Tuesday, September 18, 2007


There is a gravestone
right in the middle of the walkway in camberwell
old cemetery
that takes up at least
half a ton of marble
and is fifteen foot in width

if you walk past the house
where they filmed
the joe orton play
and pretend not to think
about beryl reid
in a see through negligee
sucking on a lolly
"speak words of love to me mr.sloane"

up a few yards you will see this grave
it is the resting place
of veronica
i think she was a gyspy
because gypsies have the best graves
i have ever seen
and this one has four broken heart
stone carvings, and two
stone cushions
where you, dear pagan
can kneel and pray to your many gods
and for the soul
of veronica
the great bangled woman
whose picture graces the
carving of mary, with
christ in her arms,
bleeding in rock
the giant sized rosary
a noose around his neck

and there are prayer beads
that hang from the tree
overhead, a dirty old yew
that maybe she owns too
and a horseshoe, nailed into the bark
and a bottle of polish for
when the family come visit
and a crystal ball
with the magi inside and baby
jesus in a manger
a statue of st.augustine
hangs over the glass

and from every single
family member is a
message to veronica
the woman in lace
with big hooped earrings
whose face is on every corner
of the grave

next to her
is another gypsy grave
ostentatious and shiny
he was young
must have died
in an accident
or something like that
from the flowers that
hang fresh
on the incense and candles
on his black and gold headstone

this family have gone one better
there is a granite seat
where you too can sit
and think about him
and the person he was
and what he would be doing now
and how much money this grave
must have cost
as the family live in their
immaculate caravan

but at least he can rest
they are allowed at the very least
to bury their dead
in the same places
where we bury ours
but as for the living
they keep on moving
because nobody wants a gypsy
living in their backyard.

Adelle Stripe


Maccadublin said...

Hi Adele - glad to view someone else who has been impressed by the extent of grieving and rememberance for Veronica. I saw the grave whilst back in London over the New Year. Unfort some of my photos didn't come out so well and I can't make out her name... do you know it and when she lived / died? I am planning to do an art project on this and Nunhead cemetery and need to source some info on Veronica if possible. Thanks M

straightfromthefridge said...

Hello - you can email me at upbondageupyours@hotmail.co.uk for further info...Adelle x