The Queen of the Americas
And Other Epic Tales
Before the Spanish ships had ventured yon,
And lines across America were drawn,
Queen Isabella married Ferdinand,
And everything was in the Queen’s command.
When Europe fell beneath the crescent sword,
And Christians fought to keep the Holy Word;
The Queen deployed the Armies of Castile,
And fought to save the Catholic Commonweal.
And so she eyed Granada to set free,
From Moorish blades and infidelity,
And when the final Saracen was slain,
She launched three ships across the sounding main.
The Queen of Heaven, with the stars adorned,
Who sheds Her grace on those, by this world, scorned,
Foresaw a nation rising in Her gaze,
Where freedom’s blazing light would always blaze.
And so, Columbus, for the Spanish reign,
In virgin vessels plowed the watery plain,
And when the New World landed on his eye,
He claimed it for the Spanish dynasty.
His flagship bore the holy Virgin’s name,
And like Saint Joseph reaching Bethlehem,
The weary Captain had no port to berth,
Forsooth his flagship foundered in the firth.
But as the Virgin carried Christ to term,
His precious cargo borne was just as firm,
And from the ribs inside his ship, alas,
An altar was constructed for the Mass.
They honored Christ’s Nativity that morn,
On Christmas Day, the day that Christ was born,
And with the Natives, innocently clad,
Their cove was aptly christened Navidad.
As brave Aeneas, drawn by destiny,
Carried sacred coals across the sea,
Columbus ferried freedom, from his helm,
To the New World, under heaven’s realm.
Then back to Spain, the Admiral returned,
With manuscripts of everything he learned,
And telling Isabella all he found,
Returned to where his ship first ran aground.
Then landing with the legions he commanded,
He found his sailors dead who had been stranded,
So marking crosses on their sandy graves,
He further faired across the silver waves.
And as the New World’s settlements expanded,
More voyages the Admiral commanded;
He met the Mayan in their war canoe,
Whose warriors were easy to subdue.
Queen Isabella outlawed slavery,
Though Natives died from foreign malady,
But many welcomed Christianity,
And greatly grew in faith and family.
In all, Columbus suffered many pains,
Shipwrecks, calumnies and hurricanes,
And even though his ships some termites bore,
Eventually, he made it back to shore…
And though he never met the Chinese head,
Or found the east by sailing west instead,
But when his ships had harbored to retire,
His name had sailed around the world entire.
The ocean may be wide, but time is short,
So let us leave our Captain safe at Port,
For there is little wind to fill my sail,
But many more adventures to avail…
And now, Cortes, we turn to you, at last,
Historians are torn about your past,
The details of your conquests and your youth,
So let a foolish poet sing the truth!
His mother, a Franciscan so desired,
His father for a Courtesan aspired,
But, still, another was his destiny:
A man of arms and armaments to be!
Now sing about the Conqueror, I must,
Who brought the Aztecs crumbling to dust,
For human sacrifice he would avenge,
Ere Montezuma acted in revenge.
From olden days of yore the serpent ran,
Among the leaders of the Aztec clan;
That ancient tempter so enslaved their breath,
And filled their fancy with the forms of Death.
And from these forms some gruesome rituals sprang,
And darker tales their storytellers sang,
Then offering these forms to deify,
Their stony temples reached the vaulting sky.
And when the Hummingbird sat on the throne,
The temple priest took up a sharpened stone,
And Innocents for sacrifice were groomed,
And so the Aztec culture was consumed.
So drunk their native priests became with power,
As many as a thousand every hour,
Were sacrificed within their killing yards,
Including children, wrote the Spanish bards.
“Then cutting through their abdomen and bone,
They smashed their beating hearts against a stone,
Until their brutal gods were pacified,
Yet, always, only briefly satisfied.”
And when the Spaniards saw these crimes, indeed,
They thought their eyes were given to mislead,
But never judge an Aztec for his crimes,
Until you’ve first considered modern times.
How many are conceived upon this earth,
And sacrificed just days before their birth?
But I digress, there’s no way to compare,
So let us cloak these Innocents with prayer.
Now ere Columbus rested in God’s arms,
Conquistadors the New World traipsed in swarms,
Well-trained in swordsmanship with armor sound,
With horses gliding swiftly o’er the ground.
Cortes, as such, was one of these, from Spain,
Admired he was, with very agile brain;
Possessing skill, like Theseus of old,
He filled the Spanish treasuries with gold.
When deeds of Montezuma Cortes heard,
Towards the foe his mighty steed was spurred;
And many Natives joined his enterprise,
For they had children eyed for sacrifice.
And as Cortes upon the temple trod,
The king mistook him as an Aztec god,
And, suddenly, he halted the affair,
Until the crowd grew restless with despair.
Now, as the Aztecs to their king ascend,
To hurl him from the temple to his end,
They rushed upon Cortes, but for his sword,
The Spaniard would have fallen to the horde.
But soon enough, the Aztec empire fell,
And children played again, and all was well;
For many Spanish women came to bride,
And Aztec ways were very hard to bide.
The Queen of the Americas looked on,
And in her Mercy, rose the morning dawn,
And many hearts were softened with Her grace,
And millions would Her loving Son embrace.
But many more remained in error, lost,
In idols and adulteries engrossed,
Worshipping false images of gold,
Not unlike the Philistines of old.
Around this time, in Europe, troubles festered,
The dissidents refused to be sequestered,
And though the Pope was partially to blame,
Nothing good from schism ever came.
While in the Old World, millions lost their way,
By wolves, in sheep’s apparel, led astray,
Within the New World, darkness would abate,
And many more would find the narrow gate.
The story of this wonder of salvation,
One morning, like the dawning of creation,
Began as Juan Diego walked to Mass,
And heard some piping noises in the pass.
