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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: In the Scullery
By Kenn Allan


The king ignored his sodden guests,
Awash in ale and mirth,
Invited to commemorate
Three decades since his birth.

Instead, he gazed upon the moors,
A goblet tipped in hand,
And contemplated secret thoughts
Too deep to understand.

What happened to those merry times
Since first becoming king?
When did the sound of clinking gold
Refuse his heart to sing?

Where went those vast exotic feasts
Which teased both taste and smell?
Or clever winks from ladies faire,
Beguiling with their spell?

His goblet clattered to the floor—
A symbol of his shame...
Abound in gold and precious jewels,
Yet empty all the same.

He sank defeated to his knees
And bowed his throbbing head,
With groans escaping from his lips
Of prayers remained unsaid.

From somewhere close to heaven’s heart,
In answer to his plea,
A song sprang forth where shadows danced
Within the scullery.

It drifted up the kitchen stairs
With clear and measured tones,
Where torches flickered in delight
Against the blackened stones.

Despite the pandemonium
Which spun beyond control,
The king caught snatches of a song
Which soothed his troubled soul.

“What singing, this?” he mused aloud
Amid the drunken din,
And listened o'er the feeble strains
Of flute and mandolin.

Determined to unearth the source,
The king stalked forth alone;
Through murky halls and corridors
And down some steps of stone.

The song grew sweeter with each step;
The king increased his stride,
Until he found the proper door—
He stopped and peeked inside.

The scullery was dark and damp,
The stench was quite acute;
A young girl overflowed with song
While sorting vats of fruit.

She sang of profound happiness—
The very thing he sought;
He must learn what this peasant knew
Which he, the king, did not.

"You there!" boomed the tipsy king,
"Have you a hidden flask?
Methinks you are too overjoyed
For such a mundane task."

"Oh no, m'lord" She curtsied low,
"I have no need of wine,
This happiness within my soul
Flows from a different Vine.

"I cannot see my Master's face
With vision dim and blurred,
Or sing my praises to His name
With lyrics thick and slurred."

"How intrishting," replied the king,
"Forgive my interruption..."
But quickly lost all future thoughts
Behind some loud disruption.

Outside the doorway, in the hall,
A flock of maids appeared,
Their aprons filled with filthy plates
From tables they had cleared.

They scorned and mocked the lowly girl
The whole time they were there,
Heaping insults at her feet
Along with tableware.

Asked the king, "Why do you stay
Upon your own accord?
This is a drab and thankless job
With no perceived reward.

"Perhaps you'll scheme one day to steal
A golden cup or plate
And pawn it for a tidy sum
To flee this hopeless fate."

A glint of horror bleached her face,
"Oh no, m'lord!" she cried,
“I have no need to rob or steal—
My Master will provide.

“Although the days are long and cruel,
To leave would be remiss,
If this is where my Master wills,
No grander place exists.”

No sooner had she spoken thus,
There came a plaintive cry;
A hungry cat limped through the door
And caught the maiden's eye.

Without delay or second thought
She scraped the scattered dishes,
And soon produced a kitty meal
Of mutton chunks and fishes.

The king scowled at the feline fare,
"Why waste food on that beast?
You should have gleaned it for yourself
And had a gourmet feast."

"Not me, m'lord" the girl replied,
"I heed my Master's voice,
And help those weaker than myself—
I have no other choice.

"For me to eat while someone starves
Just seems a bit absurd,
So I'll just read aloud tonight
And feast upon His Word."

The king reached out and took her hand,
"You are what I require—
I've never seen such overflow
Of gifts which I desire.

"I beg you, teach me how to live
A more abundant life,
And help me be a better king
By sitting as my wife."

“I'm truly flattered," she replied,
“But I'm not whom you seek;
It is my Master who supplies
All things of which you speak.

"If you will give your heart to Him
And for your sins atone,
My Master will reside within
The man upon the throne."

She threw the king a gentle kiss
And like a dream was gone...

