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Sleep and Death
Sleep and Death walked side by side,
Through time and space and lives,
And as they went they did decide,
Who would live and who would die.
Brother fair and brother dark,
Stopped brief to watch and choose,
Where in a city's sleeping park,
A woman walked alone.
"What of her, my brother?
Will you let me take her now?"
"No, Death, not this mother,
She must go home this night."
On they paced through the night,
To where in a mangled wreck,
Trapped and shaking with fright,
A man lay broken and all alone.
"And what of him, brother Sleep?
May I free him from this place?"
"No, he has a promise he must keep,
Perhaps another time."
Again they walked together away,
To where a child wept in the dark,
They looked at him where he lay,
And their hearts for him did break.
"Please, please let me comfort him,
Brother can you not feel his pain?"
"I do, but brother I cannot bend,
This child must change the world."
They walked away with heavy tread,
To where a girl bolts through the trees,
Heart pounding and filled with dread,
Of the danger that follows behind.
"Well, my brother, what of this one?
May I give her the escape she craves?"
"Yes, my brother, her time is done,
It will be kinder to take her now."
Death weeps for what he must do,
As he steps into her path,
Sleep closes his eyes, weeping too,
And Death trips her as she flees.
"Leave the pain of life behind,
Sweet one, come to peace at last,"
"My brother Death is not unkind,
Little sister, take our hands."
Eyes wide and full of fear,
She rises from where she fell,
Sleep and Death step near,
And soothe her with expert care.
"Little sister, do not be afraid,
You have known us all your life,"
"Dear one, we know you were betrayed,
But you need never flee again."
They calm her and they kiss her,
And they send her on her way,
She does not hesitate nor linger,
But swiftly runs toward the day.
"Well, my brother, it is time,
We too must be on our way,"
"I know, brother mine,
But I hate to leave her so."
Sleep gently closes her eyes,
As Death whispers a prayer,
Then reluctantly the brothers rise,
And walk away side by side.