Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Special Feature: "Knight Sestina" by the Editor

Knight Sestina
Steven Wittenberg Gordon

Ride forth to battle noble knight
With sword and bow and trusty lance.
When come the hungry demons--fight!
Repel the hordes as they advance.
Come down upon them as a gale,
Defend us all.  You must not fail.

What would it mean for you to fail,
To fall in battle, shining knight?
The demons, howling like a gale,
Their teeth as sharp as any lance
Upon your gates they would advance.
Remember this the while you fight.

Spurred on by evil, demons fight.
While darkness reigns they will not fail
To press you hard in their advance
And ever strive to kill you, knight,
To snap your bow and break your lance,
To feed you to their hellish gale.

With wings that beat the air to gale
The wing├ęd ones prefer to fight
With talons long as any lance,
And hides to make your arrows fail.
Draw back your bow with strength, oh knight!
And bring them down!  Halt their advance!

Relentlessly they will advance
A hundred strong before the gale.
To overcome a single knight
The demons are prepared to fight
To crush and make your spirit fail
And stick your head upon your lance.

So charge at them with lowered lance
As forth the howling hordes advance.
Though skin may split and sinews fail,
Your spirit, mighty as a gale,
Must never break in this great fight.
Show what it means to be knight.

Oh fail us not!  Bring on the gale!
Lance them like boils as you fight.
We thank you in advance, oh knight.

Poet's Notes:  I just never tire of the story of the noble knight, alone, facing impossible odds, everyone counting him, grimly and bravely executing his duty by riding into battle, accepting of his doom.  The sestina is a difficult form to pull off, but I found the narrative sliding easily into place as I composed this one.

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