by Paul H. Yarbrough (October 2023)
On the Wire, Harvey Thomas Dunn, 1918
Distant place, through seas, shown as an oriental land,
Es Sprit De Corp wrought men’s forte, bonds of flesh, true sand.
Lined abreast facing foes; those whom Uncle devised from stones,
To God they prayed, but cursed a rival; alas, untested moans.
Minor men praised, tyros, though never should they, come forth.
Enemies far abroad did wait? firing from some dark north.
Wives, mothers divide in rupture, fathers, lovers waved farewell;
Rectitude would they seek in such a distant hell.
Pale is the “Wassa,” Horse is the mount of all the emerald lions;[*]
Oligarchs’ sham bravado bade toward mothers’ scions.
And sons will not yet rupture from those lying pale;
But today will submit with never a thought that they should ever fail.
Earth at home is struck by a sword from the “dark” white-equine.
Of all the lads, and all those men, whose steed will be but thine.
Though cheered by all to fire and make every round such aim.
Go spy pale, the horse of those who remain, will take above our name.
They came to that ground of brown water, those drawn bamboo boats,
Set facing beached salutes; hailed flowers to men in olive coats.
Embraced by oaths given in truth from long-ago on distant shores,
To agents who sent them, all raving for law, claiming a cure of hell’s whores.
Tripoli recalls in light its ancient warrior now.
Ready these men turning mettle pointedly toward the bow.
Packs on, backs strong forward onto the beach now land,
Honor bound to spend youth’s blood having raised up the hand.
The cavalry, aloft, past patties upon its wings, its steed;
Faces of courage, magnificent men of steel, dare charge forth to bleed.
So young, so fine, so noble are their lives they will not yield.
Mommas, daddies, wives and friends, will bleed also in their field.
White shirts observe as the olive coats march through smoke and shot;
But a distance safe, for those men of false dreams will never stand hot.
They stand on their lines and counts, on that to be agreed;
So pale, claiming pride, and high, because such hearts do not bleed.
Now, the king stands in the homeland, the olive coats mounted high.
King’s pawns stand at his side to praise: solely for reply.
To hail his boast, his claim, his swagger they joyfully toast;
Every word and stripe that be known, serves an earthly boast.
Rally now to the tomb of regime’s holy seat.
Will the people cheer on victory, a promised heavenly feat?
The victories are unseeing to those who serve blind truth.
Men far abroad shade eyes, maimed, with death having pledged their youth.
Redoubtable are hearts and souls of such men in olive coats,
Firing, charging as soldiers’ bleedings from darkened throats.
Never with doubt, yet behind them, those hunched, limping in their tracks,
Will their home-front be forever stalwart, while standing at their backs?
Secretaries, Lords, unfit of power, unfit of reign
Lie upon the neck with the pale horse’s long snowy main.
Street cowards pretend on parade their destiny is thus right,
With hearts as hardened-and-yellow, allow they must worship only by the night.
Victory in great battle, they, but now must take such shame.
Emerald coats’ highest captain, grasps breast, steeled, embracing utter blame.
Envoy of the story-beast spreads words nigh the page,
I have said, I know truth, though I lie, my mantra of the age.
Dying men, many, gripped by death, while even souls all present waste.
The war tills on and more on, deepening blood rows ordered with haste.
Presenting their bowed self to beasts as ordered, often strict
With days and nights more, now hiding from conflict.
Men of wing soar to face the fire and cannon, volleyed from earth below;
Never certain what the end from hurtling’s destined throw.
Comrades down on earth fronting, frothing, firing steel,
Crave the flying golden men their verve and serve appeal.
Oh, white so pale thou damn soul; holding all our fate;
Preen for rule over us, God save the mammoth State.
Now you claim we need remove our bloody sons’ from your fight.
Oh, snowy beast you cannot live except by the dark of night.
Trapped they are while blackened routs of pols who shun the truth.
Those evil ones of neo-truth living for harlot’s gigantic brute.
Men die and bleed for pennies while pols live for gold;
Those damn men in harlot’s home watch through rotted soul.
Now they see adolescence stampede, while rushing into dark,
As they now have branded each, with the blood of Cain’s cold mark.
These Wassa princes will be eternal within unholy hell,
Their heart and soul corrupted on the vest of national spell.
Empire wars upon its own, feckless within its fields.
Emperor brays then turns, his sway no longer yields.
Vultures fly around the beast its carrion rotting now,
But realms are fed with blood or no, damning any vow.
The brave win, oh win their fights but tis said they have lost;
Time is nigh for king’s men at home to run and hide the cost.
Woodstock-eunuch-world, and its coward’s dens, affect the odious femme;
While Yukon-state fills its woods, its homes with bastards, oh damn them!
Pale Horse’s rider flees, behind his back is smoke.
Lawmen hide behind the numbers of their weary folk.
Olive coats take the fire that for courage was never spent.
Ever will they live as giants for their friends’ assent.
Patrician verses beg the plebes, to bring the coats back west.
The emperor begs and prays for calls for the coats to a final test.
Foul is Eagle’s homeland nest, its lords squat into stench.
Afraid of death and always stained, afraid they will be French.
He said such as he wrote, “be not ashamed to say you loved them”[†]
Those bloodied, muddied men of heart, and brave soldier’s hymn.
Those men of muscle, men of worth casting the final pheon;
Those donated souls, recall: Yes, a pale horse, but damn the emerald lion.
Graves to walls the white shirts turn from full daunting heaven.
God alone sees their worth, their damning lack of leaven.
They parade along with sermon as they draft their woeful word.
They climb the hill for creature’s sake and demand again soul gird.
The Devil views the Wassa eminence as other eyes view the black of cold;
The deepened crime of these white shirts, wander into hell to fold.
Never, they say, will the sons sail away while singing hell’s refrain.
Ghosts: the men of death say goodbye Viet Nam, good morning, now, Ukraine.
Mors Sine Sanguine. Quid Domino?
[*] Wassa”: U.S. capital, founded 1791, named for President George Washington (1732-1799); the family name is from a town in northeastern England, from Old English, literally “estate of a man named Wassa.” The U.S. state was named when it was formed as a territory in 1853 (admitted to the union 1889). Related: Washingtonian.
[†] Major O’Donnell was from Springfield Illinois. Born 13 August 1945, KIA in Laos in March 1970. Michael Davis O’Donnell is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Panel 12W Line 040. “Be not ashamed to say” is a line from his poem “Gentle Heroes,” a poem he wrote in Viet Nam:
Paul H. Yarbrough has written for The Blue State Conservative, NOQ, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, The Abbeville Institute, Lew Rockwell, and more. He is the author of 4 novels: Mississippi Cotton, A Mississippi Whisper, Thy Brother’s Blood, and The Yeller Rose of Texas, in addition to many short stories and poems.
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