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This guy's usually just part of the background in our fantasy stories. He deserves at least a poem...
DEATH WARMED OVER
Sitting, watching, in sorrow and fear:
A pale old man, a horse blanket, a fire.
Warm beer and a knock at the door.
Open to winter’s cold knife wind.
It is Death himself.
Our old man’s breathing is slow,
And no one is there.
He still fights the losing battle
Not to fall asleep.
His heart, like an old clock —
Worrying: What if the clock stopped?
So he will sing songs
And wring his hands
And stay awake
While outside, in the dark pine wood,
Night is coated with ice.
The air, like a thornbush, ready to pierce the skin,
Even to draw blood.
There is no warmth.
The old man wakes, shivering,
Feels his own heartbeat in the silence.
His eyes, like watery pearls
At the bottom of some lake, shine feebly.
He is like a child — small,
In this house.
But his lifetree has no more leaves.
It is winter, and there will be no spring.
He has prayed, and now he will forget.
The deep well of his memory has gone dry
And filled with cobwebs
That stretch like his white hair
Sparsely covering all that is forgotten.
As the fire burns to embers,
He bows his head in submission to fate
And ventures into the unknown.
Interplanetary Homesick Blues
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