"The Traveler and Long Tom"

More of the Traveler's Tales by John R. Yaws.  There are several episodes posted here on my website.  - poetheart 07/30/01

The clash o' steel, an' labored breath-
The stench o' fear, the smell o' death-
For wha', I ask ye? Land an' fame?
Or in defense o' some fair name?
Nay, lad, 'tis for the feel o' gold…
So 'ard to get, then 'ard to hold.
Wha' called we Scots to foreign fields-
To pay our way, wi' steel, cold steel.
I mind the time we fought in France-
Them froggies sure could skip an' dance
An epee, I believe it's called-
Or rapier? They be toys all!
They's somethin' 'bout a claymore's swing-
A hefty blade…ah, 'ear 'er sing!
An' just the thing to cut through mail-
I've never known 'er once to fail.
I mind the time, Long Tom an' me…
Were in a glade, a fixin' tea-
A score o' troops should 'appen by-
I looks at Tom, an' catched 'is eye…
"Why, Tom, Old sport.. a lovely day-
for men o' war to sport an' play!"
'E said, "Too right"! an' drew 'is blade..
An' in amongst 'em we did wade.
Surprised was they? Why, I should smile!
Their archers arrows all flew wild…
They tried to stand, bu' not fer long!
They could na stand our claymore's song.
Ah, Tom! 'e were a fightin' man!
An' never slow to lend a hand…
I 'eard 'im laugh, an' seen 'im cry…
An' 'eld 'is 'ead an' watched 'im die.
I've seen 'em come, an' watched 'em go-
As age an' blade di' lay 'em low-
Ah, in the East it's growin' pale…
I guess I'll end me Traveler's Tale.

© by John R. Yaws

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August 2001, John R. Yaws Interview sections you may visit (click)
Other poetry by John