The Toymaker King A Poem

The King of the Mountains ruled the land
His subjects thrived under his caring hand

The King of the Mountains was full of joy
He loved making toys for every girl and boy

The king’s reign was powerful and long
His years on the throne stretched on and on

The king’s universal acclaim was his boast
But there was one individual who loved him most

This boy grew up in the mountainous kingdom
Enjoying his childhood of toys and freedom

This boy grew up quickly, no longer a child
But his love for the king never became mild

His respect for the king grew as he grew old
And thankfulness kept him warm in the cold

No longer content to be thankful inside
The man would thank the king, he did decide

‘I’ll build a great large monument,’ said he
‘A monument that the whole kingdom will see’

The man dropped everything, his mind made
‘I’ll carve out time to carve every day’

That’s exactly what he did atop a mountain peak
Day after day and long week after long week

Hammer and chisel became his only friends
As he formed a statue out of scraps, odds and ends

It took all he had, his time and all his money
And every single day whether rainy or sunny

He sculpted the monument unto perfection
Only the best would convey his affection

Weeks turned to months with his back bent
Until not only months but three years were spent

The man took a step back and admired his work
‘Wait until the king sees this’ he thought with a smirk

A beautiful likeness of the king returned his smile
A wooden and carefully-crafted lifesize profile

‘I’ll cover up the statue, with a curtain conceal
Then gather up the town for the grand reveal’

The man turned to descend the mountain at last
But what he saw next caused his heart to beat fast

Every peak in the kingdom looked like his own
Monuments all over, paying tribute to the throne

He had been too consumed, too busy to see
That every townsperson had the same idea as he

‘I built a monument, come and see, come and see!
I finished my statue of the king,’ cried he

But his neighbors did not listen, hear or heed
They had monuments, and his they did not need

The man’s eyes fell and he began to plea
‘Just one visit to my statue’ he asked on bent knee

Alone he cried on his mountain, face wet with tears
This wasn’t the outcome he imagined in his worst fears

Hours later, the sun rose and with it a new day
The night had washed the man’s sorrows away

‘I’ll try a different approach, another tactic, something new
I’ll invite the king himself, surely he won’t deny me too’

So he entered the throneroom of the toymaker king
And asked ‘Do you have a moment? I made you something’

The old ruler laughed and shook his head
‘There are bigger monuments all around,’ he said

The man stared blankly and stood in silence
Then walked away like a dog without guidance

‘My hard work wasted, all for nothing, all for nought
My time and efforts were useless’ the man thought

‘To think—I loved that king—how foolish could I be?
There’s no love left for him in my heart, believe you me’

Perhaps the man should have slept on it or waited
But his feet were taking him to the likeness he now hated

‘I’ll unmake the monument he never deserved
Nothing in the king’s image should be preserved!’

He stormed up the mountain and threw his tools aside
Destroying the statue would be the next thing he tried

But something stayed his hand and stopped the blow
A simple thought came into his mind and began to grow

The statue would not stand for the king and his audacity
But it represented his own creativity, talent, and tenacity

Slowly, he realized ‘The king was never the key…’
‘It was the journey itself,’ he urged his heart to agree

‘I became what I wanted to be, what I admired
I became whom I loved, to whom I aspired’

He allowed the pride of his craftsmanship to return
A spark of happiness in his heart began to burn

No longer pleading, the man returned to bent knee
And inscribed below the statue, his initials, TBC

The Boy and the Knight (A Poem)

The fighter breathed in slowly in the darkened locker room.
His eyes drew to the hallway down which the arena loomed.
He’d trained for this very moment for innumerable days.
He let his breath out slowly as he also dropped his gaze.
His past had come to haunt him; or rather, his father’s did.
It was in the old man’s shadow that up ‘til now he hid.
He rose from the wooden bench as he slammed the locker door.
His mind was clear and focused as he slowly crossed the floor.

His father was a great man; one of the best there’d ever been.
He’d proudly held the people’s flag for years and years on end.
The women and children’s love he kept, the men’s respect he’d earned.
But even a champion’s fire burns out; a lesson he finally learned.
And now his boy had come of age, his turn had come at last
To earn the title for himself, to honor his father’s past.
Any time he’d walk the street the people called his name.
They smiled as they recalled his dad and said “You’ll do the same!”

He heard them calling for him as he traveled down the hall.
His pace was slow and steady as cheers echoed off the walls.
But as he plodded down the corridor that led down to the ring,
The distance to his destination got further, so it seemed.
He started to jog faster ‘til he ran as if he fled.
The image of his father was burned into his head.
As he neared the final door that led to the battleground,
He’d realized he could no longer hear the cheering of the crowd.

He swung the door wide open and he stepped into the light.
Instead of the cheering fans expected he saw a very different sight.
The crowd was filled with anger, spitefulness, and scorn.
The faces that used to smile at him now a scowl wore.
The booing increased with every step as he approached the field.
He looked across at his opponent who rose up from his kneel.
The enemy wore full armor and a horned helmet on his head.
He lifted his oddly-shaped sword. “I’ve looked forward to this”, he said.

The warrior that stood before him was the one who’d succeeded his Pa.
The boy took his battle stance, he set his eyes and jaw.
“I’ll prove them wrong,” he determined, “Today’s my day to shine!”
The crowed fell deadly silent ‘til they heard the air horn whine.
The boy immediately charged the knight, his weapon flashed to life.
The knight was ready for the attack and deflected with his knife.
“Is that all you have?” The knight laughed. “I expected more from you.”
The knight lunged with his weapon aloft, the boy’s head which to hew.

The boy quickly dodged the strike with blindingly quick speed.
“One thing you didn’t count on: my Pa wasn’t quick like me!”
He continued to rush around the ring, too fast to keep track,
Until the knight took a well-aimed swing that knocked him on his back.
Light was all that he could see as he lay there on the floor.
The knight drew near and placed his blade upon the boy’s core.
He kneeled down next to him, and with a look of sadness in his eyes,
He said, “I’m… disappointed.” And then began to rise.

The air was still in the Colosseum and the knight just turned and walked.
The seats were slowly emptied. No one dared to talk.
The boy just lay there on the mat. He knew everybody’d left.
One word stuck in his heart, and like a foil it cleft.