Remote on a forsaken snowdrift
With windswept eyes, he faced
An enemy blown in on North winds
A terror from the elements.
Scantily clad, he waited
Teeth set, lips trembling- with
Excitement or fear, he knew not which-
Minutes passed, cold and wet ones
Fatigue and pain subservient
To self preservation.
“Let them come, I am ready”
He repeated, yet girded himself and
Tried to wrap,
What few garments he had, about him-
Melodramatic and nostalgic
Thoughts recurred- of what had been
And what would be, if only.
He weakened at several times- but
At each lapse recovered spirit.
After eternities, he shifted feet
And noticed the previous stiffness
Now, afraid to move-
Lest physical relief banish determination.
At last, temptation ever gaining ground,
With diminishing hours and increased pain-
He moved—about a step
And then, defeat followed,hot upon heels
It had come – would soon come
Now it mattered not, for he had lost.
With shame in his breast, he
The will to do battle left him.
He settled in the warmest corner
Where the others were resting, and …
At last, his hand let go the sword
Clenched in his tightened fist
And let it fall with a clatter
Amidst the great pile of swords
In the middle of the room.
-p (attributed to Leonard N. Shapiro, circa. 1949, w/ed.)