On News of a Friend’s Sudden Death

[for A-M. K. 1956 - 2001]

How thin the cloth, how fine the thread
  That cloaks the living from the dead;
How narrowly, from breath to breath,
  We plait our rendezvous with death.

How swift the tenant flees the gate;
  The landlord’s writ, come soon or late,
Foreclosing slum or stately hall,
  Hard bailiffs at His beck and call.

How feather-light the feeble spark
  That shields us from the greedy dark;
Unjessed our souls like falcons fly!
  How weak the lure, how wide the sky!