In time, a faded letter turned to ash,
dampened teak now acrid and abused,
a timeless quarrel's scene, an ancient clash,
one paroxysm fierce, two mastheads fused.
Subsumed in fortune's cast of reel and ruse,
blended masses nursing wounds and fears
ne'er comprehending how it ended here.
What forced each flag to wield its harshest hand,
yet cause to happenstance may seldom look,
wild thoughts untempered, soldiers of the grand,
nostalgia or clean might for pride mistook.
Fair warning to the hungry, e'en wisest book
makes not the calm of vernal noon's delight
worth more than ashen spoils from the fight.