Listen, there is a band rattling
and there are banners rustling
in this crowd like running water.

Listen, there is an easy laughing change
in these children bred in violence

Listen …

Riding high and easy on a jubilant tide
of triumph and exaltation;
hailed in the holy eyes
of young ladies laughing unashamed
in the streets:
praised as heroes and exploding with pride
return the conquering warriors.
Paced by the beat
of the glorying band playing untamed
tunes of honour to the blue skies
of joy and celebration.

This is the reward that triumph pays:
sounded loud in the heralding song
of the rifling band and the smiling
ladies’ eyes.
This is a service of love and praise
that marks this day as festival.
This is the prize
gently wrapped, eagerly awarded to the filing
milling marchers who
have righted wrong.
This is the reward that triumph pays.

Ian David Arlett