Now Amarinceus’ son
Diores – fate shackled Diores fast and a jagged rock
struck him against his right shin, beside the ankle.
Pirous son of Imbrasus winged it hard and true,
the Thracian chief who had sailed across from Aenus…
the ruthless rock striking the bones and tendons
crushed them to pulp – he landed flat on his back,
slaming the dust, both arms flung out to his comrades,
gasping out his life. Pirous who heaved the rock
came rushing in and speared him up the navel –
his bowels uncoiled, spilling lose on the ground
and the dark came swirling down across his eyes.
But Pirous –
Aetolian Thoas speared him as he swerved and sprang away,
the lancehead piercing his chest above the nipple
plunged deep in his lung, and Thoas, running up,
wrenched the heavy spear from the man’s chest,
drew his blade, ripped him across the belly,
took his life but he could not strip his armour.
Look, there were Pirous’ cohorts bunched in a ring,
Thracians, topknots waving, clutching their long pikes
and rugged, strong and proud as the Trojan Thoas was,
they shoved him back – he gave ground, staggering, reeling.
And so the two lay stretched in the dust, side-by-side,
a lord of Thrace, a lord of Epeans armed in bronze
and a ruck of other soldiers died around them.
no man who waded into that work could scorn it any longer,
anyone still not speared or stabbed by tearing bronze
who whirled into the heart of all that slaughter –
not even if great Athena led him by the hand,
flicking away the weapons hailing down against him.
That day ranks of Trojans, ranks of Achaean fighers
sprawled there side-by-side, facedown in the dust.
– Homer, The Iliad (trans. Robert Fagles, 1990), Book IV, 599-630.
For Remembrance Day.