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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Inspiration for funeral planning – 'a real gem'

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

It is a sad fact that after the Christmas holiday there is often a backlog of funerals to be conducted. Those of us involved in funeral ministry will appreciate a resource which comes highly recommended by North Devon Anna Chaplain, Paul Fitzpatrick:

'I have been reviewing a number of books recently and have found a real gem Do Not Go Gentle: Poems for funerals edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2003).'

'A small, inexpensive and useable paperback. This is not the normal pious collection, no Scott-Holland here: the poems are short, vivid, real and frequently painful; the same area that Anna Chaplains inhabit.'

Paul singles out a particular poem for note. It is by Jane Kenyon (1947–95) called 'In The Nursing Home' which unfortunately we can't reproduce here in full for copyright reasons, but it explores the simile of a care home resident being like a horse grazing, whose field fences are pulled in closer and closer until:

'She drops her head to feed; grass

Is dust, and the creekbed's dry.'

Then God, or the master, is entreated to 'Come and bring her in'.

Paul declares of the poems: 'I have used two, one at end of life and one at a funeral. I will use more'.

Neil Astley is the managing director of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978.



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