Friday, July 12, 2013

Picture Postcard #10 – The Drums of War


                                                                                                                            *

They woke me in the night,
As I lay beside my wife.
The Drums of War sounded,
Bound am I, to Ares’ call.

I have laid aside my himation and scrolls,
My loathing for brutality.
Instead, I don thorax, greaves and crested helm.
I take up my hoplon, spear and sword,
And join the muster of hard men.

The enemy swarm from afar,
Like stinging locusts to rape our land.
With hundreds and thousands of sharpened teeth,
The beast closes in,
Seeks our deaths.

But our strength holds.
Our wall of oak, and bronze, and iron will.
Shield to shield we stand.
We press forward
Into the jaws of Hades.

To the Drums of War I fight.
My shield pushing, my spear thrusting, slicing.
Face to face with the foe,
Walking over the offal-strewn earth.

The dead and the dying blanket the ground,
Their groans a deadly chorus
For the Drums.
Push, and thrust, and cut and push!

Gods, see me!
Gods, protect me and mine!
I fear not the hoary face of Death.
But I would live a while longer,
Before I cross to the other shore
Of that sad, black river. 

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* Illustration by Peter Connolly
source: Greece and Rome at War (page 22)
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