Canterbury-Style Poem :)

The Grade Grubber (circa 2011)

On the horizon, streaked golden light
There stood Sam, the frozen knight.
Atop his horse, face cold and near blue
If only, if only, before he had knew
For without doubt quite dead was he
Preserved up north, for the world to see
And to learn great truths from his deadly mistake.
That it’s not worth much
For mankind to take
The good in us, trade it for a card.
A million one hundreds do naught if they’re scarred.
With trickery, how we must repent.

Consider your life, has integrity bent
From its straight path? And have you been true
To all the good things Mama told you to do?
Or are you doomed to Sam the knight’s fate?
Do turn to God,
Or he’ll seal the gate.

But back to our story,
For I’ve gone astray.
I don’t want to dally
Till’ night becomes day.

Though we began North of the pole
South must we amble; south must we stroll
Where William the Honest sat next to his bed
He gnashed at his teeth, he clutched at his head
And worked himself sickly from sunrise past dusk
Until his poor body resembled a husk
Hardly enough to contain its fine soul
He looked quite pathetic, yet his mind was whole

His eyes were deep brown
His face stained with dirt.
Fiery red hair hung down past his shirt.
Bright blazed its pigment though texture gone wilted
His cloak sagged in shambles
Back permanent twisted
Forever forward, a permanent hunch.
He labored near death
While Sam ate his lunch

All of this struggle, for Prince Learning’s sake—
Will’s passion for knowledge was nothing near fake
Yet in the same school, sly Sam did his grubbing
He needed top marks because he liked rubbing
In everyone’s face that he was the best.
He’d do anything for it;
I can attest.
But compare with William he could not in smarts—
Knew little of Science and none of The Arts.

So at William’s window, unseen Sam kept wait
Till the poor withered body collapsed in the late
And wandered in sleep, four days overdue
Then Sam tiptoed in, stole notes not a few
To claim as his own, and give to the preacher
Who worshiped not God, but Sam
What a teacher!

When dawn arrived, Will woke up with delusion
That He’d lost his notes in sleepy confusion.
He frantic began again his long task
When tales turned in late, schoolmaster did ask
What delayed work, and why so much time
And why did his words match precisely in rhyme
With Sir Sam’s perfect and heavenly stuff?
This happened too often, enough was enough.

Slowly and surely our William caught on
To the cruel game that was played on his lawn.
He prayed to his God all night and all day
That an angel of justice might travel his way
Or maybe just guidance—alone he’d been gnawed
On by that Samuel, the bandit, the fraud.

Then on a wet evening, the night of a storm
A king’s herald dropped by town to inform
That he needed a scholar, young, with intellect,
The brightest in town and who might neglect
To grant royal best? An order’s an order.
So proudly the priest offered Sam, the forger.
Our priest learned a war sought young men to fight
And regardless of birth, the clever made knight.

But first all recruits must be put to the test
To weed out the weak men, the dumb from the best.
How could he have known poor Sam was a fake?
That for his star pupil, life was at stake?

At dawn the next morning on horseback Sam followed
The herald from town, and was soon to be swallowed
By icy hydrogen, oxygen too.
Recall our tale’s start, when his pallor was blue.

The test was this: man and horse alone
Must survive on the ice– no comfort and no home
He’d use his wits to find the king’s palace
And there he’d tell the Princess Miss Alice
Why he had come, and the date he’d departed,
The town he’d been born to, and prove he’d outsmarted
Nature itself, in less than a year
All conquests met he’d be knight, clear and clear

But see without Will, Sam was really quite dumb
And in no time at all, felt his body go numb.
Without food or water man cannot subsist;
Without warmth or fire life cannot exist.
So that’s how Sir Sam followed horse to death
And believed himself Knight right till his last breath.

And back in town was his secret revealed
For William the Honest could not be concealed
As the poet who’d written, read under false name,
While Sam the Grade Grubber found Hell and Shame.
But please don’t you worry about Sam’s next life
So gets the man who takes Lies for his Wife.

Here is the moral my story should tell:
Don’t fib, don’t wile, and don’t cheat as well.
For if you get caught up in one of these lies,
It surely will bring you a painful demise.
You’re better off then, living honestly.
Alas, in heaven, even fools are quite free.