Honor be this steed   53 comments


No easy path, nor whispered breeze, for those who take this course,
grip the reins and mount this steed,
this fierce and mighty horse.

Nostrils flare with steam in morn,
as hooves paw darkened soil,
danger be this steed that rears,
that carries me to toil.

Honor bound is path we take,
compassion is our sword,
it pierces the day as sun to night,
our shield be ne’re lowered.

Many shed this Honor ‘mail,
though armoured they prevail,
they give themselves to weak embrace,
when troubles yet assail.

Though needed most,
they often give, away their strongest shield.
In times of need they stand alone,
in fright and fettered field.

To they we ride, this steed and I,
for Honor draws us on,
to those in need who cry in grief,
and fail to see the sky.

No reward can come from this,
but pain and deepest sorrow,
for lift we do the burdens theirs,
and carry them through ‘morrow.

But pain is strength and armoured strong,
if lifted from the weak,
to raise them up when fallen low,
and find what they may seek.

Honor bright it hurts the eyes,
of those who cling to dark,
to sway from hope those most in need,
weakness be their mark.

Gazing down from misty crag,
illum’d by rising light,
Honor be this shield I raise,
Compassion burning bright.

To love the weak in hour of need,
as much as they who prey,
for they who harm as well as hurt,
is not for me to say.

Be they saved or cast aside?
For all have inner light.
Though clouded be by deeds of past,
who may say what’s right?

Not to judge but e’er fight,
for those who cannot stand,
and those who keep the weak from light,
still I give my hand.

It is an honor to accept this award, along with so many talented writers at Thursday Poets Rally.

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53 responses to “Honor be this steed

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  1. Now that’s an awesome image: Pirate in shining armour mounted on his mighty steed! The image I can almost get? A blend of Sean Connery & Johnny Depp at the most perfect moment (re: ages and the characters they’ve portrayed).

    Most noble writing Cap’n, yet I do have to say: I’ve re and re-read …

    “To love the weak in hour of need, as much as they that prey, for those that harm as well as hurt, is not for me to say

    Which be saved or cast aside, for all have inner light, though clouded be by deeds of past, who may say what’s right”

    …and kept bumping into the “which” that my mind’s eye battles with me to read “who”.

  2. Hey Em, always think’n, aren’t ya! :-)

    “Who” seems to me, to be choosing between a variety or multitude of people or things, I think “which” is more about choosing between two options, or so it seems.

  3. Toil. That is such a wearying word. This poem is like a balm to one whos toils tempt to forget the blue sky, wearyied by honors path and greiving, forgets to look up.

    Ive heard it said “to always show kindness to strangers, for one may never know if they might really be an angel in disguise.” … sometimes when you write like this… I really do wonder. Your words are like living fire.

    Todays poem is one I grasp with needy soul. Although it is very hard to swallow. To love the prey as well as the predator. Must there be no reward?
    (the last is not a question, it just my response) ok. Ill stop babbling now…I wonder sometimes if my comments are too criptic. :)

    midaevalmaiden
  4. By showing kindness, I think you have found your angel, despite the soul you face.

    … and no, your comments are never too cryptic, but always worthy of thought and enjoyment. :-)

  5. write what’s in mind, and give those needy ones your hand,

    how cool.

    well done.

  6. Your writing reveals your very noble soul. You write with power because you feel the power within. The power of your noble steed is your powerful will. You carry your sword of honor with an inner knowing that all is right in your action.

    The depth of your understanding and knowledge stems from within your heart. This is why it comes easy for you. This is why they love what you write.

    Another very noble effort. You should feel proud – but you won’t – because you aside from it all, you feel humble.

    Congratulations on this one. I completely identify with it.

    Much love to you, Captain . . ./John

  7. I truly liked the deeper message of this and think it is one that not enough people practice. It is indeed hard to show compassion to ALL and not let judgement cloud or bias the showing of it. I try, but fail more often than I would like. But YOU have written and captured the ideal of it, Captain. :)

    Now, the form in which you posted it was a tad tiresome for my eyes. The length of the sentences made me have to go back and re-read them to get their gist. You never want your readers to have to pause mid-poem…kind of like…suspension of disbelief when watching a movie – you never want the audience to stop and go, “Oh yeah, it’s just a movie.” I think really long sentences have a tendency (at least in poetry, anyway) to snap the reader out of the moment and they don’t become quite as deeply involved in the piece.

