by Mark Harm

Through the soft haze of smoke and midnight fog
The flickering of dying torches revealed the knee-deep bog
Afloat with the corpses of nine and twenty men-at-arms
Who would never again return to their shops and farms
As lightning flashed and fattened ravens flew
The Beast pulled closer the men it slew
And with a gurgling crack and liquid splatter
Swallowed whole those it so recently battered

Then came the sound of a beating drum
And men bearing shields blazoned with the rising sun
The Beast stopped its grizzly feast
And turned to look towards the threat to the east
Where a regale woman stood tall and proud
Refusing to wear deathís dark shroud
And with nimble fingers and forgotten tears
Played a simple tune to lighten the fighting menís fears

With grieving heart but focused eye
The men raised their bows and let a volley fly
Into the dark crevice the Beast called home
Where arrows bounced off rock and scattered bone
Their nemesis rose to its towering height
But the men were fighting for the right
And with sharpened blade and stalwart shield
Cut its dark flesh and forced it to reel
Until it staggered and finally fell
Back into the corruption from which it first swelled