The Feast of Saint George
‘Soldier, come home,’ whispered somewhere, dream-like sleeping
Camped under canvas snapping cold in starlight.
Twenty odd years striving for the right thing
Along paths of Empire sliding past sight
Of vision, thought, or justification.
He cleaned his sword- per regulation;
A rigid lover propped by night
Against the cot. The single-toned ring
As the razor wind blew past shadowed firelight
Set his blade softly singing.
‘Soldier, come home,’ again, from nowhere, new leaves blowing-
Rustling restless in a different kind of storm.
Eyes squinting in darkness, panic growing
Spawned by fear as crumbling forms
Crashed in shrieking accusation.
The rotting Empire’s desolation
Left him gasping; old men’s dreams tattered and torn;
Senseless waters backward flowing
To parched souls stillborn-
A gibbering land all unknowing.
Dawn sounds waking; men muttering, creaking wagons.
With narrowed gaze George searched his heart.
Desert chill froze tears in the empty wards
Like scattered diamonds, random art;
Each a source of illumination.
Hopeful of the consummation,
Gathering courage as new roads start,
Mirrored paths; reflected in the singing sword-
But so very different, now set apart,
He went to face some two-legged dragons.