The Five Tenets of the Sword~
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
needles in legs drive deep,
yet I stand.
Conditioned for this in every cord, tendon, and bone
that runs through.
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.
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.
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
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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