I had originally intended to write a humorous Hallowe'en poem but as always once I started the words took me somewhere else entirely.
A Walk with Death
One night death, woke up early
and feeling rather sad and surly,
decided that he’d had enough
of taking souls and all that stuff.
So he donned his cloak, picked up his scythe
and wandered to the other side
where he stood upon the edge
of death and life and life and death.
A no-man’s land where souls did wait
for higher powers to decide their fate,
lost and aimless in the grey,
wishing they could find a way.
But none of this was deaths concern,
for he had to choose ‘should he return -
back to the comfort of the night
or brave the day and choose the light?
Then while death pondered his position
a shaft of light, angelic precision,
cast itself upon the ground
and there upon the earth death found…
A path to take him through the grey
and lead him to the break of day,
Death saw the sun and felt it’s heat
and dropped his cloak about his feet.
Where upon to his surprise
he found that he had wings inside,
to walk the night as was his lot
had been so long, that he’d forgot.
So, feather by feather, he unfurled
then up into the sky he hurled,
his body now it felt so free
into the blue and ecstasy.
Death soared over mountains with peaks so high
their sparkling white pierced the sky,
He swooped down hills purple and green
round rocky ridges and through ravines.
He crossed sandy desserts - red and gold
fields of ice - glittering – cold.
Oceans and seas of startling blue,
so much beauty - he never knew.
And soon death wondered what he might find,
if he spent some time with Human kind,
so Death flew down, to land on earth
to see what man had given birth.
Death walked and walked, saw many things
ancient ruins, seats of kings,
skyscrapers that touched the sky
shanty towns and then wondered why –
Some humans clung-on to all the wealth,
while others lived among the filth?
Surely that could not be right
but then all Death knew was ‘the night’.
Then suddenly an almighty explosion
shocked death so much his feet were frozen
and while the world came crashing down
Death stood in the ashes on the ground
Screams and crying filled his ears
and for the first time Death felt fear
but by a tree a small child stood
and Death could see that she was good.
She smiled at him and took his hand,
then lead him safely through the land
of guns and bombs, of insurrection,
of tanks and war and mass destruction.
And as they walked she called out to others
of every creed and every colour,
to join the line of little feet
and lead them safely through the streets…
Passed broken schools, parks and museums,
Churches, graveyards, mausoleums,
temples, mosques and synagogues,
factories, shops and office blocks.
All destroyed and laid to rubble
as a result of mankind’s troubles.
and death wept in war’s wake
for all the souls he’d have to take.
But the child shook her head and squeezed his fingers
there was no time for death to linger,
for the sun was setting on the day
and Death needed to be on his way.
And while they walked the children sang,
and in his heart Death felt a pang,
this choir of voices so true and pure
showed how human kind learned to endure.
Through music, art and poetry
they soothed their souls of misery
and death could not fathom, nor understand
the double nature he found in man.
For in the past death did not see
man-kinds beauty or their tragedy.
Just the souls he had to take
so on the earth they would not wake.
But now Death noticed everything,
could hear the song a soul would sing,
of pain they’d caused, but also pleasure
sometimes both, in equal measure.
But now the day was nearly done,
death mourned the sinking of the sun
and while he wiped away his tears
the children began to disappear.
All but the one who’d held his hand
and lead them safely through the land.
Death tried to shoo the child away
But she would not leave, she had to stay.
That’s when death saw, with heavy heart
the sum of all her broken parts,
so he wrapped her gently in his cloak
and softly in her ear he spoke.
“It will be alright, I’ll keep you safe
I’ll take you to a better place.”
And holding tightly to her hand,
they both stepped into no man’s land.
And death knew - her time was near
but the child he held showed no fear,
her heart was bright and her feet were light
as he lead her gently through the night.
And as they walked she healed his soul
and in return, he made her whole,
until in the dark they saw a light
like an Angel burning bright.
And death knew he had to let her go
this golden child he’d come to know,
so gently he released her hand
and to her Mothers arms she ran.
Now when death walks through the night,
collecting souls who’ve lost the fight,
he weighs up their humanity
in peace and love and purity.
And if the measure comes out good
he shields them gently with his hood
and whispers softly in their ear
“It will be alright, have no fear,”
But if their measure turns out bad
a different path must be had
and in no man’s land they must wait
until something else decides their fate.