Come up and take them.
–Leonidas, king of Sparta, when asked
by the Persian emperor to lay down his arms.
Battle of Thermopylae, 480 B.C.
The gate was almost finished.
In those thirsty hours, a taut rack of earth we raised
With much labor. We packed the soil with shield-butts.
Waist deep in horse-flies, we stretched our lances—
Protean, slender bronze. Our cloaks were red and wet,
The air was old and saline by the end. [Read more…]