Friday, June 22, 2012

Shadow of Hope

When a revolution was fresh, life was good
From a royal bloodline, it's nobility of Italy, a commander was born
It has been repeated that Bonaparte was 
the greatest military commander of all time

His coup d'état, the 18th of Brumaire, 
led to French Consulate, and on to Emperor
His campaigns, so victorious
Would he have ever dreamed, two hundred years later,
military academies would study his tactics all throughout the world?

Bonaparte, the Emperor
With a Grande Armée, their faith so religiously placed upon him
He who spent his youthfulness hating a country he would one day rule
A barbarous Corsican, stories would say
He would eventually conquer his conqueror
and he would have his good day

An idealistic revolutionary
He vowed that Corsica would be part of Revolutionary France
Exiled, a mountain man for days, his own people chasing him out
He became a refugee, banished from the land of his birth

Little did France know, what rebel their beloved Emperor would be
When he was twenty-six he wrote, "The enemy attacked us. 
We killed a great many of them. Now all is quiet... I could not be happier."
And on he would reign

With a guerrilla in Spain, Napoleon would shake
Bonaparte would soon make his most fatal mistake
An invasion of Russia, would leave the French hegemony in Europe,
bitter and weak

Crossing the river, Neman, half a million men strong,
the Grande Armée marched through western Russia
The fate of the war, decided on the Moscow front
Napoleon's army, frailed
Russians, settled and scorched-earth
The largest and bloodiest single action of the Napoleon Wars

While he was left with no more men waiting to refill his loses, 
Russia rained with millions
With Russia replenished, someone else lived this good life
Napoleon was forced to retreat the same way he had come to 
Moscow, emptied
And riddled with death

When Tolstoy wrote, soon after, " must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it.
Let the dead bury the dead, but while I'm alive, I must live and be happy.”
He would write of Napoleon's war and his peace.

For Fireblossom Friday at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads


  1. This is intensive!! Nicely done, Archna...I must say, your closing stanza is the one that resonates with me the most. Especially this part of it: " must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it." Nice writing!

    1. Hannah, I read Jeanette Winterson's The Passion(a novel) and started to fall in love with Napoleon. I guess in the crazy way that others did. This was fun to research and write. Thanks for reading.

    2. I've read two of her books..."Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" and "Lighthousekeeping" which I liked the better of the two.

    3. I have yet to read either of those, I'm still living inside of "The Passion". :)You'll have to pick it up, it is so much more magic than it is Napoleon. Thanks for recommending one and also, for this prompt!

  2. He was an amazing military tactician. The only thing he did wrong was exactly what you stated, he miscalculated coping with the Russian winter.
    Very enjoyable read :)

    1. Yes, if there was something he mastered, it was the equation in war. Unprepared for their unreasonable winter and their multiplying force.

      Thanks so much for reading. :)

  3. A fascinating bit of history on a figure that controlled the dynamics of politics throughout Europe for many years. There's no doubt our world today still carries the marks of his life. Great ending, also.

    1. There is a sense of hopelessness in the thought that a figure so small is allowed to reign from enmity and choice. And the plain faced follow. Your right, even though history asks us not to repeat, we continue to allow leaders to hypnotize us in tribes.

  4. A very interesting choice, in Napoleon. Your research and hard work show, here. I recall that the defeated French had to *walk* home, and most of them died on the way. I can't even imagine the horror.

    1. I enjoy history and this one strains my heart. I've forced myself intimacy with "War and Peace", ignoring its length, just to understand. It's the same as any other mass invasion, someone on top has lost their balancing sense. The same in any war zone, someone is left to 'walk' home, I'd imagine, without their heart.

  5. nice...very cool look at def did your research and spun it well...he was a brilliant military mind....most of the time...

    1. Thank you, it was a fun little lesson, a bit difficult to squeeze all the info. in, though.

  6. Totally cool and a very well done poetic portrait of Napoleon! Well done!

  7. Think that's what you might call a potted history...

  8. Brilliant, intense, inclusive. Jeanette Winterson (in "The Passion" and all her books) is a great leader, but you are not a follower, and I don't think that Tolstoy was either. This poem was worth its time in your head and heart. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Susan. She is a leader and important. I like to stay on that edge with Tolstoy, it does take a bit of bravery. Thank you for seeing all of this. :)

  9. Archana it is nut shelled a big history in a beautiful way......

    1. Thanks, Sreeja, it is a huge piece, I tried to keep to what is most important.

  10. Who would have thought history could be so did well by Bonaparte.