This piece of writing is a true tale “From the Vault”, so to speak. I wrote it nearly 10 years ago, on October 24, 2012. For me, that was a very good year.
I wrote this piece for Mrs. Gaines’ Creative Writing Class through an online academy called The Potter’s School.
From the ages of 12 to 18, this institution gave me an intellectual home, discipline, rigor, and freedom to study what I wanted to. They taught me how to write, and Mrs. Gaines, especially, poured fuel on the fire of my nascent passion for Pulp Fiction writing.
In fact, the first draft of Epoch of the Far Dawn was written as the final project for her class!
I’ve learned a thing or two since 2012. However, what I wrote then I standby today. My core beliefs are just the same as they ever were, my passions and interests beaten but unbowed.
So ten years on, here is a tale “From the Vault”, from a simpler time and place, to give you and I joy, and so we both may understand how the man Richard Barrett was made…
Because the way you make a Richard Barrett is the way you make a Pulp Fiction Renaissance!
The Holy War
By Richard Barrett
It was—oh, now—three years back whenever Miss Shearon, commandant of English II Section 3, announced the commencement of the poetry quarter of that year. She had posted a list of poets that were allowed to study, and how strange of cats most of them were!
The year before having studied the life of A. A. Milne and his strange dark side, I was resolute that this year, I would not pick a twisted poet!
Nothing on the list striked my fancy, and then the thought came to me that last year, the best poetry presentation given was on Rudyard Kipling. Ah! said I. He’s the man for the job!
Receiving permission to study him, I flung myself wholeheartedly into the legend and lore of Kipling. Soon, I discovered that Kipling was no mere poet—he was himself a literary legend!
The Bard of Empire he was; from his passionate pen flowed the verse that described the life of heroes and villains, the vast conquest of continents, and the freeing of the enslaved peoples the world over—the true tale that was the Empire of Britannia!
His work was akin to that of J.R.R Tolkien, and yet so much richer for being true tales of Anglo valor in the Orient! The Victorian period is a time in history I harbor a passion for like no other, and it was Kipling who chronicle it!
Desperately I craved more of his work, his patriotic poetry that spoke to me as no other poet before had. Kipling did not write about his experiences with some sort of demented depression or birds and such that are the staple of most classic poets.
No, his work brought upon me the realization that I could write about things that I cared deeply about. For me, Kipling crystallized the glorious art of poetry—he made it cool!
Not only did his poetry inspire me, but also his other literary works; my all-time favorite novel is Kim, the tale of English boy Kimball O’Harra, who essentially is Lawrence of Arabia as a child! In addition desperately I love the tale of “The Man Who Would Be King” and its 1975 film adaptation starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery.
Out of Kipling’s voluminous plethora came a poem that struck me even more than any of his others.
“The Holy War” was tributary poem, based upon Kipling’s favorite literary work of the same title by John Bunyan.
When he penned it in 1916, forces of malevolency not seen since the days of Attila the Hun beset the free world.
Already millions of heroes had died in the defense of liberty to halt the menace that was Imperial Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II—the demagogue and the ideology that was the precursor for Nazism.
In that darkest hour, when there seemed to be no way to defeat the entrenched forces of malevolency, Kipling gave heart to his country men to keep fighting the fight, and he gave fear to Germany with his message—the war would only end with total victory for freedom!
It is a poem that, in this day, I believe is a worthy message to us all. Our struggle today is against a force darker even than Imperial Germany’s evil then—Radical Islamic Terror.
Kipling’s message reminds us, that there is no neutrality in this war between freedom and slavery, and in the words that stalwart statesmen Churchill, to never surrender!
The Holy War
By Rudyard Kipling
“For here lay the excellent wisdom of that built Mansoul, that the walls could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse potenate unless the townsmen gave consent thereto.” — BUNYAN’S Holy War
A tinker out of Bedford,
A vagrant oft in quod,
A private under Fairfax,
A minister of God–
Tow hundred years and thirty,
Ere Armageddon came
His single hand portrayed it,
And Bunyan was his name!
He mapped for those who follow,
The world in which we are–
“This famous town of Mansoul”
That takes the Holy War.
Her true and traitor people,
The Gates along her wall,
From Eye Gate unto Feel Gate,
John Bunyan showed them all.
All enemy divisions,
Recruits of every class,
And highly-screened positions
For flame or poison-gas;
The craft that we call modern,
The crimes that we call new,
John Bunyan had ’em typed and filed
In Sixteen Eighty-two .
Likewise the Lords of Looseness,
That hamper faith and works,
And Present-Comfort shirks,
With brittle intellectuals
Who crack beneath a strain–
John Bunyan met that helpful set
In Charles the Second’s reign.
Emmanuel’s vanguard dying
For right and not for rights,
My Lord Apollyon lying
To the State-kept Stockholmites,
The Pope, the swithering Neutrals,
The Kaiser and his Gott–
Their roles, their goals, their naked souls–
He knew and drew the lot.
Now he hath left his quarters,
In Bunhill’s Fields to lie,
The wisdom that he taught us
Is proven prophecy–
One watchword through our Armies,
One answer from our Lands:–
“No dealings with Diabolus
As long as Mansoul stands!”
A pedlar from a hovel,
The lowest of the low–
The Father of the Novel,
Salvation’s first Defoe,
Eight blinded generations
Ere Armageddon came,
He showed us how to meet it,
And Bunyan was his name!