Now, let me take you by the hand, my friend,
And faithful Reader, earnest to the end,
To hear the lovely music he pursued,
And panoply of graces which ensued.
Now Juan Diego, humble and sincere,
Had lived quite simply, with his wife, so dear;
They had no children, so it was believed,
But lived like Mary and Saint Joseph lived.
Then, suddenly, his wife died unexpected,
A sad affair, no illness was detected;
But that she was a Saint, no one objects,
For she was virtuous in all respects!
His broken heart would never fully mend,
But would toward the Blessed Virgin tend,
As flowers of devotion, once unfurled,
Console the sorrows of this fallen world.
Now on his way to Mass, one morning, thrice
He heard the choral songs of Paradise;
And soon he was enveloped by the sound,
Kneeling on the most celestial ground.
And then an even greater mystery!
A Queen, adorned with heaven’s finery,
Before the man, with eyes agape, appeared,
And, lo, the little farmer greatly feared!
“Do not be afraid,” the Virgin spoke,
And covered by his loosely woven cloak,
He heard the words the Lady had to say,
Well-recited, to this very day.
Then off he travelled, on his shoeless feet,
And though the Priest had little time to meet;
He asked him humbly, so it was conveyed,
To build a chapel, as the Woman bade.
While curious, the cleric wasn’t prone
To lend a hand or lift a single stone,
Or, let alone, construct a sacred shrine,
Until he saw a more compelling sign…
A more compelling sign… like summer dawning
On Castile roses, in the winter yawning,
Which only bloomed in Isabella’s reign,
Yet blooming on the mantle of New Spain!
Now, with his Tilma, draped upon his back,
Our servant treads the hem of Tepeyac,
A timid soul, until the end of days,
While trying to avoid the Woman’s gaze.
His humble heart was heavy with despair,
For though his dying uncle needed care,
His frozen footsteps faltered in his dread,
And so the Woman went to him instead.
The Woman says his uncle has been healed,
So pick the Castile roses from the field;
And carry to the bishop as his proof,
To build the chapel to the very roof.
Now Juan Diego, crawling on his knees,
Plucks the roses in the icy breeze,
And wraps them in his Tilma by design,
And takes them to the bishop as his sign.
The doubting Priest could scarce believe his eyes,
For lack of faith, to his immense surprise,
As roses from the rustic Tilma poured,
But then an even greater sign occurred!
On the cloak which bore the roses red,
When it fell open, from its foot to head,
The Queen of the Americas appeared,
And all in their amazement greatly feared!
O, Mercy’s golden river, flowing wide!
O, Guadalupe, mother, virgin, bride!
How splendid are the works to Her ascribed,
That even the least, in full, couldn’t be described!
The bishop trusted from that very day,
What atheists have all explained away;
Whose facts defy dismissive explanation,
And so they beg at least a brief description.
In constant prayer, Her gentle hands are clasped,
As onlookers within Her eyes are grasped,
For centuries predestined to amaze,
Their images reflected in Her gaze.
From Her celestial parapet on high,
Bejeweled in the mantle of the sky,
The Lady is adorned with every star,
Shining on Her children from afar.
Her features and demeanor, clearly seen,
Reveal Her as a Mother, and a Queen,
Not only of the Old World but the New,
Where millions of believers will accrue.
O, to trust in Mercy, meek and mild,
For Mercy is a Mother to Her Child!
O, Mother, most expectant, with Her Son,
Our Mother, while these epic stories run.
The serpent’s head she crushes with her heel,
Our fallen nature’s sentence to repeal;
The sun, the moon, and all the distant lands,
This New Eve all the universe commands.
In olden days, the jealous gods once warred,
Against this Woman womanhood restored;
From burning Troy, beyond the gates of Rome,
The everlasting city is Her home.
Her sacred Wisdom sped across the deep,
From Charlemagne to Arthur’s royal keep;
And then Her Freedom found the western shore,
To love, to live and reign forevermore.
Now light the sacred cities of the West!
America, long live, forever blessed!
To heaven lead us on the final day,
O, Queen of the Americas, we pray!
Now raise your goblets high, my kith and kin,
And let another epic tale begin,
For there is little time and fading light,
Yet many more adventures still to write!
The Song of the Iroquois
Long before the Iroquois were born,
A ray of light within the forest shone,
And from the Void, the Father’s spirit blew,
And running came the gray-skinned Caribou.
And then a Hunter crouched within the mist,
And from his bow a feathered arrow hissed,
And then a skin was stretched across the Void,
And so a little drumming was employed.
And from the Drum there came a steady beat,
And then another made the Form complete,
And as the meter moved the beat along,
The simple rhythm ripened into song.
Then Man was formed within the virgin heath,
And filled with heaven’s uncreated breath,
For Man was in his Father’s form assessed,
And round his head a native wreath was placed.
And there, Tanagrisson, the Half-King, slept,
His arms around his only Woman rapt
In harmony, the two, in union, wed,
As such, the Iroquois were born and bred.
Now far away, across the rolling sea,
The Lord of Life extends His Fleur-de-lis,
And waters from the coral basin rise,
Extending life to every enterprise.
And now the Jordan rumbles into place,
And fills the deep Niagara with its grace,
To heal the human spirit and restore,
Our fallen nature’s unforgiving lore.
Now in fulfillment of the ancient book,
Tanagrisson is baptized in a brook,
The Iroquois are magnified in peace,
And heaven’s hand upholds their native lease.
But now, beyond the tall and cloven pine,
A Monster, Jumonville, begins to dine
On heavy bison roaming through his lair,
As he conspires the forest to ensnare.
The French conflate the sacred and profane,
And force the Iroquois onto the plain;
But in the woodland, Washington appears,
And views their plight along the Trail of Tears.
