MATT LEPORATI

 

She Gazes

 

She gazes out upon the battlefield,

Her mind recoiling at the carnage unfolding

Before her eyes; and though her sad heart feels

Sympathy with those dying men, the rolling

Sounds of war stir the soul--her resolve yields

And she finds herself secretly exulting

Beneath an outward mask of horror. Pain

Exists with pleasure, for both are the same.

 

Howls and shrieks and moans escape the lips

Of men beneath her, fighting in her name;

They perish, spilling out their blood, which drips

With sickening, icy motion through the veins

Of dirt beyond Troy's walls, as dark blood slips

Through the chambers of Helen's heart in vain.

This suffering and death to her is love;

She views those broken, pain-wracked bodies with lust.

 

All in her name! All for her, Helen sweet!
For her, these chains, machinery of war,

For her, the monotony of fierce drum beat,

For her, the blood, the screams, the sighs, the gore!

For her, the stampede of those marching feet.

She winces, yet her soul calls out for more:

On with the show, the great struggle of life!

The quest for Helen flanked by Mis'ry and Strife.

 

One boy she spies, one she has seen each day,

Barely a man, so innocent and dear.

Each night, this maiden lifts her voice to pray

That ere long in her arms he may appear.

She watches with bated breath as the fray

Of battle enswathes her chosen with fear.

If only she could kiss away his sighs,

And douse all pain with true love's sweet reprise....

 

Dream lovers, gazing at one another

From far away, lost in fond fantasy,

One thrust into a rough band of brothers,

The other looking on from luxury.

Yet Helen now sees herself with utter

Contempt, disgusted by hypocrisy.

Can she care for this boy and yet desire

To see his flesh consumed by war's harsh fire?

 

Love and Death dance together in tandem;

Each dwells deeper than the other--their play

Defines our souls. Their constant tension

Tears at every heart, the soul assays,

The mind torments with fiendish apprehension.

Impulses gleam from out of a female's gaze.

What lurks beneath our thoughts we cannot fathom,

But Death's scream is far too much like Orgasm's.

 

She gazes down across the combat scene,

Her blood heating as she beholds her dear

Attack his foes, revel in their defeat,

His sweaty body heaving as he cheers

With his compatriots, with whom he competes

For fair Helen's attention. His glittering spear

Twirling above his head, catching the eyes

Of one who lusts for his safety and demise.

 

The weight of war bears down upon his shoulders,

Day by day, his body loses resolve

To continue, his weary form grows older;

Year by year, the souls of the dead revolve

About his mind; Helen only grows colder.

The ghastly burden that combat involves!

At last, his tortured body escapes its pain,

Expiring on the sharp end of a blade.

 

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SENTINEL POETRY (ONLINE) #31, JUNE 2005. ISSN 1479-425X