Grave Digger

“Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.”  Horace (65 BC- 8 BC)


He toils for the dead.

He wears his hat

hung low on his brow

To protect him from

the sun’s harsh light,

and to obscure his vision

from the task ahead.


He labors for the dead.

He carries a shovel

over his shoulder.

Its weight presses down,

digs in.

It reminds him that

he’s still alive,

And there’s important work

to be done.


He toils for the dead.

He seeks out a soft patch of earth,

and then he breaks ground.

He sweats as he digs

and the breaths he takes are shallow.

But he does take breath,

he does breathe.


He works for the dead.

But they pay him no fee.

He doesn’t need a schedule,

He knows when to come in.

His employers do not speak,

But they trust in him,

as only they can.

He is their faithful servant.


He toils for the dead.

He prepares their final

resting place.

Then he sends them home.

It’s a payment that he makes,

it’s the tithe that he pays.

So that one day,



Someone will toil for him.

Copyright 2012 © Elizabeth Michaud John.  All rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “Grave Digger

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