Thoughts of Death


Thoughts of death
Crowd over my happiness
Like dark clouds
Over the silver sickle of the moon

      Death comes to some
      Like a grizzled gangster
      Clubbing in the night;
      To some
      Like an obstinate captain
      Steadily besieging barriers;
      To some like a brown adder
      Lurking in violet-speckled underbrush;
      To some
      Like a gentle nurse
      Taking their toys and stroking their hot brows.

      Death will come to you, I think,
      Like an old shrewd gardener
      Culling his rarest blossom . . . .



Sterling A. Brown, The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown, ed. Michael S. Harper, HarperCollins Publishers, 1980.