A Gamble With Death
A dim and misty morning, sunlight did not shine that day
A grim and gruesome warning, o' death within the gray
"O' dark things in the shadows, take me not; I pray
I have so much of life to live, I cannot die this day! "
He appeared as if from nothing, shrouded by the mist.
His eyed they glowed from in his hood, purple as amethyst.
He spoke, "Simple foolish mortal, from Death you cannot hide!
I am the hooded rider! A pale horse I ride!
I am the master of the mists! The fog obeys my word!
You plead and bargain now with me, how foolish, how absurd!
Hail to the Reaper! Hail now to Death!
Hail the rider all in black, who comes for your last breath! "
"I'll wager my soul dark one! I'll make a bet with you!
If I win you let me live, if I lose my life is through!
I am but a simple man but this I promise you!
A game, a bet, a bargain! I'll beg, or plead, or dance!
I'll do anything you ask of me if you give me one chance! "
"You amuse me mortal. You shall receive your chance.
But now your death is mine to choose, on my strings you puppets dance.
You wish to test the Rider? You wish to play a game?
Die today, or in ten years you'll be mine just the same.
Answer me one question, and perhaps you'll walk away.
Be wary how you answer it or you shall die this day."
"Thank you mighty Reaper! I'll answer it my best!
I do not wish to die this day! To be laid to final rest! "
"From mother to son it passes, from warriors does it seep.
All living things must carry it, all men and every sheep.
You cannot live without it, but its sight does make you weep.
It has granted men great kingdoms, and fallen mighty lords.
It is both there when you are birthed, or killed by sharpened sword.
Think carefully now mortal, for you are given but one chance.
Now my simple puppet, for the Rider you must dance! "
"Spilled from every enemy, yet to spill it is a sin.
For the weaver of so many fates this is a simple web you spin.
The answer mighty reaper, the answer is only blood.
The very thing that in great wars like river it does flood."
"Right you are dear mortal. Be now on your way.
But do not forget the Reaper; I will be back some day."
Now I realize my folly, to Death's song still did I sway.
Only now can I see the truth, on this my judgment day.
He came that I would feel fear, to know the fear of doom.
He came so I would see him, within that misty gloom,
Came that I might live my life ever in fear of death,
That I would always cherish, each and every breath.
Never does Death gamble, never does he deal.
Our souls are always his to take, never does he steal.
Tim Vallie's Other Poems
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(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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