Fighting the Long Defeat

Why do our stories

March on before us?

Those who remember them

Oft times ignore us

But our presence is there;

Our spirit-borne breath

Enlivens each telling

Defying our deaths

***

It is that! It is Chesterton!

The scorning, laughing at the grave

The fight for souls we hardly save

Fading, fading…

The baking, burning of the cakes

To hold fast for a red mark’s sake

Fighting, fighting…

It is that! It is Tolkien!

The crawling, grasping of hot stones

The faint recall of hearth and home

Fading, fading…

There’s fire spewing from the earth

The force of will, last thing of worth

Fighting, fighting…

It is that! It is Lewis!

The clawing, gasping on the stone

The ice-queen’s plunge, the final groan

Fading, fading…

There’s winter’s claim upon the land

A ransomed brother breaks her wand

Fighting, fighting…

It is that! It is Noyes!

The vengeful ride along the road

The highwayman dies in his blood

Fading, fading…

There’s magic in each windy gust

Bringing back the brigand’s ghost

Fighting, fighting…

It is that! It is Jacques!

The pleading, blocking of the foe

The barbed tail swings, the monk’s laid low

Fading, fading…

A warrior mouse from a tapestry

His challenge made, the bell swings free

Fighting, fighting…

***

Why do our stories

March on to lead men?

I suppose we all knew

Someday they would need them

Our breath is ablaze

Warming hearts with the heat;

For our heroes claim triumph

Through the longest defeat

 

 By Avellina Balestri

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