    So…I hope you do not take offense, but I re-arranged the lines and even tweaked a couple of things. The words in [brackets] are just suggestions. I understand Em’s point, too. I was always taught that when referring to people, the correct pronoun was “who”, and when referring to inanimate objects or things other than people (like concepts, for example), the pronoun was “that” or “which”. I also see your point, however, in that you are talking about a choice. In case you’re wondering why I left the first line as long as I did instead of breaking it after the word ‘breeze’, it is because it is a continuous thought and seemed awkward and to ‘break up’ the thought, so to speak, to make it into a second line. Does that make sense?

    You have an interesting rhyme scheme going on here. Overall, this is a BRILLIANT work, my friend. I hope that none of what I say is offensive, as I would never want to come across as being a know-it-all. :-/ It’s all just opinion, anyway, and you know how *they* are (everyone has one lol). Lastly, I really like that this has a strange blend of eastern philosophy, medieval imagery and yet a timeless message.

    P.S. I can easily picture the author riding a steel horse named Honor, but only because he chose to share that information with those of us lucky enough to be crew. :)

    No easy path, nor whispered breeze, for those who take this course,
    grip the reins and mount this steed,
    this fierce and mighty horse.

    Nostrils flare with steam in morn,
    as hooves paw darkened soil,
    danger be this steed that rears,
    [that] carries me to toil.

    Honor bound is path we take,
    compassion is our sword,
    it pierces the day as sun to night,
    our shield be ne’re lowered.

    Many shed this Honor ‘mail,
    though armoured they prevail,
    they give themselves to weak embrace,
    when troubles yet assail.

    Though needed most,
    they often give away their strongest shield.
    In times of need they stand alone,
    in fright and fettered field.

    To they we ride, this steed and I,
    for Honor draws us on,
    to those in need who cry in grief,
    and fail to see the sky.

    No reward can come from this,
    but pain and deepest sorrow,
    for lift we do the burdens theirs,
    and carry them through ‘morrow.

    But pain is strength and armoured strong,
    if lifted from the weak,
    to raise them up when fallen low,
    and find what they may seek.

    Honor bright it hurts the eyes,
    of those who cling to dark,
    to sway from hope those most in need,
    weakness be their mark.

    Gazing down from misty crag,
    illum’d by rising light,
    Honor be this shield I raise,
    Compassion burning bright.

    To love the weak in hour of need,
    as much as they [who] prey,
    for they [who] harm as well as hurt,
    is not for me to say.

    [Be they] saved or cast aside?
    For all have inner light.
    Though clouded be by deeds of past,
    who may say what’s right?

    Not to judge but e’er fight,
    for those who cannot stand,
    and those who keep the weak from light,
    still I [will] give my hand.

    • Hey, I like the rearrangement in that it allows the ideas to come through much quicker. Maybe Cap’n’s a wee bit into hidin’ or owin’ up to the poet he is, but as long as he’s folks like you on his crew, he’ll dawn that hat eventually…and as Jack would say: “Cap’n, nice hat!”

      Do have a tweak or two of me own to be proposin a DK’s tweakin’ n turnin’:
      “Nostrils flare with steam in morn,
      as hooves paw darkened soil,
      danger be this steed that rears,
      [and] carries me to toil.”

      Nice touch on the who/which issue:
      “[Be they] saved or cast aside?
      For all have inner light.
      Though clouded be by deeds of past,
      who may say what’s right?”

      And lastly, I rather like the last line without the “will”, which I finds weakens it.

      “Not to judge but e’er fight,
      for those who cannot stand,
      and those who keep the weak from light,
      still I give my hand.”

      but if the “will” must rest, I’d move it:

      “Not to judge but e’er fight,
      for those who cannot stand,
      and those who keep the weak from light,
      still [will] I give my hand.”

      RE: “…the author riding a steel horse named Honor…”, YES, I immediately saw this image as well ;-D…

      To they we ride, this steed and I,
      for Honor draws us on,
      to those in need who cry in grief,
      and fail to see the sky.

      No reward can come from this,
      but pain and deepest sorrow,
      for lift we do the burdens theirs,
      and carry them through ‘morrow.

    • Hi DK :-)

      Do I mind? Of course not you silly Dragon. :-) I “want” my readers (and dear friends!) to read my work and comment, make suggestions or tell me what they like/don’t like. If I was only looking for people to tell me how great I was, I would either talk to myself (’cause I know fabulous when I see it :-)), or only send this to friends who would tell me what I wanted to hear. Thankfully, I have no friends like that.

