St. James’ Cemetery

I have not wandered
through the tunnels and grassways
of St. James’ Cemetery
on a yellow summer's day

My fingers have not traced
over stone-carved graffiti
from long dead quarry workers
PD and HGS

I have not thought up names
for the little ones
tucked for eternal rest
without stones at their heads

Little Grace’s name is carved
upon the eastern wall
but who she is and where she lays
are secrets the grasses hold

Margaret, Thomas, Savinah and Alice Ellis
scarcely knew life
infant brother and sisters now slumbering
for over two hundred years

I have not drunk from the spring
with the dead who lived centuries before
my dry land was named Saskatchewan
centuries before Arthur Richardson sailed the Atlantic
crossed forests, Laurentians, and Canadian Shield
to police the tall-grassed prairie
with the wide-brimmed Mounties
at the junction of two rivers

from this new land
he sailed to another
to fight for queen and empire
with the Canadian Lord Strathcona’s

after the passage of time and love
a Victoria Cross and memories
locked up in his trunk
Richardson returned to England

I have not ridden the tram
over the tracks he laid
nor bowed my head
at his St. James’ grave

but when some day
the Bartlett Bells ring in my ear
I will lay a maple leaf
in Liverpool

By Melissa Morelli Lacroix