Sir Knight takes rest beneath a full moon one Autumn’s eve, and soon follows the sounds of wondrous music into a nearby grove. He discovers a mystical ‘faerie-meet’ with revelling faeries, elves, pixies and sprites. Sir Knight becomes enthralled by a beautiful wood nymph, ‘eyes as emeralds, lavender hair’, whose magical song warms the air. The hours pass.
The reverie is abruptly ended when the faerie-kin all flee, and the Beast enters the grove, also drawn to the nymph’s song.
Gnarled claws scraped rocks in chilled moonshine
scales there shone
Leathery wings stretched high to the night
breath as death
fangs packed tight
Yet unstirred the Nymph continued her song!
When Sir Knight realizes the the nymph is apparently unaware of her imminent doom, he boldly challenges the Beast. And, after a long moonlit fight, he finally defeats it.
When Sir Knight returns to seek the nymph he is distraught to learn that she has died. As he cradles her body, crying out for why, he hears a haunting voice in the wind that blows through the trees:
“She heard your voice and broke her song
Death for a Nymph
to break her song”
Then showers of leaves fell to soft lullabies
Sir Knight wakes to find he cradles an armful of lavender which he spreads throughout the trees.
For years the lavender grew in the grove
in wonderful splendor
And for years Sir Knight made lavender garlands
on Autumn’s eve
in far away lands
To remember the nymph whose song warmed the air.
I was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1974 and was raised with my three siblings in a musical household. I was introduced to the Greek Myths and found folklore at a young age, and have enjoyed the fantasy genre throughout my life.
I followed my father’s career into the field of dentistry, studying at The University of Queensland then spending some years as a Dental Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. I returned to my Alma mater to specialize in Orthodontics, and have practice in orthodontic private practice in Brisbane since 2004.
I met my wife in dental school in 1995, and have occasionally written her poems over the years. “Sir Knight and the Lavender Grove” was one of these, and the only fairy tale. It was written for her birthday in 1998.
We now have a seven-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. I have loved storytelling for my son, trying to recreate the same wonder and magic that I remember from my own childhood. And like me, it’s the stories and leave too much room for an active imagination that he loves the most.
This prompted me to look for the poem which I thought had been lost somewhere in the string of computers I have owned since the it was written. Fortunately my wife found the original with little effort.
I found Daniel Reed through his online portfolio, and my son and I secretly watched “Sir Knight and the Lavender Grove” become beautifully illustrated before we surprised my wife with the book before her birthday this year.
Although this book venture has been for my family, I hope that it is well-received so that similar tales of illustrated poetry will follow.