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Vineyard Passage by Bob Kimmerling

Arts Richmond

Online - 28 March 2021

Vineyard Passage by Bob Kimmerling

Vineyard Passage

Wind-gathered winter leaves hide the worn 
Inscription; the birth, the death the epitaph 
On show for all who take this path 
To know Sir John is buried here 
Beneath his coat of arms.

This baronet, the eighth in line
Esteemed to serve his king or queen, 
A gentleman, East India’s refined,
Who sojourned and often richly dined 
At home in Berkley Square.

Now companion to the chafer, the caddis, 
And to countless creeping crawling things,
While passers-by have come and gone 
Without admiring glances 
Since eighteen thirty-one.

To line the row beside Sir John, 
Writ great and good in Portland stone, 
The largest slabs bear names long gone: 
A Thomas and a William, an Elizabeth 
And a James.

The births, the deaths, and all the 
Dear belovedness, now mossed 
And mildewed, chafed by morning frost, 
And slimed by creeping slugs across 
Each cold grave tabletop. 

But there by winter's Flowering Cherry
Near Purple Hazel and Norway's Maple, 
Beside the yew with scarlet berry, 
Stands a smaller upright stone,
Beloved daughter to John and Mary.

Eliza Rose, just fourteen years of age:
'Early bright and transient, 
Chaste as morning dew, she sparkled, 
Was exhal'd and went her way to heaven', 
to the Saviour that she knew.

by Bob Kimmerling

Vineyard Passage

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