Remnants of my lesser lives,
memories of souls slain in warring dues,
and lilting the breeze that reminds me of plays
long passed, long lost in time’s refrain,
yet I know they were, the harsh blood spilling,
the cries of pain and the chilling cold of death,
as I bereft of caring, sword dripping,
fulfilled my role.
Like waves of the past, they find my heart,
and I do not regret what they were,
just know it was all I could do then,
when life demanded a rapier steel
to end my foes, and I, well met for my disposing of,
those who were opposing for what I stood
fell for justifiable truths,
at least what I believed.
Recall I do pious times,
of monks clad in grey habits,
prayer beads and solemn vows of chastity,
rituals of a timely procession,
hard truths when obedience mattered,
and the church was the rule, blasphemy a rule not broken,
else the stake and fire to cleanse,
a bitter way for a life to end.
Then in mines so dark and bleak,
Welsh winters and little to eat,
and in the coalface a living made,
to support a family, so easily made broken
by ill-health or pneumonia,
children lost so often in the bitter chills of winter,
living off bread and broth.
Then in European brothels,
a man about town, wealthy, a businessman,
pin-striped suits and top hat,
gold watch on a chain,
and girls of every kind to uphold the trade,
business good, the law all paid,
and few fights by drunken fools,
alive and bemused by abundant coin.
These run through my mind,
the circumstances so vast and none too kind,
but I admit I’ve been, in every one far from dreams,
and accept I do these lives that I once knew,
facets of this soul’s pursuit,
in living and learning an earthly life,
despite the times and limits,
each one a memory, a part of me.
Tony DeLorger © 2018