      Just to clear the air, and give a framework in case anyone else is hesitant about stepping in :-), here’s my story. After you read it, there should be no hesitation about jumping in and making suggestions.

      I started writing in February when I started this blog. It was only within the last month or two that some of my loyal readers made me aware that I was actually writing poetry, as I had no idea. Even when they mentioned it, I continued to write everything in paragraphs, as if I was writing a story, because I knew no better. Thankfully, John, like you, stepped up to the plate and showed me how poetry is usually written.

      I’ve never had any experience with writing classes, poetry classes (never actually read any poetry until I realized I was writing it, and then, only in blogs) or the like. My last English class was basic English in 10th grade, and I was lucky to get out of there alive with a D. Ohhh… and high school was a looooooooong time ago. :-)

      All I really have, are words that have to come out and right now, this is the venue I’m using. I honestly don’t know what to do with them once they come out, so I arrange them the only way I know how, until someone is kind enough (like my dear readers), to share the wonders of education they’ve received, and show me how it is typically done. Meter, rhyme, style, format? No idea what they are or how to use them. I know what those words are, because I’m a voracious reader and I’ve read them before, just not their context. Noun, pronoun, verb, actually… I can’t even think of the rest of them. :-) Regardless, I don’t know what they are either. I only write as well as I do it seems, because I’ve read so much, and write they way I’ve seen others write, without knowing how or why they do the things they do. I’m kind of like a writing Mynah bird. :-) I still feel free to go my own way though, but I REALLY appreciate ideas, suggestions and critiques of what I do.

      Words? Yeah, I got ‘em. Format and style, not so much. :-) I hope you don’t mind Miss ‘C’, if I replaced my version with yours and ‘most’ of your suggestions. I honestly never knew about who/which, so that is very much appreciated. The only thing I didn’t change was “will” in the final line, as like Em, it just doesn’t sound right to the muse behind my eyes.

      To all my loyal and loving crew, read, write, critique..repeat. :-)

      • *Whew* I’m really glad you didn’t take offense and will keep that in mind from now on. :) Of COURSE you, as the author, have final say and decision over corrections or suggestions *anyone* makes – that’s the beauty of writing; the piece is “finished” when and how YOU decide it is! Reading a lot is only going to help anyone as a writer, so props to you for being such a voracious reader. :)

  8. Oh, and another thing. :-) How do you know when to put commas, periods, question marks (or nothing) at the end of a line?

    • If you’re asking regarding a formal definition, then the answer is this: The commas should go where there is a natural “rest” or “pause”. Some people use a comma at the end of each line (a formal device often used in poetry) but that is totally up to the author whether or not to use them that way. Periods go at the end of a sentence, or when the thought (or line) is completely finished. Question marks, too, go at the very end of a question/sentence/line – you have to decide if you’re asking a question or making a statement – if it’s a question, use the question mark. Does your sentence/line start with “Who/What/Why/Where/When/How”? Chances are (but not always), if it does, you’re asking a question. If it’s a statement, use a period when you’re done. Again, using a comma or nothing to break up each line is just personal preference of the author. You’ll see many examples of both.

      Is that clear as mud? lol :)

    • Just to share my thoughts on punctuation:
      1. Never forget that we writers of poetry have the right to bend the rules
      (Cap’n you be likin’ this one!)

      It’s called “poetic license”:

      “The liberty taken by an artist or a writer in deviating from conventional form or fact to achieve a desired effect.”(taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/poetic+license)

      2. Try reading your words aloud or having them read aloud. The points where you hesitate, pause or ponder during the reading is a clear indication that either it’s not penned correctly (and in that case, it’s back to the drawing board) or that it’s a place for a line break or it’s where you need some sort of punctuation mark.

      3. There’s more to marking pause than just comma, question marks and the likes. There’s also “…” as well as hyphens, en dashes and em dashes. For a quick idea of the dashes: hypen’s the shortest, en comes next folowed by em. (Check this out for more info: http://www.fonts.com/aboutfonts/articles/fyti/hyphensdashes.htm)

      4. These be nothing but Em postin’ a bit of ‘er fodder4thought ;-D

  9. I love the second stanza! Fantastic job!

  10. Heres my two pence: I have known and played with many musicians, both naturaly talented, and/or classicly schooled. I notice more often than not that the classicly schooled musicians (songwriters, and guitarists in this example) seem to always have a missing element in thier works. Its like a dryness produced from a rigid perfectionism which is the ‘correct method’ as taught in schools. Its like they are so into perfect pitch and tempo that the spirit is gone although the songs are technicly flawless. I think the ‘schooling’ bred the talent away.

