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Stanley Wilkin May 2017
I had held myself as a greater man,
A soldier aloof from the whims of life.
The only things I cared for were the gladius in my hand
The screams of my enemies
As their blood dripped from my blade
And they lay clawing at my feet.

I went ******* with the boys
Played with them games of dice
Laughed at their jokes.
It was all lip service.
I did not care for their ways,
The ways of lesser men.
I was a soldier whose only lust was for blood.
I was better.

The new recruits came
With their beardless faces.
They huddled together for comfort,
Some cried to their mothers
Others prayed.
Those simpering wrecks were of no interest
Except for one
With the stature of a god
The confidence of a titan
He stood amongst his peers
As a man stands amongst children.

It was not long until we sparred.
As good soldiers there was no need for words.
We both knew what was obvious
What was as certain as life and death
We were brothers in arms
Of the same breed
We were as one.

The fight came.
Outnumbered ten to one
We fought
Until blood soaked our faces
Our enemies and our own
Until crimson flooded our eyes
Our noses
Our mouths.

Before night fell we were the only two left
Alone in a field full of ravenous beasts
Of coprses waiting for the crows
Left to rot in some far flung land.
Their gaping snouts salivated
Waiting for the chance to sink their blades into our flesh.
A new emotion filled my veins.
I was no longer fighting for myself
To satisfy my lust for death
But for my kin standing next to me
The god made flesh

It was as we stood back to back
As I felt him stand firm against Fortuna’s whims
That I knew I was finally what I claimed to be
For Erasmos
My love
Has made me a greater man.
Amid the restlessness of a blood enthused crowd
Stood two gladiatorial practitioners both battle proud
From the inner arena a barking summons rang out
Calling the combatants to engage in battle's bout

The blood lust crowd wanted sport without delay
No quarter was ceded in the gladiator's display

Slashing lashing swords flayed high then to the midriff
Shields clanged and clinked in alternate shift
The foot-work of battle was magnificent of flair
Both took the onslaught with a disdainful air

Around the arena walls went a deafening cloud
The performance of the gladiators intoxicated the crowd
While in the bowels of the arena lions and tigers roared
Battle fervour rose to the gladiators they who are adored

Striking like a lightning bolt the victor's sword kills
His opponents chest dies in blood's gushing spill
Enthused by the spectacle of blood the crowd cried for more
Other combatants offered themselves to the gladiatorial floor

Battle Gods gathered at the celestial fray
Sang songs of battle to the arena's clay
Sarah Kersey Oct 2016
It's the slow beginning of the burning of a torch before the Olympic ceremony commences
Instead of the 200 meter sprint or who can do the butterfly in the least amount of seconds, we measure the diligence of our players
It's like having a world record book full of seemingly average accomplishments that feel like the biggest struggle of all of eternity
We are the gladiators of the apparently normal, often not knowing how to show our love for others because we are so distracted by finding one last bit of strength to carry us through the finish line
And yet we are here
Gaining medals for the simple pleasures such as going a day at college without missing our pets back home
And it's nothing extraordinary
But it's something
We are seeing a faint spark of light in all the new blank, dark and unfamiliar canvas that is our new territory
And the future stands before us in the shadows
Waiting for us to find the determination to ignite our torches

— The End —