It is not based on an actual death. Its inspiration came from walking over dead leaves on the way to work in winter. It also echoes a funeral service – the eulogy (the first verse), followed by a couple of hymns – the second and third verses.
The original poem didn’t rhyme, it was blank verse, and my son, Andrew, also a poet, pushed me to re-write and re-work the original.
It wasn’t written with a strict metre – simply for the feel of each line being “right.” I’ve found too strict an adherence to metre and form can sometimes kill the spontaneity of a poem.
I was able to read the poem at the funeral of my friend and fellow archer, Ian Stringfellow, who died a winter death and is buried at Cheadle Cemetery in Stockport.