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Temple of Ares

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Temple of Ares

I watched the endless procession of stalwart youth, resplendent in their panoply gathered, a 
steelly passion filling resolute gait.
And I asked of them, "To what place does such noble assemblage march?"
"To the Temple of Ares, and Glory's Gate, to burn of names in Honor's book 
That they may be reverenced by heroes," said they.

A thousand sundry banners danced in the morning breeze,
And the sun this day was no more radiant than hard Youth's gaze which beheld it.
Then, an eagle, portentious? burst forth from the sky's vast vault to augur their triumph!
But they could not see his tired tear, so far the distance...

And soon, unleashed, the gods of carnage with ghastly abandon sang their drunken 
Practiced hymn-
Of young hearts cleft by musket or spear, "Oh, let swords, lusting, rage,
And thirsting deeply drink
As the glory of kings  is yet again
By the blood of children authored.

Then walked I 'mongst the torn and sacred dead
Through a sea of gore and Glory served...and
Came upon a writhing form whom playful Death had not full claimed
As charred lips mouthed their sad entreating:
"Grant me, sir, some kind embrace,  and a hand not raised in wrath-
for now I die, all dreams undone, as forlorn seas strong beckon."

And then, another broken form lied grasping a comrade's dead limp hand
Whose emptied eyes now stared afixed upon some nameless moment of Eternity,
Lifeless, cold, and  sad, unknowing the touch of the lover's dying kiss
Collapsing, still, and quiet atop him...

A father stooped to lift the head of his precious shattered boy, 
As with Grief's awkward tenderness his fine locks stroked, 
And hoped some life to thereby confer...

And a crescendoing rumble filled the valley. For Ares laughed.

Then I saw a spectral legion and asked of their shadowed ranks-"Where do you march, of
Withered souls?"
"To the House of Death and Tears...alas, to Death and tears."
Behind them not too much afar, with the clamouring of bugles and the thunder of drums rose 
once more the strident cry:"To Glory's Gate!" as in witness the Dead sighed and Ares bellowed 
in his mirth...

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