The Three-Oh-Third

Three hundred three with me,

Besieged a fort,

Ready to wait

For the two thousand four to aid.

And I waited,

With my three-hundred-three,

For three months,

But the two thousand four did not come.

Another month I waited,

Sending inquiries and pleas,

To the two thousand and four,

But no answer came.

My three hundred three grew restless,

I had to play my hand,

I ordered them to pack.

We left, unready yet to fight.

Halfway home, my three hundred third

Said to me,

"We are devoted,

"We are not the two thousand four.

"Though we be but three-oh-three,

"Why fight we not

"For why we trained?"

Asked my three-oh-third.

For a time I stood,

Ashamed, before purpose intervened;

I ordered an about charge.

My three hundred three had glad hearts.

Up the hill they went,

Determined to fulfill the task.

I fought with them,

Redeeming my cowardice.

We fought long and hard,

And reaped success,

The Castle was stormed,

Our banner raised.

I stood proud,

Upon the rampart,

Until I beheld my three hundred third,

In blood lain.

I rushed to his side,

Put pressure on his wound,

My three-oh-third's eyes opened,

Beheld me, kneeling at his side.

"My training is fulfilled,

"My purpose accomplished,

"Cowardice is numbered three-oh-three less."

Thus died my hero, my Three-Oh-Third.

-_Aubrey H. Malcolms_-