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Desmond Tarrant




‘Of Lunar Madness’

Of Lunar Madness

        "As long as you do not contain
	The truth of death and of rebirth,
	An alien wanderer you remain
	Upon a dark and troubled Earth."


	The vaults are bright with silver light tonight,
	As the moon trails her dress across the heavens.
	While this moon maintains her ocean vigil,
	The sea-washed air's a tonic everywhere.

	Yet from the misty edges of the moor
	Come armies marching bold beneath the stars.
	A motley crowd they seem, undisciplined
	And boisterous, all boasting of their deeds,
	With armour clanking loud, strong bows and swords.

	But these go by along a country road
	Past cottages of thatch and steeples tall,
	To fade into the night with Agincourt.

	See, from the mist along the river, comes
	Another column marching as to war.
	These, with cruel coats of red, keep lines to
	Scale the heights with Wolfe or stand at Waterloo.
	Yet, falling in battle, they seem the same,
	These ever growing mighty multitudes.

	Now, from another quarter through the trees,
	A line in khaki comes in fours, chanting,
	With rolling drums, pipes, flags and banners, just
	The same as those who fought those other fights.
	These as well have faces which seem as known
	As a close friend, as down the highway they
	Stride in ranks, singing Tipperary's song.
	Now these have tanks and ships of iron. Up
	Above are birds of prey, with men apart,
	Guarding this army's way through hail of steel.

	Watch where across the meadow tread our last
	Assemblies of the night.  The moon shines clear
	To show the many who in silence march
	Still to go, now without a song, along
	This road again, as their aircraft dive and
	Swoop, while the summer night's transformed and Hell
	Explodes across the road, the field strewn thick.

	Never yet was devilish Death so skilful.

	But yet are we with our own petard hoist.
	What more intends pitiless Fate tonight
	As we advance with deadly nuclear power?

	For if these vaults so bright with silver light
	Must find us born anew, we cannot go
	Again the road beside the river through
	The meadow by the trees to Agincourt -
	That regressive route is barred for ever.

	Let us watch the Instigator closely,
	As the moon behind the clouds discreetly
	Slips, releasing us from her spell. Is light
	Within enough to see, with plans all sound,
	All orders right, to give us peace tonight,
	When her face she shows again, stirring the
	Ocean forces at her hem still trailing?
	Or must we fall upon the misty moor,
	Not breathing the moon-kissed air until the dawn?

	These are the questions we all must answer,
	Til the risen sun sets us free at last.

	4th March, 1961
	Revised 24th March, 2000