The Bog Of Life

There is the kingdom of White, a most noble land
where truth, honesty, and integrity always prevail.
Each newly dubbed knight must face the demand
to defeat evil in all its guises. Therein lies our tale.

Sir Goodly, a young and noble knight of the White,
sets out to defeat an evil Black knight in combat,
thereby proving himself to all a true champion of right
over wrong. Alas, life’s not as straightforward as that.

To get to the kingdom of Black to challenge his enemy,
our eager hero must undertake a long and arduous quest,
traveling along a narrow path that is at times hard to see,
a path following the high ground. While that way is best,

another possibility exists…a shorter, easier to traverse
crossing across the great bog that separates White from
Black. This path holds danger; a misstep will immerse
travelers in a bubbling quagmire of gray muck and scum.

Diverse stepping stones fill the bog, offering the means
to cross to the far side. Our White knight steps on the first,
then jumps the gap to the next. A spray of muck demeans
his shining armor. With each stone, more muck is dispersed.

Leaping from stone to stone, our gallant knight reaches
the far side of the bog. A Black knight awaits to greet him.
“Welcome, fellow knight, from another who preaches
right but who let the stones of opportunity diminish him.”

For unknown to our knight, each stone had writing upon it:
“It’s easier to lie than to tell the truth…no one will ever know.”
“This merchant has so many. Stealing one won’t hurt his profit.”
“Most married people commit adultery. It’s normal; give it a go.”

Sir Goodly states, “I am a knight from the kingdom of White
whose intent is to vanquish evil.” “ Nay, you are not as before.
Your once shining armor is corroded by gray muck. The right
to represent honesty and integrity is not yours any more.”

Our hero sadly protests, “I never intended to change. I didn’t realize
that it would be so harmful to cross the bog of life the easy way,
that each stepping stone would taint me so, until I now despise
what I have become. How easily the gray erodes the White away…”

Harry Edward Gilleland      11.26.04