The Shadow Speaks

DEATH there has always been,
Death is the shadow,
Follows the figures bright
In the green meadow.
Death guides the old man’s steps,
Peers at the lovers,
Behind the mother’s face
O’er the babe hovers.
Death is a huntsman too,
In the deep wood
By the wild fox’s earth
Tall Death has stood,
And as a fisherman
Death has no match,
In the gray dawn he brings
Homeward his catch.
Now he unhoods his hawk
Where the lark lingers,
Now breaks the narrow wasp
Between his fingers,
Now stoops to pluck a rose
Careless of thorn —
His step is on each road
By dusk and morn,
His voice is in each ear:
‘Even the sun
Shall come to me at last
Ere all be done —
‘Even the firmament
Shall quench its fires
When Life whom now I serve
Grants my desires,
And with one indrawn breath
Dies, and brings death to Death.’