The muffled church bell is forlorn.
A dead ringer in the crow-cawed dawn.
It used to summon, now it pleads
But a thousand other promises
Will meet their Sunday needs.
The yew-dotted yard is neat
But grave grass grows under old slow feet.
Set for bowmen by royal decrees,
Now redundant and forgotten
The tight-bound poisoned trees.
The vicar stoops to touch her hand
His false, insipid smile is bland.
She cannot hear his simpered phrase,
A hollow, murmured platitude
That greets her final days.
Rooks from dripping trees take flight,
His hand upon her fingers light,
And fading Jesus hangs his head
Above the ancient-hopefuls
And their mouldered daily bread.