THE JOYOUS DEAD
The souls of the dead are out for the night;
Relieved of life’s burdens, no cares in their world.
They’ve cast off their dresses, their suits and their coats.
They’ve shed their repressions, their shrouds now unfurled.
Yes, the souls of the dead are alive in this graveyard;
They relish their freedom from exigent life.
It’s a long time since spirits were body and flesh,
And bound by a lifetime’s perpetual strife.
Their skulls and their cross-bones – now symbols of joy;
No more are they bound up by sinews and flesh.
At last they are free to enjoy independence,
Instead of entangled in life’s viscous mesh.
The gravestones that tumble aren’t suffering from age,
But signs that life’s shadows from death have arisen,
And now are quite free to enjoy their repose;
No longer locked up in Life’s sepulchral prison.
‘Tis weird to think that those re-incarnated
Are liking their life in the desolate grave.
They’re loving their freedom to scare and to haunt
To curdle the blood and to panic the brave.
The ghosts of the past are there in the air
And hugely enjoying their spirited life.
Their terminal death has brought to an end
Their fear of the gun, the rope and the knife.
They’re dancing on graves where their bodies were buried;
Carousing as though not a netherworld care.
‘Tis different from life all bedevilled with worries,
Less urgent and pressing than work to be fair.
They hide when the day comes of course, as you know,
They do need to re-charge their unworldly spirits;
To ready the next bout of haunting and mirth.
For them now there aren’t any rational limits.
Crepuscular light is enough for their congress,
With help from the thunder, the wind, and the lightning,
They frolic and haunt, enjoying the moment;
The wraiths, spooks and demons intent on their frightening.
The banshees and devils all join in the fun,
The shades and the vampires, the ghouls and the phantoms,
The zombies, the Manes, kelpies and ghosts,
Give vent to their passions in furious tantrums.
So do not despair when you‘re laid in the ground
A new life will certainly sprout from your ashes;
A life full of spirit, of new spectral bliss,
A bonus when mortal life finally passes.
The photographs used to illustrate this poem were all taken by me over a period of several years at churchyards in Surrey and in Devon, U.K.