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The Uttoxeter Cemetery: a poem about my childhood and flowers, plants and trees

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

I was born at the cemetery in Uttoxeter in 1970. My Nan and Granddad were the custodians back then. My aunty and sister were born there too. There was nothing strange about having a cemetery for a playground for us.

Anyway, memories and emotions bubbled up into my consciousness tonight .... so I had to write a poem of course, inspired by a childhood in a cemetery in Uttoxeter.

The Cemetery

Nan and Grandad

ran the cemetery

I was born there

in the 70s

I watched Grandad

digging graves with spades

by the Willow

weeping, where I played

I watched Nana

as she made the wreaths

with carnations

wired in holly leaves

Nana taught me

when the people go

there’s a flower

they once loved the most

And the living

every time they see

that one flower

blossoms memories

So I asked her

through my first new teeth

for a daisy chain

when she makes my wreath

And a tear

left her wrinkled eye

her lips pursing

as she forced a smile

I was small then

I did not know why

my old nana

kissed my cheek and cried

I am old now

like my nana then

Forty years

since I could pretend

Nana’s gone now

but she smiles still

every springtime

from each daffodil

Mark Bird

a lone daffodil in front of a blue sky
A spring daffodil

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