QUESTIONS AND HEROES

Lying on the now silent battlefield
his life blood having drained away
to enrich the soil of his final resting place
soon to be forgotten by those for whom
he has made the ultimate sacrifice
his acceptance into the ranks
of all other time honored heroes
will be his soul’s only solace

Where have gone our heroes?
Why are they no longer remembered?
Few can be found today who ever heard
of the Babylonian Marduk’s struggles
against evil when time was still new
Gilgamesh, his friendship with Ingidu,
who had been sent to destroy him,
their battle with the wild bull
is told less with each passing year
Most have read the tales of Beowulf
and the violence of his foe Grindel
but not many recall his swimming
across from Scotland to Finland
with the armor of his slain enemies
even less know of his final battle
or the significance of the dragon

Where now are our heroes?
Do they sit somewhere sadly
commiserating over this chaos
they fought so hard to deter?
Are Olympus and Valhalla real?
Did they ever actually exist?
Does Atlas still bear the weight
of the sky upon his shoulders
or has he like modern man
decided not to keep his promise?
Many have read of the Trojan War,
the beauty of Helen, the rage of Achilles,
but not so many can retell those parts
played by Priam, Ajax and Agamemnon

What has happened to our heroes?
Are they as the Twelve Labors of Hercules,
to be put behind and remembered no more?
Will they be handed down as myths
kept in a realm of legendary characters
with no more substance than the stone
which became a resting place for the Thinker?
Only a handful ever knew the elegant flight
of that magnificent steed Pegasus
less still knew the courage of Rustam’s horse

Where are our heroes gone?
To what heights are they raised?
How far are they pulled down?
How many have ridiculed those
whose stature far transcends theirs?
Thor and Loki are still yearning
for the halls of the Frost King
Seigfried still swaggers along in song and play,
Brunhilde, once proud heroine of many lands
has been relegated to the role of mere witch
by those who do not want to understand
while many others fear to try and learn

Why have our heroes gone?
Have we neglected them to such degree
that they choose to remain aloof
much as will an unwanted child
hoping someone will want or need them?
Heroes have desires as well as pride
their wounds need to be salved
they will only do for those who believe
without whom they would cease to be

When will our heroes return?
Are we left to fend for ourselves
or do they stand patiently waiting
for a call to arms that is long overdue?
Arthur, Guywain, Ragland, Martel, Hannibal,
who will heed the horn’s echo across the hills?
Will Zeus himself come from Olympus
to stand with those who will need his shelter?

They all stand looking over the silent battlefield
heads bowed in silent respect for the fallen
paying homage to a comrade-in-arms
they have all come to escort another soul
to a seat of honor in the Hall of Heroes
Marduk, Gilgamesh, Gage, Genghis Khan,Wesley,
Ragland, Prestor John, Atilla the Hun, Hadley,
Zoroaster, Mohammed, Buddha, many others
have come to bear a banner for the chosen.

They stand watching sadly as the ambulance
pulls slowly away from this dirty,
nameless street where another policeman
has so selflessly given up his life
“In the Line of Duty”

—–Jerry Marks

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