When it comes to funerals I am a big believer in ‘family flowers only’ – don’t waste your money on flowers…send it to the appropriate charity. I accept that when someone is taken from us in tragic circumstances that a small shrine of family flowers plays a huge part in the process of grieving…but when we all start placing flowers there because the neighbours have…and don’t get me started on the floral abundance of Princess Diana’s funeral…oh OK, if you insist…
When did it start, this floral arrangement?
Where will it end this obsession of ours
To mark the site of someone’s passing
And smother it with shop-bought flowers?
Saying farewell to the Princess of Wales;
Consider the lilies and roses spent.
Dead within days and costing the earth.
All for a nation’s weird lament.
Overindulgence; floral abundance;
Such passion on show like a Pharisee.
See me mourn as I rain carnations;
And watch me grieving on live TV!
Another kid killed on a sink-estate.
Only a rose in a garden of thorns.
Garlands left as the neighbourhood watch
This, the way a community mourns.
A show of flowers on a turd-worn verge;
Their floral tribute displayed before her
Gives no succour to the victim’s mum,
But there’s shed-loads for Interflora.
A wayside shrine means a death on the road.
Vivid reminders that all of us die.
See how slyly they self-seed themselves;
Hoping to catch their next victim’s eye.
Death’s on the rise on the roads of this land,
And as their shrines take up more and more room.
How many deaths will an A road need
For an entry in Britain in Bloom?
And what about those who meet their demise
In a place where some flowers just won’t do?
Where do you start to lay down a wreath
Among the pansies at B&Q?
When it’s my time to push up those daisies
If my soul survives incineration;
When I’m done with kicking the bouquet
I’m hoping for reincarnation.
May this karmic state give me the vision
To let me see the wood for the forest
So that next time round I will come back
…as a serial-killing florist.
© gray lightfoot
Hear Gray read the poem…