Young Washington, just days ago a boy,
Admired by greater Fairfax to employ,
To trace the western tracts of his estate,
In services his wealth would compensate.
As budding love inspired his boyhood dreams,
To Washington no autumn fairer seems
Than Lady Fairfax draped in crimson rays,
Emerging early from the dawn of days.
Now Anglo nobles all this land adore,
A commonwealth to settle and explore,
To frame their laws and tax their traded tea,
But, with the Native, live in amity.
And as the budding colonies expand,
The Half-King tends to all the wooded land,
And all his people live in liberty,
As it was promised, by the King’s decree.
But other soldiers dressed in French apparel,
With Cour de Bois the Iroquois imperil
And so the Half-King, from the heavy wood
Is forced to traipse through leafy lands abroad.
But Washington preserves that western land,
A haven for the Iroquois’ command;
And so the Half-King leans upon this man,
As Plymouth’s Pilgrims trusted Powhatan.
The French and Indian Wars
Now peace throughout the leafy woodlands reigned,
Awhile before the jealous gods complained,
Then Hera from her stony chair declared,
Tanagrisson, at last, cannot be spared:
“Upon my marbled heights, I see below,
The rising Iroquois with twanging bow,
But I foresee the chains of their oppression,
Loosened at the dawning of a nation.”
And jealous of the gift of saving grace,
She plotted to destroy the Native race;
Through French commanders, from their foreign fief,
She waged a war upon the woodland Chief.
And mounted on her fiery equipage,
She filled the Quebecois with heartless rage,
Who found the tribe between a rock and root,
And sought to crush the Half-King underfoot.
But Washington, adorned in buckskin gown,
And armed with orders from the British crown,
Demands the French evacuate dale,
Tanagrisson, his ally, to avail.
Now from the river wide Ohio named,
Washington returns, a woodsman famed;
But Jumonville, the French commander, stays,
And sets the British settlements ablaze.
So Washington, with greater force, commences,
To drive the French beyond the northern fences;
The Half-King hides with feathers on his back,
And lies in wait, for Jumonville’s attack.
But Washington advises compromise,
And looking at the Half-King in his eyes,
He learns about the Native’s common lore,
And longings all the forest to restore.
And now commanding even greater forces,
He spurs the French to mount their heavy horses,
And ride away, to Canada beyond,
While France looks on, across the gloomy pond.
Tanagrisson, the Half-King, smells deceit,
And finds the French engaged in feigned retreat;
And so the Half-King, hiding in the wood,
Slings a slew of arrows at the brood.
Now France’s crested arms with antlered stags,
And blood-drenched heralds, drawn to tattered rags,
Agree with Washington to sign a truce,
And so the Half-King sets his prisoners loose.
But Hera, from her high Olympian path,
Fills the Half-King’s heart with bitter wrath;
And through the heart of captive Jumonville,
His sharpened arrow pierces for the kill.
Now all the lords of France are tossed in pain,
For all the lives the Iroquois have slain;
The crown equips; the Woodsman is intent,
A path of greater warfare to prevent.
But, reinforced, the French rise to pursue;
And Washington, the onslaught to subdue,
Aligns his men behind a narrow tree,
And calls his shelter Fort Necessity.
Now Hera instigates her jealous will,
The French avenge the death of Jumonville,
But Washington, by Providence, is led,
As foxes have their holes to lay their head.
Then from the woods, young Washington returns,
While Turbulence the gray Atlantic churns;
And Hera strikes in Africa afar,
As European empires arm for war.
The Bear Slayer
Tanagrisson, beneath the moonlight, slept,
And, in his dream, a monster Grizzley crept
Towards the children of the Iroquois,
And this is what the sleeping Half-King saw:
The hungry beast, with massive iron jaws,
Eyes aflame, with razor teeth and claws,
Encroaches on the Iroquois to feast,
Beginning with the stoutest then the least.
Now, from the trees, a lanky woodsman strides,
Upon his horse, towards the monster rides,
Then from his mount, the menace to subdue,
The woodsman tears the grizzley beast in two.
Each severed half arises in the vale,
One Anglo red, the other French royale,
Two armies, like two serpents, rapt in war,
Imperiling his children, as before.
Then once again, the noble woodsman sped,
His frame unyielding to the flying led,
Impervious, he leads the children forth,
And shields them safely in the nation’s birth…
Now Washington, the Old Dominion reaches,
Where leaders of the foreign wars make speeches;
They greet the man, but offer him no thanks,
And round the humble leader close their ranks.
And as the Generals talk about their gain,
In India, the Philippines and Spain,
The tall Virginian, fading from their stand,
Retreats away to more familiar land.
Beneath the starry skies of his estate,
He stands before the watching eyes of Fate,
And hears a stirring whispers through the trees,
The Song of Independence on the breeze.
He rests upon his oak Mount Vernon bed,
With songs of virtue playing in his head,
And as he slept, the high elect awoke,
And this is what the forms of Heaven spoke:
Our blissful souls are saddened by the fate
And trauma of the Iroquois, of late,
The French once led these native souls to grace,
Now politicians sort and sift their race.
As Independence crashes on the shore,
The faithless British rally as before,
As wanton Henry stole the sacred crown,
And stormed the Church, and tore the altars down.
Now like the devil, tempting from within,
The Sister Tribes, save one, are drawn to sin,
The brave Oneida sole to truth subscribe,
Because a man named Kirkland loves the tribe.
Now Evening leads her oxen through the sky,
And Autumn wanes to Winter’s majesty,
Her snowy blankets, draped upon the plow,
To warm and comfort nature’s sleeping brow.
Before the dawn of time had woke the earth,
A gentle yeoman lit his humble hearth,
Where family bliss illumined every chore,
As written in the verse of family lore.
