Charles the Bold was the last independent Duke of Burgundy. Killed at the Battle of Nancy by the Swiss, his realm was partitioned in subsequent decades by France and by the ascendant House of Habsburg, setting in motion the principle lines of conflict in northwest Europe for subsequent history.

Beside his pale flowers lies Bold Burgundy;
The halberds, all rusted, refuse to salute,
The cavalier shadows are hastening to flee,
The spur flickers dull, and the trumpet is mute.

The battlements crumble at once from the strain,
Barbarians pour in through the widening crease,
And from South of Dijon to the Channel’s refrain,
Usurpers partition the Crest and the Fleece.

But they cannot find the last remnant of Charles,
Nor his breath could they capture that rides on the blast,
And the caged Belgian Lion that captively snarls
Shall be breathed into rampantest freedom at last!


A version of this poem appeared in Trinacria Issue 17


Morgan Downs is a poet in his 20s living in Massachusetts. 

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5 Responses

  1. E. V. "Beth" Wyler

    Beautiful! You are very talented. I loved reading your poem.

  2. David Hollywood

    This like an echo lost in an antique graveyard where we admire the aesthetics yet know nothing of the residents or where they are. Its lovely in its mystery. Thank you.

  3. Leo Yankevich

    Your poems (I’ve gone back and read others) are such a joy to the refined ear, their music sublime, dark and deep, hearkening back to the best poems of Swinburne and Yeats.


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