I don't normally run poems, but this one- about Revy War reenacting - is rather good. - Jonah
The Farbiad - An Epic
By Lee Bienkowski
(With apologies to Alexander Pope.)
Like a spark from a frizzen Old Sol has risen
To light up the way to the head.
In tents without number the snores of the slumber
Would be certain to waken the dead.
On pallets of straw, and some in the raw
These valiant warriors lay
All gathered together in spite of the weather
To enter historical fray.
On a Saturday mom so newly born
The sane would be lying asleep,
But Aurora's pink rays, as they poke through the haze
Find the camp already, acreep.
Some stagger and totter through chiggers and water
To answer the call of the wild
While huddled round fires the whiners and criers
Are wishing the weather more mild.
There are sausages broiling and pots full a-boiling
With a dark unsavory brew.
Then some will at last start breaking their fast
On bacon and gunpowder stew.
As the sun rises higher, from repose round the fire
Men in frocks begin to appear.
If they look rather green, then the cause can be seen -
Overindulgence in mugs of good cheer.
Then the tourists descended with kids unattended
To ramble all over the lawn,
And the point of their queries, the profoundest of theories:
"Aren't you hot in what you've got on?"
As the time for the stagement of the fateful engagement
Reaches its final fruition
Scouts pass through the camp, through dry ground and damp
Brimming with false information.
From the cloud of confusion is born the illusion
That someone is really in charge,
And the word is sent out by some lubberly lout
For commanders to assemble at large.
A group so diverse nor very much worse
Has likely never been seen
Than the officer corps of this phony war
Massed at the head of the green.
Like bold Alexander the British commander
Shone like a ray of the sun
In gobs of gold lace in every known place
And epaulets weighing a ton;
And round him his court all eager for sport
Make for a glittering mob.
Fine birds of a feather, they whisper together
Of how they'd do a much better job.
Loudest of all was Major McBall
'Til his sergeant gives him to know
That their one private man has a flat on his van
And will so be unable to show.
With a bad Scottish hlt a man in a kilt
Declares himself ready to please.
But who can delight at the horrible sight
Of two acres of hairy white knees?
In the midst of his flock like a proud turkey cock
The rebel commander does preen.
Even a fraction of his self-satisfaction
Is a thing that is rare to be seen.
Ragged of shirt and nurtured with dirt
His officers echo his mien
And declare to a man that their patriot clan
Is the best the world has yet seen.
That brave man of danger, the Billy Bob ranger
In every detail complete
In his cap with a tail, a frock fit for a sail,
And rubber-soled shoes on his feet.
He flourishes his rifle which weighs not a trifle
And vows himself able to stand
In the face of the thunder of cannon and blunder'
With the rest of his elephantine band.
The chatter belayed, the battle plans made
By this rather dubious crew.
That it resembles not history should not be a mystery
'Cause much must be made from a few.
While the officers mill and the infantry drill
The ladies remain by the fire.
Dressed large and small in gowns fit for a ball-
'Tis not that they sweat - they perspire.
There are spinners, some weavers, some with mighty big cleavers
To prepare the meal for Noon,
And some must stand fast to defend the repast
Armed with frying pan and a spoon.
Their appetites sated, their bellies inflated
The armies begin their collection.
The soldiers, they scratch bug bites by the batch
While they wait for their daily inspection.
With rusty brown lock, some won't hold half cock,
They hold their arms at full reach.
The rod lands with a thud in some stinky black crud
That thrives at the base of the breech.
Though the time for the fray is near an hour away
They march in ranks ever so neat.
The squeak of the fife is disturbingly rife,
And each drum on a different beat.
The field's not far - at least for a star
But soon the men start to complain
Of how their heads spin, of shoes not broken in,
And some go decidedly lame.
0 and the field! As large as a shield
And as full of mud as a sty.
Clouds are taking the place of the sun's kinder face.
'Tis not a good-day for to die!
But our warriors bold, they sneer at the cold.
They're as at home on the ground as a stoat,
It's not that they fear the muck of the mere
But it's tough to get mud off one's coat.
The battle line drawn, it's time to go on
And so sound the opening shot.
Soon the men choke in the acrid gray smoke
But they keep up a fire that's hot.
While the flints remain keen and the frizzens are clean
The volleys go off at the call.
But in spite of the roar from the great cannon's bore
There's not a man yet who will fall.
0, but alas, in another grand pass
An immortal finally retires.
Having then found the driest of ground
He melodramatically expires.
But do not mourn for this warrior bom
To die with his buckled shoes on
For you will soon see he's under a tree
Taking snaps with a pocket Nikon.
The colorful lines, they tramp the inclines
In manner most laborious
For a while they bide 'til the day's chosen side
Must somehow emerge victorious.
There are some who might say the losers today
Should win because they have more
But there are some who won't play if they lose every day
And so they must die by the score.
Into nemesis' maw they march crying "Huzzah!"
Seeking a warrior's bier.
But see how the foe on their frizzens do blow
For none of their muskets will fire.
But into the breech as all do beseech
Does a lonely rifleman stride
He takes careful aim, for it would be a shame
If he missed that flowing great tide.
The flint strikes on steel, the gun gives a peel
That the huzzahs of the enemy drown;
But that one lone shot, so mighty, has brought
All of the enemy down!
The field is strewn in the mid-afternoon
But the fallen won't lie there for long.
Soon those who choose will be swigging down brews,
Their voices in cacophonous song.