First and Third Saturday

The first and third Saturday are set in stone

And nothing may disturb them.

It is inviolable that she goes, through wind and weather

No let or hindrance permitted


First the train ride, then the bus,

Then the long walk up the wooded hill.

Dragging the flowers and the cleaning kit

Into the murmuring cemetery.


It is a ritual, disposing of the old flowers from the grave

The browned leaves and petals on the heap,

The washing of the neat urn on the grave

The snipping of the stems


The flowers renewed, she wipes the headstone,

Trims the edges, picks up the gravel

Waters the tiny alpines in the cracks

Brushes off the dead leaves.


Nothing stops the pilgrimage.

And once the grave is neatened, then she sits and reads

Perhaps in the shelter near the church

Perhaps on the stone seat near the tree


The first and third Saturday are hers, defended

And who could argue against tending to a grave.

Who’s grave?  She doesn’t know but cares

Because they gave the gift

Of the first and third Saturday, unassailable.

4 thoughts on “First and Third Saturday

  1. Oh, how beautiful! As a teen a helped tend old graveyards in SC as service projects for church. We only went a few times a year. It was so sad to see people who’d been forgotten by family and friends. Some were ancient graves, from the Civil war on. The history left forgotten there.

    1. It is sad. My late grandmother tended all the family graves and some of the older ones were surrounded by so much neglect. Later my uncle helped with a project to reclaim an old churchyard so that the untended graves were grassed over and paths, benches and a wildflower meadow were laid out. It’s beautiful there, with lots of old yews. Stereotypical English graveyard, I suppose. Thank you for commenting. LM x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.