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A Year of Poetry – Day 316

He drew a straight line
Across the dirt floor:
Within, it was death-still–
Without, was a roar
And a scream of the trumpets:
Within, was a Word–
And a line drawn clean
By the sweep of a sword.
No help was coming, now–
That hope was done.
No more the free air,
no more the sun
Bright on the blue leagues
Of buffalo-clover.
Travis drew a line
And they all crossed over.
Travis had a wife at home,
Travis was young;
Travis had a little boy
Whose tight arms clung,
But Travis saw a far light
Shining before:
Travis drew a sword-cut
Across the dirt floor.

And now the old fort stands
Placid and dim,
Blinking and dreaming
Of them and of him;
And now past the Plaza
Other tides roar,
since Travis wrote “Valor”
Across the sand floor,
And the guns they will rust,
And the captains will go,
And an end come at last
To the wars that we know,
But as long as there travails
A Spirit in man,
In a war that was ancient
Before Time began,
Here will the brave come
To read a high Word–
Cut clean in the dust
By the stroke of a sword.

— Karle Wilson Baker, Within the Alamo

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