THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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by KR Slade
I finished at school then home I came.
And fourteen days past Christmas next
my father went in sleep to his grave.
When I had forgotten so long before
the stories at bedtime that he had told.
I’d always to sleep and miss some part
but waked again to hear some more;
so all the story I’d often heard but never
remembered from start to end, the all.
Wasn’t it just of our to-make-believe ?
Didn’t we laugh because it wasn’t true ?
But now I know that jest was only just
to make it less scary for then and now.
The legend that would for me come true.
What little child dreams not of knights ?
Big they; strong; protect from dark nights.
The horse must of white, so too the armoured knight.
With touches of gold on spurs and swords,
handles, hilt, and harness: to herald.
Shield, with that more-ancient cross of ours,
held high on arm to cover heart to thwart,
while the hand holding reins aims stead.
Above all: sword drawn, held high, the ready.
Always red: all-behind Sir Knight and horse
on fields of battles: that is a crest of blood.
That mighty, charging, mounted knight be Vytis.
We, who know, are of his people, tribe, and nation.
He knows us, each and every one of us that be,
and may again demand any/all of us to his army;
and each and every one of us, we’d have no choice,
have to go, to answer the call, mustered we’d must.
But not to worry, you my cousins; just this, a story.
Legends have their ways with little boys and girls.
And scary times remember many bedroom nights.
Makes sleep so preferable to wakened fright.
An anniversary later of Dad’s death came Vytis.
For others he comes at times significant to them.
Riding calmly to my bedside that unexpected night;
Warm moist breath again from horse’s hairy nostrils
tickled my belly, made me giggle, awakened me gently.
We needed not introductions, the Sir Knight and I.
We had been known to each, the other, long-time now.
He spoke to me in a language that I did not know;
no matter language; I knew his message instinctively.
His message: he was going to be coming back for me.
Further anniversaries passed; nothing new much noticed.
Then, un-foretold was to be what was the penultimate:
Vytis and stead arrived on the hour’s time, with news
that anniversary next, that I was to be ready-waiting;
When I was going with them, and never coming back.
To a far-off land, I’d never known: but there, home.
No, I would not need to take any thing, all awaited me.
There was no thing more to do, to come more ready.
That night, I would be ready, as had I always been.
It would just be then, that was my-own time to go.
When the time was coming, I was so much excited.
Many nights I could not sleep, for not knowing when.
The days I busied in preparing, yet not-knowing what,
until consumed by unknown, but certain fate, I slept.
To be awakened once again by horsy, hairy breath,
Soft, nudging nose caressing, tickling me to wake.
But it was only noble horse, and me; no knight.
No knight; at least not yet, until I dressed myself
in that white shining armour, so heavily laden-on,
from on horse’s back to mine, together to horseback.
I was quite surprised to know how it all fit together.
Seemed to come quite natural, one piece, then the next.
I mounted, rode some, then we went from trot to gallop.
To more time in air than to touching ground we went.
Until I was feeling as comfortable as ever I had known,
and there afterwards as fearless as I have never known.
My left side shielding sword sheath near to my dagger.
Reins effortlessly I holding to my horse’s bridled head,
that so-gallant beast, my friend, who knew my mind.
My right arm drew and brought up that mighty sword.
Above my helmet, to sail and rudder through the wind.
When in time a voice in passing yelled to me, “Vytis !”
I turned to look, in autonomic acknowledgment.
When then, I remembered all, that of the legend old.
How Vytis is reborn/renewed, from time-to-time.
For an unknown time since, I live in a forest deep.
And there when I do sleep, my horse be by me;
I am-become the warrior, not ever unescorted.
He standing by my trident boughs of mighty oak;
still, always warming me: his body and breath.
I safe at home in my sacred three-forked tree fort.
He still always holding all my armour, at the ready.
With close nearby other faithful sons and daughters,
in our quiet armies ready, as we must always be.
And hover-over all of us does stand guard our God,
Perkunas, his thunder ready; never does He sleep;
old-looking, ancient man, white haired and bearded:
God of all thunder, lightening too; chief of all the gods.
So sleep you well too, now, all my young cousins,
you of our nation now republic’d, finally, once again.
You: safe, secure, with good tomorrows coming.
Remember: be ready, always, to take your turn as Vytis.
And now rest well, to know and remember: legends live.
All Rights Reserved: 2004
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