Across the midnight canvas blazes Mars

and pyres are lit to mitigate the dark.

The sky is scored along the crimson arc

of eager flame that hardens what it chars.


The fevered shadows underline the scars

on creased faces gathered round the sparks,

bedaubed with ancient paint and tribal marks,

a league of titans, poaching from the stars.


Together, bound and blooded by their pact,

they stamp their feet until the air is thick

with smoke.  Once dormant embers hiss and pop.


The time has come for deeds; the final act.

Beneath the readied ensign snapping quick

the bugle bays – they are over the top.