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Poems of Mac McAnear
The Virtuous Knight

Hearken to a story of days of old
Ladies beautiful and knights bold
When Sir Chauncey came from somewhere in the land. 

Inexperienced but a generous heart
Eye attracted to a saucy tart
Resolved to enter the tourney to win her lily-white hand. 

A fortnight away the contest set
He to face Modred whom he’d never met
This news causing a sigh of collective relief.

A dreadful foe was this knight
When holding contestant in his sight
Brutal beyond the point of astounded belief. 

This Modred had broken many a skull
For the bloodthirsty rabble never dull
A fearsome knight undefeated to the present significant date. 

Chauncey suffered much trepidation
Considered for a time a long vacation
Alas decided to accept his awful, certain fate! 

Despairing avoided the practice field
Lest others smirk or he then yield
To the still-strong temptation to steal cur-like away.

While mulling this dilemma in a shaded glen
A stranger approached and said, “Good friend!”
“I beseech thee to listen to what I have to say!” 

“We’re agreed,” said he, “Thou hast no chance
“Mad Modred sure to do his dance
“And cleave thy body into a bloody mess!” 

“Help I will!  Know that I can!
“To this end formed a thought out plan
“Making odds of Modred’s survival considerably less!” 

“An artisan am I in the arms trade
All my wares fully displayed
“For errant knights to purchase with hopes to win!” 

“In secret labor contrived a lance
“To provide some innocent a fighting chance
“To compete on equal footing with these stalwart men!” 

“Long waited I for just this time
“To test this theory of reason and rhyme
“Can one pure of heart defeat a proven troll?” 

Intrigued---though desperate most of all
Chauncey repaired to the artisan’s hall
To view the proffered jousting pole. 

There ensconced among piles of skins
In length as long as a list of sins
Lay a gleaming lance destined for this novice knight. 

“Why ‘tis impossible to lift such a thing!
“Perchance succeed then fail to bring
“Such a weapon to bear on the body of one in flight!” 

“Fret not, good friend!” smiled the master
“All’s fine that seems disaster!
“’Tis with ease to heft this lance and aim dead square!” 

With scarcely an effort Chauncey lifted the shaft
In disbelief felt fore and aft
Radiant hope lighted his visage fair! 

“What, pray, hast thou wrought
“To fashion a weapon that weighs but nought?
“Such magic I would to the whole kingdom shout!” 

“This secret known only to me!
“’Tis made from wood of a wonderful tree
“That grows slowly deep in the forest here about!” 

“By your leave, breathe not a sound!
“For if heard and I am found
“My children instant orphans since my wife is dead!” 

“So remains unannounced this treasure here
“Take up again thy usual spear
“Conduct thyself as if no secret lodged in that innocent head!” 

“Then early morn of this planned event
“My word to thee by the Sacrament
“This lance will I place in thy trusted hands!

“Assured to be following the battle
“Wide-spread fame, fortune and cattle
“Though most gratifying the fair maid with whom to post the banns!” 

All too soon the high day came
Throngs of people joining the game
Our young knight donned his armor and mounted his steed. 

As vowed the master appeared with lance
Handed it over with a soulful glance
Uttering as he did, “God speed!” 

Obscured for the nonce from the noisy crowd
Sat he quietly till name read aloud
Rode slowly, vertical shaft seeming to the very clouds to soar! 

Knights mounted in line to watch the fray
Frolicking rabble---all stopped their play
Stunned to silence, then began to roar! 

Every mother’s child must know already
A lance so long cannot be steady
In hands of this knight or whatever he pretends to be! 

A praise-worthy effort this clever ploy
By one in appearance no more than a boy
Yet a slaughter we’ve all come to see! 

Modred spurring his steed in a familiar jump
Lance poised for the usual thump
His foe little more to him than easy prey! 

Chauncey, in blink of a watchful eye,
Lowered his shaft from the azure sky
Unhorsing Modred and definitively ending his day!

A profound silence followed this feat
Nobles all left their seat
Staring at the lifeless figure sprawled in the settling dust! 

Deafening cheers to realize
This intrepid knight had won the prize
The death of Modred both fair and just! 

From the misty past we’ve gleaned this tale
Shown that virtue will prevail
Provided there’s laid a well-planned trap! 

No resting on laurels gained before
For progress will catch and even the score
Inevitable if one employs an ingenious handicap!

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