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Poetry: History

 

They are moving north.  The mountains
that once we crossed in search of land
slither toward us, an awakening snake,
hungry for prey, ready to crush
whatever strays into its path.
                                 Already,
the southern tribes are gone, swallowed
and digested in the maw of Rome.

Now, they are moving north. Gaios
gags at the freedom of a people, and
repays hospitality with iron.   Divitiacos
had a pact, they say.  But Divitiacos
is gone.  Dumnorix spoke against him:
Dumnorix is chief in his place.

How have we come to this, who sought
only land, and honour?   None
have we killed needlessly, but only
in battle, and then, only when
their Commanders shied from the hero's part.
Our rage is reserved for oathbreakers, and
traitors to trust.     The Teutons fret
to the north, a cold breath blowing
from the edge of the world.  To the south,
there are Romans.

We fought them, and won.    Our brennin
stood in amazement at their stone civility,
a place of bright light, too cold for
warriors, too orderly for a free people.
Such land, we have never sought.  We fought,
and returned home.

Now, they are moving north.  Their promise
is a snake that engulfs whatever strays
into its path.  Their dreams are not those
of a free people.               They come
with the dreams of stone men, brows bathed
in sun, bearing a vision of roads, straight as
swords, roads slithering with dawn's speed
across the land, jaws working, stone scales
slicked silent with the blood of a free
people.                  Thus, are they marching
north.    Let us choose, freely, to go
and meet them.
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