Overheard In A Graveyard



          What is longing made of, that it never wears out?
           Bone breaks. Rock wears away to sand. In this dark rain, hard iron falls to rust.
           Razors blunt, but longing's edge still cuts deep.
           If you'd gone to another land, I could have followed, by road, by ship.
           But no path will lead me to you, no door will let me through to you. There's no wall I can climb, no thorns I can fight through -
           How can you be so far from me?
           What is longing made of, that there's more comfort in a bed of stone, a thorn-pillow, sheets of ice?

          Who weeps on my grave, who keeps me from sleep?
           Is it you who unearths me to this cold rain, this dark, this wind and all its grief?
          My bed was made; I lie in it. Hard frosts have cracked my bones. Down the rain has come and seeped me through. Twelve long months have past and gone since I was warm and quick.
          Go away love.
          Leave me to the grave.

          I see you!
          I can see you.
          Can I touch you?
          Let me hold you again. I Never held any like I held you. There was never any touched me like you. Never since.
          Can I rest my head on yours? Will you lay your head on my shoulder?
          I want to hold you, warm -


         I'm warm no more.

          I'll warm you.

          Ah, love. If I put my arms around you now, if I pressed me close to you now ...
          Ah, love,your heart would catch and stop cold.
          Go in from the rain now, and warm yourself.
In twelve months more you'll love some other - and love the more for losing me.
          You store up grief, love - but never fear you'll miss your share of grief.
         Get in from the wind love.
         Leave me to the grave.

          Kiss me goodbye, then. One kiss.

          My mouth is cold as the wet clay. My breath earthy strong. Go ask a kiss from a warmer mouth with sweeter breath than mine.
         Go in from the cold love.
         Leave me to the grave.

I want to be with you.
         Let me stay.
         Is there room in that little house for me? Take me in out of the rain. Let me hug you close - then there'll be room.
          Let me in, please let me in. I'd sooner lie with you in that deep bed than stand under the sun and long for you.

           There is no room.
           Go from here now - you keep me from sleep!

           Your every tear's a chain that holds me here; every sob a stone that weighs me down.
           Have some thought of me! and turn your back and go, and leave me to the grave.

I think of you, I always think of you!
            Forget, forget! Don't I try? I am hugging burning ice - wouldn't I lose it if I could?
            What is grief made of, that it never blunts? A steel trap loses its jaws, but griefs a trap that won't lose me. If gnawing through my own wrist would set me free, I'd gnaw my hand off!
              Let me in to you, let me in out of the rain.

             Is this love, to unearth me to this pain? Go from me, leave me, let me sleep.

I shall lie on your grave and howl your name. I shall weep dry earth to mud. I'll call and call your name until you come. Every night I'll howl you to me, every night, every night and all.
           I never owned a thing but I shared it with you, never a thought, never a coin I had but I shared it with you - and now we'll share this grief, I swear, while the trap bites on me it shall bite on you.
           Let me hold you. I was never held by any like you held me. I never held any since like I held you.     Let me warm you, love.

           Come to me, then, come here to me, love.
           What? now you draw back?
           Don't you love me any more?

Cold - !

           Hush now, hush, don't fear. Our bed's unaired, it's chill and damp- but it'll warm, it'll warm as I draw you in.

But so cold -


'Overheard in a Graveyard'
Copyright Susan Price
first published in 'Nightcomers' (Hodder 1997)




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