Lynn W. Petty
A-9-Blandis - Poem by Lynn W. Petty
Shall I remind you of your mother's rule?
"Its either with your shield or on it." Yet,
If we return without our arms and mewl,
That we were forced to flee, while under threat,
Would it seem less than base if we had fled
While under arms? Shall I remind you what
The captive said, his words, with arms outspread,
Before my sword had made the final cut?
"Then kill me, I shall never be your slave."
Like he, I choose my death as my escape.
To die in battle, lie within my grave,
Than serve Xerxes. Take note of our landscape,
Think not of Persian terrors. We heard all
When we were first sent out. Let Xerxes see
That we three hundred Spartans will not crawl
Upon the field of battle. We proudly
Die before accepting his demand for
Our obeisance. Let him learn the rate
Of value placed upon this war. Our corps
Must give consideration, calculate
The numbers of our men this place will hold.
Respond as messengers? Not we Spartans. We
Return when we have won this fight. Be bold,
Be glad the others left we Spartans free
To face the act assigned to us. We serve
A moral obligation, custom, law.
Waste not your breath and energy. Conserve
Your strength. Speak not again that we withdraw
Our force and flee the Eastern hosts. Who fled
Our ranks I do not know but I, for one,
Am glad to fight with men whose fathers bled
At Marathon. Weak is your persuasion
That we will die. Are we not Spartans all?
Retreat is blasphemy. Be glad that they
Have left us here to answer Greece's call.
Our purpose now at this chokepoint; delay
And stall the Persian force, to dull the edge
Of their advance. Be thankful that our host
Has fled; too narrow is the pass to wedge
So many men. Now I can make the most
Of this small space. I can now maneuver.
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