I don't normally run poems, but this one- about Revy War reenacting - is rather good. - Jonah

The Farbiad - An Epic

By Lee Bienkowski

(With apologies to Alexander Pope.)


Like a spark from a frizzen Old Sol has risen

To light up the way to the head.

In tents without number the snores of the slumber

Would be certain to waken the dead.

On pallets of straw, and some in the raw

These valiant warriors lay

All gathered together in spite of the weather

To enter historical fray.


On a Saturday mom so newly born

The sane would be lying asleep,

But Aurora's pink rays, as they poke through the haze

Find the camp already, acreep.

Some stagger and totter through chiggers and water

To answer the call of the wild

While huddled round fires the whiners and criers

Are wishing the weather more mild.


There are sausages broiling and pots full a-boiling

With a dark unsavory brew.

Then some will at last start breaking their fast

On bacon and gunpowder stew.


As the sun rises higher, from repose round the fire

Men in frocks begin to appear.

If they look rather green, then the cause can be seen -

Overindulgence in mugs of good cheer.


Then the tourists descended with kids unattended

To ramble all over the lawn,

And the point of their queries, the profoundest of theories:

"Aren't you hot in what you've got on?"


As the time for the stagement of the fateful engagement

Reaches its final fruition

Scouts pass through the camp, through dry ground and damp

Brimming with false information.


From the cloud of confusion is born the illusion

That someone is really in charge,

And the word is sent out by some lubberly lout

For commanders to assemble at large.


A group so diverse nor very much worse

Has likely never been seen

Than the officer corps of this phony war

Massed at the head of the green.


Like bold Alexander the British commander

Shone like a ray of the sun

In gobs of gold lace in every known place

And epaulets weighing a ton;


And round him his court all eager for sport

Make for a glittering mob.

Fine birds of a feather, they whisper together

Of how they'd do a much better job.


Loudest of all was Major McBall

'Til his sergeant gives him to know

That their one private man has a flat on his van

And will so be unable to show.


With a bad Scottish hlt a man in a kilt

Declares himself ready to please.

But who can delight at the horrible sight

Of two acres of hairy white knees?


In the midst of his flock like a proud turkey cock

The rebel commander does preen.

Even a fraction of his self-satisfaction

Is a thing that is rare to be seen.

Ragged of shirt and nurtured with dirt

His officers echo his mien

And declare to a man that their patriot clan

Is the best the world has yet seen.


That brave man of danger, the Billy Bob ranger

In every detail complete

In his cap with a tail, a frock fit for a sail,

And rubber-soled shoes on his feet.

He flourishes his rifle which weighs not a trifle

And vows himself able to stand

In the face of the thunder of cannon and blunder'

With the rest of his elephantine band.


The chatter belayed, the battle plans made

By this rather dubious crew.

That it resembles not history should not be a mystery

'Cause much must be made from a few.


While the officers mill and the infantry drill

The ladies remain by the fire.

Dressed large and small in gowns fit for a ball-

'Tis not that they sweat - they perspire.

There are spinners, some weavers, some with mighty big cleavers

To prepare the meal for Noon,

And some must stand fast to defend the repast

Armed with frying pan and a spoon.


Their appetites sated, their bellies inflated

The armies begin their collection.

The soldiers, they scratch bug bites by the batch

While they wait for their daily inspection.

With rusty brown lock, some won't hold half cock,

They hold their arms at full reach.

The rod lands with a thud in some stinky black crud

That thrives at the base of the breech.


Though the time for the fray is near an hour away

They march in ranks ever so neat.

The squeak of the fife is disturbingly rife,

And each drum on a different beat.

The field's not far - at least for a star

But soon the men start to complain

Of how their heads spin, of shoes not broken in,

And some go decidedly lame.


0 and the field! As large as a shield

And as full of mud as a sty.

Clouds are taking the place of the sun's kinder face.

'Tis not a good-day for to die!

But our warriors bold, they sneer at the cold.

They're as at home on the ground as a stoat,

It's not that they fear the muck of the mere

But it's tough to get mud off one's coat.


The battle line drawn, it's time to go on

And so sound the opening shot.

Soon the men choke in the acrid gray smoke

But they keep up a fire that's hot.

While the flints remain keen and the frizzens are clean

The volleys go off at the call.

But in spite of the roar from the great cannon's bore

There's not a man yet who will fall.


0, but alas, in another grand pass

An immortal finally retires.

Having then found the driest of ground

He melodramatically expires.

But do not mourn for this warrior bom

To die with his buckled shoes on

For you will soon see he's under a tree

Taking snaps with a pocket Nikon.


The colorful lines, they tramp the inclines

In manner most laborious

For a while they bide 'til the day's chosen side

Must somehow emerge victorious.

There are some who might say the losers today

Should win because they have more

But there are some who won't play if they lose every day

And so they must die by the score.


Into nemesis' maw they march crying "Huzzah!"

Seeking a warrior's bier.

But see how the foe on their frizzens do blow

For none of their muskets will fire.

But into the breech as all do beseech

Does a lonely rifleman stride

He takes careful aim, for it would be a shame

If he missed that flowing great tide.


The flint strikes on steel, the gun gives a peel

That the huzzahs of the enemy drown;

But that one lone shot, so mighty, has brought

All of the enemy down!


The field is strewn in the mid-afternoon

But the fallen won't lie there for long.

Soon those who choose will be swigging down brews,

Their voices in cacophonous song.