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The Battle of the Coastal Raiders

One of my best fantasy poems, or better termed: “battle poems”, it is also one of the most popular poems read on this site in that genre. This fantasy poem tells the story of a great battle fought when raiders, in great ships invaded the kingdom. Only luck finds them out in time, and the King rushes to set a deadly trap to save his kingdom that results in a bloody battle where only the brave survive. The tactics involved in the battle are taken from three separate major battles of the ancient world. To me, it is an allegory of courage, and a representation that only those brave enough to fight for what they believe in, survive the onslaught. The words: “Kingdom ah this blessed land, these castle walls they hold” is a phrase that overwhelms me on an emotional level, every time I read it. It is a personal favorite of fantasy poetry, with deep personal meaning.
©2011 by Jon Gutmacher
Thru the clearing
he did go
bow at ready
sword in tow

 

there a ship
upon the rise
full of warriors
huge surprise

 

“Warn the others while I stay!
“use all speed
to get away
bring the army
bring the knights
make them march
throughout the night!

 

“Tell the king
the enemy’s here
armed with swords
shield, and spear

 

A hundred in each ship I see
four ships have landed
I still
count three!

 

The squire ran
as hard, he could
thru the trees
and thru the wood
thru the fields
to castle gate
there collapsed
but not too late

 

Gasping
Gasping
weak with pain
breathing heavy
almost lame

 

“Raiders, come!
“They’ve come by boat
“Seven hundred
to kill and smote
My Knight is waiting
He spied them all
Hurry, Sire
Lest all
we fall

 

“To Arms! To Arms!
bring kingdom out!
Gather the archers
the King did shout!
Put on your swords
Grab lance and shield
Take none alive
and do not yield!

 

For this is not a game we play
it is survival
or we die, this day
I know these scum who invade our land
they kill all men
and let nothing stand

 

They rape the women
keep those most fair
the rest are killed
without a care
all homes are burned
the castles torn
they steal the livestock
they burn the corn

 

The children are
all kept as slaves
to tend their fields
to serve their games
to sacrifice
to beat with pain
we stop them here
Our Gods, ordain!

 

“My King
the army is assembled now
one thousand strong
as you allow
three hundred bows
two hundred horse
the rest with sword
it’s quite a force

 

“What order, Lord?
What now we do?
How will the battle
be planned
by you?

 

“We cannot meet them on the beach

their ships have landed
their lines be neat
an ambush must
we somehow make
take archers hence
and put up stakes

 

For as they pass
on yonder road
they’ll come thru clearing
where we – untold
will have our archers
hidden at either side
we’ll take them fast
‘fore they can hide
and once our arrows take their toll
with sword and horse
we’ll run them cold

 

And so the plan was made to be
and huntsmen left
so silently
to watch the foe
to kill their scouts
to report to King
and set the rout

 

And everything did go as planned
the Raiders came
thru road and land
and in the clearing
they were met
with arrows
they would not forget

 

And men were pierced
and horses too
their shields were down
before they knew
that ambushed well
oh that, they be
they died by hundreds
for all to see

 

And then the army
with swords draw out
came thru the wood
with one great shout
and charged the confusion
like a wall of steel
their swords like talons
with death
did deal

 

The invaders crumbled
and began to flee
and then the knights charged
forcefully
at full gallop horse
they ran them down
the blood flowed free
as hoofs did pound

 

Not one, was spared
that bloody day
their ships were burned
none got away
and when the King
came on the field
the carnage there
so bloody real

 

“So, this – the lesson
that we teach
Our kingdom safe
beyond harm’s reach
For today you’ve saved your land
and King
Your families live
Now minstrels sing

 

For feast we will
this bloody night
for we survived
the awful fight

 

Our children live
our crops grow tall
our women laugh
our enemies fall

 

And every year
this Raider Day
We’ll remember well
and each will say:
“That vigilance will
protect us all
Lest our land
and kingdom fall

 

For we stood and fought
where others flee
and because of that
we still are free

 

And Kingdom
ah, this blessed land
these castle walls
they hold!

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