Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Kings

A man said unto his Angel:
"My spirits are fallen low,
And I cannot carry this battle:
O brother! where might I go?

"The terrible Kings are on me
With spears that are deadly bright;
Against me so from the cradle
Do fate and my fathers fight."

Then said to the man his Angel:
"Thou wavering, witless soul,
Back to the ranks! What matter
To win or to lose the whole,

"As judged by the little judges
Who hearken not well, nor see?
Not thus, by the outer issue,
The Wise shall interpret thee.

"Thy will is the sovereign measure
And only events of things:
The puniest heart, defying,
Were stronger than all these Kings.

"Though out of the past they gather,
Mind's Doubt, and Bodily Pain,
And pallid Thirst of the Spirit
That is kin to the other twain,

"And Grief, in a cloud of banners,
And ringletted Vain Desires,
And Vice, with the spoils upon him
Of thee and thy beaten sires, --

"While Kings of eternal evil
Yet darken the hills about,
Thy part is with broken sabre
To rise on the last redoubt;

"To fear not sensible failure,
Nor covet the game at all,
But fighting, fighting, fighting,
Die, driven against the wall." _Louise Imogen Guiney

As I sit in my flat and ponder the execution and aftermath of the glorious Warsaw Uprising, I shiver. I know what I love so much about the Polish Nation; heroism and martyrdom still breathe alive through a generation not entirely gone from this Earth, pulses beat now that did beat in an age of heroes. There are testimonies in flesh here as well as in stone.

I think of the Polish resistance against the twin heads of the Godless Right and Left, and I find I can believe in anything. Achilles's shield blinds my eyes; the Maccabean sword pierces my vision. The Song of Roland rings in my ears as does the whizzing shaft of Robin, the Hooded Man. Arthur's mallet shatters my stony, sceptical heart, and my faith in man is renewed. Even the cringing treachery of the West and the demonic brutality of the East cannot draw a veil over the deeds of this 'Christ of Nations.'

Sixty-six years hence though, I see worrying trends paired with encouraging ones in a nation despised by the 'little judges,' yet revered by the truly wise. As I ready myself for the pilgrimage from Warsaw to Częstochowa, my first plea is to the souls of the heroes for their intercession. Their nation still requires their aid.


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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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