Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)
TITLE: A Bedtime Story
By Jackie Wilson
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A prisoner in her tower.
She shivers through her morning prayers
And craves the lightening hour.
One candle flickers bravely
‘gainst the darkness of her room,
Reveals her at the window,
As she contemplates her doom.
With fingers stiff from cold of night
She shreds in wee, fine pieces
The missive from her husband king,
And to the wind releases.
A single songbird splits the silence,
heralding the morn,
But music cannot mend the gash
When heart from heart is torn.
Darker than the night now spent,
these days endured apart.
Though she’s held fast by traitor’s blade,
Her husband holds her heart.
“Milady, shall I get your wrap?”
the lady’s maid inquired.
Her shifty eyes belied the thoughts
her courtesy inspired.
“No, thank you, Sally. You may go.”
Queen Gilda did not turn.
Her thoughts were deep and full of care,
Her husband, her concern.
Not far beyond the castle walls,
Lord Harold’s army lay.
Paid mercenaries, thieves and thugs,
All conscience held at bay.
Old Harry’s spies confirmed, the King
Was in his forest stronghold,
His weakened forces saving strength,
As allies nearer rolled.
Intentions were to overrun
The woodland fortress walls,
To kill the King
And leave them all
Right dead within its halls.
Three days from now, on Good Friday,
He’d work his battle plan.
The kingdom lay within his reach,
A sword firm in his hand.
Atop the wall King Benjamin
Stood guard beside his men.
He prayed that God in mercy true
Would keep watch over them.
Though aid was coming from the west,
Of time there was a lack.
A week or more would find them dead,
From enemy’s attack.
For two days hence,
On Thursday noon,
The enemy would come.
In moonless dark,
They’d reach their mark
In total silence, mum.
They wouldn’t move,
They wouldn’t stir,
Until the sun did rise.
And then they’d overpower these few
And grant them their demise.
King Ben slumped down against the wall,
His head held in his hand,
And pondered what he was to do,
To save his stalwart band.
The young page came and knelt beside
His King, his Liege, his Better,
And handed him his leather pouch,
Supplies to write a letter.
“You say the words of love are strong,
Much stronger than your sword.”
His master nodded, taking pen
To write to his adored.
He turned the pen within his grip
And wondered at this thought.
Could victory so simple be
By working such a plot?
No time to waste.
He set to work
And furiously scribbled.
A second page now followed first,
With penmanship not quibbled.
His fastest rider he dispatched,
To ride straight through the night.
To Gilda he had sent his love,
And with his love, his life.
In tower gray, the chambermaid
To service was behooved.
The wood was laid beside the hearth,
The chamber pot removed.
Then, freshly cleaned, the pot was brought
And set behind the screen.
the letter brief
From Benjamin, the King.
When all were gone, the Queen reached out,
The pages to retrieve.
Reading quickly, hand on heart,
With hope she did believe.
One shredded page tossed to the wind,
The second grasped, she waited.
When sneaky Sally snatched it free,
Queen Gilda straightway fainted.
“What fools they are!” Lord Harold cried,
“Good riddance, both of you!
And find that lousy chambermaid.
I want to run her through.
Says here, the fort, he’s burned and left.
He’s running for the coast.
He’s gone around us, heading east,
To meet the heathen host.
Now, send a party of five men,
To verify the story.
The rest will chase old Ben-boy down,
For victory and glory.”
Smoke still rose from burning timbers
In the forest clearing.
Five scouts walked their steeds around
And rubbed their eyes, now tearing.
“Nothing here,” the leader said.
“Go find their tracks at least.”
They searched and found the tell-tale signs
Of horsemen, heading east.
At their departure all was still,
Save for the soughing cedar.
But one by one, Ben’s men appeared
And waited for their leader.
Their children’s children clamor
For Queen Gilda and King Ben
To tell again the wondrous tale,
Of power in the pen.
How once a wise King and his Queen
Created joy from woe,
By wielding pen instead of sword
To thwart an evil foe.
With loose ends.
Tie the bow
With what you know.
I’m out of ink.
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