When I was a grave digger
That windy summer on the North Shore
We carefully trimmed around tombstones
That scaled off like bits of dessicated skin
The oldest had a skull with dainty wings
And dates that begun with one and six
The skulls all seemed too surprised
To bother being sinister
Yet the burial ground near Danversport
Was filled with names of witches
No wonder they seemed overwhelmed
At the first glimpse of eternity
And then there were the orthodox Jews
Crammed thick and upright
Around a mysterious chapel
So little room left we often dug by hand
Wielding sharp spades and closely packing earth
That Bobby the Gloucester fisherman covered with a carpet
Cracking jokes about burying the non-believers
To keep his own spooked mind off an Azorean sorceress
Who’d predicted his death if he ever sailed again
When the first bereaved arrived
We’d don our yarmulkes to watch respectfully
While the rabbi chanted words
Already old two thousand years ago
And when the last mourners trailed away
We filled in slow with thick packed shovels
Building a grave that wouldn’t subside
And then even if weeds still remained to mow
We’d work no more in or on the soil
Cleaning the dust off all our digging tools
The sundown deadline for the rituals was worth
Respect from us final carers for the passed