Now through the mist, this man named Kirkland spies,
Three young Oneida, yoked in enterprise;
So, in the House of Burgesses, he’ll stand,
To lobby Washington to cede more land.
Now lessons of their harvest they entrust,
With cattle corn, in bushels ground to dust,
Dried and stored in fieldstone in the hold,
To feed his children through the coming cold…
The Fire King
The fire that blazed before the world began,
Was trusted to the Onondaga clan;
The Half-King was the keeper of the spark,
That flickered like a beacon in the dark.
The Half-King and his native rib-drawn wife
Were cautioned by the Author of all life,
To never disavow their sacred call;
For that would be the sudden death of all.
The two, as one, preserved the sacred fire,
Which glimmered through the forestland entire,
An ocean from the garden Adam plowed,
Then lost for the transgressions of the proud.
But finally, the keepers of the fire,
Who’d long endured, respecting God’s desire,
To keep the flame, despite the longest odds,
At last, were tempted by the jealous gods.
Now Hera, with her most seductive forms,
Appearing in a flash of thunderstorms,
Approached the woman, to the half-King wed,
And this is what the jealous goddess said:
The Spirit owes a debt of gratitude
To you, Most Noble Woman, strong and good;
You are so free, yet by your vow confined,
Illumined by the light, yet still so blind.
I’m certain that the truth, in its entire,
Was not divulged to you about the fire;
To rule forever from a native throne,
Then simply claim the fire to be your own.
And so the woman, drawn by Hera’s lies,
From the sacred cinders stole her prize,
And to Half-King gave the stolen spark,
And in the forest, everything grew dark!
Now hopelessness the Iroquois enthralls,
And midnight through the moonless forest falls;
The Iroquois, upon forest floor,
Are torn between the godless thrones of war.
They fight with one another, each one cursed,
Then fight again, the last against the first,
Then into war, and war again seduced,
By war, and war again, they are reduced.
One remnant, though, retained a ray of hope,
And God looked down, in His eternal scope,
And saw the man named Kirkland, in the light,
And morning dawned upon the longest night.
Now Kirkland kept a fire, without alloy,
The same which lit ancient halls of Troy,
Then lit the paths through all the Christian states,
Then blazed a trail beyond the western gates.
Towards this light, Tanagrisson is drawn,
To join in Freedom’s fight against the Crown,
And with the young Americans pursue,
The civil frames of liberty anew.
The Half-King joined the fight against King George
At Saratoga, and at Valley forge,
Where freedom, like a candle in a gale,
Dimmed but would forevermore prevail.
Now let us from the Iroquois adjourn,
Onward, to the next lay, let us turn;
We find the Winter General near despair,
Huddled on the icy Delaware…
For as the last are first, the first are last,
Now let us leave our heroes from the past
In sweet accord, with the Eternal One;
And with this prayer, this little tale is done.
The Winter General
The Lord of all Creation, above the vast expanse,
Examined all of Nature, within His timeless glance,
And addressing all the Ages, in a voice commanding dread,
He summoned all the nations, and this is what He said:
Behold the rising empires, along the gilded plain,
All proclaim their greatness, yet turn away from me,
One will sprout in morning, then die in the evening rain,
Another sails from the coastline, but drowns in the raging sea,
They sacrificed their children, their laws an abomination,
They worshipped graven idols, from evening to the dawn;
But when I gave my Son, my Son for their salvation,
They waged a violent war, against the Holy One;
Now is there not one nation, is there not one man?
Will no one give their heart, their heart to My Sovereign Son?
Then hiding underneath, the ledge of God’s creation,
The devil overhears, his Maker’s lamentation;
And then disseminates his renegade opinions,
A rush of twisted words, to all his rebel minions:
That all-oppressive Maker, in groans of discontent,
Marshals all creation, yet bans our government;
We offer Man his freedom, to be another god,
And Man devours our Apple, with a willing nod;
Its taste has never faltered, since the world began,
None resist its sweetness? No, there is not one!
Then Michael the Archangel, the primal dragon-slayer,
On his evening vigil, spots the evil Strayer –
That ancient serpent-schemer, the father of all sin –
And thrusts his holy lancet, through its scaly skin.
“Who is like the Lord, Our God who rules on high?”
Declares the good Saint Michael, his legions drawing nigh;
Then flights of holy Angels, Satan’s body girth,
And in a bolt of lightning, they cast him down to earth…
…The Patriots lay huddled, along the frozen shore,
A remnant of the fledgling Continental corps,
Outnumbered by the British sent by Parliament,
An all-invasive image of the Empire’s ill-intent.
Another wave of Hessians, arrived on sullen ship,
To hold the winter soldiers frozen in their grip,
A show of brute coercion, the people to disarm,
Till liberty awoke, and hammered the alarm!
Now gathered-up like chicks, beneath an icy wing,
The Delaware protects the remnant from the King,
As Washington compresses the wounds of a defeat,
And contemplates a careful path for his retreat.
Then beckoning his military’s vigor to renew,
He visits the exhausted, decimated few;
Then stopping by his quarters, finally to retire,
He pokes the dying embers of a dying fire.
Now from the dancing flame, an eerie phantom glides,
That ever-prowling schemer, tempting, God forbid;
And by the weary general, the evil one resides,
And here is what the hateful, fallen-angel said:
What a tragic man, what business do you have,
Deep in winter snow, upon a white horse riding?
The Master has become the fugitive and slave,
Escape before the dogs have come upon you hiding.
Retreat, while there is time, to more familiar ground,
To your boyhood trails, and fields of your estate;
And when the day is warm, and all is safe and sound,
Salvage your misfortune, before it’s all too late.
