Poem 156 – The Second Horseman

Who sings of feeble pestilence,
That assassin in the night?
Who cares for callous Famine,
Who kills without a fight?
Of course all must answer Death
When they take their final breath,
But who is feared more than War
Who makes Creation his whore?

See his red mace and bloody garb,
His spurs of iron, his hair of fire,
Fear him as he rides you down,
Oh poor victim of his ire.
This is the warrior horseman,
Who reduces men to beasts,
As nation tears nation to pieces,
Foul War shall have his feast.

And when the final fire fills the sky,
Out rides War, his comrades at his side,
To spread the hate of man for man –
The flame of final fury shall be fanned.
And in the end as the sky turns red,
And the earth is stained with the blood of the dead,
He’ll make the last men face each other,
And engage in battle, the final brothers.


Dear readers,

I’ll admit it, I quite enjoyed writing this one. One question that came to me was in the second verse, however – did I want to say ‘country’, ‘state’, or ‘nation’? A country is generally seen as a territory under a state, so the question came down to ‘do I want to say two governments (a state) or two peoples (a nation) fight wars?’ This is a debate that has raged for a long time – can you fight a war if not a state?  I chose to say nation, in light of all the civil guerrilla wars that are being waged as we speak. But then are these nations? The definition of nation is a fascinating subject – Benedict Anderson‘s idea of an ‘Imagined Political Community, imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign’ is one that I quite like, but some have questioned aspects of it (notably Gellner). Both men are worth looking up, and I’d appreciate your comments.

Kind regards,

The Hapless Neo-Romantic


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