The Knight's Charge
A Poem for Justin in Elongated Heroic Couplets
The youthful knight stands tall on the unconquered sand
While at his back white ships discharge his faithful band.
The trees ahead are massed too dense for lighted track.
What lies beyond? The somber clouds in glow'ring rack
Drape heavily o'er nearer hills and farther peaks.
The dismal scene is ominous indeed, and speaks
No welcome to the men who wait. Yet forward now
The knight should bravely go, by scaling every brow
And tramping onward through each twisting maze despite
The eerie calls of day and whisperings of night,
Despite the hordes of ogres slinking low that will
Emerge from cracks and close upon him for the kill,
Despite demonic dragons, scaly monsters dire,
In secret dens now poised to strike with deadly fire.
The knight has much to gain, for in the distance lies
A storied ruin quiet under changing skies.
In ancient times it was a castle opulent,
With massive battlements that stood magnificent,
But now remains no hall unmarred or tower strong.
From tales primeval he has learned that ages long
Ago, deep under dungeon floors, its stony shield
A cavern grimly dark with entrance well concealed,
Was laid a crown of worth too great for reckoning.
Should he possess it, he would presently be king
Of all the world he sees, from land beneath his feet
To misty lines afar where earth and heaven meet.
To take the prize will try his ingenuity.
Stern hardships multiplied will be his enemy.
Bereft of any road, he'll trek through scrub and bog,
There waging combat fierce with foes in league with Gog,
And at the end he'll have the guardians to face,
Dim ghosts of kings long dead, a villainous old race,
With bodies wholly faded but for burning eyes,
That search the castle slopes with pow'r to paralyze
All men encaptured by their gaze. To win the fight,
The knight must brandish high a sword of brighter light,
And this for years he's carried at his belt, and through
Unceasing practice earned a potent ally true.
So will the knight march on? His men stand by his side,
Prepared to follow him, though fiends and pitfalls wide
And shadows palpable do plague the way ahead.
But will he lead them? Yes, undaunted he will tread
The realms enchained by hell, with heart from fear set free,
And someday songs will celebrate his victory.