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Elegy for Glory

by Dusktreader 

Posted: 27 May 2004
Word Count: 261
Summary: One of my most recent writings and, I feel, one of my best. More of my poems may be viewed at my *nonprofit* website which is in my profile.

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~Elegy for Glory~


How is purchased this glory of which bards sing
bourne on backs of mannish mules?
And how it slips through sands of
time, hedges of fame
to wash only the feet of some men
more noble by repute alone.


What of men, proud and brave,
accompanied through
dark alleyways of history
now but with death;
Whose backs sprawled as a
made carpet for great Achilles' Heels;
Whose deaths, not ordinary
nor peaceful, nor passive
but garrish, but brave
are but nothing now.


Their deaths I sing;
I lend them a fool's glory!
For they, unblessed by man or god
or fortune,
They stood as proud as pillars (but
regarded as grain)
before the fired faces of heros.
Unwashed by holy rivers,
their flameless eyes unhallowed,
shineless faces ugly, brows like ox-yokes,
Raised their lowly swords against
those we are told are
Mighty Men.
No mystic amulaet blazed upon their breasts,
frames unarmored by fame;
Died not by heel-pokes
nor by deceptious maidens
Riven, their flesh, as cattle meat and
cast asided for more.
Virgin throats spread vulgar-wide
taken for a hero's soul-harem.


I sing for they
who staked it all, knowing
(in their minds, so simple)
Immortality would scorn their corpses, and
Fame pass over their bones;
contemptuous of eye,
careful of foot,
eager to make more their company.
Oh! They, who threw life, with such tearful abandon,
to tributaries of Styx and
drowned their fates in Archeron;
Offering their names like supple calves,
Glorified those who pilfered immortality.

Štucker beck

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Comments by other Members

Nell at 08:46 on 28 May 2004  Report this post
Hi Dustreader, welcome to WriteWords. There's an epic feel to this poem, it could have been written long ago, and yet the noble sentiment at the root of it remains unchanged, and it speaks to us as clearly now in these days of war and loss as ever. I can imagine you writing a modern version too, and wonder how that would read and feel. Great writing, beautifully crafted too.


word`s worth at 13:46 on 28 May 2004  Report this post
Hi Tucker

As Nell says, this certainly does have the feel of the older style writing - it reminded me of 'The Life of Man' by Sir Francis Bacon (one of my favourite poems).

A very apt poem for this moment in time and history. Political leaders (past and present) gaining 'immortality' through the wars they wage and hence getting their names down in the history books - but off the backs of hapless fools who think they fight and die for glory and a "right" cause. That's how I interpreted the poem, at least.

I spotted a few typos which I hope you won't mind me pointing out as I think this poem deserves to be perfectly presented.

faces of heros - should be faces of heroes.

and 'cast asided' should that be 'cast aside'?

A beautiful use of descriptive language in a thought provoking poem. Good work and welcome to WriteWords.


I just spotted a few typo's that when corrected will
Heros = Heroes

roovacrag at 14:54 on 28 May 2004  Report this post
Welcome to WW.
An old style of writing and very well done.
Each stanza did you proud.
Well done
xx Alice

miffle at 19:18 on 28 May 2004  Report this post
An ambitious poem! Very much liked the line 'offering their names like supple calves' and the lines contrasting the 'pillars' with the 'grain'.

All the best, Miffle :-)

NB 'deceptious' - is it american english ? i.e. I think of 'deceptive' !?

word`s worth at 13:12 on 29 May 2004  Report this post
I looked up deceptious because I didn't recall ever seeing it being used before and indeed it does exist...at least, it does in The Chambers Dictionary and it's simply another way of saying deceitful. I think you also need to change amulaet..I thought it might also be a word I wasn't familiar with - do you mean 'amulet'?

thanks for the link to your website. :)


gard at 22:30 on 30 May 2004  Report this post
Hi duskT

excellent piece of writing welcome to ww. I like the theatrical flair/air of the old style writing, only thing I did halt at was the word "nay"..


Cornelia at 08:53 on 23 October 2005  Report this post
I thought the archaic language is OK because the thoughts are archaic. The theme reminded me of 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard' with its relections on unsung heroes. I think, however, following the writings of war poets, such as Wilfred Owen, feelings about those who fight for 'the old lie', ie, patriotic reasons, are more complicated. Therefore, it is more appropriate to express these ideas in 'ancient' language, as in modern versions such as 'Lord of the Rings', and the series with Darth Vader whose name escapes me, where the characters adopt a kind of elegaic Warrior-speak to talk about their exploits.

I don't have a dictionary to hand as I'm travelling, but I wondered about:

'bourne', which I think is a noun meaning a place, whereas the past tense of bear is 'bore' or, in the passive, 'borne'. Please check because I'm not sure and someone has already checked a word they thought strange and found it in the dictionary.

'shineless' seems a strange form, but you may have meant it here for poetic effect.

'garrish' - should be spelt 'garish', meaning obvious or flashy, brightly coloured, but doesn't seem to make sense in the context. There may be a word 'garrish', but I don't know it.

'staked it all' is better as 'staked their all', I thinkbut it seems too modern an expression for the context.

'drowned their fates in Archeron' Is this a quote? Shouldn't it be Acheron?

I look forward to reading more of your work on your website.


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