The dead who lie in sober rows
Were swathed in summer grass;
Their feathered flags caught every breeze,
And butterflies that pass
Splashed colour like a hidden jewel
When grass stems parted wide,
The bees were busy at their work
Where stores of nectar hide
Perhaps the summer nights bring forth
The souls of those who lie –
Perhaps they danced beneath the moon,
In sunlight they’re too shy.
But now the tidy gardeners
Have come with shears and rake;
The dead must have their dignity
And lie in modest state.
The new-cut grass reveals the names
Engraved on ancient stones;
Though age has changed their upright stance,
They tell us of old bones.
And those whose names were never graved
Will now more peaceful lie,
Close-blanked in greenery
Under the Cambridge sky.
Ishbel Beatty, August 2016