"Valley of the Shadow"
The lost souls huddle in
the shadow of the forest,
frightened of the valley
that lies beyond.
Then comes a light,
a warm golden spark
swinging through the shade.
The Angel of Death comes,
walking with a measured stride,
holding a crystal lantern that turns
the Valley of the Shadow of Death
into a dance of light and darkness.
"Go to him," the ushers say,
gently shooing the souls
on their final journey.
They take flight then,
and are drawn like moths
toward the swaying light that
shines through the shadows.
The ushers close their condor wings
and return to their work, inspired
as always by this ephemeral glimpse
of the One who holds their service.
* * *
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
-- King James Bible, Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11-24; John 10:1-21)
Death is often depicted with a lantern.
Condors are giant vultures.