Like the dawn, I arise, reluctant.
I have no maids to push open the gates of my life,
so I must do it myself.
Unlike the dawn, I am not resplendent, but
I gird myself with the gifts of my ancestors,
I take up my sword and veil.
I do not know how to use them, but I will learn.
Like the dawn, I dance in the morning.
I dance with herbs and with iron,
for if I don’t, I will die.
Unlike the dawn, I do not laugh with my reflection, but
I try to break the mirror held in my sword hand;
I am clumsy with its weight.
I do not know how to do it, but I will try.
Like the dawn, I lead the wheel of the Sun across the sky.
I anticipate its movements,
and call to it with gentle words.
Unlike the dawn, sometimes I fall behind it, but
I spread my wings and fly to catch up,
I alight among the stars.
I do not know who listens, but I will sing.
Like the dawn, I sink down into the sea.
The waves cover me,
and I am wrapped in the arms of my foster-father.
Unlike the dawn, the waves swell with my tears,
my veil askew, and my sword limp at my side.
I am beaten by my own reflection.
Like the dawn, I will rise again.
[For the 2015 Wellspring Warrior Games Bardic Challenge, answering the prompt, “What virtues best define you as a warrior?” where I placed 2nd in the Bardic Challenge and successfully defended my championship.]