Death swept a crooked eye across the earth
And chuckled, puffing fumes of acrid smoke,
To see that all within the world of worth
Was under his domain, since he awoke
From one man’s broken bond, in savage birth.

Then fell upon the land a blinding light
That formed into the figure of a man.
He marched toward Death, his presence scorched the night,
He gripped a golden scepter in his hand,
And walked in robes of rich and flawless white.

Death shuddered to behold the Maker come,
Who never stooped to walk so low before.
“What do you want with me, Creator’s son?
I reap what is my right to take, no more.
Man’s days are mine, and I will not succumb!”

The ground protested with a mighty groan,
When light stretched out and laid his scepter down,
“I have forgone the power of my throne.
Relinquishing the glory of my crown,
I come to buy man’s life back with my own.”

Death drew back, for he knew the soul within
Worth all the soiled lives in his expanse,
But still he raised his sickly hand and grinned.
For how could such as he deny the chance
To see the son of God bow down to him?

Then, clasping hands, Death met his burning eyes,
While earth and air around them cracked and crashed!
Both screamed in anguish, and Death realized
His fatal error, as he sank to ash,
For meeting light, the shadow always dies.

– s. Clark