There are so many people here
but all are still, invisible, dead.
Some are dust, some bones
and there is a deep regret,
not held by them, but by those living on.
You sit in company at the end of the boulevard –
the trees are all different.
The wind is noticeable, but kind.
Here and there one walks in pairs or with a dog –
this is a place of people getting used to death and to being here for ever for those who yet live on.
It was a time of large plots. On one of these plots stood a house, a good-sized house that looked open and on dark nights blazed with light in the most welcoming fashion.
But a businessman acquired this house and he was a businessman with pretensions. He wanted to build a house commensurate with his ego. So he hired a fashionable architect and had the pleasant house pulled down. In its place rose a house to dominate the area, to dominate the town. But it cost a great deal to build and a great deal to run. So the wealthy man became not so wealthy and he did not live so long as he might have in the smaller house. When he died, his wife, who liked the old house and did not like the new one, sold it fast.
It was autumn. He was walking up towards the Beacon. He came to an old, tight copse of trees. Around it everywhere there were leaves.
He loved the leaves, their colours, the heaps and the sound and feel of walking through them. He trudged on, striking his feet firmly into the ground. The leaves rose around him in a green, brown, gold cloud.
Something chinked beneath his feet. He struck again, looked down. There was something dark and metallic moving. He moved his foot again, more cautiously. Then he bent down and picked up a dirty, round thing. It was a coin. There were more.
They must have been disturbed by the rains, by the winds and by the constant yearly thudding of young men’s boots through the leaf heaps.
He spat on the coin, rubbed it and it began to shine. It was gold.
He walks from point to point around the grounds.
Each time he stops he takes a photo or two.
When he finishes, he wipes his eyes.
“I didn’t expect to feel it.”
His wife pats his back.
Or she would have if she were still alive.
Brian went home every day the same, until he found his wife gone and a brief note on the kitchen table. He had never noticed anything wrong. In fact he had never noticed anything, and that was where he’d been wrong.