L’HOMME ROUGE (Henri de Lespinasse de Bournazel)

Posted by Admin on Sunday, 24th February 2008, 00:00

Riffs, by Allah’s law abiding,
vanish straightaway into hiding;
cast aside your guns and pray!
The Red Man is riding,
implacably riding,
boldly bestriding his grey.

1.
Some heed the pull of maids or wine,
some long for open sea;
but I, a general’s son, define
my call where rifle bullets whine,
and hear my destiny.

2.
A son of France’s oldest stock,
ex-subaltern Hussar,
I sing a foxtrot’s tune to mock
the snipers, sons of sand and rock,
who neither scare nor scar.

3.
The superstitious pause, alarmed,
invincible I stand,
in scarlet tunic stand unharmed;
they speak of rebel bullets, charmed,
that ricochet to hand.

4.
Some like to charge with thirsty steel,
or pistol on the hip;
in peril lies my life’s ideal,
I face a Kasbah’s Moslem zeal,
my arms … a riding whip.

5.
Discarding my burnous of red,
I don symbolic grey;
the sixteenth Goum will run in dread
from needle peaks that rise ahead,
where tribesmen watch and prey.

Riffs, by Allah’s law abiding,
scuttle straightaway into hiding;
cast aside your guns and pray!
The Red Man is riding,
relentlessly riding,
boldly bestriding his grey.

T. C. Hudson
2nd February 1961

© T. C. Hudson.

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