Thus, not by sheer despair, was the General tempted,
But by discouragement, the devil’s trusted art,
Ensuring many worthy causes are pre-empted,
And noble leaders fail, before they even start.
Now at the break of day, with all his senses spinning,
Blind to how things lay, the end or the beginning…
There came the sound of hooves, his courier returning,
With much awaited news, to satisfy his yearning.
Convening all his trusted generals from the field,
They draft a strategy, as rasher judgments yield,
To resurrect their cause, beneath oppressive skies,
And wisely redeploy their dwindling supplies.
Their Durham boats will serve as an optimistic isthmus;
And as the aid departs he bids a Merry Christmas;
And with these simple words, a calmness fills the air,
And they prepare to cross the icy Delaware.
Under cloak of darkness, the General at the fore,
Flanked by his flotilla of two-thousand men, no more,
With horse and heavy cannon, ferried on the way,
While squalls of ice and rain force their long delay.
At last, the chosen army moves upon the land,
And Washington leads on, through the bushy stand,
Trudging through a maze of thickly tangled pine,
He leads his steady mount, while straining for a sign.
Now up in New York City, ten-thousand Brits reside,
With fifty-thousand more, across the countryside;
But down in ravaged Trenton, the Hessians hold the gorge,
A thousand mercenaries, purchased by King George.
Now through the forest darkness, a vision fast approaches,
And falling to her knees, this situation broaches:
“The enemy is fierce, but numbers just a few,
Quickly up the road, the day belongs to you.”
And as she leads the way, she signals them to follow,
Through an icy vale, across the snowy hollow;
They follow with their guns, and heavy ammunition,
And then she fades away, a mystic apparition.
The stars between the branches and drifting clouds emerge,
The dark and deep depression, of tangled trees, to purge;
And there they find impressions, iced by wooden wheels,
A thoroughfare to victory, the widening way reveals.
Sing, hey now! for the yeoman, bounding up the trail,
He greets the mounted General with a hardy hail!
Professing most astutely, for days he has observed,
“The Hessians, how they cower, in barricades, unnerved!
“But yesterday, a fortnight, one Jäger from the main,
Came upon us drunken, to stalk my daughter Jane…
And though she’s but a maiden, her weapon is severe,
She sent a musket ball, whistling past his ear.”
The General on his horse, leaning with a smile,
Asks the Irish settler: “Can you lead us for a while?”
And then a sprightly maiden emerges from a rock,
A pretty girl named Jane, of solid Irish stock.
This very Jane of yore will marry Raphael;
But in another tale; now let us fathom well,
The Winter General riding, he leads the long parade,
Marching down to Trenton, to smash the cruel blockade.
Marching on to Trenton, to crush the Hessian hold,
To stoke the revolution, and victory behold!
To smash the Hessian shackles, the enemy to rout,
And reconstruct the army, with courage strong and stout!
And now the giving girl, to a Winter Soldier,
Offers leather boots, slung across her shoulder;
Her father carries more, in canvas gunny-bags,
For those with shoeless feet, or feet in swaddled rags.
But many men remain, with withered rags or none,
And bare and bloodied feet, all frozen to the bone;
So to another man, he offers his own boots,
Then barefoot on the ice, the column he salutes.
Now the evening star of Mary breaks the hold of night,
To lift the heaviest hearts up to heaven’s height,
And there the Queen of Wisdom, from her Elysian wealth,
Gives to the Winter General her sacred gift of Stealth.
Along the road to Trenton, a dozen miles to go,
Marching along in silence, through the sleet and snow;
Like a drum without a sound, a bird without a song,
A fife without a note, the soldiers move along.
The probing evening creatures to their holes return,
As cottoned-quiet wheels on horse-drawn canons turn,
As whispy zephyrs circle above their frozen breath,
The men, exhausted, moving, on death to conquer death.
Now spiteful Juno mounting, warns of the advance,
But heaven’s Furies counter to quell the cold expanse;
And in the conquering wind, in nature’s frozen term,
The Winter Soldier closes on the old, infernal worm.
Stung by their humble boldness, Hera stirs the air,
And pierced by icy exposure, the men are torn to despair;
But no one will turn to retreat, the forms of heaven spur,
All freely give devotion, the freedoms of all to secure.
While stationed here on earth, in heaven’s mortal lease,
They fight to conquer death, or meet God face to face;
Along the road to Trenton, their victory is almost in hand,
The remnant now, in faith, await the General’s command.
Now the single line of troops, in separate lines divides,
And circumscribes the town, from upper and lower sides;
While Sullivan, beneath, and Greene upon the north,
Converge on King Street slowly, to draw the Jäger forth.
Now Victory or Death! becomes their battle cry,
And at the guarded outpost, all must do or die;
“Das fiend!” a Hessian hollers, his comrades to inspire;
And the Winter Soldier sights him, returning musket fire.
His bullet hits the mark, and the Hessian falls for dead,
Bleeding on the hoarfrost, in front of a wooden shed;
And now the Winter Soldier, with bayonet severe,
Disarms the remaining Jägers, and signals all is clear.
But now the Winter Soldier, laboring for breath,
Falls on bended knee, upon a frozen heath,
Weakened by exhaustion, with damp and frozen gear,
He musters all his strength, but falls towards the rear.
On Trenton comes the army, the remnant brave and good,
With eighteen cannons training on the mercenary brood;
The Hessian general, mounting, beneath a golden crown,
Is covered by his Jägers, but they gun the Jägers down.
Now through the streets of Trenton, they hound the bolting ranks,
As Sullivan approaches, sweeping around their flanks;
And a thousand Hessian soldiers surrender in a blink;
And the winds of war have shifted, along the Assunpink.
Now the Continental Army, sets the township free,
And at night they rest by firelight, drinking British tea;
But early the next morning, in the frosty air,
They ferry all the wounded, across the Delaware.
