He never played by published rules --
he lived his life as he saw fit;
instead, he left to other fools
their rash pursuits, the glory bit.
He studied gulls -- the birds, their flight --
and wondered why they shrieked all night.
Dark shadows deepened in his eyes;
the light from shaded windows faded.
He heard the shrill, the poignant cries
of gulls in flight from perches traded
for graying, vague, and empty skies.
At last he knew what birds foretold.
In dry whispers, with rasping breath,
he greeted the arrival of cold-
natured, bony-fingered, grasping Death.