    On the other side of that coin of course those who are of rare gift will only be honed by schooling but I think that is less common an outcome in my experience.
    Just as a perfect human being will apear less approachable, while a flawed human being is more likable because of the flaws… so it is with art. Its is those little quirks wich make them that much more personable and endear themselves to the heart.
    I like therefore to read the words in ‘raw’ form. Even though we, the crew do sometimes ask to tweak the words.
    :)

    • “while a flawed human being is more likable because of the flaws…”

      Does that mean I’m a likable Pirate? Perhaps, judging from the quoted text, “very” likable. :-) If you all weren’t interested in tweaking the words, you’d be a very boring crew. Thankfully, you’re all very interesting and quirky, which makes you a perfect fit on this ship. :-)

      • @RWJ: Aw, go on Cap’n, “very likable”? You be savin’ us a word if ye be writin’ it right: Ye be a “very lovable” Pirate, saavy?
        @MM: Liked yer words der missy ;-D they be’s a treasure worth stealin’…aye, n I ‘ave done so ;-D

    • I agree with you, MM, in that the formalism often times sucks the soul out of a piece! I think you’re right that the imperfections make a person more likable and approachable. I only offered to ‘tweak’ the lines a little because, like a classically trained musician, there were some things that caught my “ear” (kind of like an off-key note in music) – in this case, my Grammar Nazi’s ‘eye’. I meant no offense and definitely would never presume to suck the soul from the Captain’s talented words!

  11. Pingback: Midaevalmaiden On Schooled versus Unharnessed Pens | Fodder4Thought

  12. “Be they saved or cast aside?
    For all have inner light.
    Though clouded be by deeds of past,
    who may say what’s right?”

    There are times, I must remind myself of this. When tempted otherwise … I try to visualize everyone at one point or another, at one time or another – must have or have had inner light … it is so easy to see in some — and others it is like looking for a needle in a haystack!!

    Thank you for sharing ~~

  13. I think this crew would make one heck of a british sitcom. dont you? I can picture the Character @eminita… she would have those tall, classy pirate boots that come above the knee. While John and Dragon are entertaining the nobles, she can be filling her boots with all manner of treasure from the estate. Then we can have a big swashbuckling party back at the ship afterwards. :D

    • Say there Midaevalmaiden, have you been a peakin’ in my closet? LOL.

    • Sara, have I told you recently, I really love the way you think. :-) Of course, while we’re entertaining, I expect ALL the crew to be, um….. “acquiring” various treasures to split amongst the crew. I’m also not surprised, that Em admits to owning a set of those boots. :-)

    • What a most excellent idea MM! We’ll distract them and you guys loot the booty! Wooooot! Er…I mean…ARRRRRRR! A party on the ship sounds fabulous! And Em, do you have the whip to match the boots? ;)

      • Perish the thought DK! Indiana Jones was no pirate as far as I know…LOL. That’s what came into mind when I read your question. Besides, I’d choose to laugh folks into place rather than whipping ‘em into place any day of the week :-D
        And now, if y’all don’t mind, I be shuttin’ me closet’s door…and if ye be mindin’ …oh, sorry MM…didn’t see yer fingers…LOL.

  14. :)

    midaevalmaiden
  15. I’ve had to read this a few times.

    Why?

    Because the first three lines grabbed me.

    I felt my body spring up from the ground and my leg fly – I could feel the indentation where my butt fitted into the soft hairs on his body.

    But there was more to it than that – thus I needed to ponder a wee while.

    Not to judge but e’er fight,
    for those who cannot stand,
    and those who keep the weak from light,
    still I give my hand.

    What an ending.

    This poem worked through me – slowly.

    I found so many different levels.

    Each time I read it again I find another word that stops me, a line that has more than 1 meaning.

    Oh I really LOVE this John.

    Promise NEVER to stop writing such gems.
    :) :)

  16. Thanks Buckshot!(see her blog :-)) Feel free to read my stuff as often as you like. :-) Oh…. and I promise!

  17. well deserved award, my friend.
    smiles.
    Thanks for the support.
    :)

  18. Beautiful tone and sound when reading this, feeling this. Definitely a spectacular poem :)

  19. Awards just keep appearing on your pages cap’n…well done. :)

  20. This is a poem with a wonderful message. I especially love the last stanza. Way cool!

  21. Wonderful, I read it aloud and enjoyed every word. :

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