The Last Mile


Who will walk the last mile with you?

There is no power on this Earth except that it be God’s!


        Eight strapping Guards in red, four in file at each side.

A vanguard at point and tail, accompany the gun carriage,

sober in step, march past the thousands.


Many friends have come and wait, patient and attentive,

the Common people in tribute follow the quiet procession.

        The bell tolls by the minute,

        the antiphony to the horses clip-clop.

Sobs embrace the silence of the crowds who stand forlorn.


        Roses and Lilies in bouquet and a simple crown of  flowers,

      their white and foliage green,

        are the adornment to the cortege.


Now the procession joined by Brother,

Two Sons, their Father and Grand-Father.

The blood line rich is a thin ripplet now of blue and black.


The slow march ends...


Impressive the edifice built to give praise.

At the Great West Door Big Ben strikes Eleven.


        A choral ensemble now leads on.

        “God Save The Queen.”

        In Her Chapel under His Shield.

        Churchmen Pricipia, the added escort,

        to the coffin now carried.


Voices in choral discipline now rise, the heralds embark.

The burden of weight is felt by each one,

the loss by others just as heavy.


The golden ornation of the Sacristy

adds to The Standard draped over the casket as its pall,

now set upon the catafalque, a lower altar,

a contrast  to the chapel trimmed in blue.


        Four candles at the quarters in salute are set,

        lit as the once flickering light now extinguished rests.


        Wreaths are laid at the base of the plinth

         by Her Majesty, Her Duke, Her Son and Grandsons.


        The Dean gives his address for this commemorative.


        ‘I vow to Thee my country.’

        Sung, the sentiment oft unspoken...

        Entire and whole and perfect

        the service of my love,

        the love that asks no question,

        the love that stands the test,

        that lays upon the altar

        the dearest and the best

        that never falters and makes the final sacrifice.


How many flowers, how many petals in beauty shine,

the myriad colours of the rainbow,

each symbolic by their own perfection,

once plucked, soon wilt, their fragrance momentarily enjoyed

and in memory cast and periodically savoured.


A Sister’s tribute acknowledges a continuing legacy,

a poem reflective of life’s enduring presence.


        ‘If I should die and leave you here awhile,

        Be not like others, sore undone, who keep

        Long vigils by the silent dust and weep.

        For my sake - turn again to life and smile,

        Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do

        Something to comfort other hearts than thine.

        Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine

        And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.


        ‘Libera Domine’- ‘Deliver me, O Lord!’

What place has Verdi’s Requiem?

What calamity and woe has now caused Heaven and Earth to shake?

        The skies in perpetual light shine

        unclouded and of angels divest remain

        in sympathy expressed

        and later brood most heavily.

        ‘Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine.’

        ‘Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord.’


By what strength does life permit the placement of words of woe?

        Time is too slow...

        time is eternity,

In those seconds spent by those who show and share their love.

So let us not show fear, or grieve, but let us give rejoice.


The shepherd lacks for nothing and His goodness faileth never

and so for this fair maiden sweet,

        ‘The King of Love my Shepherd is.’

And may she sing thy praise within thy house forever.


It is the people’s elected representative who now quotes St. Paul;

and in this message sent and delivered admit

        ‘Love suffereth long and never faileth,’

and in this accord know that this servant gave,

abiding in faith, hope and love that endureth all things.


What light is cast  by such candle that in wind is cast?

        So it is to a fair rose of England we bid Goodbye.


        The question asked, the finger pointed, by brethren

who in quest extends the many thoughts of many more,

who by personal thought and in family console states...

        ‘Life without you is very, very difficult!’


For someone true to herself there is the extra-ordinary ordinariness of presence that has been given and in a legacy remain an example of what can be done.

And in response,



Peace is the channel that embraces love and gives pardon

granting so much as to console and to understand,

remove despair and give hope, light and joy to eternal life.

For St. Francis of Assisi in thought perpetuates this challenge.


The Archbishop, by invitation, leads in prayer.


Thanks is offered for the sense of joy, of accomplishment brought by Diana.

Lord we thank you; for qualities, for strengths,

for vulnerabilities, for radiance and personality,

for communication and for concern of the unfortunate.

We commend to you all of those damaged and for our compassion for others. Amen.


By the ‘air’ known to God’s Irish;

        be true and trust;

        be pure and care; be strong if you suffer;

        be brave when you dare; be a friend to the friendless;

        be giving and forgiving; be humble and know your       weakness;

        lookup, laugh, love and live.


        In final prayer, that which Jesus has taught!


The music of the soul once more raised;

The banner of voices once in shackles clasped,

the Welsh, like the tribes of Judah,

who from Pharaoh fled, seek freedom.

Feed me now O Bread of Heaven and hold with powerful hand.

Let the water of bounty flow and lead by thy sacred fire.

Strong deliverer, be thou the strength and shield.

Songs and praises will be raised to Thee for evermore.


        In his commendation the Dean gives his address;

For our Sister, Diana, is given to God’s care, to our Maker and Redeemer.

Rest in peace and rise in glory to be a light and joy.


The cortege is now carried to the accompaniment of angels!


        Alleluia, sing Thee,

        to my rest and into your kingdom O Lord,

        Your handmaiden who sleeps

        to share the wellspring of your saints,

        that life may be more than a shadow and a dream.

        Let no one weep at my grave but give song

        for I shall enjoy the reward and crown prepared,    Alleluia.




        All stand still ...

        throughout a nation as a minute shall pass,

        to be broken by the muffled bells

        that now in half voice toll

        for a released soul.

        Beyond this the symbolic transport of one in repose,     

        welcomed by other applause,

        the relief of tensions now at ease.


September 14th. 1997 © Will George

Will George Poet