Love and Death, Death and Love,
Two minions of Fate which pull the strings which make men dance;
The lady in white and the hooded spectre in black,
Each in turn brings solace and grief.

Oh woe! Oh woe! We slaves shall grovel
Before our lord and lady's unfeeling whims.
Damned are those damned by they
Who grip our very souls with icy talons.

For her the longing, for him the fear
Are felt by all who've come before us,
And those who walk among us,
And those yet to tread our stony paths.

The lady calls our names with Siren's sweet strains
Which speak of grand fulfillment and joy unceasing.
But fickle is the lady and often deceiving;
She bids us approach, then bars the way, her laughter pealing and wicked.

The lord calls our names with the voice of a raven,
A hoarse, unearthly croak, filled with foreboding,
But in this croak, there lies a promise—and he is true to all—
Of sleep eternal, release from want or worry.

The lady has the power to grant the very peak of earthly delight,
And those she favors shall prosper until her dread husband claims them.
She is man's greatest hope; she is man's greatest disappointment,
Lives are given and taken in her name; she is the center of a youth's universe.

The lord brings despair when he claims a dearest companion,
A loving widow's grief is terrible to behold,
And he cares not who he claims for in his eyes
Are saint and demon equal.

The lady brings great anguish as she withdraws her favors,
And leaves us stark and barren in a world of indifferent strangers.
She strikes us blind and deaf to the truth of others' natures,
And draws us down the path of thorns, doomed to despair.

The lord bears a mystery which none may fathom,
To be not, to see not, to hear not, to think not.
We shrink from his chilly gaze,
For he is the strangest of strangers.

Love and Death, Pleasure and Pain.
The air, earth, water, and fire of man's endeavors.
We're pushed and pulled and driven through the dark avenue of life,
A stallion reigned tight by his own inner bondage.

But without these, what may exist for us?
Confusion and chaos, adrift on an endless open sea
Of thoughts and sensations weightless and airy,
With nothing to grasp and hold, a meaning or a measure.

The lord and the lady, they serve their role
To move men to their greatest heights or their lowest depths.
They lend us weight and meaning as we seek out ourselves,
And prod us from complacency.

But the lady in white, she laughs at me
And mocks my hopes and darkest fears
As the hooded wraith looks on with calm and patient eyes
Knowing that, in the end, I too must yield to his will.

George Chadderdon © 1992