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Ballad of Death and the Blacksmith

She comes at night

By Ford KiddPublished 8 months ago 4 min read

A tiring day was burning down,

The last ray of the sun has melted in the west,

And peaceful sleep descended into town,

Blessed night calls fireflies at God's behest.

It's dark, and only in the forge

is a lonely light still dancing in the window,

No time to rest, red flame's disgorged

By kiln and its loyal fellow bellows.

Old smith is working hard, all must be done

By dawn, until the horizon is tough by sunflows,

But sudden knocking at the door

Disrupt the harmony of midnight labor.

"Who's there?" The blacksmith is displeased,

"You come tomorrow! When the rooster crows!"

Late visitor, however, sees no need

To wait for call of feathered one of those.

"Oh, Holly Gods, I'm coming. What's the rush?"

The craftsman stood as frozen - in a doorway

There was a Death, in the glow of fire's blush -

The Lady Reaper, as they call her in the valley.

Black mantle's shabby, and it smells of grief.

Her face is hidden in the dark of cowl

Angel of fear, and pain, and disbelief.

Mother of worms and jackals howl.

"Forgive my intrusion at this late hour.

There is a matter of some urgency, you see..."

Poor smith becomes as white as flour

It seems he's nearly to fall on his knees.

"My time has come?" The man is humble,

He dares not look at her, at the hidden face.

"I'd like to bid farewell to my relatives...

If I might. Please, show your grace."

"Your time?" Death sounds surprised,

"You feeling bad? Heartbeat? Or fever?

Your way of life needs to be revised,

Or go to see your local healer."

The craftsman feels a huge relief:

"A heavy stone is taken from my heart.

To face divine judgment my belief

Was ready on this autumn night.

But how can I help you? What can I do

For one who walks in both a dark and light?"

Death thoughtfully responds: "I'd like you

To repair my old companion-scythe."

He takes the tool. It's almost ancient.

The blade has dulled. The edge has blunted.

"I've heard you are the best," Death is patient,

And master starts his work, with all his talent.

The fire in the kiln is tractable and tamed.

Bright sparks dance on the ceiling arc,

While iron sings in skillful hands

They swirl and wither in the dark.

He labors tirelessly and hard,

In haste to finish it until the sky

Is lightened on the Eastern part,

Under Death's cold and watchful eye.

And finally, it's done.

The scythe is good as new, its blade

Is sharper than before, all nicks are gone

From hardened mirrored steel of state.

Death is very pleased with the blacksmith's work:

"You are the best. They didn't lie."

"The pinnacle of mastery is what we're living for,"

The craftsman says, stepping aside.

And as he gives Her the scythe in awe

His hands are trembling again:

"I can't believe my eyes. Tonight I saw,

The weapon that is the cause of human pain."

Death froze. The fire in the kiln soothed silently.

"What did you say? You called it a "weapon",

She says wrathfully and bluntly.

"But you killed so many people...

And we all know about your scythe -

The tool of heartless unforgiving Reaper."

The old man answers, giving a sigh.

"Holly fool!" Death exudes the ire,

She grabs his chin, wrapping in the cold:

"So tell me... If you are wrong I'll set you afire

In your flame of ignorance and stupid bold.

How many people do you think I killed?"

Her voice is like a thunder from above.

"Answer me! How many people feel

The agony thou wilt me to accuse of?"

The smith is silent, pale, and frightened.

"I didn't mean to offend you...I only said..."

But Death impatiently him interrupted

"Don't bother...all your human bills are paid...

I was so young, so loyal, full of faith,

I did believe my mission was a blessing.

When Earth was pure and innocent of scaith,

I relived the sufferers from the pain.

I brought release from lengthy illness,

Taught people not to be afraid.

At their last minute, they became a witness

Of the dancing between the light and shade.

I led them through the flower vales

Back to the cradle of eternal life

To the holy singing of nightingales

Away from the imperfect body's strife.

But you...you started waging bloody wars,

And brother fought against his brother,

And mother's tears flooded the shores,

And woe came to tear and smother.

The grief has many different shapes...

I saw the children's dying on my hands.

I saw the rain above unmarked graves

And dancing of the crows over the empty mounds...

Why should I kill you? If you do your best...

Your envy, greed destroy civilizations.

You'll never stop until you reach entire devastation.

Now, look at me! Look what I've become!

My hair turned gray, my eyes were crying out,

There's nothing to remember where I'm from.

But you'll never understand what this is all about...

I changed my dress to hide the bloody spots,

I wear the mourn, bemoaning your souls,

While life bestowed by God decays and rots

To the sound of mortuary wails and songs.

So, give me back my scythe, you fool!

I’m sick and tired of being accused.

I shouldn’t have broken my rule,

Words for centuries are vainly used..."

The poor man doesn't dare to defy.

Death nearly disappears into the night,

And a quiet whisper: "I'm sorry...may I..."

Stops Her beyond the gloomy doorway.

She turns around, alone in the dark:

"You want to know why I have the scythe?"

He nods. The midnight burns with one last spark.

"The path to Paradise is overgrown with grass...and it's out of sight."

sad poetry

About the Creator

Ford Kidd

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Comments (1)

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  • Melissa Ingoldsby8 months ago

    Amazing ballad. It’s an epic story Death froze. The fire in the kiln soothed silently. "What did you say? You called it a "weapon", Love it hearted

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