English Ode No.1: To Chivalry

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January 31, 2015 by phicks2012

ctree2While trying to manage simple articles on Period Poetic Forms for my monthly SCA Newsletter: The Equinox, I made it my goal also to create at least one verse in each form for publication with the articles. Sometimes this was easy, and on other occasions it proved more challenging — especially since I picked the simple forms first and worked my way through the list tackling more and more complex forms as I went along.

What follows was and is my first (and only thus far) attempt at an English Ode. Because it was meant for publication in an SCA Newsletter, the subject matter naturally reflects that, and I hope that my SCAdian readers will appreciate the sentiments. However, I also hope that non-SCA readers will also find merit in it.

English Ode No.1: To Chivalry

Beneath bold banners shining in the sun
Their silken colors lifting on the wind,
And urging noble deeds as yet undone
By worthy souls, all eager to defend,
The noble knight, bright vested in his maille
With jewel-hilted blade, emblazoned shield,
And mantled helm stands in symbolic might
Of chivalry and all it does entail;
In its defense in mighty arcs to wield
His sword, and wayward infamy to smite.

And forth in battle he may ready stride
To champion brave causes long unfought,
And by heroic standards may abide
In surety to stand with blade truth-wrought,
Upon the field where courage finds its heart
And honor answers when it might stand mute;
Where fealty rises there to stand the test;
When peril threatens ne’er to stand apart,
But with his bravery to earn repute
Or die in glory at his Lord’s behest.

But Chivalry is not by might alone
Defined, nor yet by brilliant banners marked.
It stands wherever bravery is known,
Not only where the crimsoned blades are arced.
It shines where honor rises swordless, too,
And bravery unarmored silent stands;
Where truth is worn upon a silken sleeve,
And what the heart believes is rendered true;
Where souls respond to justice’s demands,
And we are given reason to believe.

[30 October, 2014]

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