Long ago, a warrior brave
Left his home in search of glory.
It was fighter's honor that he craved,
To be the hero of some grand story.
To be the name praised in the songs
Sung by minstrels in the court.
The valiant knight who rights the wrongs,
By all admired and adored.
But winning many a gruesome battle
His heart remained back with his home—
With thatched-roofed houses and field for cattle
And gentle hills in youth he roamed.
The war was over, his foe was slain
In his triumph he raised his sword.
But in his heart he felt the pain,
As yearning came for his long-lost world.
He could not stand to be away,
So far from the land where he had grown.
He longed for his town's peaceful way
And a family of his own.
Finally, his decision made,
No thought deterred him from his path.
Removing armor and sheathing blade,
He slowly began the journey back.
Over mountains and across the plains,
The elements raged a terrific war.
But clouds of thunder and torrents of rain
Did not concern him any more.
For the storm that raged inside his mind
Raged with a power more severe.
And memories of what was left behind
Spilled down his cheeks in a rain of tears.
But tears were wiped and his head held high
As he continued his trek across the land.
The mighty rain clouds left the sky;
A soft wind swept his footprints from the sand.
The gallant knight looked back no longer,
And kept his eyes patiently fixed ahead.
Fresh excitement soon grew stronger
Than the tears that he had shed.
He envisioned the sight that he would see,
Things he remembered from his town:
The peaceful lake, the climbing tree,
The hidden cave that he had found.
His next thoughts were of smiling faces
Of the people he sorely missed.
Of jokes and laughs in crowded places,
He closed his eyes and reminisced.
And when they opened, he could perceive,
Over yonder a little while,
The tip of what he did believe
To be the church's campanile.
Eagerly, he increased his speed,
Suddenly anxious to reach his home.
Loudly urging on his steed
Toward the land that he was from.
But as the gates came into view,
An uneasy feeling seized his gut.
Something was wrong, this he knew—
Although, he could not fathom what.
The knight stopped short before the gates,
Drawing in his horse's reins.
The stillness made him hesitate;
His confidence had waned.
Dismounting cautiously from his horse,
He approached the gates with wary strides.
He flung them open with tremendous force
And gasped at the sight that met his eyes.
Before him lay his ruined town,
His homeland torn asunder.
The houses all burnt to the ground,
With memories buried under.
His dear friends lay among debris,
Their noble hearts stabbed through with swords.
Each one had fought valiantly
And death was his reward.
The village streets ran red with blood,
Each tree was dead and black.
The heavy footprints left in the mud
Told of a barbarian attack.
The knight gazed across his ruined home,
His head hung with despair.
Without hope, now, and all alone,
He asked how this was fair.
His spirit crushed, his faith withdrawn,
He felt an emptiness in his chest.
He felt lost, all motivation gone;
He had failed his final quest.
As the night grew dark and the air grew colder,
He searched for a safe haven in which to cry.
With one last glance over his shoulder,
He turned his back and said good-bye.