The Five Tenets of the Sword – A Poem


 

SwordA

 

 

The Five Tenets of the Sword~

 

Strength~

Once light as a dead bird’s body in my hands,

this weapon now weighs more than the collective souls

of a million men,

sweat glistens on  muscled forearms strained

drained,

needles in legs drive deep,

yet I stand.

Conditioned for this in every cord, tendon, and bone

that runs through.

 

Skill~

Hours upon hours,  Days upon days,

Years to master myself,  then years to follow

to master this weapon.

The placement of the foot just so,  hands balanced

sword poised at the perfect angle.

Advance, retreat,  first position, second position

third, and on and on and on,

an endless dance until the music stops

with a myriad of outcomes at its end,

and I know every step in the

countless tangle of each encounter.

 

Instinct~

I am steadfast in my defense and attack

yet, I let the mind drift into that nether

region between thought and the what-if.

Never thinking I  know my  opponent

for he will do what I  least expect and I

must expect the least expected in the blink

of an eye, for it could be my eye that is lost.

Ignore your sixth sense at the cost that

only fools pay when they are finally put to

rest in a shallow lonely grave.

 

Courage~

My line of sight  travels down my sword

to an opponent that only wishes me a quick death

I see all my years to come, laid out bare for

him to snatch from me, like a breath from

a baby as he sleeps deep.

I am no newborn! Swaddled and waiting.

But born to this moment in time.

So come. Come!

And I will share you a secret

as I whisper your own death in your

ears.

 

Will~

The hardest of the tenets to maintain,

for they drive all the rest in me.

Fail this one and I fail them all.

Be steadfast you ask of your soul,

Be steadfast you implore of  your heart.

Be steadfast you command of your mind.

Find a focus to compel the body forward.

Find a focus to awake each day.

Find a focus to believe in you

when no one else ever will.

Find that will

Simply find it

For there can be no other way.

 

by Philip Wardlow 2016

 

 

 

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