tale.
God hushed that sound
And Harry found
His toil ended,
His soul mended --
Peace at last.