“While Walking Through the Churchyard” by Kenneth O’Keefe

Kenneth O’Keefe


The amber air of summer paints the stones
With fading light as evening falls to night.
The names and dates that mark decaying bones
Are etched in shaded grooves. Some worn from sight
By years of weather force my guess at who
And when. Was it a child of seven, or
An ancient man weary of things he knew?
It makes a difference when death seals the door
That shuts our eyes to all our lives have made.
When young my lamp was lit beside my bed
To keep the dark away. But age has swayed
Me from my childish fear. Now I instead
Await the night, whose shadows will enclose
My soul in peace beyond the grief it knows.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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