Death, he came a’callin’, late one winter night.
“Goodness,” said the pastor. “You gave me such a fright.”
“I knew you’d come eventually but I didn’t know quite when.”
And he led Death through the parlor and he took him to the den.
“Please seat yourself, your Lordship,” said the preacher to the wraith.
“I hope you can’t imagine that you’ll compromise my faith
For my life has been devoted to the telling of the Word
Despite the tales your underworld companions might have heard.”
All night the preacher ranted on about this mortal coil.
All night Death paid attention till his eyes began to boil.
He held his piece in patience till the preacher paused for breath.
Then he raised his hand for silence and he said, “My name is Death!”
“Most mortal men are terrified when they see me face to face.
Most tremble when they hear my step or feel my cold embrace.
But I’ve never seen the like of it or ever will again:
A man who talks to Death the way he talks to mortal men.”
“Now, preacher boy, I’m gonna say the thing that’s on my mind.
In fact I came tonight for someone else I couldn’t find.
I only stopped in passing, for guidance, if you may.
It’s not your turn at all, my man, you’ll live another day.”
“But after your soliloquy, I’ll give you this for sure
A hundred men more qualified than you may die more pure
A thousand men more culpable are haunted like Macbeth.
But you’re the first in history to talk me, Death, to death.”