She was looking for something to save her from death
Or at least to put obstacles under his feet,
Keep him from rising to conquer her breath,
Smother her heartbeat, the merciless thief

Perhaps if she filled up the room with a crowd
To surround her with bodies he wouldn't get through,
Raised up their memories tall as a shroud
To hover and cut off the phantasm's view

All of my friends will surround me — they're dead —
But even their vapor can raise up a mist —
You hover about me and sniff at my dread
O specter that squeezes my heart in your fist

They stood in a crowd around her, but one
Of the dozens of dead ones, familiar, came near:
I am the specter you dreaded, the one
Who by day and by night and in dreaming you feared

I am your friend, you have known me always,
Yet you avoid me and turn from my face,
I am as gentle as long summer days,
The shadows that stretch over daylight like lace

But only be still and do not take fright
At the sound of my footsteps that come on the stairs
Never say I am a thief in the night
Who comes to his victim by night unawares

You have always remembered me, always have known
A friend to defend you from all that can injure,
I have a master of light on a throne
Who judges most gently, he is no avenger

Let these light spirits go back to their places
For they have their joy, new bodies and faces,
You will have also the heart and the peace
My master will grant you — but first your release

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage