Upon a Hill

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Upon a Hill
or How Alexander Kallidokos Gained the Sword of the Gods
a poem by Magdalene van den Velde

Upon a hill, in distant lands,
Where stone rests well ‘neath sculptors hands
And winds bring scent of holy sands
A man sat on a hill.

Wandering far, our hero plain
Paused as the sun began to wane
To hone his simple sword again
Upon a lonely hill.

In sunset light, he looked to be
A fighter plain; no ruler he.
But in him grace and wisdom see,
This man upon a hill.

Upon a hill, rests unaware
Our man beneath the Gods’ sharp stare.
They ask “Who’ll fight this hero fair,
This swordsman on the hill?”

And from his throne, Olympian lord
Zeus, with ruling heartily bored
Bade Vulcan quick to craft a sword
To fight he on the hill.

In bursting light, the god appeared
And in surprise our hero reared,
But showed not that he was afeared
To die upon a hill.

“Upon this hill, below, above,
Men fight for freedom, hate or love,
But none of these cast down this glove
Against you on this hill.”

And in disdain Zeus went on so:
“I have descended here to show
That gods rule all men, swords or no.
Now fight me on this hill.”

So there, within the darkening shade
The man possessed of a blade
Accepted then the challenge laid
To fight upon a hill.

Upon a hill, the match began
And slashing fierce, the blood dark ran
Down form of god and form of man
There dueling on a hill

With fearsome sparks, the clash of steel
Grew like unto a thunder peal
‘Till lightning struck with fervent zeal
One figure on the hill.

The lightning strike upon the hill
Came not from heav’n, but force of skill
As our man raised his sword to kill
The god upon the hill.

With focused eye, his blade still warm
To smite the god he raised his arm,
But stayed, and said “No further harm
Be done upon this hill.”

Respectful now, the god did yield,
Offering his blade upon the field.
“I give you now my sword to wield”
Zeus said upon the hill.

Upon a hill, in distant land
‘Gainst evildoers to make a stand
Our hero fights with sword in hand,
The god’s sword from the hill.

So hearken well my words today:
A hero does not need to slay
And to that man all homage pay
That man upon a hill.