Ancient Battles Underground – A Poem

Ancient battles, under ground;
The living they hear not a sound;
Voices plead in soft despair;
Telling those who come “beware!”

“Here were fallen men of old;”
The tortured tales to living told;
“They fought for things that had no worth;
In darkened caves a’fore your birth.”

“The wars they raged a’far from sight;
The violence burned through day and night;
The soldiers wicked with their foes;
The horrors melt into their woes.”

“At first one side did claim advantage;
To seek a victory from vantage;
Then in hubris down, defeated;
Surrendered to themselves conceited.”

“Walls round towns were felled, the pillage;
Burned destroyed abandoned village;
Morlocks clashing in obscure;
Their pallid skin, their eyesight sure.”

“Until the last of them was dead;
And spirits’ vapor fought instead;
Hatred did keep them as shades;
For to keeping up the raids.”

“Cyclical did tale abide;
For the undead soldiers of cave inside;
Peace, to vanish did each seek;
A kind of respite for the weak.”

“Now you have come to set us free;
For this tale, alas, is me;
And those of mine who stand beside;
Waiting, anxious, for the tide.”

“So tell us, tell us you who’re here;
Are you to allay our fears?
Will you save us from our past?
Will you see us dead at last?”

“No,” I said, though with some sadness;
“I cannot save you from the madness;
For though you’re dead, yet still you bow;
To set you free I know not how.”

I b’lieve in cavern still they wait;
For he who mightn’t change their fate;
Warring, warring underground.
While still above we hear not a sound.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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