La Belle Dame Meets Gawain

Rude Love rode in
Upon my shielded solitude
Like an intruder
And laying her virgin page
Before my pen of youth,
Dared me risk all.

Manhood rising,
I drew my
Mightier than sword
And dispatched her with a sonnet!
But to my horror
The maiden rose up herself
And with a sneer departed,
Her head beneath her arm!

And I,
Bound by my word to follow,
Entered strange lands
Of fear and temptation,
Where,
Passing every test...or nearly so...
I was at last myself dispatched
And sent home with a garter for my pains.

O, cruel Love,
How like starvation wisdom's harvest is
That only gleans this tiny, righteous ribbon
To wear upon my shield...until I die.