Before A Great Oak Tree



I found a town one early morn,
A town unknown to me,
And within that town a tavern stood,
Before a great oak tree.

I entered through its wooden doors,
I stopped and looked around,
Though sparsely filled, I heard a song,
And was compelled towards the sound.

There he stood, and elder man,
And all were gathered ‘round him,
A gentle face, a voice of gold,
That matched his body slim.

He turned to me, his singing stopped,
A stillness filled the floor,
All turned the same, and seemed to stare,
As if we’ve met before.

“Come!” he said, “and sit down here”,
“And here a minstrel’s song,
To you I sing a local tale,
From this town so far along.”

So sit I did and listened,
And the minstrel sang his tune,
And I hear that song unto this day,
As I remember that early June.

I take you back to Alba,
When magic was a power,
When wizards great and druid priests,
Were at their highest hour.

A prophecy was once proclaimed,
That a darkness would fill this land,
And a warrior lord and a priestess fair,
Would against it make their stand.

As prophecies are, it came to pass,
In the guise of a wizard unknown,
And he conquered the people and their land,
And he took it for his own.

But many fled, no place to go,
So they cried to their gods a plea,
To bring them heroes to reclaim their lands,
Their lands they had to flee.

The warrior was the first to come,
To hear the people’s plight,
And to see the sadness within their hearts,
He swore to take their fight.

So go he did to search the land,
And he found that evil wizard,
But not alone, for surrounding him,
Were the demons that he conjured.
 
With a valiant heart he battled,
In an attempt to reach their master,
But as he brought one down, two would appear,
For the wizard’s spells were faster.

A brutal blow had felled him back,
And he found he was badly injured,
So retreat he did to hide away,
From the demons that were conjured.

A small oak tree, he came to find,
Was as far as he could go,
So rest he did to regain himself,
From that almost fatal blow.

 He came around next early morn,
To find his wounds were healed,
And to see the beauty before his eyes,
He thought his fate was sealed.

Before him stood a maiden fair,
A beauty beyond reason,
Who rivaled Nature at her best,
At any given season.

But death was far, he was alive,
And still amidst this hell,
For he looked around to see this was,
The place his body fell.

She told to him the prophecy,
That they must join together,
For as one, they would have a chance,
And separately they’d never.

So off they went to fight as one,
To go reclaim the land,
And not far off they met their foe,
And there they made their stand.

The priestess called forth Nature’s strength,
And lightning came down flashing,
The winds grew strong and brought trees down,
Upon the demons crashing.

The warrior found his path was cleared,
To the wizard he made his way,
With sword in hand, he swore and oath,
That his foe would fall that day.

The wizard sent his spells aflight,
To still the warrior’s charging,
But the priestess’ spells would stop his chant,
And the warrior kept on coming.

With skills unmatched, he swung his blade,
As he had never done before,
And the wizard fell before him,
To take a breath no more.

The warrior lord and priestess,
Fell in love and lived as one,
With the people on the reclaimed land,
And a new life they begun.

The minstrel’s voice, no longer gold,
As he spoke with red, hot steel,
And his face grew hard, as hard as stone,
And his cold words I did feel.

“But as prophesized, all would return,
And you have young warrior lord!”
And I turned to see the townsfolk there,
Were replaced by a demon horde.

“This time you die, and it is I,
Who will sing the victory song!
And to see your death, hear your last breath,
For lifetimes I’ve waited long!”

As the demons neared, my mind was clear,
Of what has came to be,
For within my thoughts, my vision caught,
A warrior who once was me.

“No!” she said, a maiden fair,
Who was standing by the door,
“For together we’re here and you will lose,
As you lost that time before!”

I drew my sword as the demon horde,
Towards the lady, made their way,
Then I blocked their path to battle them,
And many fell that day,

But the wizard cast an evil curse,
That will burn my heart forever,
That until our deaths from his hands came,
We’d never be together.

Many lives he said we’d live,
And through each one, I would quest,
To find that rose from time along,
And until then take no rest.

Her anger flared, the lady fair,
With a voice of thunder spoke,
A lightning fell and split the tree,
Brought down that giant oak.

Upon the tavern, the tree it fell,
And the roof came down on all,
And as I made my way through its debris,
Destruction was all I saw.

I looked around to find that rose,
I listened for every sound,
And I searched the ruins to find that she,
Was nowhere to be found.

A noise I hear, before me near,
And there the wizard laid,
His body crushed beneath the tree,
And a groaning sound he made.

I moved towards him, sword in hand,
To his dagger, he reached in fear,
But to see his struggle, I sheathed my blade,
For I knew his time was near.

He turned to me from beneath the tree,
He gave me an evil grin,
And he said that though this time he lost,
That someday, he would win.

So near death, with his last breath,
He laughed in a defiant tone,
And when silence fell, I knew full well,
That I stood there all alone.

So fated to quest, without a rest,
I travel land and sea,
To find that rose I met before,
Before a great oak tree.
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Written on 1985

Submitted by Warbard on September 24, 2021

Modified on April 05, 2023

5:20 min read
14

Quick analysis:

Scheme abcB xded xfgf xhih xexe xjkj xlxl xmim xnmn obxb xpxp mqfq xlrl xqkq xoxo asxs itut vwxw blxl tmom xxxx xkxk cxxx yhfh xtmt gznz x1 i1 xe2 e rbxb ihxh 1 kxk xlxl vueu i3 b3 wxbx xdbd ryby mryr b4 x4 2 nwn ubhb
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 5,462
Words 1,067
Stanzas 41
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Warbard

Poet & Philosopher, Soldier & Scholar, Warrior & Writer, Husband & Historian, Father & Freemason. Since the early '80s, Warbard has been a pen name for Shelby Chandler who is a historian and has made a home for his wife and four daughters in the area of Fredericksburg, Virginia. more…

All Warbard poems | Warbard Books

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