Sunday, November 7, 2010

November Poetry Challenge: 7/30: The Queen's Champion

Here I offer you poem #7 of 30 in my November poetry challenge. I'm active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and attended a Queen's Champion Tournament today. This should give a little taste of the magic that I witnessed:

The Queen's Champion

A veiled figure stands
on the battlefield in blood
red robes, sun glinting
off of Her golden crown. A crowd
of armored hopefuls kneel
eagerly at Her feet as she speaks
of duty and devotion,
of difficult work to be done
and a job to be won.
Her dark eyes shine
and fighters rise,
She bids them battle for a full
grueling hour
for the chance to serve Her.
And she settles back to watch, intently.
With springing steps keen combatants
begin their bouts.

Time passes. The sun beats harder,
and the heavy crack and crash
of sword on shield
begins to mingle with cries
of pain as well aimed
blows win through.
Breath comes heavier.
Arms feel the strain
and focus narrows to the next
Almost there.
The hour is almost up...
just a bit longer...
and Her lilting voice rings out.
Her heroes are not tired enough.
Their battles will continue
for another half hour.
The warriors steel themselves
and fight on.

And now
the strain begins to show.
A struggle for air
and one armored figure leaves the field.
Vision flickers
and another lad is forced to yield.
Pure exhaustion sets in
and a bruised veteran collapses to one side.
Pain. Aching.
But the crowned vision glides
forward with personal words
of encouragement. A touch on an arm.
A gentle gaze. And for each,
an offer of cool, pure water
from Her own lovely hands.
Spines straighten.
Sheer determination kicks in,
and gritty warriors find
their arms will lift swords
at least one more time.

The battle is done.
And one man
A glittering throng of nobility
serves as witness
as he sinks to his knees
at Her Majesty's feet.
Her graceful arms cradle a deadly sword
as she stands, a beautiful inspiration.
She looks him in the eyes...
and finally smiles,
beaming with the warmth of the sun.
He is worthy.
He receives the sword from Her
royal hands
and proudly rises, pain forgotten,
to take his place at Her back,
tasked to defend
this radiant lady
with his honor, his sword, and his very life.
And the gathered crowd gives three
echoing, resonant cheers...

For the Queen
has chosen Her Champion.

Melissa McCollum

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