EMPIRE HILL – a poem


(a poem by Deepak Menon)
The battle lost , the remnants fled
Of the once proud host, gallantly led
By flamboyant officers in flashing red
Nursing wounds that profusely bled

Not long ‘ere had bounded up the hill
Hearts pounding, flush’d with the thrill
Of certain victory, no thought that ill

Could befall them, of indomitable will

Almost at the summit, they heard a shout
“NOW LADS,” and then, there flashed out
A wall of flame, from the silent redoubt

And then began the rout

Of the greatest army the world had known
By ragged farmers in skin and bone
Who rebelled against the British throne
To found a nation of their own

A haphazard derelict mob, of motley men
With flintlocks so old, some knew not when
they had been made, or even when
had last been used, or would function then.

They crouched behind their earthen mound
which they, overnight, had raised from the ground,
And with haggard eyes looked around
Their ears filled with the thunderous sound

Of the Redshirts charging, in full cry

And each thought, he’d surely die
And his body rotting there would lie
Food for the vultures circling high.

For ammunition, they almost had none
No strength had they to try to run
Just one thought, into their minds was drum’d
Hold fire, and the battle is won

So there they crouched with simple faith

Until t’was almost too late
For nearly upon them, crazed with hate
Loomed the enemy, invincible and great

Then suddenly they heard, the awaited shout

“FIRE,” and the trusty flints belched out
A sheet of death in a mighty gout
Which toss’d the British right about.

Like corks floating in a stormy sea
Shattering instantly, what used to be
The pride of the Empire’s army

But the farmers still crouched wearily.

Not even knowing, they had toll’d
That day on Bunker Hill
The bell, whose chimes rolled

Around the world until……


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