Here in the circle of true and honest minds,
A scene unfolds its dreadful tale of life and death.
Man against man in a battle of mortal veracity,
Flesh against flesh in a struggle of moral hesitation.
His hand is holding firm to his protection
And his hope is clinging to the intensity of his will.
One move, a parry, the next an advance.
His heart is beating to the cadence of his thrust,
But his mind is in agony as every moment is lingered
By the thoughts that race through his understanding,
And the heat that pulsates through his burning muscles.
The people surrounding watch in a rancid, shameless delight;
Cheering for death, and a crimson flow.
His breath is short and his vision a blur of figures.
A life for a life or a fight for peace,
The enemy his only friend.
Would he rather live to die of inward shame?
Or would he rather die to save a brother.
Though they before this time have never met,
And his enemy by name may be,
He is still a man, and one just like he.
The pain is more than he can possibly endure.
His body is an ache of physical despair,
But his heart is torn with a tear of compassion.
Yet, still he defends and still he persists,
Against a foe that will surely be slain.
He sees the man is weak and vulnerable,
Fear and frustration are brimming in his eyes.
Hope is not an option for his troubled thoughts.
Now merely survival is his constant breath,
And all his dreams a prayer for life.
Was this his enemy?
Was this the cost his existence must take?
To kill was his freedom and to live was his slavery,
A last ray of sun before the night.
Metal ringing in a chorus of suffering and hopelessness,
And bodies straining with emotion and draining of sense.
Sweat was dripping from his soiled face,
And conscience was gripping at his heart.
There was only one choice he had left to make.
How! Oh, how could he decide?!
One simple blow and a life he would take.
But so much more would be lost by it all.
A chance to survive or someone to destroy,
And on this, his very own life, is held dear.
His opponent is tired and careless from his effort,
Only fighting enough to delay the imminent reality.
The enemy was finally driven back,
And thrown to the ground by his brutal force.
All time had ceased and every sound had been silenced,
When the contest was ended with his sword at his throat.
How long he looked into those deep and piercing eyes,
Staying his arm from finishing it all; no soul could ever tell.
He was still holding on, but willing himself to let go.
The hardness of his features softened gently,
And the fingers holding his weapon tenderly loosened.
His eyes were filled with pity as tears wet the
Etched and coarse lines of his face.
Here on this very ground one man’s blood must be spilled.
His opponent looked back uncertain and confused.
The agony of this moment paling his sight,
Had made him more afraid of the compassion and
The pity he had witnessed in his eyes.
With one hushed whisper and a quiet resolve,
He lifted the sword and looked at it in shame.
Having seen his own reflection
He cried out from deep within his soul.
And after hurling his weapon far out of his reach
He fell to his knees weeping and torn.
No more! No more!
It was there in that moment he felt wretched pain,
His body convulsing and writhing in torture.
He placed his fingers over his heart and
Felt the warm trickle of something over his skin.
Forcing his hand up to his eyes
He saw his own blood and then realized.
The man, his brother, stood before him severely
A sword in his hand and glossy with blood.
No compassion did he see, no thanks at all;
Only his blood and a face without pity.
Slowly to the earth he laid his head,
Closing his eyes but feeling no dread.
Peace overcame his despairing heart,
And there he lay motionless and lifeless.
This man had been dying every day,
From his hopeless existence and endless slavery.
He never really lived until he had died,
Finally free from both shame and pride.
His life is over but what he fought for had only begun,
When he turned from his darkness and looked to the Sun.