* I stood at the entrance to Highgate Cemetery, designed by Stephen Geary, 1839, architect, London Cemetery Company founder, inventor, Gin Palace designer and temperance movement member.
Photo: Creative Commons
On the path outside the Highgate pearly gate
I stood and rattled chains, tried to enter, saw
That sign, again, ‘closed…’, I’ll have to wait
There’s no-one here, all furloughed, off to war
I tried my ‘social distancing’ while in the shopping queue
My practiced helicopter arms defined the space apart
Alarm bells rang on Westminster Bridge; what to do?
Calling DHL** parcel delivery, I pressed enter, ‘put in cart’
Please understand, this is a serious affair
My skeleton key does not fit the lock
Quarantine broke me; I came out for air
My soul between a hard place and a rock
Doctors, nurses, family, friends held my (virtual) hand
A stream of all I’d loved went through my mind
Perhaps I will now go across to that other land
Endless reprieve? ‘To be’, my goal, but will unwind
My tears for you who made this journey’s end
Yet grateful for your love while you were there
Tears for myself who has lost another friend
Sadness and joy, the everlasting net of care
And yet, as I rattled chains upon that gate
And read the warning notice hanging in the air
I understood I would return, but have to wait
To join you and all my friends sleeping there
Did I choose this much less travelled way?
Or was it chance that none were there to greet?
You walked that path just now; I was to stay
Carry on, keep calm, see friends, on this busy street
** ‘DHL working in partnership with the NHS’ still seen written
on the side and back of many Ambulances in London.
Their contract ran from 2016 to February 2019.
SCCL subsidiary, Unipart, a car parts delivery service, started their 5 year £730 million contract with NHS Supply Chain Logistics
at the end of February 2019