Going to Jerusalem

Maxine Kumin

Bedecked with scapulars,
heavy with huge crosses
and crying out abroad,
Death to the Infidel!
the Franks swept by in waves
riding their stone horses,
big-barreled stallions
deemed brave enough for battle,

only to meet the swart,
small, mustachioed Turks
crouched nimbly athwart
their slight Arabian mares,
the only gender they
thought fit for close combat,

and thus the Rhenish stones,
running amok among
the little dish-faced mares,
the high-tailed swans-necked mares
begetting as they went,
plunged the entire Crusade
upon the Eastern Front
into chaotic bliss.

Angels from streets of gold
benignly looked on this,
God’s wonders to behold.
Both sides stood by unhorsed
while Nature ran its course.

Love what you've read? Subscribe to The Paris Review.