Posts Tagged ‘W. Somerset Maugham’


Since life is but a mist that burns away,
A blossom that delights a day, then goes.
And since the barn’s ablaze and we are hay,
The condor e’er awaits because it knows.

We’re helpless ‘fore the ever watching eyes;
Each is exposed as in the noonday sun
One’s shadow clings no matter how he tries –
Appointment in Samarra – none can run.

Death perches near to pluck our bodies bare,
Bereft of life as idols are of gods.
The sword of Damocles hangs by a hair;
Grim Reaper, with his scythe, fore’er marauds.

Death’s always hanging over each of us;
Its touch before is slight, then ponderous.


photo by Elvis Santana at


© Dennis Allen Lange, 2019.



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He drove a little roadster; red, it was.
It seemed to be a speeding lady bug.
It stood out from the cars I passed because
It was an antique model some men hug. 

He passed me by; I did not see his face.
For all I knew, a phantom at the wheel
Was sitting there, a specter in that space.
But only later, shiver did I feel. 

For, afterward, I heard the news,
As though a single solemn church bell tolled,
That he alone (thus none else to accuse)
Had wrecked the car and now was growing cold. 

‘Twas then I shivered at the specter – Death,
Who’d perched upon the road where I had been
Short moments for that man and his last breath.
Appointment in Samarra – minutes? Ten.


© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2015.


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