And here the Winter Soldier, draws his final breath,
His legacy of honor and courage to bequeath;
His soul departs for heaven, across the stream of gold,
And from the distant shoreline, God’s glory does behold.
Now the Muse of Heaven wakens, to guide the Minstrel’s pen,
To summarize the Crisis, and lift the hearts of men:
“The soldier of the summer, the sunshine patriot,
Will disappear by winter, but harbors much regret.”
“For these are solemn times, that try the bravest souls,
The harder now the fight, the loftier our goals;
A tyrant, like a tree stump, is never quickly razed,
But he who joins this battle, will be forever praised…”
A crop of yeomen answer, they join the noble cause,
They offer humble service, without pay or applause;
And the foe withdraws to Princeton, retreating in disgrace,
But tempt the Winter General, to show his army’s face.
Consulting all his generals, and privately in prayer,
A second crossing beckons across the Delaware;
And by the Assunpink, along the icy brook,
They wait beside the river, in their hidden nook.
The Mercenary Army, their service bought and sold,
Are drawn toward the General, like robbers drawn to gold;
But Washington’s loud cannons block the vile brigade,
And on the bridge he stops them, with his cannonade.
Now evening falls on Trenton, along the Assunpink,
Cornwallis takes his cover, and buys some time to think:
The weathered Winter General, he deems his wounded prey,
And like a fox to capture, upon the break of day.
The bonfires of the Patriots burn like candlelight,
A subterfuge ablazing, to mask the pre-dawn flight,
Down the road to Princeton, some eighteen miles away,
To hunt the ancient serpent, God’s enemy to slay.
Behind the pike of Mercer, the apex of his spear,
Washington stands vigil, upon the trailing rear;
Now through the mist of morning, in imminent surprise,
A hail of British muskets, a flash of daemons’ eyes.
The yeoman-rich militia attack the Coronets,
But the British counter quickly, behind their bayonets;
And a menace slices Mercer, through his loyal heart,
And instantly to heaven, his life and soul depart.
The men retreat in chaos; but the Winter General sound,
Plants his sacred herald, into the frozen ground;
And all the British charge him, too many men to count,
And in a cloud of muskets, they fire upon his mount.
As the powder rises slowly, all view in disbelief,
The Winter General mounted in ominous relief!
And he spurs his trailing soldiers: “Parade along with me!”
And with resounding volleys, the British break and flee.
Now all the nation rallies to the Winter General’s side,
From Delaware’s devotion to Boston’s boundless pride;
In years to come this triumph will live in epic lays,
And lift our Nation’s Spirit, until the end of days.
And with their numbers swelling, they march to Morristown,
As Lady Winter enters, dressed in her snowy gown;
They join with the militia, embedded in the war,
And push the flailing British back towards the shore.
Cornwallis, bruised and beaten, his troops in disarray,
Hobbles to New Brunswick, a hundred miles away,
Where Loyalists are welcomed to pay their tax for tea,
And bow before a sovereign, and hail his sovereignty.
Cornwallis offers incense to his idols of revenge,
And marches from New Brunswick, New England to impinge;
But reaching Saratoga, he’s saddened by the Fates,
And suffers degradation, beneath the arms of Gates.
The menace hides in Philly; while the General hunkers down,
At Valley Forge, for winter, a military town,
Built with sodden shelters, and framed with fallen trees,
And with inoculations, they govern new disease.
But then the nation’s birthplace, Cornwallis ravages,
So Washington digs out, to hunt the savages;
He corners them at Monmouth, and with his biggest guns,
Blasts the British hellions back to cold Saint Johns.
Now on the cold Atlantic, the French are sailing ships,
To war upon the British, to conquer and eclipse,
To aide the birth of freedom, and get a better taste,
Of Liberty’s rich harvest, Her many blessings graced.
And so the British Sovereign and Parliament relent,
And to the winds of history consign their ill-intent,
But fifty thousand soldiers have perished in the war,
To beckon greater service, the union to restore.
The Continental Congress convenes and without pause,
Signs the Constitution, to house our civil laws,
And by the General’s fireside, the General’s time is spent,
Until he is encouraged to serve as President.
Two solid terms he labors, achieving many goals,
For which our grateful nation, the best of lands, extols,
And earning the respect of gentlemen and knaves,
He settles down to leisure, and liberates his slaves.
Now of this fateful battle, and Father of our nation,
Who trampled many foes, and overcame temptation,
And of the dignity, of our Immortal Dead,
Who served the Winter General, let so much be said…
The War of Eighteen-Twelve
From ancient days of yore, the Anglo race of men,
Sailed forth from their shore, that far and foggy fen,
Seduced by Juno’s rage, to war upon the One,
They tried but tried in vain, to douse the ageless sun.
And now the ancient dragon, severed from the Mayne,
Falls into the ocean, wracked in writhing pain;
Its foul lifeblood bleeding, from its scaly skin,
Severed by its anger, ruptured from within.
And now a Sword is lifted, from glowing embers forged,
Doused in icy waters, its fiery temper purged,
And so the blazing dragon, plunged into the deep,
Sends dark and sullen storm-clouds, swirling o’er the keep.
The once imposing menace, tossed in violent throws,
Sinks into the ocean, where the molten river flows,
And the earthen crags are opened, and Neptune turns the tide,
And deep in the gray Atlantic, it festers in its pride.
Now the deepest wounds inflicted upon the high and proud,
Are often least expected, when slung by the lowliest crowd;
And so the ancient Tempter, spun in his disbelief,
Wails away in anguish, and welters in its grief.
