Crusader (i)

by on August 30, 2015 :: 0 comments

On the last Tuesday of November, anno domini 1095, Pope Urban ii, speaking outside the French city of Clermont, called for “a holy war to rid the holy land of the vengeful forces of Islam”. He offered “a cleansing of all sin for those purified in the fire of battle” and so began the first Crusade.
The first of many.

On the march to Antioch
heat killed the horses
quicker than any lance,

chevaliers rapidly reduced
to fearsome, armoured infantry.

Our progress marked
by a steady circling
of carrion birds,
massive wings
bleak,
dark,
angelic.

Beneath their darkling promise we marched, always onward, to Jerusalem.

Eighteen months before;

on the dockside at Brindisi,
we stood for hours
in an unfriendly sun,
as captains, nobles,
horses, dogs,
bags, baggage
and provisions
boarded first,

their comfort
a priority.

Finally us,
the great unwashed,
God’s grim parade
in homespun and motley,
a many mouthed mob
all bad breath
and broken teeth,
checked for weight
then passed aboard.

“A light ship for a heavy sea”
the stewards shouted
heaving our possessions
overboard,
“no point in complaining”
they smilingly declared,

“it’s policy”.

At Antioch;
Thatcher John,
killed his first Saracen,
with a handaxe to her head,
four more he killed within the hour
daughters all of the cloven headed woman,
skilled, he was, in the red work of slaughter.

“God’s will, God’s will” his raw throated roar.

editors note:

Here’s an old story of the West trying to cleanse the East. We never learn… (Two more in this series by Mick on his page – check’em out!) – mh clay

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