Battle Against the Night

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This poem was accepted to Windhover 2020, NC State’s literary and art magazine. It also won 1st place in Scribbling Saga, a poetry competition organized by Aarohi 2019, VNIT’s annual cultural festival.

Still-born gasp of my mother’s womb,
Dark night did forever last;
Half-formed babe in half-formed tomb,
Young life interred too fast.

Quaking hands held her steady,
As wind and woman wept;
Green mind, still not quite ready
for the blackness, into which it crept.

Dark warriors from afar, their armour
gleamed with harsh moonlight,
Rain rattled across their metal masks
in cacophony of vicious delight.

Far afield, generals whipped the men
with stirring, frenzied rope;
Clanging shield and thumping boot,
Provided cheap hope.

The heavens beat their divine drum,
Ordaining the battle commence;
Two armies rushed across a muddy plain
Joined in violent embrace.

The dark army tore us apart
As the eagle does the hare;
The clouds parted to a blood-soaked field,
Delighting the cruel gods up there.

Still standing, still desperate,
I squared off against my enemy;
Terror granted my sword flight,
Taking off his head in strokes three.

The battle around me blurred,
As a morbid curiosity overtook;
Stepping toward the cerebral viscera,
I ripped the mask off the mook.

My deathly face gazed back at me,
Death mask, a ghastly treasure;
Fastening it to my bare head,
I experienced a morbid pleasure.

My brethren were all around,
Dark cloaks under weak assault;
With a demonic roar, I reddened my blade
Against the insolent fault.

The darkness claimed victory that day,
As mountains of me piled high;
Thrown into hasty pyres,
For flesh to pollinate the sky.

The battle rages on,
As new soldiers take up the fight;
Yet the empire of darkness grows larger,
And threatens to blot out the light.

Steady hand holds the old,
Dark eyes stare into white;
Both reflect the eternal battle,
The memories of that night.

Abhijeet Krishnan