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The Maid of Orleans
Reflecting in her garden sits a winsome little maid; She holds a purple flower like the circlet that she made And wrapped about her braids to grace her forehead like a crown; Her thick and shining braids that are the shade of chestnut brown. A soft and dreamy smile lifts her lips of cherry rose As she so elegantly lifts the flower to her nose To smell the rich and heady fragrance rising from its soul- Upon this day in early May, her heart with joy is full. But look! The heavens open wide, and joy is changed to fear, For Michael the Archangel in the garden does appear, And with him stand Saint Margaret and Saint Catharine, sent to seek This girl of twelve, and in her frightened youthful ears to speak Words form the Lord, of how someday, somehow, she'll have to save Her native land, her land of France, from lying in the grave. When in their bright angelic garb these saints to heav'n returned, She knew they had been sent from God, her heart within her burned With strong desire, with heaven's fire, to do her Father's will; Her heart beats hard, while all around is silent, calm and still. The years pass by, now seventeen, her hour is fully come, And what is now but distant fancy, dull and throbbing hum Will be her life, her joy, her pain; her darkness or her light: For God and country, king and freedom, must, she must needs fight. The chains of England must be broken, young prince Charles crowned: A source of hope, of inspiration must for France be found; For civil war rakes raging claws through weary, hopeless men, Who fight and die, and sacrifice, and lose their homes again; Their gardens, flocks and herds, and treasures, all are swept away: With nothing left but life itself, and naught to do but pray. God heard their prayer and sent her there for their deliverance, To lead them on to victory through every circumstance Of treachery or deviltry that loomed on every side. Urged on by all the saints above and martyrs who had died, She bound her armor to her body, helmet to her head; A troop of eager soldiers to the Orleans siege she led. Without a fear she faced the battle, banner held up high; It filled each fainting heart with spirit, waving in the sky: Unfailing, never falling, always standing at the fore, And filling every weary soul with courage to the core. Though wounded by an arrow striking close beside her heart, She still pressed on to victory, she played her vital part. The Maid of Orleans did her best, she held back not at all, But risked her life at every turn to heed her heav'nly call; She fought and bled and braved the beast until her king was crowned, And even then she carried on, she traveled all around: Each city gained broke off the chains of power-hungry kings, Who killed to gain another's land, his citizens and things. Alas! She met her fate at hands that should have helped her cause; The countrymen she battled sold her to be judged by laws And men that all disfavored her, yet still she firmly stood, Proud head held high, two gleaming eyes; she answered best she could Each twisted question meant to trap her clear but simple mind: With wit and art she answered each; they really could not find A cause for death, but death must be for such an enemy The fate; who sees such visions full of vile heresy, Of saints and angels revelating mortals with God's plan. They also charged her with the sin of dressing like a man, But it was of necessity she donned a soldier's guise; For all throughout the war-torn realm roamed pairs of hateful eyes Who did not heed a woman's cries, but did what pleased them best: They killed or maimed or stained for life from eastern France to west. So thus it is, not twenty years, they chain her to a stake- The final chain that no amount of bravery can break. Within her dress, hugged to her chest, she tucks a wooden cross; The symbol of the Son of God, who faced such early loss Of life, and like her was betrayed and mocked and led to die Without a cause, without a crime, without a reason why. Ten thousand people press around; she feels the burning heat, As flames grow hotter, ever hotter- licking at her feet: But on one thing and one thing only both her eyes are fixed; Upon the figure held before her- on the crucifix. And she is thinking of a time that seems so long ago, When as a girl she used to sit and watch her garden grow; She'd pick the purple petaled flowers, braid them in her hair; Her life was simple, pure, and sweet, she hadn't any care Until Saint Michael gave her calling to her way back then. But if she had another life, she'd do it all again, For God and country, king and freedom she could die this death; And so it was that thus she died, and with her final breath Her soul and body parted ways, and while her body burned, Her soul went on to realms unknown, her soul to heav'n returned Into the hands of He who made her, to the arms of Christ the Lord; Who made for her a better body, more than just restored. Here ends the troubles of this maiden, gone are jail cells dark: Forever live the Maid of Orleans, known as Joan of Arc. {Written by Isaiah Zerbst. For the first time published on October the 13th, 2014.}
Copyright © 2020 Isaiah Zerbst. All Rights Reserved