When the Legions Came
Above the North wind at the edge of the known world
where talking heads and giants dwell
and where stories of dragons unfurled,
lay an Isle of mystery and mists
a blessed land of apples, unicorn kissed
or so their legends went…
It was how they saw our land.
To claim it for their own their plan,
so a vast army they sent
to make desolation and call it peace
Pax Romana Ha!
For centuries to be slaves no hope of release.
Across the ferocious mere in galleys they rode
wave horses bucking them to and fro
Eagle standards like needles on show.
Legions of conquest with craven allies came
from this day forth
nothing would ever be the same.
Samnites, Thracians and treacherous Gaul’s
Roman denarii filling their treacherous halls
Some we had met and fought before
In the lands of Iberia
These arrogant men of war
never had such a machine violated
our blessed Isle, our sacred shores.
These whores from foreign lands
with scorpion, ballistae and catapult
who came to taint the pure white sands.
Sky sheep away from the horizon flocked
from the shadow of the thunder-wolf,
who with lightening smile mocked
our bodies in woad strung blue
lime washed hair stiffened a frightening hue
And Torc’s that shone with the power of Sol.
We monsters of the Isles bared our teeth,
ready their bodies to rend, their blood to shed
upon the slashing swords of the murderous horde
bound with madness by the Druids cord
drunk, on stewed mandrake and henbane brew
the chosen of the Gods, berserkers insane
the sacred few.
The war raven on black wing flew…
Waiting to pick the bones of those we slew.
Singing irrational anthems clashing our shields,
their blood we’d spill on the green of our fields.
Their auxiliary curs cowed as the great boar
Carnyx howled, ‘R’vannith’ our deafening roar
and charged after our chariots leading us into war
and death rained from above.
Cracking limb and crushing bone
we tired to drive these invaders home
hack by slash back into the sea
but it became a blood soaked melee.
Draco’s cavalry with whistling
dragons on our flanks
the whistles became a deafening roar
as they smashed our ranks…
from that point on we were lost
for centuries to pay the cost
the legions came.
Upon pilum and gladius we died
in our thousands, and our women cried
before their liberty was taken without a smile
by the legions who destroyed
the myth of the misty Isle.
So fugacious fugitives we became
wraiths haunting our own land
our insurrection a game
doomed not to last
as into legend we passed
Nothing was ever the same
once the legions came.
© P Williams 2005