Author photo by artist, Walter Bakowski

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Instructions to horsemen, Krakow, Poland, 1241

Your journey will be long,

dangers certain.

From clouds snakes will fall.

These can be killed only

by those amongst you

who have eaten wolf.


Don’t drink from pond or stream

in which black reeds grow.

One mouthful will turn you to stone.

Sleep with an eagle feather

clasped in your fist.

This keeps away lightning.


Find my son,

carried off by Tartars.

He has a crescent-shaped scar

on his left cheek.

By this you will know him.

One hundred fine horses

for his safe return.


I’m too old to ride with you.

Be my eyes,                                                                                                           

vigilant in every village and forest.

Put an end to my nightmares

in which two Tartars                                                                                                                                    

whip my blindfolded son

towards the edge of a cliff.  

(from Beneath Our Armour)


  1. This is a great poem with fantastic imagery

  2. Dear Dangerous Meredith,
    Glad you like the poem. I plan to read more Polish/Eastern European history and hopefully come up with another poem which uses/incorporates folklore and superstition.
    Every good wish,
    Peter Bakowski

  3. seems great and i'm awaiting impatiently for your poems on poland and polish history