The field of battle is smooth and neat,
A bright plain, rectangular and clean;
A piece of paper soon will be the scene
Where ink will stain the now immaculate sheet.
The margins guard the borders they comprise;
The spaces stretch incised in white and black,
Facing ineluctable attack
From future works now poised on the horizon.
They crouch alert before our troops engage —
The champing words, the clamorous refrains —
Is that faint sound the rustling of their reins
Before their forces pour onto the page?
Who dares to scout the edges of this form,
To type beyond the Pillars of Hercules?
One word will launch the shrill hyperboles,
Massing in the calm before the storm.
NOTES for Students of English
The Pillars of Hercules – In antiquity, the Strait of Gibraltar.