Though Courage did much to stay the crowds,
He could not meet their grief with aught but scorn.
He felt it much below his manner; proud,
And thought as much until his final morn.

Then the people’s princess, young Innocence,
Who’d grown up in the company of all,
But even she could not have them see sense,
So breathed her last within her lonely halls.

And so it fell to a hero of old,
One of the companions of the late king.
Rare among nobles, his palace was sold,
Took to the streets, with his proceeds to bring.

Example thus set, he endeavoured for more,
Invested and conquered with renewed vigour,
So profit and plunder were brought to his door,
His means were engorged, as his gifts thus grew bigger.

He outgrew the mere cash paid to all,
Instead looked to projects to satisfy,
Better still, perhaps, to awe and enthrall,
As though by a trick, they were pacified.

Yet this was never his intent,
Liberality knew only the Duty,
By Wisdom and Duty and Courage he was bent,
In pursuit of the ideals of Beauty.

So even though his reign was short,
The people remember him still.
He set the example of righteous comport,
And turned them away from their once vicious thrills.


While all the men around her were bereaved,
There was yet one too young to be deceived,
She set an example – yielding them sense,
And likewise they raised her – young Innocence.


Patience warned his only son;
Not to go, or look for woe,
“Prudence is the better course”,
But Courage knew the time was right.

Crowned by Wisdom’s lost descent,
He ate his last with faithful friends,
And set upon his fateful task,
But they refused to stay.

Duty’s life and treasured school,
Had made them men, and more than that –
Aristocrats of mind and soul,
Companions to the end.

Thus they left in solemn pomp,
Beneath the banners raised,
For the glory of pride and death,
Upon their sacred hunt.

Only when the gates had shut,
And yielded their final ‘goodbye’,
Was the gravitas felt,
As a weight on them all.

Regaling the tales,
Of the path they now trod,
The way was not hidden or masked,
Save by the time and the snow.

The mount of memory passed first,
Old abode of the master,
The night was long in judgement’s shade,
But renewed for the journey to come.

Plains upon plains were the next,
To take them back to childhood,
The whimsey of play, though bordered –
By marvelous struggle refined.

At last the land where stories fail,
For lack of sources true.
A sacred place of withered hope,
Now lost to foul decay.

The peaks were high, but people base,
With rancid ways ‘neath lofty spires.
Bowing low to meet their liege:
The demon of deceit.

The demon tried to spin his lies,
But found the hero resolute,
And by the time he’d thought to run,
His reign was swiftly ended.

The plebs, they thought, would thus regain,
Their sense – lost to lies.
Instead their arms were raised in spite,
Against their liberators.

The brave companions then lost hope,
And bowed their heads to fate,
But Courage sought a different path,
And drew his loyal blade.

Words would serve as trusty shield,
Entreating that they stay,
But should their arms be pressed yet on,
His blade would have its say.

Deceit ran deep within their hearts,
So forced the party back,
But barricaded in their hall,
The roof was made a stage.

A second time the men lost hope,
Through fifty days and nights,
But cockrel’s call gave Courage say,
And none to levy challenge.

He did not cease ‘till sense relieved –
The demon of his throne,
And only then were they to leave,
At last – to home; return.

And only after fifty more,
Was Courage given grace,
He entered town a perished man,
And left – a head crowned twice.


Intellect – daughter to Wisdom’s acclaim,
Scornfully shunned the great deeds of her fame,
Thought herself higher through marvelous means,
Better, said she, than her luminous queen.

She found no trace of rigour there, and so,
Set upon a quest to not only know,
But be sure forevermore of all truth,
Such was sought in the tranquil tinge of youth.

To far off land, and pastures new she went,
Where only earth and air could yield their scent,
And all distractions left behind, to give;
A clearness of sight, and reason to live.

Every speck and movement, each little thing,
Recorded in wonder; oh how they sing,
A beautiful chorus in harmony,
In scope and worthiness too great to see.

A lifetime was spent in study and yet,
She felt little closer than first they met.
But her life spent in solitude – would grant,
Books upon books, and a gravestone to plant.


Patience’s skin of snowy white,
Against the peace of blackest night:
A statue to their sin:
The ever-present din.

A party without dawn,
Man: a locust swarm,
Neither hawk or scribe, nor sage,
A day’s meal: the banquet of an age.

From withered age on hairless heads,
And rivers thus to empty beds:
Smiles and frowns in darkness;
As seeds among the waves.

An aged pig, his lake of mud.
Salt and smoke, and iron blood.
Patience’s skin of snowy white,
Against the peace of blackest night.


The hero Honour would only accept the best,
In light of his triumph and rule,
He set off in search of the most worthy bride,
As befitting his grandest nobility.

From the luminous stars,
And glistening deep blue springs,
Was the spark of joyful light;
Found in the glint of her eye.

The radiant warmth on a midsummer day,
And the cosiest of hearths in the night,
Could be thawed by her smile,
And the gentle grace of her touch.

Songs of the forest – the music of life,
Lull of the ocean, and the call of the mountain,
Are but vulgar to melody’s voice,
Who can silence the earth with a note.

The artisan’s work of a century past,
And the vistas of radiant sunrise,
Cannot hope to compete with perfection of form,
Defined by her lines and her curves.

Floral dances of a hopeful spring,
Are yet more pale imitations of her,
As is the taste of a meal on the air,
After a bountiful harvest.

The purest intent of a summer-less lamb,
From a heart which has only known love,
These are the gifts of the daughter of Wisdom;
Named Beauty, for the bliss of the land.

