You tell me that the Vicar had said
that God wanted your child for his garden,
as I sit making careful notes in your wife’s chair.
I always sit in the chair of the deceased
like a macabre party game,
though the music never stops for me.

So that day you became an atheist, though you still
want me to take her funeral. You, the first person I met
in this graveyard we now call the community garden
and your group who strive every Saturday
with money from Wren, the lottery, the council
to build a wildlife area, herb garden, sculptures of wood and stone.

You hadn’t told me then that your son was buried here.
Now you are showing me binders
about this village, its 6th century saint
tales of shipwreck, rail disaster, Evelyn Waugh’s school.

When we agreed the gravestone
we left a space for your name under hers.
As I walk past these stones, they are all my children,
the ones I have brought to birth.



Manon Ceridwen James is based in Wales and is an Anglican priest, feminist theologian and adult educator. Her poetry has appeared in several magazines and her book, Women, Identity and Religion in Wales, based on her PhD research, was published in 2018.