Beryl Stirling – The Eulogy




Well, what do you know? Matthew Grubber is dead!

And not in his boots but in bed it is said!

But whose bed, I wonder? Who heard his last words?

Not his wife that’s for certain, but one of his birds.

And – a natural death with an autopsy ordered?

Suspicions galore but no verdict recorded.


The day of the funeral, record attendance,

All keen to be seen on this day of remembrance.

Socialites, sporting folk, people of rank,

Local member, the mayor, the head of the bank,

A Masonic Grand Master, the doctor, a priest,

And a madame, her girls, to farewell the deceased.


In flowery prose, choral music and verse,

That was writ from the heart by the fraught district nurse,

Acclaiming the dead for his alms and good works –

Was it in error she rhymed works with lurks?

Many handkerchiefs, sodden with tears were wrung out,

And discarded tissues left lying about.


When the time came at last to announce the committal

A bloke at the back, spraying mourners with spittal,

Leapt to his feet, shouting: “This all bunk!

The Grabber I knew was an out-and-out skunk!

Chased underage popsies, played black jack and poker,

Used insider trading to cheat his stock broker.


Moreover, I’ve heard that his sorrowing wife

Once went for his jugular, wielding a knife,

While that poem just read which touched all your hearts,

Was written, recited, by one of his tarts!

A parcel of lies! Didn’t mention his crimes.

Worse still, had no metre and terrible rhymes!


The new supermarket, his project, I’ve found,

Was built on the local tribe’s burial ground

And though I’m unable to furnish the proof,

I know that his partner was pushed off the roof

For suggesting an audit was long overdue,

Of company funds. That’s to name but a few.


I’ve heard all your eulogies, prayers and ovations,

Orations and praises and loud ululations,

All offered by councilors, friends and relations

And others deriving from high social stations,

But I’m here to say not a word of it’s truth!

He was shifty, dishonest, immoral, uncouth!


And now all you hypocrites, bludgers and climbers,

Receivers of handouts, lickspittles and rhymers

Weep crocodile tears, offer sympathy, flowers,

With no mention made of the misuse of powers!

Plan to bury him coffined in rosewood and brass,

Marble angels to guard him. Dear God! What a farce!”


The priest who presided then raised his right hand,

Saying: “This is unseemly, you must understand

That when God takes a life it is His right to Judge.

It’s no time to air grievances, voice the odd grudge.

For today we have met for his life’s celebration,

And to make bloody certain he’s dead – it’s cremation!”