Our car dies approaching the church
so we coast in on a downhill slope
like a silent hearse through open gates,
coming to rest where so many had.
Lancashire, on the track of her ancestors.
We pitch our tiny tent beneath a yew
in crepuscular light, bone-weary.
Daybreak, a cold mist ascends, wreathing branches,
nobody around, not the living.
We can't resurrect the car
so make the most of a moribund situation,
bacon, eggs, crackling on our camp stove.
Parked and accommodated free in crowded Britain
I mooch, mug in hand, stared down by a raven.
Until coming face-to-gravestone with them,
an entire family of her great-greats,
a genealogist's heaven-sent joy
cancelling out concern for the still, cold car.
Names, years, recorded, we find a phone box.
Hearing our tale, the mechanic's glee is manic,
a ghostly, mocking voice down the line.