Death and the Miser by Jeff Fearnside

After the painting of the same name by the Netherlandish artist Hieronymus Bosch

When death comes, it all goes:
the fine clothing,
chest of treasures,

old letters (to business
partners? illicit lovers?),
bag of money hidden

under your sheets,
armor cast off,
gauntlet at your feet, unheeded.

Death’s minions see it all.
One peers from above
the death bed’s canopy.

They scurry over and under
everything in the room,
clutching what you once clutched,

barbed tails swishing,
bat’s wings beating,
monkey faces agape.

Your one hope
is the angel behind you,
hand on your pale, bony shoulder,

eyes on the beam
of light from the high
window with the crucifix.

You only see death
gowned in bridal white
peering demurely

from behind the door,
the arrow pointed
at your narrow, wasted gut.


Date: 2022

By: Jeff Fearnside (19??- )

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