When Death Was A Little Boy
When Death was a little boy
no one would play with him.
The other children pretended that he wasn't there,
and the grown ups tried to shoo him away,
and gave him sour and angry glances
when they thought he wasn't looking,
even if he hadn't done anything wrong.
He was a quiet boy, really.
All he wanted was for someone to spend some time with him,
to hold his hand,
to play in the sandbox with.
When he chased pretty moths or butterflies
they wouldn't look where they were going
and invariably flew into candle flames,
and when he caught snowflakes on his hands
just to look at them
they always melted right away
when Death was a little boy.
Sometimes the other kids would play with his toys when he wasn't around
but if he played with someone else's toys
they never seemed to want them back.
'No, that's okay. Keep 'em.' they would say,
hands in their pockets.
That made Death feel just awful.
One day he asked his momma
'Why don't the other kids want to play with me?
Is there something wrong with me? '
and she clucked her tongue and she said 'No.
They're just uncomfortable with you because you're different.
They'll come around sooner or later, you'll see.' and she winked.
And the next week a little girl did stop to talk to him she stopped to say
'I really liked the sar-koff-a-gus you brought into show and tell today.
I thought the colours were really pretty.'
and then she looked down and dragged her toe through the dust
and looked sad.
Come to think of it she did that a lot.
Her name was Disillusionment.
Death felt sorry for her.
'Would you like to come and see my secret place? ' he asked.
And he took her to a place under his father's porch,
which was named Truth,
and he took away
all her sadnesses.
When Death was a little boy he always did well at school,
even in math.
He was especially good at subtraction.
And although he was a willful boy,
ingenious about getting into places he was told he wasn't supposed to be,
with a boy's natural curiosity to take things apart and see how they worked,
he never meant any harm
and he always tried to put things in order behind him wherever he went.
One day he was walking past some kids playing at a softball field
and a little red headed boy walked right up to him and said
'I'm War! You're on my team.'
He made a few friends that day.
He played catcher,
but when he called someone 'Out! ' they still acted all nervous
and no one tried to argue with him.
As the years passed he became quite well known.
It seemed that every day
people gave up their entire lives just to come and play with him
in his secret place where the shadows go to become sunlight again.
And if a lot of the people he met were still mean to him he could say
'Well there's nothing wrong with me;
they're just acting that way because they don't know me
and be not quite so sad
as when he was a little boy.