Written by David K. Gilchrist.
A note on the poem by the author.
When I became minister in Uranium City in Northern Saskatchewan, people were still chuckling over a mishap of one of my predecessors. The pre-dug graves that were properly covered were safe, and easily accessible. With the cover missing, some snow would fall to the bottom; but snow can build up over the edge. In this unusual case it crept out from each side and met before falling under its own weight, so that it supported itself in the middle like the keystone of an arch!
The Clergyman Trap
(This happened in Uranium City, Canada)
The Reverend Doug was a long, lean lad.
When he took to his task in the North.
And when called upon, he was always glad
To respond, and to sally forth.
A strange sort of land it was, where he’d gone;
With the heat as intense as the cold:
Where through hope and despair the searching went on
For Uranium, Fur and Gold;
Where a mid-winter night or a mid-summer day
Could be twenty-four hours long;
Where sometimes a rascal would learn how to pray,
While many a good one went wrong.
Now, at 60 below the ground was so hard
‘Twas no use to try digging at all;
So they guessed what they’d need in the cemet’ry yard,
And then dug a few graves in the Fall.
They were carefully planked, and marked on a map.
Then, though covered with metres of snow,
When someone began his perpetual nap,
They could find where the body should go.
They located the grave one bitter cold day;
The service was going all right.
But the Reverend Doug had just finished his say
When he disappeared clean out of sight!
With a gasp of surprise they all stared where he’d been,
At the hole in the new-fallen snow --
When sudden the top of his head could be seen,
Coming up from the grave-floor below!
They’d forgotten the planks on the grave just behind;
But the drifting snow gave it a cap.
And I think you’ll agree that Nature designed
A most excellent “Clergyman Trap”!
David K. Gilchrist, ca. 1966
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