Magazine October 19, 2020, Issue

Death on a Pale Horse*

The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse), by Albert Pinkham Ryder (circa 1896–1908) (Wikimedia Commons)

As the toxic is part of a deep trance,
as the scorpion mind recoils on itself;
as contemplation must sooner or later
gape before you the same widening gulf
that to you is terror, naked and cosmic.
No one can force it, foretell the wheel’s whim,
the risk of the course, collapse of the cards,
the horrible thumping of dice in the leather,
the doom intrinsic in this havoc of bone.
All must hazard all on the race of the clock,
behold the pale rider, swinging his scythe,
in that twilight that comes to each one alone
when the one sure thing is to lose all you love. 

* The Race Track, a …

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