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‘My Race is Run’
Crusade by Robert E. Howard, reading from A Word from the Outer Dark, pages 30-31

Two verses of 12 lines describe the furious highpoints of a crusader’s career, in high spirit, in which the backward looking mind’s eye of an old warrior renders even the terrible things glorious. This selective memory does not unfold but drives, each couplet propelling the sentiment that the battles fought in his youth are a man’s center of gravity:

“Horses stumble and riders reel—

in, close in! and ply your steel.”

Elements of the poem seem childish to the postmodern mind, but remind this reader of an interview done with an old British cavalryman who participated in the last charge of horsemen of his nation near the end of World War One in the Middle East, fighting against the Turks. The man, hunched with age, turned in his seat with his hand wrapped around an imaginary hilt, narrating his glorious moment seventy or so years beyond the event.

The final verse, of only 8 lines, brings the spirit of the teller back to his mundane place, an old man thinking of younger days and ruing old age.

The Pale Usher

Impressions of Moby Dick: Herman Melville and Modern Man?s Transcendental Journey

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ShepSeptember 5, 2017 10:32 PM UTC

The Light Horsemen.

The Australian Light Horse at the wells of Beersheba, 1917.