Treasure Island

Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

A Caller


'Why, Goldenson, you're looking very well.'
Said Death as, strolling through the County Jail,
He entered that serene assassin's cell
And hung his hat and coat upon a nail.
'I think that life in this secluded spot
Agrees with men of your trade, does it not?'

'Well, yes,' said Goldenson, 'I can't complain:
Life anywhere-provided it is mine-
Agrees with me; but I observe with pain
That still the people murmur and repine.
It hurts their sense of harmony, no doubt,
To see a persecuted man grow stout.'

'O no, 'tis not your growing stout,' said Death,
'Which makes these malcontents complain and scold
They like you to be, somehow, scant of breath.
What they object to is your growing old.
And-though indifferent to lean or fat
I don't myself entirely favor _that_.'

With brows that met above the orbs beneath,
And nose that like a soaring hawk appeared,
And lifted lip, uncovering his teeth,
The Mamikellikiller coldly sneered:
'O, so you don't! Well, how will you assuage
Your spongy passion for the blood of age?'

Death with a clattering convulsion, drew
His coat on, hatted his unmeated pow,
Unbarred the door and, stepping partly through,
Turned and made answer: 'I will _show_ you how.
I'm going to the Bench you call Supreme
And tap the old women who sit there and dream.'

Submitted: Thursday, September 27, 2012

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