Long time the foe lays vanquished, seething in despair,
And while the people flourish, it mourns its gaping tear;
Three-dozen years it festers; and then the Deep is stirred;
Poseidon gathers storm clouds, and Hera lifts her sword.
And tempting earthly empires, her two-edged blade to rear,
The French to rise in battle with Britain’s heavy spear;
She peaks the Empire’s hubris, at Spain and Waterloo,
Then speeds across the ocean, old tallies to pursue.
And while the world is burning, two-million mortals dead,
The dragon has been yearning to rear its ugly head;
And Poseidon lifts his trident, its wound to lacerate,
And he heals the ancient dragon, and turns the tides of fate.
There came a ship from Briton, and Dragon was its name,
With thirty-two eyes blazing, fanning fire and flame;
Her Admiral’s heart was hardened, within the Roman wars,
And he sailed for Castine harbor, to settle ancient scores.
He sailed for Castine harbor, on a Dragon spitting fire,
And on the way to Bangor, he leveled every shire;
And on the breath of Juno, beneath the dragon’s wings,
Her sails were filled with vengeance, of vanquished lords and kings.
Now thunder from the canons the screams of children drowns,
As she burns the shops and houses, of all the coastal towns;
She decimates the livestock; and torches the boats at sea,
Then cries a mournful woman, “Where’s your humanity!”
There came the Captain passing, and Barrie was his name,
And he tells that mournful woman, “To me you’re all the same;
Your village is my plunder, by plunder hear my word,
Your village to the Devil, and your children to the sword!”
But now the bleeding Savior, leaning from His Cross,
Plants His sacred symbol, into the ruinous loss;
And the mournful woman searching, finds His holy rood,
And wanes with of all her children, deep into the wood.
Now twenty British galleons, level the towns of Mayne,
New Ireland they claim it, part of the king’s domain;
And the men are pressed to service, the women are forced to flee,
Who curse the endless warships at war with Liberty.
Now Panic grips the nation, along the eastern shore,
Conquered by an Empire, like a dragon waging war;
But they rise to meet a serpent, by any ways or means,
And the young militia rally, from Hull to New Orleans.
Now in a Catholic parish, nestled in Cape Cod,
Our Raphael is teaching the holy Word of God;
Now in rush young reservists, joined in common plight,
Pleading with their teacher to join them in the fight.
Now all the nation rallies, just as his students plead:
“Our freedom is in peril, our nation is in need!”
Their stabled horses serve them, to lift the mild and meek,
And they ride to face the menace, of which the legends speak.
Now by the Mason-Dixon, where north divides the free,
They came upon a beehive of redcoats drinking tea,
And they listen on the squadron, from their hidden grove,
And learn about the warship anchored in the cove.
They intercept more ciphers and from the brooding lot,
They gather their plans of destruction, on Baltimore they plot;
And so the young militia, the broader force inform,
And up and down the coastline reconnaissance perform.
And now the Dragon sailing, lures them to the bay,
To Bladensburg it draws them, to cross them in the fray,
The Continental soldiers, in earnest take the bait,
And blind to rocket launchers, force the hand of fate.
The breathing Dragon rises, and in a ball of heat,
Breathing streams of fury, blocks their safe retreat;
The soldiers scatter westward, pushed by Hera’s brood,
And the owls, in the evening, screech within the wood.
Now like a father Capon, obstructed from his chicks,
Spots a poisoned serpent moving through the sticks,
But still he cannot reach them, to save them from the bane,
And so resorts to flapping, but flaps away in vain.
To perils of this manner, the Capital lays bare,
And Raphael is frantic, his men are in despair;
With languishing militia, trailing far behind,
He’s sickened by the prospect of ruin he will find.
Now the silver rays of heaven pierce the morning sky,
As Hera’s bloody fingers scar the waterway;
And flowing past White House a flood of refugees
Cross the wide Potomac and vanish in the trees.
The British torch the White House, they burn the city down,
They burn the town to ashes, to satisfy the Crown,
Whose heartless revenge was promised, from Freedom’s birth abroad,
The War of Independence ~ One Nation under God.
The teacher with his kinsmen, the boys from Boston Bar,
From the far embankment, observe the dregs of war,
Upon the distant shoreline, the foremost City scarred,
Collapses into ashes, like dying embers charred.
With heavy hearts and tackle, they trod the stony span,
And up the heady hillock, the smoky hub to scan,
Where Hera’s desolation, beneath the lofty dome,
Converged on freedom’s treasures, which once had found their home.
The Library of Congress, the books of all the nation,
For all the Empire’s vengeance, have suffered their cremation;
Enrapt in boundless grieving, the teacher views the spoil,
And mindful of his anguish, his loyal men recoil.
And on a toppled column, his sentiments are loosed,
He holds the laws of Euclid, to Elements reduced,
And with his face enshrouded, within a teary spate,
There came a gentle coughing, behind an iron grate.
He helps the gentle lady, from her hiding place,
And views her kind complexion, and ash upon her face,
Her name is Jane O’Neil, the sole librarian,
Who fought to hold her ground, when all the others ran.
“And with my longest arm, upon that balcony;
I fired upon the brazen, invading enemy;
I fired away,” she tells him, “until my shot was gone,
And then I hid myself, until the morning dawn.”
“Perhaps you should have fled, in the evacuation?”
Says he, she says, “My oath was to protect my nation;
But now I must return, back to my father’s farm,
For even now, I fear, my family is in harm.”
“I pray that is not so, my men will go with you,”
Raphael declares; she says, “That will not do,
To Baltimore, you must, with every man away,
For there the Dragon is sailing, to strike at the break of day.”
And with her longest arm, the teacher she equips;
And says “You’ll need its range, to reach the British ships.”
Then combing through the town, they come upon a stall,
Of many healthy horses, to carry one and all.
