A Song In Passing

by Antigonus Bearbait (Toby A. Pugh)

The cold wind blows as the full moon shines,
And nary a word is said.
The battle is won, Sir Ozwald is wounded,
By morning he knows he'll be dead.
His lady is tending his wounds as she can,
His squires, fellow knights, and his son.
The king parts the tent to hear the last words
Of his dear friend and brave champion.

Two gray, bearded heads -- one with helm, one with crown --
Draw near as Sir Ozwald smiles.
The two childhood friends with love beyond love,
Through many a triumph and trial.
"I leave this world," says the knight, "but grieve for me not,
Though at times my life has been hard.
I have no regrets, but ere I meet death,
Go, now, and find me a bard."

"To tell us a tale of a battle long past,
Sing to us of heroes bold,
And love sweet as dew on the border of morning
To bring a smile ere this world loses hold.

No one moves for a moment, then footfalls are heard,
And enter a raggedy man.
He tattered and traveled, and perhaps a bit frail,
Cleaving there to the staff in his hand.
But for those who can see it, a fire in his eyes
Burning bright as the noon-day sun.
And no one knows where this enchanter will take them,
Bourn on wings of tale, poem, and song.

This weaver of words begins working his craft
'Round them all as they sit there enthralled.
And they follow him to a place long forgotten -
To a woman on a high castle wall.
There she waits for her lord who will never return,
And now alone must raise her son,
But the boy will be raised to cherish his freedom,
His father's blood spilt the battle be won.

And he tells them a tale of a battle long past . . .

For just a brief moment, Lady Ozwald looks down,
Her once-golden tresses returned.
The king is young once again, and courting his true-love
While the passion within him still burned.
The young boy is kneeling in front of his king,
Receiving charge and giving his vow.
Each and every one makes the story his own
Ere the veil once again lowers down.

The silence returns, with all as it was,
No movement but the late-evening breeze.
And with a slight bow, and a rustle of color,
The old bard prepares to leave.
He'd brought them so far and then home again,
Embracing their love and their fears.
Then it is that the boy turns to his father at rest
To see the smile that was brought through the tears.

For he'd told them a tale . . .