Masks

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Death rides black-masked to-night; and through the land
Madness beside him brandishes a torch.
The peaceful farmhouse with its vine-wreathed porch
Lies in their way. Death lifts a bony hand
And knocks, and Madness makes a wild demand
Of fierce Defiance: then the night's deep arch
Reverberates, and under beech and latch
A dead face stares; shot where one took his stand.
Then down the night wild hoofs; the darkness beats;
And like a torrent through the startled town
Destruction sweeps; high overhead a flame;
And Violence that shoots amid the streets.
A piercing whistle: one who gallops down:
And Death and Madness go the way they came.

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