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Thoughts in Burtonwood Churchyard

Stood alone in ancient grounds and reading,
all we were is told with simple words,
the legions of the dead are gathered here,
the young, the innocent, none of them were spared.
Such sadness this tranquility contains.
I care about these unfamiliar names.
Stone angels from their splendid marble perch
survey the coldness with unseeing eyes,
neglected plots by nature half-reclaimed,
and through the leaning stones the bindweeds rise.
In consecrated earth they slumber on,
in still and stony silence, everyone.
Sweet God! if you exist what purpose this?
your congregations silently conspire,
where can I find my hope in hopelessness?
How can I in a grave learn to aspire?
And here amongst the dead I tell them true,
my eyes are wet with tears for me ... not you.

by Stephen Hirons

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