Saturday, May 12, 2007


"In droves we drove into the forest,
through its porous black wood.
(Chorus! Chorus! Come narrate our disintegration and defeat.)
Stood, our horses hoarse and hoary-breathed;
breathed in the scent of the bone-brothers at our feet, underfoot.
Their bodies, under soot from the scorched slayings of yesteryear,
only know what maggots and rot festered here, on this spot.
We spit in their memory, ephemeral in prescience but nearly eternal in presence.
The shamans and seers, with their peripheral, perennial sneers,
cast the bones for their auguries and stuffed our arteries
with adrenaline and discreet prophecies of ambivalence and defeat,
then baptized us in sleet
and hurled us as arvingers and warbringers
at the tyrant-lord of the black-forest hordes.
His wards bade us to our bane and brimstone,
gave us grim gravestones of totems and torture,
and death and its throes threw us to mortuary-gore and mortar snows
to complete our brutal burial,"
spoke the messenger-soldier, split-torn and sore from the conflict and war.
The Emperor mourned at the disintegration and defeat of his legion, elite,
and urged me to purge the perjurer, and the massacre:
"Complete it. Tales cannot be told through postmortem mold."
An unclean kill, though pristine my will.

The usual, for this one. The vocabulary and diction/syntax aren't the best, and there's a few cliches that could be redone and improved, so I may come back and fix this in the future. In terms of plot, it's more or less about the Roman legion (not sure which one) that was massacred by German barbarians in the Black Forest. The majority of the poem is narrated by the only survivor from the incident, who has returned to Rome to report to the Emperor. But, since such a startling defeat is simply not acceptable to the world's foremost power, the Emperor orders the Plain Praetorian to kill the man and cover-up the defeat. The last line is the Plain Praetorian sarcastically commenting on his lack of willpower and conscience. I was considering changing it to "A pristine kill, though unclean my will", but, I think the way it is now works better.

That's all. There'll probably be something else up later tonight, to make up for all the days I missed. Shame on me.


Civil said...

this is an interesting blog

So are you writing everything above and then critiqueing (however you spell it) it?

the Plain Praetorian said...


I post a poem or a vignette, or whatnot, and then try and analyze and explain the work. I aim to familiarize myself with the technical components of my writing, and it helps the few readers I have better understand the post.

Thanks for your comment.