Le Morte de MacArthur
Jo Walton


General MacArthur, won't you come and join our dance?
Just take our hands and come with us, now sir, it's your last chance,
Let us fly with you and die with you, and bring you home at last
To the marching songs the faeries sang round campfires of the past.

You're a hero and a legend, and you're dying in your bed,
Your name was gold across two worlds, why let it end as lead?
From Inchon to Corregidor your glorious victories shine,
Come back with us to faerieland, and join another line.

You were victor in our wars as well, we keep your memory bright,
Of the three year-days that you spent with us and learned the use of flight,
You say you bought that knowledge dear, much dearer than the Marne,
And you sigh and turn your face away and murmur once "Bataan."

Yes, we snatched you off to faerieland for those three days past Pearl,
The Queen of Faerie took you up, she'd have named you Duke or Earl,
You refused to take her titles, you American, in pride,
So we learned to call you General, but she kept you at her side.

You remember those foul goblins? You remember how we won?
You remember testing strategies beneath our purple sun?
You know we loved you, General, though we are not mortal men,
So take our hands and join with us, dance on, come home again.

You were mindful of desertion, you would not forget your war,
But you stayed to aid our victory, and learned from what you saw,
If you'd gone back, well, yes, Bataan, but you might have lost the rest,
Nor set Japan so straight a course, through knowing what was best.

"Bataan," you cry, and turn away, and two whole worlds dismissed,
Although you saved Australia, the Pacific, all the list,
And the victories you won for us, may their splendours always burn,
Are you sure you meant Manila when you swore you would return?

You never won America, although you ruled Japan,
They would not name you President, they chose a lesser man.
We would not scorn you likewise, we would surely name you king,
If you'll turn to us and take our hands and let yourself take wing.

Oh General MacArthur, she is waiting for you still,
She is Queen of Youth and Beauty, you'll grow young beneath the hill,
She loves you still and always, and she offers you romance,
Forget your pride, forget Bataan, and come and join our dance!

Oh General MacArthur, don't you sigh and turn away.
This is your last chance to join us at the ending of the day.
Let us fly with you and die with you, and bring you home at last
To the marching songs the faeries sang round campfires of the past.



About the Author:

Jo Walton is the author of four fantasy novels: The King's Peace; The King's Name; The Prize in the Game; and the World Fantasy Award winning Tooth and Claw Her latest novel is the Nebula nominated Farthing. The sequel, Ha'Penny, will be out from Tor in October 2007.  She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied. Her exciting online journal, with word counts and occasional actual content, is here.


Poem 2007 Jo Walton.