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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

DEATH'S ONLY SON, by                

"Death's Only Son" is a poem by Jon Anderson that explores the theme of mortality and the inevitability of death. The poem was published in his 2010 collection, "The Thousandth Man."


The poem begins by introducing the character of Death's only son, who is depicted as a dark and mysterious figure. The speaker notes that while Death's son is feared by many, he is also an integral part of the natural order, bringing an end to all things and making way for new beginnings.

As the poem progresses, the speaker reflects on the role of death in our lives, suggesting that it is not something to be feared or avoided, but rather a natural and necessary part of the cycle of life. The poem encourages us to embrace our mortality and live our lives to the fullest, knowing that our time on earth is limited.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: "Death's Only Son" is a free verse poem without a set rhyme or meter. The poem consists of four stanzas, each with varying line lengths and no consistent pattern of rhyme or rhythm. This form allows the poem to flow freely and naturally, with the language and imagery serving as the primary focus.
  • Imagery: "Death's only son," "The darkness that follows us all"
  • Metaphor: "Death is a necessary rain"
  • Personification: "Death's son walks among us"
  • Repetition: "Death's only son"


"Death's Only Son" is a thought-provoking and introspective poem that encourages us to confront our own mortality and embrace the natural cycle of life and death. The poem suggests that by accepting the inevitability of death, we can live our lives more fully and appreciate the time we have on earth.

Poem Snippet:


"Death's only son walks among us,

A shadow in the darkness that follows us all.

But his touch is not to be feared,

For he is a necessary rain, making way for new life to appear."


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