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The Gravedigger


*Illustration reference:

"Grave-Digger" (1871)

by Viktor Vasnetsov (1848–1926)


Ol’ Thomas T. Taylor, he was a gravedigger

He dug them graves small, and if needed, some bigger

He worked for the church, as an all around hand

He tidied the narthex and all enclosed land

His most prized possession, a wrought iron spade

He kept close his side, as was special hand-made

Though often these tools, well, they never did last

The rough rocky ground, it could wear ‘em down fast

But the soft crumbling earth of the town cemetery

Was much like a cake, when he dug, light and airy

He treasured his job like he treasured that spade

Respectful of task, and the people he laid

He stood, hat removed, in esteem of last rites

At times of great need, he was sturdy and right

Over decades and decades Ol’ Thomas dug deep

And he never complained of the kinfolk he’d keep

But still came the day when that spade and he broke

He lay in his bed till the last words he e’re spoke

“I leave this fair earth, with it ground in me nails

I take it with me, as to Heaven I sail

Bury me where I kept lush the green glade

On side please you’ll place my beloved iron spade…”

So the townsfolk, his wishes, did best to comply

They dressed him quite fine and placed there by his side

Beloved wrought spade, that was shined just like new

And many kind hands dug his grave in the dew

And just as he’d treated the dead with such grace

The townsfolk did honour Ol’ Tom’s resting place

A stone of white granite, they made sure was bigger

And under his name, etched “Most Hallowed Gravedigger”

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