She turns to him and says, “Upon this stable mount,
My father has on hand, more books than one may count,
So when this current reign of terror is behind us,
At the northern ford, near Trenton, you can find us.”
Her hand she lightly places, on his ashen face,
Then rides across the bridge, at a steady pace;
And then the men from Boston for Baltimore aspire,
To meet the British forces and face the dragon’s fire.
How many towns were razed by Britain’s godless gall?
How many young and brave Americans will fall?
For while the British warships strafe the coast in war,
Two-dozen more approach unbending Baltimore.
Now early in the morning, the riders will report,
As grenadiers preparing to stave McHenry’s Fort;
For neither with grenades nor muskets they are led,
But to the fortress walls with shovels armed instead.
And like an Armadillo, under tooth and nail,
Covered by its armor, survives a heavy hail,
The men of Fort McHenry, construct a sturdy shield,
And wait for the bombardment, the British ships will wield.
Three layers of logs they leverage, over the covered keep,
Braced with beams and bracing, above with three more deep,
Their sable shovels station mountains of molded dirt,
And till the break of morning, the bracing bunkers girt.
The morning sun is rising, with diamonds on her brow,
Asserting her dominion, as Nature will avow;
And now to slow the empire, their bastion almost sealed,
Raphael is beckoned out onto the field.
He lugs the longest arm on Stricker’s lethal band,
To humble, if he’s able, the Empire’s heavy hand;
Their mission is to stall the pompous King’s parade,
And buy sufficient time to seal their barricade.
And when he sees the general, squarely in his sight,
He fires with two others, on his left and right;
And no one knew for certain, who struck the general’s head,
But on the dewy meadow, Sir Robert Ross lays dead.
The British scramble quickly, like sheep without a lead;
And to the role of Sheppard the journeymen accede,
To which they are devoted, towards their final chore,
Of sweeping all the British, back towards the shore.
With terminal precision, the marksmen train their fire,
And to the sandy beaches, the trespassers retire;
And then the young militia, from the field divest,
To seal their barricade, and finally take their rest.
Above the ramparts rising, from God’s cerulean height,
The ageless sun is setting, further from their sight,
And in their deepest recess, a Mass is being said,
Monsignor genuflecting, he elevates the Bread.
But like the pendant vampire, following its prey,
The Warships cast their shadows across the rising bay;
To fill the ocean flowing in ominous supply,
And with their blazing mortars, they light the starless sky.
Now with his Absolution, the priest disbands the prayer,
Urging all the soldiers to vacate their despair;
For though the night is endless, the Lord from death’s despite,
Will rise again by morning, to purge the endless night.
Now lit by cannons blazing, the darkened menace soars,
Rising from the ashes, of old, unsettled scores,
And in the wrath of ages, of all the Empires past,
It rains upon the fortress, with spheres of rocket blast.
Pounding on the stronghold, like Satan beats a drum,
The old, eternal dragon, transmits Delirium;
And from their iron anchors, the ships all seem to rise,
And like so many vampires, they fill the evening skies.
A thousand Congreve rockets, with mortar shells explode
Down upon the fortress, placed in a crushing load,
But as the world was lifted, like wood upon His back,
The Lord upholds the fortress, throughout the long attack.
And now in the light of the morning, which streams across the bay,
The ebbing wrath of Hera, has turned and sailed away;
And rising over the ramparts, one famous-furlong high,
The Stars and Stripes forever, fills the morning sky!
Now sing! The stars of heaven, falling from the night,
To pull the hulls of hades, further out of sight;
The spirit of the nation, has brought the mighty down,
And turned an empire spinning, like a toppled crown.
Now sing, the Nation’s Hero, a prisoner of war,
Whelped from summer pine, along the Georgian shore,
His parents were murdered sadly, within a prior assault,
Where his father faired by fighting for freedom to a fault.
His mother, too, was slaughtered within his boyhood home,
A captive, he was stolen, from his nation’s womb,
And locked inside a cage, in a galleon’s rib,
And spent his boyhood days, in a sinking crib.
But then the Queen of Heaven, beheld his sad estate,
And smiling on his future, she bound the tides of fate;
And the gentle moon descended, her long and white arms bent,
And spared his tender spirit, from Trauma’s instrument.
Reared in native skirmish, tried and true was he,
Impervious to fear, a weathered hickory;
He waited for the moment, from Liberty begot,
The war upon the Empire, God’s justice to allot.
On Alabama’s shore, the ships besiege the coast,
But with his bigger arms, away he turns the host;
Now General Andrew Jackson, stands upon his feet,
Young Hickory impervious, by their feigned retreat.
To Pensacola promptly, he marshals many men,
To answer the armada; and their ships retreat again;
Then off Louisiana, encroaching New Orleans,
A hundred ships are moving, with many war machines.
He fathers forth a family, of former-slaves and free,
And brigands from the bayou, and Sons of Liberty;
And all are trained with muskets, to load the musket gun,
To fire and load far faster, than almost anyone.
They fire upon the Britons, they load, and load again,
With row ‘a row ‘a rifle, they force them to the fen;
And though they are outnumbered, one hundred men to one,
They hold their humble hillock, until the morning sun.
You’ve heard of brave Aeneas, plagued by many woes;
Enduring Juno’s anger, he vanquished many foes;
And bore the ancient embers, and built civilization,
Beneath th’eternal city, he set the stone foundation.
And Beowulf you’ve heard, the Monster he disarmed,
And slew the pagan forces, when Liberty was harmed,
Then charged upon the dragon, in death to conquer death,
To save our souls, forever, from the devil’s breath.
But none compare to Jackson, who suffered many soars,
For always God Almighty, the lowliest restores;
For men are born to lead, for as the ages turn,
Freedom’s shining embers, in hearts will ever burn!