Men trade their own potential for reputable greatness,
To carry the name of another and another there upon their backs,
Like the leering sneer of the master’s lash,
To temper the will in servitude beneath another’s yoke,
And every redoubt of a man’s soul that once was staunchly fortified now lay rent and ruined,
A corroded dilapidation of the heroic vigour once held in great store;
Equals amongst our brothers with whom we might have shaped the world.
And in my quiet heart, know I the vile seeds that have taken root lay there still,
And affixed within mine own person a most ignoble, wretched blossom;
That I should find fault with much, and by misdeed and poorly cast word,
Succumb myself to no great or effectual change for the better,
But contribute in my own dismal way to the repudiation of all,
In all that I would otherwise seek and hold to firm in steadfast, earnest acknowledgment.
A better life, and purpose grander, a dream for my brothers and I to weave,
Though shamed I am to know not how to guide them,
Nor in myself a man worthy to see, to helm the righteous ship and steer such ailing souls,
Myself and brothers all, towards the dauntless goal.
Simple comforts, hubris, both; shackled and bound to ease and ignominy,
We can but dream empty and hollow,
For the world we leave to our sons.
No great shadow shall we cast, and but a minor ripple in the roiling currents of eternity,
To spur our progeny to an excellence beyond our own reckoning.
Like a hellion’s wrath,
the clarion call to worthy action resounds with stultifying castigation,
And I am laid bare upon all my faults, excoriated.
And in the bitterest valleys of despondence and recrimination,
For myself and those brothers who have served beside me, in a life of idleness;
Of adventurous spirit for knowledge and far-ranging travels within and without,
I find a small, solemn whisper; a promise, that shall not go unfulfilled.
It little profits an idle king to hold a throne in dotage and senescence.
So let the winds carry us forth, brothers dear,
If to no great action or memory at all, but even small and forgotten,
A minor measure of our own greatness,
Be it humbled by withering years and ignorance,
And misunderstanding of our peers and womenfolk,
That the fleeting raiment of our flesh, yet unbuckled from the fiery spirit within,
May work to some noble, permanent satisfaction.
To scale a mountain tall, and as we fall,
We relish the final rays of the old morning’s dawn,
Let our empires collapse into worthy ruin,
Of memories lost and sundered to all but a few,
And give truth to the lie of Triumph,
that only we shall carry forth,
And recede as the ebb tide.
To cast the gauntlet aside,
And strike with knuckles bared to break upon the perennial stone.
No heed of tribulation and pain,
Gladly, we march to our doom.