There’s nothing in the world as old as death.
And nothing keeps us from it ‘cept our breath.
And old Dave now lay breathing slow,
The hair upon his head as white as snow.
In all the days he’d seen, he’d toiled long.
His body, in his youth, was hard and strong.
But on his deathbed, now alone he lay,
He knew this truly was his final day.
And as he lay remembering his past,
He felt strength draining from him fast.
Each muscle ached from years of toil.
Bones gnarled from working with the heavy soil.
Dave’s hands were wondrous things to see.
Knotty strength like limbs of some old tree.
He felt them now upon the counterpane,
Remembering their days of toil again.
As if each day of work had left a mark,
As death stepped forward and Dave approached the dark,
He felt again the hammer blows and frost;
The effort of his hands, and what the cost.
Each hour’s exertion, on his body dwelt again,
Each injury received now relived its pain.
So death, Dave felt, was welcome here.
Escaping his exhausted body held no fear.
But as Dave yielded all his soul to death,
As arose the rattling of his breath,
A wonder came to Dave that lit his face,
Joy ran through him as if touched by Grace.
He saw as if through magic window high,
Each day of life stretched there before him nigh.
He saw his life as part of some great race,
In which, with others, he had run apace.
With wife and children, friends and foes, he’d jogged along,
Jostling, laughing, loving, with the throng.
The pains of that were nothing to the joy.
He’d taken part in Life, as man and boy.
Despite its pains, I’ve loved life, Dave cried out aloud.
He strode into deaths arms erect and proud.
And death clasped Dave with love and deep respect,
For Death’s dark face is only Life that we reject.
Copyright ©2001 Tony Crisp