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The International Writers Magazine: Brookwood

The Cemetery Pales
James D  Evans
In Brookwood, on the western fringes of Woking, there lies a cemetery of approximately 500 acres; a mortal waste of space of some unnatural beauty. 


Dispatched to a job at a medical practice buried deep within I was able to appreciate the splendour first hand, having previously been oblivious to its very existence.  I had charted my path to the aforementioned establishment the night before and had ascertained that making my way through the cemetery would be far more expedient a venture than taking the more obvious route of following Connaught Road east then Bagshot Road south, before heading back west along the Cemetery Pales.

It had rained earlier that day and the atmosphere suggested that there was more to come.  I passed what I can only presume was once some sort of shredding device; a rusting hulk with a funny name emblazoned on its side that had me wishing I’d brought my camera.

Brookwood It was obvious to me, from the short walk I took through the grounds – along Pine Avenue then down through Oak Avenue, around the Cemetery chapel, thus bisecting the Catholic quarter – that the cemetery had been denominated along a number of different lines. 

Aside from the obvious religious delineations I observed signs for a Latvian enclave and a very deliberate attempt to reserve ground for military interests.

Job done, I took the same route back to the station.  On mounting the platform in anticipation of my train back to London, I faced south and pondered the large trees that had been planted so long ago in an effort to make this cemetery ‘beautiful, spacious and tranquil,’ to quote its own home-page. 

Wood pigeons in rude health foraged in the trees and rain began to gently fall in a manner that reminded me of something I could not quite recall (the temperature’s being more clement of late I am tempted to speculate that the passing of winter and the oncoming of spring could very well be the memory in question – although the never ending precipitation that drenches the tropics late in the year also comes to mind; phasing in and out as the clouds make their way overhead).

Then that unmistakable rumble of a freight train caught my left ear and it did approach very straight and passed me by at not unreasonable speed.  The young girl sat to my right did not look up once, entranced, perhaps, by the music she imbibed via her personal sound-system.  Impressive linear beasts are freight trains.  I cannot fathom the mind that would not want study these grounded leviathans, catching the various origins daubed upon their many crates – Hamburg and China amongst this particular lot.
© James D  Evans  March 2010

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