WHAT HE COULD NOT TAKE
By Phoebe "DragonWolf" Roberts

His children's mother and his joy,
The partner of his life,
One man had no dearer love
Than the woman he called wife.

All their lives they lived as one.
One path together did they wend,
Until at last the time worn on
To bear the husband to his end.

She sat beside him at their bed
For the hour had drawn near
And through the night with him she stayed
As she'd stayed year after year.

In soft silence came the Dark
With ancient solemn grace,
And the wife turned and raised her head
To look on Death's stern face.

She did not start or cry in fear
To see the dying's reeve,
But when solemnly he greeted her
She bid him polite good eve.

He regarded her husband in their bed
Whose life was all but flown.
"He is mine," the shadow said.
"And I've come to claim my own."

"Only this," the wife replied.
"This one truth you must see—
Though you may bear him off this night
He still belongs to me."

The shadow listened quietly;
No affect did he show.
He simply held firm to his task
And said only, "He must go."

He then bent to the husband's bed,
His voice gentle but austere.
"I have come to take you now,"
He whispered in his ear.

But the husband looked up at him
With no fear in his gaze.
"Still," said he, "She stays with me
Beyond the end of days."

Then the shadow touched his brow.
His breath fled him in a sigh
As his wife serenely saw him on
With no need to say goodbye.

She wept that night, but not again,
Her heart too full of love to break.
Though Death could bear his life away,
His soul from her he could not take.

The wife lived out her time on earth
Till at last her time was through,
And Death saw, when he bore her on,
Their union come anew.

His soul and hers together stayed
For all time in the beyond,
Two hearts as one, two souls entwined,
Everlasting in their bond.

And even Death had to concede
The wonder that they were,
For her soul he always held with him,
And his belonged to her.

5/19/07