Winner of 2017 Giller Prize

Winner of 2017 Giller Prize
Michael Redhill for his novel Bellevue Square

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rubbings, a poem by Martin Hicks.


RUBBINGS
A churchyard lies on land neglected 
Where brownish hay replaces lawn, 
No weekend picnic crowd expected, 
Last congregation long-since gone.

Its tombstones form a cluster jumbled 
Or clutter hillside with small mounds, 
Almost half-dozen off-mount tumbled, 
Rest standing on uncertain grounds.

Once here at centre members huddled, 
Showed also stern and graven faces, 
As upright held their message muddled 
Until prayers lacked financial basis.

Now near you wander gravel pathway 
Through setting picturesque and bright, 
And pause in searching travel halfway, 
Scan range of objects strange to sight.

It's quite slow chore to find, non-faded, 
Deep-chiseled words on block when hot, 
Stray sheep from stony flock sun-fated. 
But drab white shape stares finally spot.

You put down sudsy pail for scrubbing, 
Wash well stone marker clean, wipe dry, 
Soon lift from worn inscription rubbing. 
Nice day for it, with clear blue sky.

Zeal earns for effort dark impression, 
Craft dating bones consigned to grave. 
Then grown-late afternoon clouds session. 
Best page amongst tries whim might save.

Chose lead print fingers slide in folder. 
Such pale-black contrast proves demise. 
Good pal looks over left bent shoulder. 
Chat ponders interred's Earthly guise.

Chum murmurs curtly name was given, 
There's no Chance dead confined had say. 
Corpse never voted-while Life-driven- 
Amidst close-crowded plots own stay.

Grasp picks up bucket by looped handle, 
You weigh by content work's tough win, 
Toss cloth inside as Change-rough vandal- 
Wears still things smooth, hard fact rubs in.
-Martin Hicks 

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