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To Kill the King

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  • To Kill the King

    It was the 28th of June
    The summer’s sultry air was still
    A perfect day for city ride
    A perfect day the king to kill
    *
    The year was nineteen-fourteen,
    And Sarajevo, the chosen stage
    The year and place that all would mourn
    Both through and, still, beyond this age

    For ‘twas that day that Ferdinand
    The second, Archduke and the heir,
    Would be, with his dear lady, shot
    Thus came the war. And I was there

    I saw it all, that fateful day,
    Right by the tragedy I stood
    Now let me, reader, tell thee how
    My hands came to be stained in blood…
    *
    I stood beside Schiller’s Café,
    My sweaty fist, it gripped a gun,
    And in the shadows, patient, waited
    For the man I hoped would come

    For weeks I’d waited for this day
    For months, we’d met and planned and schemed
    And now the time had come to turn
    To action what I’d only dreamed

    The task: to kill who would in just
    A moment, in a car, drive past
    The target: Archduke Ferdinand
    His death would be today, at last

    I spat upon his hated name,
    The long-loathed Archduke Ferdinand
    Yes, he must die, for all his crimes
    What better way than by my hand?

    Ah, yes! I heard a tire squeal,
    As a car approached my lane
    With pounding heart, I peered out fast—
    ‘Twas he whom I, with gun, would stain

    The Archduke, happy in his car,
    Rounded the bend, into my sight
    The time had come, if ever, now
    To send from earth this man, this blight

    I raised my gun. One shot, I aimed
    It at the duke, and he’ll be dead
    But nay, my trembling hands refused
    To send the bullet through his head

    The crowds, the duchess, and the rest,
    Like phantoms, seemed to fade away
    Until ‘twas just the duke and I,
    Alone, two actors in a play

    That instant, I glanced at his face—
    They say the eyes betray the soul
    But when I looked in his, I saw
    That with forgiveness they were full

    Would that I could in words put down
    The thoughts that in my heart did cry
    The world of time, it seemed to end,
    Though but a moment passed us by

    Two men we were—a king, a fool
    No words we spoke. I took the floor
    And pulled the trigger. First a shot,
    Then silence. Ferdinand, no more
    *
    Tis strange, that from just one gunshot
    The flow of blood would never cease,
    To know, but for that act, how many
    Lives could still be whole in peace!

    But like a blazing firebrand,
    A single spark can start a flame
    A single shot can start a war
    A single word can do the same

    Alas, I was in passion blind
    I saw not what my deed my would bring—
    The years of sorrow, strife, beginning
    With the hand that killed the king




    Yes, yet another historical ballad... I was going to wait and post it on the 28th of June, but impatience got the better end of me. Resulting in this post.


    NOTE:
    On the 28th of June 1914, a 19-year-old Yugoslav named Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Ferdinand II and his wife, as they were riding through Sarajevo, Bosnia. In truth, Princip shot two bullets – one striking Ferdinand’s neck, the other, his wife’s abdomen. But for the purposes of this poem, there was just one. Also, the Archduke Ferdinand was only the heir to the Austrian throne; he was not a king. That too, for this poem, has been altered.
    0009279c-800.jpgThis photograph was taken at the start of the fateful ride.

  • #2
    Great historical story and beautifully rhymed

    I love these lines:
    A single spark can start a flame
    A single shot can start a war
    A single word can do the same

    Also, the expression of regret at the end; a cautionary tale nicely delivered

    Comment


  • #3
    I have to agree with Mooneyblack. Those lines are perfect. Nice rendition of history.

    Comment


    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! We were studying WWI in-depth this year in history class at school, so I was inspired to write this poem.

  • #4
    Hello N.Y. Sonnet, How you have put all this together in one splendid poem and to do so with rhyme is most admirable. An unnecessary and stupid war. What happened after the bullet was fired and before the outbreak of hostilities, as I am sure you well know, is just unbelievable. I have enjoyed this poem immensely. You are a born poet, gifted and sound. Regards, Tony.

    Comment


    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow, thank you for your gracious comments!! I really appreciate it!

  • #5
    A clever rendition of historical tragedy, exacerbated by a perpetuation of fruitless politicized homicide.

    Comment


    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      It does make one wonder what would have happened had Ferdinand not been shot... Thanks for reading, liking and commenting!

  • #6
    You have a gift for this type of poetry - I'm sure you already know. I love it because it both educates historically - and hopefully on a philosophical level as well - as to the errors of the past.

    And then there's the RHYME... always a pleasure to my ear, even with serious subject matter. Thank you - NYS - I enjoyed this.

    Comment


    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      Awww, thanks a lot!! The rhyme for this one just seemed to fall onto the page -- I feel as if I hardly had to work to write it. One of those rare instances when the poem is just 'there'.

    • RhymeLovingWriter
      RhymeLovingWriter commented
      Editing a comment
      I love when that happens!

    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      So do I... Just wish it would happen more often!

  • #7
    I love how this it tied to history, N. Y. Sonnet . and beautiful verse, I love it!

    Comment


    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Darthvader! Glad that you liked it!

  • #8
    I love that you post Ballads, I haven't tried that so much. I wonder about Deja Vu magische, though. And Jamais Vu...

    Comment


    • N. Y. Sonnet
      N. Y. Sonnet commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! Ballads are my favourite...somehow I just end up writing them no matter how hard I try.
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