Along the windswept front
where sky and sea are steely grey
and sudden showers send a trawl
of visitors to gaudy shops
for pac-a-macs and sticks of rock,
a funeral cortege slows and stops.
Two white horses lead.
They steam and stamp and shake
their long black plumes, drawing a hearse
adorned with wreaths of lilies. A score
of umbrella’d mourners troop behind,
huddled in groups of three or four.
There’s an air of sad relief,
as if the person that they mourn
has lived too long, suffered too much.
No fervour marks this final ride.
One woman dabs away a tear,
the rest look solemn, dignified.
I pause to show respect,
bow my head as they move on.
Do they sense me here, I wonder,
a stranger standing beside their pain,
sharing, for a moment, the turning
of the tide, the onslaught of rain.