Full text: The little review (8 (1922), 2)

57 
bearers take off their hats, and slowly and stumblingly all move 
off up the slope on a mat of tan jute with two red stripes that 
has been laid on the mud, and make their way among the 
graves. Shabby ordinary people in their greatcoats and hats 
of different colours, with their umbrellas and rubber storm 
shoes, no one of them is much moved as they creep with their 
dead man like tiny worms on the yellow sand beneath the sky. 
When the poor black coffin has been put down on the canvas 
bands of the wooden frame around the grave, all stand back 
quietly while something that I cannot hear at my distance is 
read or said. Some of the women sob out then. And the coffin 
descends slowly from sight into the damp yellow sand. 
Out at a distance over the swampy fields beyond the stream, 
large black crows flap noisily around a lone tree; from a tiny 
locomotive on railway trackage far away white steam rises with 
a faint roar. The mist in the air is rapidly turning to falling 
rain. 
After a short pause the party straggles back to the coach, 
some who have started first pausing to look at the other graves 
and the dead flowers. A few remain for a moment by the open 
grave looking down. But very soon all are again in their 
places and the coach is rolling away among the slopes. It 
passes out at the stone gate and back into the city. And then 
old German labourers, who have been waiting not far off, 
approach the grave rheumatically and set aside the few flowers 
that have been left on the pile of fresh sand, which is partly 
covered by a green waxed cloth and evergreen branches. They 
put on and screw down the lid of the new wooden overbox; 
earth is thrown in; and before the early gloomy rainy nightfall 
the grave of Brother Frank Burns, Servant of the Lord, is 
almost filled. 
But I went from the place almost unmindful of the irony 
of what had happened, almost unmindful of the night and the 
mist and the vastness of the wet sky; so touching and agitating 
had been that fair bright vain dream, that pure and simple 
heart, advancing eager, strong, and radiant to conquer the 
menacing shadows of life and death. 
WILLIAM JITRO
	        
Waiting...

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