During a recent visit to Vienna's largest graveyard - the Zentralfriedhof - I was struck by the large number of headstones casually marked with a small cross made with, I think, red wax crayon:
I was informed that these were 'forgotten' and neglected graves and that many of them were to be emptied of their contents.
The vacated plots were then to be sold-on to their next occupants. The inscribed headstones of the 'forgotten' would be taken away to be 'recycled'.
Clearly the hopeful phrase carved everywhere in stone - Rest in Peace - is not for eternity when it comes to Zentralfriedhof economics.
It's the same story in almost all Vienna's public graveyards, I was told.
It's a curious fact that most of the marble used in Vienna's graveyards these days is imported from India. Traditional Italian marble is proving hard to source, and the little there may be is too expensive for Viennese pockets. Hence the recycling scheme.
Death in Vienna is undoubtedly a growth industry.
My father's ashes were scattered without ceremony beneath an old oak tree in England and that is good.
In the Zentralfriedhof
Gold has fallen
from those trees
their bones now black and bare
Frost has grown
upon these leaves
it covers them with care
The earth is hard
and pale with frost
it is a winter's tale
Upon her stone
more leaves in line
in goldness fading pale
a poem for those no longer resting in peace