Writings and Witterings

Beyond The Veil


Handkerchiefs, white twisted prayer,
sobs breach and break the mourning air,
death takes, will not be second-guessed,
a shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

The shelter with its angled roof
hears clattering of horses’ hooves,
covers the dear departed, blessed;
her shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

The bearers seated by the corpse
know flesh, bones, come to nothing, naught
to ponder, but in time accept,
a shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

From lych to church seems overlong,
they pause, they pray, they chant their song,
to see her pass this way – none guessed
a shroud around the lych would rest.

A hot ague shook her life away,
the children sobbed, begged her to stay,
but death took life, it sucked her breath,
a shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

Yet that was then and this is now,
time changes, untracked: marriage vow,
photo backdrop, bride with guests,
a shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

Spectres, spirits of the passed,
plague actors in the wedding cast,
this shady place does it oppress
if shrouds beneath the lychgate rest?

‘Death is the only deathless one’,[1]
time lingers brief, they’ve just begun,
this is for life, no trial or test,
a shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

Fading out the nuptial glitter,
shadows cast by bygone sitters,
carnation wilts upon his breast,
and shrouds beneath the lychgate rest.

The charm of years, a pretty place,
he gazes down on her sweet face,
craves togetherness, wedded, yes,
a shroud beneath the lychgate rests.

Polly Stretton © 2017

[1] John Payne (1842-1916)


16 thoughts on “Beyond The Veil

  1. Truly beautiful words that I am carrying around until I know them by heart…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Ailsa, I like to write to form on occasion, so I’m pleased that you’ve enjoyed ‘Beyond The Veil’.


  2. Wow. Nothing more can I

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Words leave me, love fills my heart when I read this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Death is the only deathless one? Look, take a peek at John Dunn’s, Death Be Not Proud.


    • Loving the comment, Jack. John Donne is a favourite of mine, especially ‘The Sun Rising’. How such poets liked to respond to each other in verse!


  5. I did enjoy this, Polly. Lovely tone and pace…


    • Thanks David, good to see you enjoyed ‘Beyond The Veil’—it was many months in the making, if not years…you know how writing poetry can be sometimes (?) Good luck with your book.


  6. Thanks, Polly.
    Yes, a ‘poem-in-progress’ can lie dormant for half a lifetime!! Then hopefully…
    I’m sorry it took me so long to reply!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s