August 7, 2013

The Last Brave Cry

There are a lot of tragic war ballads about heroic sacrifices. This is another one. But something about the way I was thinking about said heroic sacrifice necessitated it becoming a poem.

                                                                                                    

Outnumbered they stood and surrounded they fell
As the blades mixed with screams in an onslaught from hell
The grass painted red with the color of death
The gentle breeze carrying each dying breath

He thinks of the wife that he left back at home
And the feel of her body embraced by his own
And the lilt of her voice and the depth of her eyes
And with this he looks up to the sorrowful skies

His cry echoes brave in the valley around
To the dying who lie on the death-ridden ground
Though fading, they smile at the strength of his will
And if you listen close his cry echoes there still

“This… this is where I stand
This… this is where I die
But this, this is not your land
So look me in the eyes
When the last blade falls broken
When the last arrow flies
Then you can take it from us
But until that day arrives
Damn your bloody killing
And damn your bloody lies!”

He rushes the ranks with a sword in each hand
The blades cut their path through the men that still stand
Their flesh splits from flesh and their bone splits from bone
As the last brave man living does battle alone

His charge cannot take every foe that remains
But many are wounded and many are slain
At last an opponent strikes fierce from the back
The strike is enough to cut off his attack

The knife plunges deep and life runs from his veins
His eyes see beyond the bright mountains and plains
Then he wishes his wife could just look on him now
He has grit in his smile and blood on his brow

His cold lips still form a soft, peaceful young smile
For as he was dying he thought back a while
To when he and his brothers wished they would die well
And though he’s alone, he hears them ring his knell

His blood, which once burned for the true and the free
Runs cold in the grass that’s been cooled by the breeze
The last breath he breathes the wind blows tow’rd the north
And he’s sung to his sleep by the riv’r rushing forth
In the distance

The foes are too few when the fighting is done
Though the good men lie slaughtered, the battle is won
Those men living yet are not worthy to stand
On that blood-bought and blood-soaked and beautiful land

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