Five Bells Rang

The night before
the battle was won,
we stood guard as
midnight’s bell tolled.

The dawn would come,
but first, swords drawn,
we would fight… one
bell’s tone, pensive,
a harbinger
of the coming
of true sorrow.

That first bell was
regret, but then two,
stomach churning,
from guilt, yearning,
our swords cut through
old, glossy stills
of me and you.

Then three bells rang.

Separated, those
pieces fluttered
to the ground, stamped
by steel boots, what
story could they
tell now? Waiting…

It felt late, four
bells rang, exhausted,
we prayed for wars’
end. Reprieve, peace,
but bitterness
took the place of
regret. Teeth gnashed,
once we realized
that tooth rending
was more pleasing
than sword wielding.

When the five bells
rang, we lay in
tatters. Bleeding,
teeth chattering
from the shock of
the damage done.
The sun rose at
six, six bells rang,
the sun’s light shone
on palisades.

It shone on blood
puddles, tattered
pictures, litter
from lives destroyed.

The warm glow crept
over two hands clasped.
They lay cold, dead,
but they found peace
from the war at
last… or did they

die trying to

to kill the other?

©️ Obol, 2019.

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