We were seven samurai!
At least when school let them leave.
We met by the riverbank
for battle, bonding & make believe.
With wooden wakizashi
& jump rope nunchucks we faced the enemy.
Fiendish foes in their hundreds,
thousands, maybe more & all imaginary.
Kieryn became Kambei,
he was the oldest by a month or two.
So by default our noble leader
& he enjoyed telling us what to do.
Mat became Matajuro,
maybe he’d joined the samurai too soon.
Instead of bringing swords
he’d brought along some sad balloon.
Luke became Lone Wolf,
a name he wore most ironically.
For out of all the samurai,
of the most he craved company.
Zack became Zatoichi,
& as blind as he was wise,
he would wield his wakizashi
with a blindfold over his eyes.
Harry became Hagakure,
he’d been busy writing a samurai rule.
It was much more fun to do so
than to study when in class at school.
Tod became Tahei,
within this clan he was caught.
He hoped to find a princess
holed up inside some hidden fort.
Battle began in earnest,
I leaped into the fray by their side.
The enemy had found us
& samurai seldom run & hide.
Kambei commanded us all “Attack!”,
an order we embraced with glee.
Matajuro bashed balloon through the air,
bringing death down on enemies three.
Zatoichi waved wakizashi wildly,
some of his enemies hit the deck.
Eager to help him I came close
only to be struck hard on my neck.
He really didn’t mean to do it,
I bear no ill will to Zatoichi Zack.
He tore off his blindfold in horror
having heard my neck bones crack.
I dropped down to the floor fallen,
an innocent victim of friendly fire.
The samurai discarded their weapons
whilst their screams grew even higher.
Kambei tried to calm them then,
although truly he was terrified too.
He didn’t want to get in trouble
& had a plan to see them through.
He had them carry me to the river,
for it was his job just to think.
They threw my body in the water
& thought that I would soon sink.
Sad, scared & no longer samurai,
this their first taste of blood.
Battle no longer seemed exciting,
fighting fiends felt far from good.
They abandoned all their aliases,
as rōnin they’d no longer roam.
Mat sobbed some more then
& wailed “Want to go home”.
They left me alone in the river
& my wet body began to float.
My corpse found by a fisherman
who dragged it into his boat.
The fisherman checked my collar,
none the wiser to samurai’s shame.
I was their loyal canine comrade
& Ghost Dog was my name.
Copyright © 2015 Philip Craddock. All rights reserved.