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The Last Stand

Date Written: November 5, 2017

The Last Stand

Once more into the jungle

Once more into a ruffle

To seize a glorious death

And in that finest hour, in that last fight

To live and die on this day, live and die on this day.


O ye men of Lacedaemon who dwell in the street,

Either your abode will be sacked by an army from east,

Or ye shall mourn Perseus’ children anathemic deed,

For your brave king dies if this prophecy is paid heed!


The Oracle at Delphi had thus prophesised,

Heracles’ son was prepared for the sacrifice.

There stood an enemy of millions, so said Plutarch

It drinks the rivers dry and shakes the ground with its march

That freedom shall prevail but at the cost of blood,

In clash of shield and sword, it will flow like flood.


The king does not sleep, it’s not awe that holds him nor is it fear

It’s the holy month of Carneia, To Spartans which is dear

You cannot take the army thus spake the law;

Its not fear that holds him nor is it awe!

Three hundred against a million; is he making a decision wise?

It’s not fear nor is it awe; just that he has so few to sacrifice.


One last time she saw him, one final good bye,

Not with tears but with smile, she asked him why?

His thoughtful eyes glanced hers, he doesn’t utter a word.

Some thoughts do not provoke, they mesmerize,

Some acts are not seen, they are visualised,

Some feelings are not expressed, they are realized.


The king leaves, words from his dear still resonating,

“With your shield or on it!” she decreed while parting.

A heroes’ land of hill and glen,

He departed with the most valiant Greek men.

For honour’s sake they leave, for Sparta’s sake they will die;

Brothers, fathers, husbands, free men all, in battlefield to lie.

They were awaiting this moment, they were trained for this day;

It’s just that they are so few and there is no other way!

Fiercest warriors of the world, it’s not awe that holds them nor is it fear,

They were born for this effulgent clash of sword, shield and spear!


Flawlessly they killed, fearlessly they fought,

Till the iron of their sword was wrought.

They lost their weapons, yet there was no surrender no retreat,

They fought with their hand and they fought with their teeth.

An unimaginable victory was near,

When they were ditched by someone dear,

The traitor brought them to the brink of defeat,

Yet there was no surrender and no retreat.


The king sent his fellow Greeks back,

To fight another day for it’s not courage that they lack.

Yes they could have retreated too, but the chosen few

Were ready not to see the next morning’s dew.

To live forever or die in freedom’s name

And yet live forever to bask in undying fame;

They could not have retreated; they could not have surrendered,

So bade their law and ‘with your shield or on it’, they remembered.

One last stand, one final fray,

Ready to kiss the glorious day,
They couldn’t have surrendered, they couldn’t have ran,

And yes they fought to the very last man!


Heroes from the land of hill and glen,

The Persian king wondered who were these men?

A mere handful had martyred his ten thousand,

‘They have taken my thirty for every one of their friend’

He asked his vizier, who were these foemen?

And were not they mortal like them?

Yes they feared death, the wise Vizier replied,

The question is what made them embrace it, and not how they died.


There they lied in blood and sand,

All they wanted was their motherland.

To remember them when they are long gone,

The most famous epitaph for them was drawn.

To commemorate their heroic deeds;

Engraved in stone at that holy site it reads;

Go tell the Spartans, Oh stranger passing by,

That here obedient to their laws we lie!


Once more into the jungle

Once more into a ruffle

To seize a glorious death

And in that finest hour, in that last fight

To live and die on this day, live and die on this day.

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