Sestina of the Champions
Written regarding the Champions Battle at Pennsic XV by Mistress Dorigen of the Grey Gate
Duke Moonwulf, noble Midrealm knight,
full-armed stood forth upon a summer's field
to meet Sir Manfred, chivalrous and strong
defender of the East, our champion bold,
while Kings and Queens in crescent sat arrayed
to see the battle of those mighty swords.
The day was clouded. Shields and swords
approached the fray with caution, as the knight
and Duke moved in a warlike dance, arrayed
and shining, passing, circling, on the field;
testing the strength of shields, yet not too bold,
no opening to tempt the swift and strong.
From west to east they moved, the strong
Tyger and Dragon, striking with their swords
until at once those well-matched warriors bold
espied a weakness, and both Duke and knight
(from east to west returning o'er the field)
struck at the legs 'neath sturdy shields arrayed.
And now those knights, in steel arrayed,
crashed to the ground, with bell-like echo strong
resounding from Mount Aislinn to the field.
Then each saluted each, with upraised swords;
each took his place, so neither Duke nor knight
had more advantage in that combat bold.
Now on their knees they fought, the bold
and mighty Duke, in honour well arrayed,
and shield to shield with him, the Eastern knight,
our valiant champion Manfred, skilled and strong,
close-joined in battle, with determined swords,
for only one at last might hold the field.
The two strove hard to win the field.
First Moonwulf struck, but Manfred blocked his bold
endeavor, and amid the clash of swords
the East that day in glory was arrayed:
for Manfred struck, his sword-arc swift and strong,
and Moonwulf fell, slain by our champion knight.
What battlefield was e'er so well arrayed?
The Tyger's swords met well the Dragon strong;
the victor bold was Manfred, Eastern knight.
© Janet Anderson September 30, 2011