The shadow of death passes by
Looking for wanderers outside late,
Nonchalantly strolling homeward bound
Unaware of how they are tempting fate.
The homeless and those far from home
Slink along the streets at night,
As a dark shadow falls upon them
Soon they’re feeling death’s vile bite.
The homeless stand around a brazier
Down dark alleyways and lanes,
Hoping just to live the night out
Unknowing that death is on its way.
A shadow passes across those sleeping
And no-one sleeping does awaken,
Though many here lay down to sleep
Very few will ever rise again.
A brazier topples and the fire races
Across the long and sun-dried grass,
Sleeping men too slow to awaken
Sleeping die, while a shadow goes past.
Only charcoal is now remaining
Where twelve good men lay down to sleep,
Too late a fire-truck pulls up nearby
As away death’s shadow slowly creeps
A shadow slinks along the sidewalk
At the commencement of twilight,
Lovers out strolling, arm-in-arm
About to reach the end of life:
Blackness overwhelms the lovers
Like a blanket thrown by death,
Gasping, crying, screaming, dying
The couple pass their final breath:
A sweeper passing by the verge
In the minutes just after dawn,
Discovers the lovers’ ashen remains
Bloodless, lifeless, in the early morn:
The aroma of death surrounds the place
As gawping passers stop and stare,
But death’s shadow most surely has passed on
To avoid the sun’s unwavering glare.
© Copyright 2011
Philip Roberts, Melbourne, Australia
© Copyright 2016 Philip Roberts. All rights reserved.