A Geometric Dream

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

–      Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Geometric dream

It was war

War it was, that drove him on all his life
War it was that finally drove him over the edge
He remember only war and the destruction that it wrought
He remembered not that he spake to his country a pledge

Blood, gore, madness had filled his head for years
He saw things which man could never dream
It was bound to happen sooner or later
It happened one night, he woke up with a scream

His soldiers knew not why,
They were too afraid to ask
But from that night on, their leader, it seemed
Had torn off his humane  mask

No longer would he pretend to have ideals
No longer would he pretend to care
He had no humanity left in him
Let any test that theory if they dare

He was in a war to kill
That’s what he’d been trained to do
He would do it, and do it well,
He was his enemy’s worst fear come true

He fought hard and dirty
Wreaked havoc of massive scale
None reported his doings
For none lived to tell the tale

But fate caught up at last
His time on earth was through
For his acts of maddened killing
He now had to pay his due

He slept that night soundly
Clear as crystals was his vision
It arrived in his mind unbidden
But with eagle eyed precision

A geometric dream it is called
A concept not known to all
It can spur man to great deeds
Or it can lead to his downfall

In one night’s sleep he saw
The very essence of the world
He saw where he was headed
He saw how his life unfurled

It was not his creation
It could not have been his own
But now that it was there it could not be forgotten
The seeds of hell had been sown

He awoke, all knowing, all seeing
His mind knew only one path
It led him inevitably down the road
And all in the way felt his wrath

He was a general, a leader elect
He commanded a troop of six hundred men
They were ready to lay down their lives
He only had to tell them when

They trusted him more than themselves
For he had never led them astray
He wielded now this power he had
They had no choice but to obey

He was told by his superior
To make sure his men hold their ranks
Just long enough till the time was right
Then attack from either flank

He cared no longer for orders
He now served a higher cause
There would be no life for men tomorrow
In his march there would be no pause

He knew humanity was doomed
He knew this fact full well
When man reached what he considered heaven
He would pray he’d gone to hell

He wished death upon himself
And on those he valued most
And of every living being on earth
His men always came foremost

And so it was decided by him
He would not die alone
He would take the life of the very men
Of whom so fond he’d grown

But a cowards death would not do
His men did not deserve deceit
Their honor could not be compromised
Even when their end they meet

He rallied his troops, onward they went
He filled in them a passion unmatched
Now six hundred rode to fulfill
A plan that in his sleep was hatched

They rode straight into the heart of the enemy
None knew what awaited them that day
None but him, their maddened chief
All they could do was pray

And then in one dreadful moment they saw
That their preparation had been in vain
So great was the sea of men before them
They’d never live to see the sun rise again

But so great was their faith
So dear to them their honor
They wavered not by their chief’s side
Even when confronted by this horror

They hacked, they sawed
They cut, they clawed
They fought like none had fought before
But look where they might
Everywhere in sight
For each dead man, there were ten more

Valiant men in their prime
Whose bravery was unmatched
Had fallen victim to their general’s crime
And been ruthlessly dispatched

Not many were left to see the view
For most were already dead
But the extraordinary few, who made it through
Saw only visions of red

Their compatriots, their mates
Their brothers, their sons
Lay dead to the world
Deformed by guns

Some were maddened in these last moments
Their hearts could not bear the dread
Others accepted death with honor
And smiled at the man who severed their head

But no smile could rival his
The man who was the cause of it all
He stood convinced that into place
Every piece in his plan would fall

He feared no more the concept of death
Fear to him was a thing of the past
It could be this very fearlessness
That helped him survive to the last

At last he looked upon the fields
And saw each of his men had perished
None were left of the six hundred
Of whose so many memories he cherished

His job was done, his time had come
And none would go as peacefully as him
He gazed one last time upon the world
And in that moment, his face was grim

He saw his enemy, remembered his friends
To one and all he bade goodbye
He jumped into the midst of chaos
And thus, on his own terms, did he die

Men don’t know this story
They knew not what had transpired
For all had perished on that day
Long before the last shot was fired

So they did what all men do
They made up a heroic tale to tell
For man always concocts a legend
To hide a concept he doesn’t understand well

And so it happened that this man
By whose hand six hundred had died
Was made a hero by clueless men
And all told his tale with pride.


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