Graveyard of St Peter-in-the-East, St Edmund Hall

For E.M.

Snowdrop, snowdrop, tell:
what news of the underground,
the weather in Hell?

Your toes are tickled
by the beards of the dead, their
slanted stones deckled

and foxed with lichen-
rings of shaggy galaxies.
In flocks you beckon

me to read shallow-
graven names on time-thumbed tomes.
Soon you’ll sallow, snow-

drop: now so new, yet
your hair’s already waxed white
from that oubliette

you hunkered in, torn
between last year and this; or
is it a tricorn

hat you hold instead
in green-gloved hands, as you stand
shaking your bowed head?

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