...Then to his chambers he retired
To learn the Master's song.

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This article has been read 1878 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ann Grover06/15/06
Not a whole lot to say, is there? Excellent, mesmerising, as usual. A few forced places, but a re-read set them right.
Lori Othouse 06/15/06
Wow, so beautiful! Loved the rhythm of it all. Definitely a spiritual place to strive for. Great work!
Debbie OConnor06/15/06
Awesome! I love the title, the medieval theme, the flow, the message. Everything.
Melanie Kerr 06/17/06
I have to applaud! A wonderful poem and well crafted.
Sally Hanan06/17/06
You always manage to have such great lines, like:
"I cannot see my Master's face
With vision dim and blurred,
Or sing my praises to His name
With lyrics thick and slurred."

"How intrishting," replied the king,
This poem wasn't as clear and focused as your usual ones, and I think that's because you have two settings - one in the banqueting hall, and one in the scullery. It may have been more focused if you had started with the king finding the scullery maid and then contrasted his thoughts with hers.
Great job again, I always enjoy your poetic stories.
Pat Guy 06/17/06
Oh wow, the chills on my arms tell me as I read in awe! Perfection from the Masters heart through yours.

I have a feeling ... :)
Linda Watson Owen06/18/06
What an absolute delight from the master of the narrative poem!! Mesmerizing indeed!!
Marilyn Schnepp 06/18/06
Truly a Master Wordsmith in the Art of Rhyme! Awesome, absolutely breathtaking!
Jen Davis06/19/06
I so enjoyed this. What wonderful talent you have! Very well done.
Theresa Kissinger06/19/06
Wonderful, each stanza created a visual and the rhythmic flow made reading enjoyable.
Tabiatha Tallent06/20/06
Iloved this! I always look forward to reading your poetry.
James Clem 06/20/06
Another winner Kenn! Another one on the favorites list.
Brenda Craig06/20/06
I love your poetry.I always feel as if I am in some kind of motion I can't get out of until I read to the end. They are kinda like a flowing river, yes that's it and I enjoy taking the journey. Blessings to you and your talent.
Maxx .06/20/06
yup... I knew this was yours. Most excellent work ... as usual. Another winner. Is your mantle getting filled yet with the trophies?
Suzanne R06/21/06
Amazing ... how do you do it?

Jan Ackerson 06/21/06
Loved it! I tried to be Kenn-ish in my little poem this week, but after reading this wonderful story, I'm going to go crawl under a rock. You're just so good!
Sherry Wendling06/22/06
Congratulations, Kenn! I too, felt inspired to "try" a somewhat Kenn-styled bit of poetry this week...You are inspiring, even if rather hopeless to beat!

Garnet Miller 06/22/06
I wish that I could write poetry like that. The minute I read it, I knew it was your entry. There is something distinctive in your style. I could see everything that the characters saw in my mind's eye. You have an extroadinary gift, Kenn. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Trina Courtenay06/22/06
Kenn, writing works as AWEsome as this really pushes the bar high. I should through in my towel now. But I won't! Your are an inspiration & a true Master of Poety. May the Lord keep guiding your pen as you right for the glory of HIM!

Trina Courtenay06/22/06
opps! spell check...throw
Rita Garcia06/22/06
Pure inspiration! Congratulations on your First Place EC!
Andre Kingston06/22/06
Kenn, I have apsired to write poetry for years now. I have worked and played and prayed. Still, nothing I put on paper is comparable to what comes from you. Please, continue to bless us all with your boundless imagination and your playfullness with words. Thank you, Miss Andre.
Donna J. Shepherd06/23/06
Congratulations, Kenn. You deserved to win. Awesome poem. The story weaves effortlessly through your prose. Very enjoyable.
Celeste High06/27/06
This was brilliantly done. I had just a couple of meter problems, but I'm reading it at 545am, so what does that tell you??? I don't often leave comments, but I'm proud of you. Great job.