Fear Not

We worked three days amongst the dead,
who weren’t bothered by our
bubble of busy-ness in their
acres of ash, bones, stones:
not the Chinese, sober slabs
slashed with gold logograms; nor the
Italians, severe in studio photographs,
enamelled, impervious; nor the
Hindus, bedecked with flags, beneath their
special shrines, artlessly recreated;
nor the nexus of North Londoners in
whose bosom they repose.

Sullenly swallowing delay, my eye
caught a simple plaque:
‘F.E.ARNOT’. Were his parents
sending him a message? Did he
heed it? Use it as his motto when
dealing with work, wine, women?
He doesn’t sound much loved,
memorialised sans given names,
respected at a distance, like a
Headmaster or a stern father, but
was he, at the last, able to say
“I fear not”?

Checks are called: we are
poised to shoot; Make-up
tweaks hair, powders sheen;
Costume collects enough
cover-coats to equip an
Arctic expedition; my mind
wrenched back to work,
away from my own and
only natural fears.

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Comments

  • fridayam  On March 19, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Fridayam's Blog and commented:

    Filming funerals in Hendon, London, sitting in the cold Crematorium chapel, reading the memorials whilst waiting for things to begin. I have not made this up.

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