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Our writers' group was asked to write a piece on the word 'Epiphany'. Jeanne d'Arc's traditional birthday is January 6th: Epiphany in the Christian calendar.
I was originally going to include the poem in the 'War' anthology but decided on 'Human Suffering' instead, given the circumstances that led up to Jeanne's death.
My advice to anyone not familiar with the events in her life is to read a brief bio as a background to this poem.

Epiphany

Cimg2232by Robert E. Wilson17 Mar 2016

Jeanne d’Arc.
Indeed her mark
on history has stayed.
And was this girl foretold?
Did mystic seers of old
predict the Maid?
Born in Domremy
at Epiphany,
her angels three
assigned to her a quest -
she could not rest
till she fulfilled her destiny.

The hundred years of warfare with its demoralisation
that drained the very life blood from the people of her nation
weighed heavy on her heart and, each and every part
of La Pucelle d’Orleans
was longing for the dawn
of her country’s restoration.

Her duty to her liege,
the raising of a siege
has brought her accolades
for seven centuries, but
political expediency
dealt the final, callous cut.
Lies, betrayal, accusation;
unjust, harsh interrogation;
final, painful condemnation.
The cruel game of war degraded men of every rank;
the demise of one camp’s honour was matched only
by the dreadful depths to which the other sank;
the heroine whose presence graced her monarch’s coronation
now left to languish in a place of stern incarceration
as all around her felt released from moral obligation.

But history will judge the Maid more fairly than the church and state elite;
the essence of their judgement barely more than sheer contempt and vain conceit.
The faggots, smoking, flaming; kinsfolk and kingdoms shaming
through concurred, contrived decision, but her vision
did not perish in the fire;
the hundred years would soon expire.
This is the Maid, whose spirit, inspirationally
has kindled for so many, an epiphany.

© Robert E. Wilson.