Gethru

Fairest of all places: the Valley of Gethru –
Full of light and sunny fruit, with a sparkling river, too.
Its gentle slopes were robed in a hundred shades of green;
Every wind-stirred blade and leaf flashed bright with a dewy sheen.
Through it all drifted the scent of a grand flowering throng;
A host of songbirds warbled a sweet chorus all day long.

Strongest of all allures: the Desire of Gethru –
From far-away lands they came: serfs, lords, and kings not a few.
A thousand brown travelers built their rugged houses there,
Plowed the land, gathered fruit; alas! kindness was rare.
The lands and goods of the weak were plundered by the strong;
Angry shouts and bitter words clamored harshly all day long.

Greatest of all forces: the Armies of Gethru –
Arrayed against each other across the river blue.
A million armored men in silver battalions stood,
Each one ready to kill for this land full of good.
Gathered in the Valley for its possession to vie,
They lifted up their banners and rang their battle cry.

Grimmest of all struggles: the Battle of Gethru –
Iron-shod horses plunged madly; swarms of arrows and spears flew.
The air was black with smoke of a thousand burning trees;
The pitiless hacking swords brought all men to their knees.
Their corpses choked the river; their blood became a blight;
The vultures and the ravens laughed cruelly through the night.

Saddest of all accounts: the Story of Gethru –
A barren wasteland now lies where once hosts of green things grew.
The red stain of the bare dirt of a hundred sorrows tells;
The memory of that terror all notion of life quells.
It lies shunned by all creatures, a valley full of fright;
The only sound the wind: a phantom wail through the night.

by Fred Lee Newman, IV

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