Dutiful Mourner

“Sorry for your troubles.

Words escape me.”

Solace in exchange of sighs.

The eyes, tactfully averted, focus

In vacuous stare at the floor,

The threadbare carpet,

The scuffed shoes,

The broken finger nails.


A perfunctory prayer,

An in-toed stance,

A token glance,

At the unfamiliar corpse,

Cosmetically enhanced.


Time drags.

The minutes labour and perspire.

“Half-past ten! Is that the time?”

It’ll be last orders soon.


Histrionic handshake

Transfusing counterfeit grief.


Proper solemnity;

Improper haste to leave.

We have all met him:  the serial wake-goer.  

Determined to be miserable – scanning the Irish News death columns for the name of any acquaintance, however remote.

Then he has a perfectly acceptable excuse to end the evening in the local bar, in the company of fellow grievers!

This poem – of Newry emigrant Christopher Morrisey, now resident in Boston, was brought to our attention by his cousin Jim McAteer of Fathom Line.

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