Saturday, December 8, 2012

Medieval Death Poem

by G. Jack Urso

when death comes, he will not wait
“Denise Poncher Before a Vision of Death,” circa 1500

he will not stand nor hesitate

he’s often early, rarely late

and invites us all to meet our fate


death, my friend, you have no name

but i know you well just the same

you come from where from whence we came

to take the fallen and the slain


my thoughts are on fire and my life burns

like a cold, hard wind on a bitter sojourn

descends from the heavens and howls to return

embracing the land in a long winter nocturne


and when the four horses come

i swear, by God, he will be riding one

upon a pale horse with blood-red wings

slaying paupers and princes who pray to old kings

death, my friend, i know you well

you live in-between heaven and hell

from the dawn of the day to the toll of the bell

you dance in the shadows wherein we all dwell 

“Danse Macabre,” by Michael Wolgemut, 1493

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