Behind the Epic
The people’s greatest men go forth for years
By land or sea, depending on the foe,
Arrayed with shining swords, shields, helmets, spears
And dazzling banners raised again to show
Who holds dominion over flocks and fields,
Who levies tribute and is far renowned
For showing mercy to the town that yields,
That isn’t burned or leveled to the ground.
The singer of the tribe, near-sighted, lame,
Stays with the women and shares in their chores
Until he’s asked to lend a lasting fame
To heroes’ actions in their latest wars.
A traveler who visits on a whim
Might note how many children look like him.