My hand falls heavy on your shoulder,
The shudder spreads to every bone.
Icy fingers pry for plunder,
Turning flesh to jagged stone.
Brown, rich and naked tumbling dampness
Fills the cracks, fulfills the pledge –
The very breath you drew propelled you
Nearer yet the dreaded edge.
Where now rest the myriad flashings,
Crashings, urgent blood and breath?
What? Would you even yet defy me?
Be not foolish, I am DEATH.
The unchained clouds would fain float free
And hover here above my grave,
Yet heavens, winds and gods conspire
Tormenting sun should make me slave.
The law prescribes I shall rest here
And undisturbed mark out my time.
Yet men, with evil spite, conspire
To seek me out, reraking slime.
Will righteous earth not guard her gates
And fend for me, her honest child?
Let all forget, I seek no fame,
I want to sleep — sleep undefiled.