Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! My Wake, My Funeral, My Celebration - Poem by Michael Shepherd

could be full of surprises.
I'm not Irish; but if you were to do
the full Irish thing - take my corpse out of the coffin,
dance wildly round the room with it one by one -
it'd make my day;
I'd remember it all my, death
and I bet you would too.
Though perhaps the tango would be a bit too far.

The funeral:
the not-too-many invitations should say
'Dress code: happy'. That I'd really like to see.
So I'll be standing at the lych-gate
like a reporter from the local rag
checking you in.

But if you don't attend - that's OK. I wouldn't like to die
a hypocrite; there'll be plenty of folk I shall be meeting
whose funeral I didn't attend, believing as I do
that funerals are for family and just those friends
who wouldn't miss it for the world.

Forget the flowers - I'd rather see flowers live until they die,
like me; not wither like day-brief memories,
as floral tributes flat on the slab like beached dolphins.

Sing the old favourites. And if you don't know the tunes or words,
I'm gently sorry for you - it's good to have them to remember, somewhere back there in the mind.

And if you must have little speeches,
I think I'll just take a stroll round the graveyard during that bit;
praise only makes me regret more what I didn't do.

Then if you're so busy that you leave after the service,
that's OK - but I'd like to think the best were still to come -

the 'do' afterwards - ah, I'll join you for that:
make it a good one; no food is too good
for the living. I'd like to be the one
handing round the plates of goodies;
whose forearm you gently touch in passing
to murmur a brief word about being missed
which may be truly meant
or found to be true.

I'm not really conversant with this recent 'Celebration' thing
though it seems an excellent idea, so positive:

I'd like it, then, to be like that of my beloved friend, John:
where rather than just summon up memories and
share them with each other,
we seemed to be basking in the indescribable privilege
of his friendship
and his love;
which I guess in my case as in his would thus be truly

Comments about ! My Wake, My Funeral, My Celebration by Michael Shepherd

  • (4/25/2005 11:01:00 PM)

    I'm not Irish either, but you have summed up my feelings about death and funerals...yet I have to admit I hope someone misses me enough to cry a little before they laugh and share stories...and I'd want my poetry read. (Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: funeral, remember, sorry, family, food, dance, death, happy, friend, memory, flower, beach, believe

Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 2, 2005

Poem Edited: Friday, October 5, 2007

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