In the churchyard the snowdrops
Push their way through cold earth,
Their soft petals cover this grave,
A comfort blanket for the children,
Whose names are etched on this cold stone.
No snowdrops raised their heads that year.
I picture the scene, imagine the pain
Of the woman standing here.
Heart frozen in grief as the box is lowered.
Sobs shake her body as earth clatters
On Danny, her first born. 5 years old.
January 21st 1920.
She has no time to mourn him,
For diphtheria has another in its grip.
January 22nd Just one day later,
John, 2 years old, lies here too.
Now baby James, 8 months old,
Fills her empty arms, gives comfort
For a little while, but not for long.
Before that year is over
His name appears here too.
Doctors didn’t give a reason
When her health begins to fail.
No conclusions needed,
This cold stone tells her tale.
October 1921. Mary. 28 years old.
Her name passed on to me.
(c) Mary McGonagle Johnson