The gage is thrown, the challenge met
and on the field of battle set
in the grand arena where true knights contend.
Warding life and soul they must defend
'gainst a tireless foe that seeks to bare
their mortal breast, with cunning feints ensnare
all defense, tangle arms and throw them wide,
leave them open with naught but pride
'twixt them and a piercing deep inside.

In defense are choices hard made,
lest one lose the bout to an upstart blade.
A gallant may choose to ward head or heart
but not both, and yet leave softer parts
open still to subtle assault.
Where cunning bulwark fails to halt
advance of the foe, there lies the threat
of forced retreat, of hard beset
by daring push ending in blood-let.

Above the fray, a maiden vies
through womanly arts to catch the eye
of a lusty fellow down on the field.
This doughty thane is loathe to yield
to blandishments of friend or foe
and deftly dodges both smile and blow.
But in the young warrior's heart he finds
a yearning for battle of other kind,
a struggle to which he is more inclined.

A nervous twitch, a shifting look,
eyes searching for the smallest crook
to strike, to sink a forceful thrust
past all defense, to claim with gust
the o'erpowring with cunning stroke
of a worthy foe by perilous poke.
Round and round, this treach’rous dance,
when blood is let in a mislaid glance,
where the victor's wreathe may fall to chance.

He joins this fight with a lighter heart
and with youthly vigor plies his art
of seduction, temptation, courtly vice
and hopes to with manly prowess entice
this new challenge, this tender maid,
and end the day in his bower, properly laid.
He dreams of her tumbled in frothy lace,
and is almost tumbled himself, saved by God’s grace
as his armored opponent rushes to his embrace.

The smitten knight is split in twain
to fight both battles with might and main.
'Gainst Love and Valor both he contends
and prays that his prowess in the end
will prove him to the maid a champion true
so that vice may be found after noble virtue.
Young blade, pray heed to the wisdom I speak,
for Whether Mars' or Venus' favor you seek,
the battleground ever spurns the meek.

Neil Outar's picture

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Neil Outar is a first generation American poet of Guyanese and Indian heritage. Falling in love with the written word at an early age, Neil was fascinated by medieval and renaissance poetry forms.

Last updated June 25, 2013