by Paul Hooker


Norma Porter Hooker
12 April 1925 - 5 August 2021 
Requiescat in pace

Sometimes death is a thief
who in dark of night gains entry 
through the soul’s unlocked windows
and steals that most precious of all treasure—
Or else a pickpocket in a surging crowd
who with deftest sleight of hand
snatches a wallet full of hope and expectation,
dissolves into the teeming throng, and 

Sometimes death is an enemy
whose ruthless forces, blades in sunlight glinting,
banners waving to declare the fight,
deny the living even one more day, one hour, of
Or else a judge, benched in darkling robes
and somber, grim-faced and dispassionate,
pronouncing sentence upon one standing 
in the well, innocent or guilty, who comes to

But not today. 

Today death is a faithful, trusted servant
late on his quotidian rounds, and hastening
to match his quota of souls who with overdue accounts
must wait, arms akimbo, foot tapping, for promised
Better still, today death is a friend, long lost 
and long loved if also long delayed, who arriving, 
taps quiet at the door to make us turn and, 
with warming smiles, greet her as she enters, just in