Battle Of Blood River Poem by Alf Hutchison

Battle Of Blood River

Rating: 5.0

Sixty four wagons in laager; the night mist cold and bland,
These Boers were merely farmers, going north in search of land.
Surrounded now by Zulus, their presence was foreboding,
Twenty thousand warriors; drumming, shouting, goading.

Laagered Boers for many days, upon their knees had prayed,
“Lord help us in our hour of need, for we are so afraid”,
At noon they made their covenant, with Spirit, God and Son,
Being hopelessly outnumbered; two score and ten to one.

First light of coming morn, the fog was slowly lifted,
The warring drums crescendo, to battle cry had shifted.
Boer spread out upon the ground, shielded by his wagon.
They lay as executioners; this was no day for flagon.

Boer’s wives were not at liberty, to fire upon the foe,
They stood beside the men, their hearts vexed full of woe.
The thunder of the muskets, the battle tempest fanned;
Flintlock barrels loaded, by females trembling hand,

Woman loaded muskets, with powder, shot and waste,
Tamping down each barrel, with calculated haste,
The noise of battle deafening, its smoke a screen of white;
Confused bewildered warriors, left the battlefield in flight.

Respite to reload muskets, to take stock of the dead,
Not one Boer was missing; they counted every head.
Now soon the killing ground, slow stream of Zulu blood
Would by the time of nightfall, be a scarlet river flood.

With sun now at its zenith, bloody battle resumed afresh.
Impi warriors advancing; human sculls adorned their flesh,
Brandishing their assegais’, shield, spears and their staves,
Three cannons tore into their ranks; yet still they came in waves,

When the heat of battle ended, and the smoke spiraled away,
Three thousand dead drugged warriors, on battlefield there lay.
One thousand more lay wounded, proud dignities offended;
Brave Boers to their feet arose; and to Zulu wounds attended.

God had given them the victory, these farmers’ kith and kin
For not one of His was lost, whom He had laagered in
He had kept them from the Philistines, for they all loved to pray,
And they still love and honor God, their Victor … to this day.

Alf Hutchison

Anjali Sinha 01 May 2009

victory and defeat always associated with blood nice poem dear Alf -10 anjali (do read mine Megalomania)

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Laurie Hill 01 May 2009

A very captivating read Alf with excellent imagery....very good....

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Bob Blackwell 01 May 2009

Alf, you write with realism in rhyme, your description took me there. Excellernt write. Bob

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Susan Bagley 01 May 2009

Alf, this is an amazing Ballad. I was there and I could see and feel the terror and smell the smoke. This is truly a good work and seems to be a gift with you. Well done. Susan

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Muhammad Ali 02 May 2009

Your master piece Alf... nice work!

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Angelic Warrior 26 August 2009

brilliant yet sad......war is a dreadful thing......but truly an amazing story....i say both a poet and an author.....i like the rhythm of drum beat :)

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Alf Hutchison 12 July 2009

Member: Kumeshnee West Fantastic poem Alf. I could actually imagine the beating drums. Beautifully written. Well done! Kumeshnee West

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Henry Brown 12 July 2009

Alf this as good as I have ever read. God has really given you a calling. This gift MUST be used to HIS glory. Stay sensitive and humble and see what the Lord will do through you.

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Sathyanarayana M V S 05 May 2009

I never read a poem as keenly as I did this; that too a long narrative. Full of thrills, tempo and excellent narration. One of the greatest poems indeed.

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Nkululeko Mdudu 05 May 2009

the battle against sin in a war of will. though I would contest some sentiments expressed in this poem, I would first of all like to acknowledge that it is a good poem, worthy of praise. My only objection is the implication that the Zulus were some evil Philipineic presence hindering the progress of some benevolent boers. no! It is my belief that the reason for the Zulus' loss was their failure to communicate with and understand their foes, for indeed they were but farmers. It is sadly the case in most battles that two parties don't communicate, but whether inwardly or otherwise, each soul on that battlefield could pray.

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