The Tyrant and The Boy

Upon the bold Triceratops
I ride with form and grace
and wield the sword Excalibur,
its sheathe about my waist.
My nemesis calls from my room,
his voice cuts through the air:
“Come clean this mess,” the man exclaims!
(He cannot see my glare.)

For eons we have battled hard,
this agéd king and I,
from the dawn of life itself
when light first reached my eyes.
He issued forth demands, decrees,
insinuations vile,
“You let the dog track mud inside!”
“No running down the aisles!”

But not today, nor ever more!
I will defeat my foe!
For with each day that slowly passed,
I felt my power grow!
He’s issued forth his final charge,
and as he soon shall see,
my trusty blade Excalibur
shall end his tyranny!

I spring forth from behind the throne
(his preferred place to rest)
and gallop boldly to my room
(but not at his behest)!
My wooden sword extended forth
to land the killing blow –
Alas! My blade did not strike true!
My swing was much too slow.

See now, the mighty tyrant turns!
He gleams his vicious grin!
He speaks: “Oh ho! What have we here!
I don’t mean to offend,
but you are not the first young knight
to challenge me this way!
Your brother fought me tooth and nail;
he just would not obey.

“I’d make him sit inside his room
to think on what he’d done,
I’d ground him for a week, or three,
forbidden any fun.”
What torture has this fiend in mind
for me, if I should fight?
I fear, if I were grounded too,
I wouldn’t last the night!

I must be quick, and clever too,
come up with some deceit,
some misdirection so that I
might not admit defeat!
Perhaps I’ll play his little game,
perhaps he’ll drop his guard,
and when he least expects me to,
I’ll flee into the yard!

I start to put away my toys.
He heads out through the door.
I dash around the giant’s legs
like a mighty wild boar!
In massive strides the king gives chase
through kitchen, hall and den,
around the couch and ottoman,
he moves fast as the wind!

But my Triceratops, you see,
he’s more than meets the eye!
I dismount from my loyal steed
and cast him to the side.
A noble sacrifice, my friend,
a noble death indeed!
The tyrant giant staggers now
and trips upon my steed!

My freedom beckons from the door
before my gleeful eyes:
below me shall be verdant fields,
above me birds will fly!
But wait! What’s this? Oh, curséd lie!
A subtle pane of glass
within another door, and locked!
My dreams of freedom pass.

I turn and face my wicked fate,
the tyrant on his feet,
approaching with a staggered gait,
his face as red as beets.
“Go to your room, right now,” he yells!
So to my room I flee,
afraid to boost my captor’s ire
I obey his decree.

My conquest is a wretched loss.
I hang my head and sigh,
and thinking of Triceratops,
my loyal steed, I cry.
But father comes into my room
and sits down by my side.
“Don’t worry, son, your dino’s fine.”
I look into his eyes.

“I’m proud you’ve got such spirit, boy.
Reminds me of my youth:
rebellious and adventuresome,
and fighting nail and tooth!
But save your spirit, son,” says he,
“for bigger foes than me.
The world is full of danger, boy,
and someday you’ll be free:

“Free to work and free to earn,
and free to pay the rent,
and free to waste your days away
until your life is spent.
And you will have to fight, my boy,
to save what coin you can
to help support the family
you’ll have when you’re a man.”

He looks at me with weary eyes,
and then he cracks a smile.
“But all of this can wait,” he says.
“You’ll stay young for a while.”
He gives my arm a little squeeze
and says “Forget the room.
Let’s go outside and play a while;
the sun is setting soon.”

And as my tyrant foe and I,
Triceratops in tow,
head out beyond the crystal door
into the fields below,
a thought begins to resonate
as day comes to an end:
My father’s not my greatest foe,
he is my closest friend.