Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Great March To Babylon

(or, ‘The French Crusade)

(1249-1250 A.D.) A Narrative Poem

Part One

Let us go back, — to the years 1249-1250 A.D., that is one of the story teller’s privileges; back to the period known as the French Crusade; a French odyssey to say the least! When great battles took place and death and sorrow lay wait.
 “To Babylon, to Babylon!” The French Knights shouted—while disembarking, some 1800-ships—; vessels great and small, on Saint Nicholas’s day, — and thus: started the Great March!

King St. Louis of France had two great, chas-chateils—the King’s belfries (towers)—built each three stories high. Towers of wood for the King’s cross-bows and archers to shoot and kill the enemy from.

Alas, the Sultan’s Army, quickly destroyed each one, with Greek-fire (From warlike machines called La perriere, which flung
The awesome fire—likened to stars in the night sky onto and over everything!)

Even the Templars, as bold as they were, who formed a rear-guard whose names carried great weight, could not restrain such an inordinate undertaking (that of, the great armament of the Saracens): Thereafter, doom and disaster followed the Knights of France!

For days on end the French Monarch, fought the Turks and Saracens! Agonizing, over one defeat after the other: with his Dukes and Earls, Lords, Barons and Knights, —agonizing over strategists and tragedies!

Many had fallen and were falling to their deaths, many: brothers, cousins, kin: cloven-breasted.

As their wives back in France, whispered and wept, — waiting for new husbands!

And in the King’s tent there was wailing and woe by the Dukes, Earls and Barons! — For their realms in France, which they may never see again.

Part Two

The March to Babylon

The battles of the war, were rekindled on the march to Babylon, one after the other: shoulder to shoulder hand to sword, and swords and battle-axes, hand in hand—both the infantry and Calvary, both the French and Turks with the Saracens, fought on; and the Knights of France, warring, and both sides praying to God for glory and might to win the battles this day, and the next day, and every day, day after day, night after night! All thinking they were in the right! Not accepting wisdom only that God was on their side; no one thinking: no one kills in the name of God to be precise? And so the doors to death were wide open…

One could hear next to his ears on either side the clang and clash of swords harden by hot anvils!

One to the other, hacked off: hands, legs, noses, hurled men and beasts (like bears and boars—in a hunt) to their deaths; Now like still stones laying on the ground, soon to be thrown into the rivers and streams, staining them with corpses, reeking a stink that caused an ill-fatal disease that once touched no man could escape!

Part Four

The Doomed Knights

The Lords, Gallant Knights with battle-axe and swords, lances, spikes, shields, all men on horseback— many, way too many, sank in the muddy river to their deaths…

As often the king did he had made the sign of the cross as he left his tent, to honor Jesus Christ: perhaps, hoping to live though the day and night. And the king did live, yet was badly wounded; in haste, he gathered his strength, in a remarkable recovery, to battle on, yet a pitiful sight for a king…

The esquire watching the motion of the battle, high on top his horse, was struck with a lance, with such a blow, it: ripped open his shoulder,  thus, the lance driven into his neck to where he couldn’t draw his sword. His arms fell around the horse’s neck, then he fell out of his saddle onto the ground—to His death! As the king’s knights transverse the Turkish Army of over ten-thousand… With the king surrounded, yet he made his escape!

In the mist of the latter battles the horses, now battle-fatigued, swayed with ripped hides, split asunder, leaped over the dead the rotting corpses over bodies as they foamed and bled from the mouth: teeth garnishing, spurs sunk deep into their flesh as harnesses were used for whips: arrows and swords thumped against them, each grappled with agony to go forward, each dropping their knees to their deaths…! As the heat of the desert Sunk in, Hence, there was no escape!

The French Knights gave up hope (surrendered), as the incoming black smoke from the burning Naphtha—the Greek fire, killed one after another —;  and the unmerciful sun, hot and low, no higher than a tree, gave no mercy; hence,  those  once bold knights, unloosed their saddles, and watched their horses drop onto their sides! Bleakly staring down on life…

Part Three

The War’s End

And at the battles very end—the Noble, and brave along with the King of France laid down their swords and Long spears (as did the): infantry and Calvary, archers—: Knights, Barons Lords and all…

All, laid down their swords and Long spears: for they could not choke victory out of the Great battles, for Babylon!

(Thus, the enemy, with honor and dignity, brought it to its end) (As the French Expired.)

It was the might of the Great Dragon, the flying Greek fire that did all this, victory after victory!

And so it was, the king with his noble men were brought to their knees, with extending arms and eyes raised to the heavens as they cried for mercy: and God heard them.


But let it be said: no man goes to war, and kills in God’s name, that is near, blasphemy!

No: 3256 (Written 12-8-2011) Reedited: 7-2014
Men in War Part I of III