Epitaph for Many Young Men(In Memoriam P. F. J., 1951)
In that ordinary year of anxiety and rain,
Some distinguished anniversaries and many crimes,
A young and quiet man died by a fireplace.–
Such things happen everywhere at times.
And yet the fish in a small river near Reading
Will sometimes look up and wonder
Why his dark sad face no longer leans over them
And smiles as the float bobs under.
And the promoters of a famous football pool
Receiving no answer to any
Of their constant solicitations, will they guess
Death has taken that penny?
For now the aggrandising and first dignity
Has turned to stone
That quiet and dark young man, and he lies for ever
In a grave that will never be known.
GEORGE BARKER (1953)