‘I vow to endure, to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten and to be killed by the sword.’
(Citation by Petronius of the Gladiator’s Oath..Satirycon117)
Purchased by coined Lanista to Capua school (Lanista..Manager/owner of Gladiators.)
I spake solemn oath to see chains removed,
accepted low rank with visage tattooed
with my Master’s mark of the house.
Boiled beans, barley, oats and ashes
strengthen muscle and flesh for Ludus clashes. (Ludus…Gladiator School)
Lift and shift beams, tensed heave-ho’s,
deliver repeated sham-deadly blows,
with blunt-weighted weapons of wood,
harsh Doctori lessons understood, (Doctori…Trainer)
sting of his whip scars grim brotherhood.
Sweat-cell bunked with forehead-branded scum
until ascent granted thro’ desire not to run…
proven by deft skill with gladius and scutum. (Sword and large oblong shield.)
Power seeking greeters bring fine wine and gold,
break words to barter displays of death.
Our House given honoured position in Munus Games
by sons of Marcus Lepidus, dead Consul of Rome
feted dedication to new afterlife home….
A festival of Sand and Blood:
Beast hunts, Lionised executions of errant slaves…
Clawed carcasses dragged off, unburied, dumped
or river slung, extending damnation eternal.
I watch and wait thro’ iron pit gates
the Plebian hordes howl and berate,
as twenty-two pairs of fighting men await their fate.
The choice is stark, to shine…
or forever dwell in Hades dark.
If bested by fairer blade’s excel
attempt to please Divine Jupiter… die well.
No mercy pleas, no cry of pain,
offer your throat to rival’s gain,
direct wavering cut to vital spot,
accept Pluto prepares your cot. ( Pluto God of Death.)
Stable brother Zaro falls, pulse-less, to Trident and Net…
Disguised Dis Pater, Godspeeds departing spirit, ( Dis Pater..God of Underworld)
via malletted head…ensures he’s dead.
Dignified ferry from Arena on Libitinia’s couch (Libitinia..Goddess of Funerals)
ends trusted friends lot,
familia beg Collegia sesterces pay for cemetery plot…
I am called, tighten leather, prescious armour strapped,
don feathered helmet, handed honed gladius, back-slapped by brothers…
for I am paired with Spartacus, fierce foe.
Dusted grains underfoot seep blood from spilled guts,
audience quietens as Summa Rudis bellows ‘Begin!’ (Summa Rudis…Referee.)
Thrust, parry, roll, keep purpose,
he’s on the back foot, close in, attack,
attempt spinning, swinging, gash on back.
Caustic crowd swells and sways in euphoric cheer,
dowsed in wine and artisan beer,
they crave more rouge-letting with accompanied tears…
In my mind’s eye Doctori’s barked orders serve well…
until the Thracian unleashes moves from Hell…
manoeuvres borne of Legioned Battles,
pierces guard, my ribcage rattled,
Trumpet blasts horn each deadly smite
I suffer his scathing, lusting sabre bites,
desparate rally, push him two-steps away,
take cover with shield from final affray.
my weapon flown, a dozen wounds
I bleed alone,
Ad Digitum to admit honoured defeat, (Ad Digitum..raised finger to admit defeat.)
a well fought meeting now complete.
Victor collects Laurel Crown and crowd-thrown coin,
I limp to feet from wound to loin,
mouth holds heart on mob’s desire…
Five thousand thumbs grant life extension,
supporting arm, opponents intention, as
we leave the field of blood and sand
Spartacus offers a brother’s hand,
…and points to the gleaming Senatori in their fine red cloaks,
uttering a deep desire to slit Roman throats…
and so the Third Servile War begins…. *
Write poems of all genres, particularly narrative writes about people, life events and the world we live in. Haikus and Tankas when I can. Like short stories too, a little drama and monologue works also in my stuff. Reside in the Dark Kingdom of Lancashire, England.