Life, giving little yet demanding much,
Be mindful of your debt to each of us.
If you be moved by how men fawn and fuss
At your veneer, and shiver at death’s touch,
You have been fooled. Death asks not of the dead,
Nor taxes them, nor bawls for recompense,
Nor needs such joys to speak in its defense
As you, proud Life, where sorrow makes its bed,
But gives and asks for nothing. Death is fair,
And, more than fair, looks after your accounts,
Tidies your books, wipes out unjust amounts
Awarded to your favourites past their share.
We, mired as deep in debt as in good health,
Await the grave to bring us back to wealth.