About the poet
Patricia Beer (1924-1999) was born in Exmouth, Devon, into a Plymouth Brethren family, a...
Arriving early at the cemetery
For 'the one o'clock', we looked around
At the last sparks of other people's grief,
The flowers fading back into the ground.
A card inscribed 'With reverent sympathy
From the Magicians' Club' was propped against
A top hat made of blossoms and a wand
Tied with a black velvet bow. We sensed
The rabbits and the ladies sawn in half
One blink away from being visible
Although the quick deceiving hand was changing
To flyaway dust under a ton of soil.
The funeral that we came for turned the corner.
They had been right to think the world of you,
Who conjured up for us, a hearse approaching,
An interest in life. Bravo. Bravo.
from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1990), © Patricia Beer 1990, by permission of Carcanet Press Ltd. Recording from An Introduction by Hutchinson's Poetry Editor, by permission of the British Library Sound Archive and The Poetry Society.