Death. Oh pale horseman, what has not been said,
Of your bone white form, your skeletal head?
Who could say anything new of the hand,
That takes the work of Pestilence and Famine throughout the land?
The final horse of destiny,
The pale hand that at the last we see,
Even War, as he strides over blood-soaked clods,
Must bow unto he who will reap God.
I will not try to honour you more, for that is always done,
By the infinity of mortals who see their final sun.
Each hacking cough, each starving eye,
Praises your will that can’t be defied.
More eternal than the sunset, everlasting like the night,
You steal souls from the living and take them out the light.
At the last your bony fingers will exact their will,
And brush through the cosmos; it will stop, forever still.
Oh Death, thou art the servant of nobody but yourself,
And deliver endings unto all, ignoring justice, worth or wealth.
And when men see you riding the life will drain from their red lips,
For the riding of the Horsemen is the end of the Apocalypse.
But when the world is barren you alone will have a cause,
In a world with no more hunger, no more sickness, no more wars.
You will sit and wait, killing times as you killed the earth;
You will sit and watch alone as you wait to reap the universe.
Here is the final part of the quartet, and the part where I was most confronted by previous representations of the Pale Horseman. I am rather fond of Pratchett’s more human version, and the idea that Death will take God is one I lifted directly from the T.V. series Supernatural (Not the best song, but even so). I hope that you enjoy the poem, and will return next time.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic