Spear heads thrust through seaweed shield wall,
like the sarissas of a Greek phalanx,
only for my blade to scythe down them all.
From St George’s Day the slaughter will last,
feasting until summer solstice has passed.
Then a truce is agreed, spears grow to fronds.
Are my stakes around you support or bonds?
Wild new enemies sail in on the wing,
beetles deadly than the hoplites of Ajax.
Black helms, yellow shields, it’s death they bring.
They would strip you, deprive you of light,
rob me of culinary delight.
Seeming foe yet your friend I watch them come;
snuff out their lives between finger and thumb.
And on the day when the old year is dead,
I will lay fresh tribute upon your bed.
Dave Martin’s poems have been published in South poetry magazine, the New European Newspaper and in the match day programmes of Torquay United FC. He lives in Dorset and writes poetry and history.