The Learned Pig

Art – Thinking – Nature – Writing

Marching Orders


The drums began to crescendo,
War horses and infantry prepare;
A performance all to common in history.
Footsteps echo through corridors,
Marching to the drumbeat’s cacophony.

Left, left, left-right-left
The energy becomes a symphony!
Left, right, left
Orders obscured by the drums
Unclear, of who may be the enemy.

In the distance, perceived dissension;
A horde responds chorus.
As the drumbeats encroach forward;
The horde remains steadfast in position,
Undeterred by approaching forces.

Unflinching, unphased
War horses and infantry prepare –

Orders of ‘no quarter’

The drums grow louder and louder,
The horde remains in solidarity.
To challenge marching orders,
Songs echo through crowded corridors.

Stillness becomes oneness;
Drums drowned by heartbeat pulses.
War horses haulted by impasse,
Waiting for first horde to break chorus.

Unknown shots fired –
Breaking synchrony of horde voices.

Terror ensues, breaking the silence;
War horses push through fleeing ranks.
Drumbeats become chaotic, sporadic –
Clear there is defection, within
These marching, charging horses.

Even as drumbeats overtake chorus,
Songs of solidarity become a whisper;
Songs shall grow louder,
Grow stronger tomorrow!
The horde shall sing, and try again
To soothe the marching horses.




Image credit: Norman Lewis, Untitled (March on Washington), oil on fibreboard, 1965. Via Obelisk Art History Project.

This is part of RHYTHM, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring rhythm as individual and collective, as poetic and biological, and the ways that rhythm dictates life. RHYTHM is conceived and edited by Rachel Goldblatt.


The Learned Pig