Life, or: Death

Inspired by Theodore Roethke’s ‘My Papa’s Waltz’

He joined the family waltz
The day that he was born;
With playful somersaults,
Toots ringing from his horn.

He balance stepped with Life,
His "corner" on his left;
Tunes sweetly played by fife,
His fingers small and deft.

Twirled then towards the right,
Suddenly out of breath;
It gave him such a fright,
Cold, pallid mask of Death.

Then to the left again,
He danced with Life once more;
Slim healthy boy of ten,
Gliding across the floor.

But to the right he turned,
Faint, drawn by Death's embrace;
He shaking, then concerned,
Legs rooted to their place.

The young man recovered,
Danced two waltz tours with Life;
Though Death always hovered,
He found himself a wife.

Danced all the way around
Through all of life's stages;
Steps elegantly wound,
Danseur at all ages.

And finally, he smiled;
She gently squeezed his hand;
An old man, not a child,
The music had been grand.

The d’Verse prompt: ‘Waltzing’

At d’Verse, we were instructed to take a look at waltz. In waltz, one counts to three. We were to reflect upon the “beat” of a poem in the same way we do with music and make some effort counting to three.

If you’re curious, you can read more about this prompt.

43 thoughts on “Life, or: Death”

  1. What an interesting poem. The nuance of life interspersed with dances with death led us onward through what turned out to be a long life! Great write, David

  2. Beautifully written David. Lovely. Please stay safe my friend. Praying for you and your family. Love to your beloved ones my friend. Hugs Joni ❤️

  3. Well done with the beat. I do like that though we waltz through life, death is always a constant hovering presence. Life is good and grand.

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