I see them on the seats – all waiting, waiting patiently –
The loved-up couples holding hands and smiles,
Others with a carry-cot – happy too, but somewhat tired,
And those who simply sit and stare for miles.
They all have to come here, face-to-face, and talk to us –
Fiancés booking churches or our hall,
The parents who haven’t quite decided on a name,
The loved ones left behind – we see them all.
The not-yet newlyweds, or the newborn needing paperwork –
A second birth, officially existing,
Giving access to a doctor, to a school and to a life –
A passport to a passport, with this listing.
And then, amongst this joy, are the ones to register a death –
They find a way to tell us, as they think best.
Sometimes slipping peacefully, sometimes out of nowhere,
Sometimes only following an inquest.
We try to keep the office looking neutral and, well, yes, bland –
It does not, cannot, suit for either side.
A vase of flowers helps – though more white than colourful –
Compassion for the griever, confetti for the bride.
All must be recorded in our special everlasting ink,
The wedded and the born and the deceased.
It may be bureaucratic but the future’s sure to thank us,
And our touch is always personal, at least.