The Death of Mort S. Orrow - a Ballad

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Here lies Mort S. Orrow

Of time he could no longer borrow;

And when the raven sang its song

The world muttered a faint, "so long".


Mort was a man of joy and smile,

No tempers did he ever dare rile

For he bore a worn mask of settled content

Til his false happiness proved fatally potent.


Upon a walk about the grassy ridge,

Mort fell upon a man 'neath a bridge.

His hair and beard were chestnut brown,

His face solenmn, his eyes cast down.


Mort and the man held the quiet in their hands

Til the man raised his eyes from the barren land.

Betwixt their locked eyes Mort gave a shiver

As the man’s voice like gravel bid him come hither.


Mort could smell the stink of still water,

Waste and rot wretching with human falter.

Speechless, lip locked, tongue tided in knots,

The man’s next words struck silent Mort with shock.


“I am you, we are one of the same,

“Life will prove a horrible bane.

“For I know that your world is going to shatter;

“You don’t know it yet for your mind is much flatter


“But soon you shall see, your mind more profound

“The the plans of your days will come crashing to ground.

“Blurred will the line of reality be

“As you slowly transform into this shade that is me.”


Mort step-stumbled back, a visage of fear,

The smell overcame him, up the hill he veered.

Plain eyes still leering, the man watched him leave

For he knew his words for truth whether or not Mort believed.

Night drew out in a painful stretch,

Not a single Z could poor Mort catch.

The eyes of the man seered through Mort’s brain,

Horror took hold, his sanity slain.


Days crawled by in sluggish procession,

Mort’s energy and smiles in deep recession;

Haunted by the ghost of the man that said

The fateful words that kept Mort from bed.


When walking through town his eyes played games,

Store windows reflected not him but the man to blame.

Puddles admist ripples formed the beared face

As if time brought age at a fatal pace.


Mort became bitter, lemons ‘round his lips,

Hands clenched stiff about his hips.

He jumped at the sahdows that lurked in the night,

Never did he turn down a drunken brawl or fight.


His hair grew wild and grimed like a roadkill’s pelt,

A beard long and matted, one would shudder if felt.

The neighbors gossiped, “What happened to ole Mort?

“He sits up in that ole house, silence his only cohort!”


Mort didn’t care about their wondering words,

Their consideration was better off for the birds.

For he knew his future, no use to ignore,

He’d rather hide away than become town eyesore.


The man beneath the bridge had captured Mort’s soul,

All there was left was to kiss cold pistol.

But before he would seal his chosen fate,

He wanted to speak to the man that caused all this hate.


Mort went to the spot, despite the biting rain

And saw the man laying as if he’d been slain.

Upon approach Mort could see with agony,

The man’s eyes were marbles: blank and glassy.


He reached into the pocket of the dead man’s coat

And felt his fingers grasp a folded over note.

“You see,” it said, “I told you a tale

“Many years ago when it seemed your life was upon smooth sail.


“But you staid off deck, away from the sea

“And safely contented yourself to a life of easy.

“So I warned that you will end up like me:

“A poor soul who settled for normality.


“You see, we’re one in the same

“For we both sat out the majority of the game.

“I never reached out to take what I wanted,

“So now I lay here, from Earth that I’ve parted.


“Now look at your life, your half-forgotton legacy,

“And think to youself: did I live emptily?

“If you answer yes, then I was quite right,

“We are only the same because we chose not to fight.”


Mort’s stone heart fell to its knees,

He wasted his days as the flower not the bee.

Could his soul still be salvaged or saved?

Can his sad destiny already be paved?

A glitter caught his eye from the dead man’s hand,

Concealed in his fingers was the answer to his demand.

A pistol of no rare grandeur or price;

For Mort’s dull life, this would surely suffice.


Be weak or be strong is the question of the man,

Live to settle another day or die while you can.

Mort, the man of missed oppertune,

Kissed the barrel of the gun begging for no more misfortune.


He did not care for what might lay beyond,

But with sick realization something else dawned.

As the bullet passed through his quivering lips,

He thought to himself, I didn’t have to throw in all the chips.


I could have walked away and started fresh anew,

Find a novel journey to instead persue.

As the gun powder smoked and the bullet popped,

His heart and his mind chillingly stopped.


Reinvent , evolve, go deeper inside yourself;

Open a different book from your mind’s dusty shelf.

But if your demons burn your mind to charcoal

I swear not to pity nor judge your forsaken soul.

Created: Feb 04, 2011

Tags: poem, ballad, poetry, death

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