Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The War That Was Won"

This poem is spillover from the August 4, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "Unexpected Love" square in my 6-1-20 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Ocracies series.


"The War That Was Won ..."


A war sprang up between
the Hoplarchy of Ledes and
the Hamarchy of Helgi.

It started over an iron mine
and trade rights, but rapidly
expanded from there.

Everyone thought it
would peter out with
winter, as such things
usually did, but it didn't.

By the second summer, it
spilled into neighboring nations,
a situation which aggravated
the Hetaerocracy of Tizou.

Fed up with the squabbling,
the hetaerae sent messages
making each of the generals
think that the other wished
to negotiate for peace.

When the generals entered
the white tent, however, they
found not a negotiating table
but a pile of pillows draped
with naked hetaerae.

While they were staring,
frozen in shock, more of
the courtesans appeared
behind them and peeled off
their armor and their clothes.

After all, wouldn't it look
simply dreadful if anyone
found out what really went on?

Surely it was better to stay a while
and pretend they were discussing peace.

The two generals started out on
opposite sides of the tent, each
with his own pile of courtesans ...

... but as the evening wore on,
the hetaerae shifted them
slowly but surely together.

No one among them, not even
the courtesans who had planned
the whole affair, had known that
General Ardoban of Ledes and
General Zib of Helgi both liked
doing a certain something in bed
that was an uncommon quirk indeed.

Each of them had thought he was
doing it with a courtesan, only
to realize that they were doing
it with each other -- and
doing it quite well.

After that, they would
have done anything for
the sake of distraction,
so it was not difficult
to convince the men
to sit up and actually
talk about peace.

They managed
to work out a treaty
for sharing the iron
and sorting out traders
according to who had
a higher tolerance for
military excitement or
bureaucratic boredom.

It helped a lot that
General Ardoban was
decisive and General Zib
was a good listener.

The next day, they even
convinced their armies
to go along with the plan.

If they snuck off afterwards
to get thoroughly drunk and
do a certain something until
the sun came up, well, that was
nobody's business but theirs.

Thus it went down in history as
the War That Was Won with an Orgy.

But only in the Hetaerocracy of Tizou.

* * *

Notes:

The Hetaerocracy of Tizou was introduced in "Unconquered Lands."

The Hamarchy of Helgi first appeared in "The Clockmaker's Country."

The Hoplarchy of Ledes came out in "What Makes a Hero."

Sex as conflict resolution absolutely works. Just ask the bonobos.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing
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