In the pale first light of morning,
They meet in the centre of town,
Having given due forewarning
That the duel was going down.
As they each walk ten long paces
Spurs clink on their dusty boots;
The gunslingers take their places
And face this grim moment of truth.
One’s honour must be defended
When the adversary calls:
This feud will only be ended
When one of the rivals falls.
A raven croaks: an omen!
Stony silence fills the air,
Each fixes on the opponent
With a grim, determined stare.
Quick hands are at the ready,
Holsters slung low at their sides,
Their pistols, loaded and deadly;
Both prepared to be victor, or die.
A handkerchief drops as the signal:
They draw their pistols and aim,
Both marksmen fire, straight and lethal
And both of the duellers are slain.
There is nothing left to fight for,
There are no more words to be said:
Nobody can be the winner
When both of the fighters are dead.
©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam
This poem and fifty others are now published in a new collection: The Passing Of The Night.