An erasure poem created from ‘The Last of the Knights Templar. A Poem, With historical notes.’ by Thomas Billington (1866)

by Steven McCabe


Memory scorns the hand

In sweet response to heaven

19. city

6.Amber Curtains

Fame outlives

Mighty hearts

Earth and sea obey

8. y

The blood of many a son

Tarnished in liberty

Fade 1

12. Moon Over Knight2

An offended sky

Hoarsely sung,

Shadows wear the crowns

15. Taken Aback

The conquering sons of

Neptune’s vaunted eye,

His dinted blade

5. Johnny Appleseed25 linenFade 2

The echoes sing,

Your faith of obedience

Like snow flakes

11. Moon Over Knight9 Pale Grey

Comets of heaven

March on to glory,

No tongue shall number

A calm blue ocean

10. Now This

The glorious dead

Came upon the sea


2. a.13. Swirl

The tide of that deep abyss

Struck by the Templars’ sword

Fade 2

Each vaunted knight

An inspiring heaven

cobra18. See?

One vast clay sun

Now morning emerald

Detail 8f15. Taken Aback25 linen

Enchantment’s radiant form

In desolation’s train –

Her last revenge

7. Turquoise Wall

The cherished isle of steel

A soldier’s bed –


Goes terribly forth

17. Your Arrival Changes Everything

25 Blurred Reality

The black herald of sorrow

Reeking in dying cadence

16. Statement

Linger on the carnival

16. Statement7. Turquoise Wall

Look on the headless brothers

Your work of hate


Detail 2f

A whirlwind’s Autumn on helmets clashing

Deaden the pangs of a soldier’s doom

19. city15. Taken Aback

Onward Templars press

A frenzied rite

On condor’s wing a cold embrace

Fade 1


Thunder blackening the lament

A winding sheet

Like seafroth

6.Amber Curtains

His swollen veins darkening

Hail our Queen!

6.Amber Curtains

The edge upon our lips


Wading in a fiery grave

20 Blue Knight

Each convent bell


No seabird to warn the boatman

5. Johnny Appleseed

A fairy thing –

The whiteness of her sail

Raptures your lonely shore

new branch

Detail 1f

Whispery the void

 Nature a weary scene

Not a sigh escaped

25 Blurred Reality

20 Blue Knight

Laugh of vacancy

Babylon’s lustful day

Detail 5f

The night grown weary

All was still

Fade 9

The chains savage

24 Gleam

The (original) 56 page poem is a retelling of history & loaded with glorification of battle & cultural/religious point of view, details of woe and foe, and the ecstasy of triumphs. It’s really quite the technicolour blockbuster epic. Followed by almost 30 pages of historical text. I found it when I was looking for a connection between the Knights Templar and limestone (believe it or not). Two things happened simultaneously: I was skimming an old Canadian educational book called ‘Pioneer Arts and Crafts’ written by Edwin G. Guillet, M.A. (dedicated to Marguerite Guillet Brooks – Designer, Thread Workers Guild of America) and reading a fascinating section about ‘Lime – Burning.’  At the same time I had a digital image, rather ‘knight-ish,’ which I wanted to use with a poem. I began to imagine Marguerite sewing silk tassels for a knight’s helmet. And somehow, well, it all came together. My ‘erasing’ was done fairly quickly, like snapshots, grabbing a few impressions.