How March got its name.
When all the months were given names way back in yesteryear,
eleven of the months got names in ways that were quite clear.
Yet March remains a lion and I welcome it again;
so here is how it got its name--allow me to explain.
The story starts in Babylon where gardens hung so fine;
Upon a wall King Xerxes once called for a level line.
He dearly loved geometry--his subjects he would teach;
when workers started on the line, they chiseled, “Mark this Reach.”
(In Babylon, like life today, wordplay wore cap and gown;
the Babylonians liked puns and switching words around.
And even though the words they chiseled could not be misread,
the plain truth is they really meant, “Reach this Mark,” instead.)
So Xerxes got his level line and happy was the king;
within the wall the mark was made to let some humor ring.
But as they heed the march of time, empires often fall;
so Babylon came crashing down, along with garden wall.
Fast forward now through stacks of years to armies sent from Rome;
those legions crossed the Rubicon to conquer far from home.
And in the midst of seizing land for Caesar’s appetite,
they came across the ruins of the Hanging Gardens’ site.
Marcus Aurelius the Brave was charged to lead the brawn;
but he was also quite intrigued by what he came upon.
He saw the chiseled writing with some missing in between;
and in debris of crumbled stone, “Mareach” is what was seen.
He joked about it with his aides that night when they made camp;
the great Euphrates gleamed the light from Heaven’s nighttime lamp.
And as the months wore on and Roman legions scanned the sky,
it was not long before “Mareach” became a battle cry.
Of course it made its way to Rome, this battle cry of note;
in victory, “Mareach!” they’d say, and all of Rome would gloat.
The Counsel and the senators would also speak the word;
even in the Coliseum, “Mareach, Mareach!” was heard.
Move to Pliny the Elder now, an author of renown;
he wrote of it in many works, intrigued by sight and sound.
Yet one man by himself cannot record each time and date;
so scribes were used and in that way more words would circulate.
And so in time the battle cry that Pliny loved to read,
became, “Marach” because of Pliny’s scribes excessive speed.
It traveled far from Babylon where garden walls held sway;
then Julius Caesar saw it, and just removed an A.