uday's blog

The Appointment in Samarra

(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham [1933])

The speaker is Death

There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture,  now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

Death The Great Equalizer - Poem by Francis Duggan

Some die of natural causes some in a tragic way
But for every single one of us a final night and day
Without respect for the power of wealth and without respect for fame
Death the great equalizer treats everyone as the same
Without respect for anyone or creatures great or small
The billionaires of the World to the Reaper's scythe do fall
At least the one who does claim every life promotes equality
Amongst the wealthy of the World and those in poverty
Some live on to a ripe old age and some die in their prime