The Lay of the Black Knight
Many centuries ago when there were only green meadows, rolling hills, and The grass rippled underfoot,
And the brooks, rivers, and streams produced their continuous lullaby of rippling Beauty, and Nature’s perfume, clogged the Earth with its esteemed essence.
A knight garbed in black garments lived in this era, and with the heart of a nightingale, he searched every mountain and valley in his quest for peace and Prosperity.
He kept his abode within a modest castle, constructed of white marble.
This creation displayed its two towers with the accent of gold flags
Perched upon the highest spire.
On that day his heart was as light as the autumn leaves that had just fallen.
Nature’s plethora of colors and wonder awed him.
That day before he had seen a blind peasant pricking through the valley.
His eyes were sealed tightly; he had never “seen.” A ray of white, orange,
Yellow, Black, and Gold were as unfamiliar to him as the lavish furnishings within
The King’s castle. Slowly he traversed the stony paths.
What lay beyond his tiny hovel mystified him like flaming candles,
But yet he could not go that far.
He was trapped within his own home limits, his own fright of the darker,
More remote universe so far outside the grand gyrating circle, which spins outward
From its center. At a sloth’s pace, he approached the castle,
Where the charitable knight stood guard outside the griffin- carved door.
“Come to me, my good fellow. You may enter into my presence.
I will give you aid. I see your struggle: the profound ringing of a sword, the footsteps
Of a Royal hunting party, and the battle between the adder and the python must be Decided. I see your foggy mind, clouded with the silver tinged blur of a proud Stag,
Reverently holding his head aloft; and yet, there is the frightened baby unicorn.
He clings to his mother for sustenance, for the approaching enemy creatures,
The forked lighting, the rolling thunder. His mother is Heaven and Earth, Sea and Sky, Rain and Wind, Sunrise and Sunset.
“I can teach you the ways of the Valliant Stag. You, too, can become the Questing Beast, the Bearer of Prophecies, the Farmer, the Merchant, and the Artisan.
You can become all of these individuals and more with my box: my arsenal of Knowledge. Dismount your horse, and I will show you the way.”
Like a quivering being released from a bowstring, the peasant gingerly climbed
Off of his companion’s back.
As the soft touch of a hand caresses the precious flower petals,
The Black Knight placed an object in the newcomer’s right hand.
Its surface was smooth, light, and thin. There was a rounded crook
At the top of the stick.
“What is this?” the peasant asked the Black Knight.
“This is your Freedom Stick.” The Knight’s voice carried like a nearby church-bell. “Here is where you will open your ears, nose, and hands.
Everything around you plays its own rhythm and resonates its own sound.
When you tap the stick over soft surfaces, for example, it will glide
Unheard, like a shadow.
Or if you are walking over brick, such as the pathway, which leads to the King’s Castle, it resounds like the galloping of horse’s hoofs.
You will soon discover all of this land’s vast secrets.
Many eagles fly above you, my young friend,
And the fish of the sea shine iridescent and nontransparent within the Ocean’s
Depths, but you will endure. You will seek the tranquility of a dove
That the King frees. Each dove in that cage has its own intentions, its own ambitions,
Its own song. You will learn their songs within the night. You will also need rest
Like a servant in a Royal’s house who has cut his hands—the red blood flowing like
A long gown of red silk. It will not be easy. You may fall onto the stone
Paths or the brick walkway on entering a wealthy village.
But you will learn that this stick is your guide. It is the morning Sun and the
Glittering white stars. Once you have mastered the power of this stick,
Your world will expand like the mast of a small boat floating in the distance to
But if someone approaches you with an arm outstretched,
Do not pull away like an ornery mare that needs nothing from the human world.
It is not an insult for these flaming torches to guide you when fog, rain, or the swollen rivers encompass the night.
They will be there for you, and you will be there for them. You may teach other blind
Peasants in the coming years. Tell this to them also.
Then the wind will shriek, the sun will open its arms about you,
The other presents will be envious of your newfound skill, and the nobles and
Commoners will embrace you equally for your courage, intelligence, perseverance, And ambition. You will prevail. You will raise your hand high above my castle walls
And above every other town and villages where the nobles and the lowly reside.
You will place your sword back into its scabbard and proclaim, “Victory has come to all! It has arisen from its slumber.” It will remain forever
Continuing to mature over time: until, one day, all people throughout the land
Will cry. “We are one people, one country, and one universe for eternity!”
Joy Mistovich is currently working on her Masters in English at Youngstown State University. Once she completes her Masters, she plans to pursue a PhD in Medieval Literature with a focus on Spanish Medieval literature.