The winter afternoon closing in
we went to see Calixtus his stone,
the inscription trafficked down to three lines:
he might – MONEDO REGI– have been king of Môn.
Whoever had painted up his letters in red
had mis-stroked and ‘made a bloody mess of that.’
Graves freeze time in ripples from his first fall.
Hen-daid and Hen-nain closest to the church,
then Taid and Nain, a clutch of aunts,
and, out in the new graveyard, you and Mam,
planted head to the sea, feet to the hills,
with the same care as a bulb
all ready for the sun of the new spring.
I am unsure, after thirty years,
whether my instant reddening on
loosing that mild profanity in a church
was provoked by conscience or your witness;
but in the centre of that greater profanity
my speech scarcely registered.
Title: The Church of St Bodfan, Llanaber. Hen-daid: Great grandfather. Hen-nain: Great grandmother. Taid: Grandfather. Nain: Grandmother.