Page 51 - HEF Pen & Ink 2023
P. 51

Epitaph to a Warrior Fallen
By Robert Stimpson
Somewhere Lies ...
Taken before her time
Beloved Daughter of Orléans Mother to her Motherland
Child of the people of Domrémy Cherished by her people
You were granted to us in our hour of greatest need. Through you we found the salvation we had so long sought. You saved us from the foreign invaders, from those among us who wished us ill, and from the depreda- tions of the great evil we shan’t dare name.
When you were still l’enfant, a Nursemaid who had never laid eyes on you came to us. She told us you were coming. That you would deliver us from danger, while you would deliver l’anglais from our fields and from our homes.
Even l’anglais knew you would come. The wizard to their beloved Arthur, Roi des Bretons, told him you would hold the Banner to end our suffering.
You came to us and we did not know what to make of you. You walked with the stance of a king, in the clothes of a soldier, carrying the weapon of a knight, wearing the body of a girl.
You were met by us at Chinon, tested at Poitiers, exam- ined at Tours, and accepted at Fierbois. You impressed us at every turn. After a century of war, Saint Michel and le dieu gave you to this land and we did not deserve you.
Your battles are known to all who matter, they need not be repeated. In four days you gave us Saint-Loup, you gave us Orléans, you gave us Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, you gave us les Augustins, you gave us les Tourelles.
Let our progeny know that you were not without mercy. Your crossbowman gave l’anglais the offer to surrender; the letter tied on a string around his bolt.
Your unending vigor gave us the Loire. Then still you asked naught of us but your banner, your blade, and men to your command so that you might go further to bring end to the ambitions of le Duc d’Bourgogne.
You took from us our Dauphin, the son of Rois Charles VI, and gave us Rois Charles VII.
When the traitorous Duc broke our peace at Lagny-sur- Marne, you did not fail us or let us fall. When Compiègne was beset at every side, you sallied with your outnum- bered force to their aid. When you struck at Margny, we were not there because we did not know to be. When you did not return from Compiègne, we feared. When Jeanne d’Luxembourg told us you were at her castle, we wept. When we heard that Cauchon of Beauvais was there, we lost hope.
We have not found you yet.
We know we never will.
You gave us ourselves.
They tell us you were at least given a final sacrament. Too much for a heretic, they wrote. We know that you are not a heretic.
France weeps for you, your home weeps for you. Arc weeps for you, Jeanne
Lone Wolf By Alyona Zimmerman

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