Honour and Duty

Mercy and Might bore two righteous sons,
Honour and Duty were twins – close from birth,
Copied their mother before they could walk,
Followed their father before they could run.

But quickly a schism set in.
For Honour would serve for prestige and acclaim,
While Duty internalised much of the same,
And took his own pride in the deeds and the valour.

Both knew what it meant to be true,
With a grandiose debt to be paid,
They rendered their rates to the sick and the poor,
And by brawn, they ended their reckless abuse.

With each new quest and task thus complete,
Honour would bask in the praise and delight,
As Duty’s retreat – ceded the night,
Off to sharpen his imperfect ways.

Finally stood at the peak of the mount,
With blade in hand and cuirass held on firm,
Confronted their ultimate foe: a fiend;
Ghastliest of all, the demon of drought.

The battle was fierce as the demon attacked,
They channelled their father who lent them his power,
So fought on they did, hour after hour.
Remembering mother, when wanting to falter.

They parried and struck through the nights and the days,
Until exhausted – the last blow was true.
Begging for quarter, the demon did plead,
If only they be allowed to part ways.

Parading him first, they thought to accept,
Where Honour noticed the mood of the crowd,
Baying for blood that the deal disallowed,
But Duty had noticed it too.

Honour acceded with a swing of his blade,
Though he was stopped just short of the mark,
Duty, still tied by the weight of his word,
Demanded the killing be stayed.

Honour knew he could not best him alone,
So appealed to the crowd to give in,
Although they relented on this single whim,
The fated result was well known to both.

Honour would stay – be made hero of men,
While Duty would leave – build a hall on the mount,
And train with any who might follow his path,
To leave Honour; the champion of all who remained.


Mercy did have a sister, Wisdom by name,
Her senior in years, and ancient in sight,
But lesser in stature, and poorer in fame.
Thus lacking the wealth of a patron like Might.

Hers was a journey, as patient beholder,
Saw the fools about her, and thought them quaint,
Their problems; a weight she felt she could shoulder,
So as travelling sage, she found her new taste.

The squirrel misplacing his acorns,
The mole who had lost his way,
The cockerel who kept on forgetting the morn,
And the whale who was trapped in the bay.

Leaves on the trees, in search of the sun,
And so too the roots; entangled,
The idle-most river, refusing to run,
All of these things she could handle.

An affair of the moon would give her more grief,
A long-running feud with the sun over rule,
They spoiled for a fight, and broke her belief,
So feuding she left them – that they be the fools.

After all this, the matters of man
Could be nought but a bore,
So she opened her court to all of the land,
And to all who would come, she gave them her law.

Disciples thus flocked to hear of her ways,
But soon were rebuked, and sent on their own,
No school and no book could replace all those days,
To encounter and see all there is to be known.

A warning to those who get lost on her path,
Stay true, but be careful – don’t dally,
For even Wisdom in the midst of her dash,
Could still find time to marry.


Bread baskets full, and a river of wine,
And gentle winds in a verdant garden,
Thus was the bed for young Mercy divined,
Under soft, fluffy clouds of a tender sky.

Her gifts were many, and given with joy,
For any whose pride could be ignored,
She always had a seat at her table,
For many friends more than worries afford.

But soon it was her – whose pantry laid bare,
Hers was an ask that none would ignore,
Yet even then she would not cease her care,
To any who asked, or spun her a yarn.

So bereft once more, she found herself starved,
Without a friend to meet her trust in kind.
With nothing left to give, she departed,
To bequeath her kindness, to any who she’d find.

She’d heard the tales of a most tortured soul,
Lost in the depths of a cavernous mine,
One of his making – in lost hopes to be whole,
Led astray by the promise of his trial.

From the first meeting of their gaze,
He knew that she was a gift, and she, though weak;
Gave his mind rest – and quieted his ache:
Put the light in his dawn, made his evenings less bleak.

His blade was tempered, molten metal quenched,
And for her, though she’d deny it:
A pail over her wants, and cease in her mention,
Of the need to help every stranger who asks.

Might brought her temperance, clarity of view,
As Mercy gave him a purpose, and one
Suitably noble – to channel his strength,
To her worthy ends, with impediments gone.

The fools at her altar will fall to deceit,
Or sacrifice all, without heed of the cost.
Her wisdom needs power to meet;
And power has no time for a bleeding heart.


In the beginning, there was Might,
Who swept the plains with his great hand,
Laid low all who rose – forced them to bow,
With a foot on the neck,
Of his destiny: grand.

Fire was his blood, and fury his cloak.
As blood was his tribute,
But in gold, he did soak,
To scrub away his days.

He tired of his lot,
Grew bored of his bed,
So the new must be sought,
To quench the inferno;
That raged in his head.

Mother nature thus felt his wrath,
He swung wide, and with power,
So mountains were felled,
With each swing of his hammer.

Her children and form were counted,
Kept as trophy to adorn,
His halls and keep,
Fit for a conqueror who’d left,
Only the sky to mourn.

Atop the world he strode,
Left ravenous by his meal,
Disdainful of his new abode,
His finely fitted; gilded cage.

Faster than the spoils were won,
He burned them all with glee,
He smashed and shattered every stone,
To hear the din just one last time,
His beloved melody.

There’s power in those walls,
With rage and love to match,
From which every lord and soldier rolls,
A fragment in their hand.

His altar is a window,
Into the hearts of lofty men,
Or any seeking more,
By blade or brawl,
You’ll know him, only then.