Death Has Been Cheated Once
Donald P. Goodman III
Often in my prayers I wonder when cruel time my life shall plunder; will he come with noise and thunder, or in silence wisp away? Short or lengthy, will I linger when the Reaper points his finger; will I in the end malinger, or go manfully that day?
Some have tread that path already, facing forward, always steady, made themselves a tranquil eddy in the foaming rush of strife; By their valor in the racing, though their deathly pallor facing, at the finish they are placing, through the labor of their life.
Tir'd and weary in the running, long bereft of all their cunning, they have time itself been stunning as they run this awful race; through exhaustion, they keep going, by their perseverence showing without noise or boastful crowing how the Reaper we should face.
But when they've the race completed, they might yet still be defeated; Death has only once been cheated, and his time is not yet here. Though they are the finish sighting, At their heels the scythe is biting; now the fight they must be fighting, as they know their end is near.
Pound for pound, they keep contending, to us their example lending, mighty powers their backs bending; but those backs will never break. Strengthen'd by another power, eyeing e'er their final hour, even Death himself must cower, when at last he them can take.
Victory is not required for the warriors thus sired; though to death they are now tired, still they stretch out weary limbs; arms which, in the combat's bleakness, conquer through their very weakness; arms which are the one uniqueness which the Reaper never dims.
Mighty combat they are waging, battle never disengaging, but without that reckless raging which so often mars our lives; Ever flight they are refusing from this battle of their choosing; th' only victory is losing; towards defeat the soldier strives.
Follow, run until depleted! Fight until you are defeated! Death has once before been cheated, and our time has now arriv'd! Fear the tomb less than the flying! Fear surrender more than trying! To the Lord of Battle crying; from defeat a win deriv'd!