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'Brockley Cemetery' poem wins poetry competition

Congratulation to Jake Kirner’s whose poem ‘Brockley Cemetery’ won the inaugural HopCroft Neighbourhood Forum poetry competition.  The judges commented that 'This poem did a fantastic job of celebrating and evoking the tranquillity, emotion and deep-rooted personal feeling that anyone who has ever visited Brockley Cemetery will understand.'  We agree !

Brockley Cemetery – by Jake Kirner

‘Dear’ strangely dispassionate;
used equally to friends, foes and strangers.
‘My dear’, little more than jovial;
the Luvvies’ favourite point of address.
Therefore, for now, your name will stand alone
above the letter I’m about to write,
for, at this point in casual proceedings,
I mean not to indulge in artifice.

Cara, I hope this letter finds you well
(an awful lot can change within a week)
I trust your newest home awards you much
a sense of independence and relief.

Whilst some enjoy the sight of their possessions
arranged just so,to cast upon their room
an imprint from their years of acquisitions,
I wish only to know I needn’t move.

For movement between two destinations
requires one to discipline the mind
and count each penny, measure every hour;
accounting food, democratising time.

The latter I particularly deplore.
They call it ‘Chronos’ – dividing each hour
as if it were no different to the last,
a logic to which we all too often cower.

And even in those favourable places,
the parks, cafes, the bookshops and museums,
I still find I’m prevented from escaping
the various constraints upon my being.

But one place, too infrequently I visit,
provides me with a greater peace of mind,
perhaps because it deals only in death
and thus transcends the tyranny of time

Walking through the cemetery, I have
often found a lightness from inquisition,
the passions of mankind, in their absence,
illuminating many an inner-vision

such as how little poetry would matter
if life was ever servant to the truth
and how many a dear, hopeless endeavour
is best the means by which we can improve

upon our flawed but far from pointless
time spent treading hours upon this earth,
seeking something describable as peace
within a mind – by want and conflict – ever cursed.

And so, my dear neighbour and newest friend,
I wish to extend to you the mere gift
of an afternoon amidst the grass and flowers,
the gravestones and all else that has come to live

along the paths of Brockley Cemetery
where it would be my great pleasure to share
with you the serenity of the scene
whilst taking in the cleansing autumn air.

I leave enclosed my number and address.
A knock upon my door, always a pleasure
– especially spontaneous arrivals
who’s offering of time is their sole endeavour.