My Way

[“My Way” is by some margin the nation’s favourite funeral song. Yet the rank individualism, as old as Eden, which typifies our age, cannot save any of us from the end which awaits all of us. The dreary crematorium chapel scorns our attempts at self actualisation – we all go behind the dusty curtain in the same way. But more depressing than any identikit crematorium service is how the philosophy of “My Way” flies in the face of true hope, which found not in self-actualisation, but on the message of other-centred love modelled in the Christian gospel. For the heart of that Gospel is the radical decision of Jesus not to follow “My Way” – the way of Adam and Eve, and all of us since – but rather to give himself for the sake of others.]
 
The final bars play out,
Someone coughs, 
Veneer gleams pallid,
Beneath fluorescent glare,
Within the strip lamps, 
A crispy cargo of flies, 
Deader than dead; 
 
After all,
He did it his way,
Fake flowers blankly oversee, 
Another box of finished life,
The cough again,
Polyester curtain closes, 
A fly buzzes idly by;
 
Outside, the next batch, 
Nearly ready now,
Smoking, fidgeting, 
Fresh blooms strongarmed, 
In typographic bondage,
“Memories live forever”, 
He did it his way too;
 
Outside rotting flowers litter, 
Overgrown monuments, 
Sinatra’s tinny anthem,
Echoes earlier garden rebellion, 
Smoke rises greasy in pale sky.
Father forgive them, 
They know not what they do.