08.13.17 – Lended
I thought castling was common, that the free men sought to swap with kings for country and color. I’d hoisted enough flags to remember which way the wind blew each morning, but those days were it stood quiet and the starched cloth hung like a deadman, curled and with too many folds in its form, I’d shiver in the stillness. Someone was crying for arms and fled to set upon the bell and hammer with no rhythm just din to suffice the need and make a message all could understand. We ran for defense and to heave heel for better ground and truer gain. It was a soldier’s choice to take stance, to lean upon the lance and face the fire and lead without flinching. They came not with requirement but with pride to hold this square from the next check.
We were blind to corners, not knowing if there was movement in the periphery that might find the weak rib to sneak blade or bullet through. It made us slow, slow to advance, slow to retreat. The drums beat behind to make marching a class act but it lacked a lullaby to keep our calm close to saber. The next stable strode out with confidence that their north was the right arrowhead to follow. They were drawing hard angles around opposition and touching a field far beyond the home we rumbled on from. I think they thought flight was an easy option, not so much backtracking as side-stepping between the tar and feathering eager at their napes. We were to stare upon that dance and wait to steel them in as they crossed our line; defending in place of advancing.
We didn’t sneer at the nobles but we didn’t tip our hats either. Custom wasn’t the same at the chalkboard as when we stood in trenches likely meant to bury the ones left behind. We’d be the guard, grateful to make a statue of this ground and carry it with pike upon the heart of a trespasser ill in intent. That earth had already stolen our soles, seeping mud to make pawns of the weaker and to trip the strong. We’d feed the farms again in time, turning out only fragments of our company in a century’s time. They’d have a poet, listening to the tin rap, writing a hymn for the land abandoned by angels but kept by the men who were born on her breast and fought to their last breath. Something to read when our time passed.