A Wounded Knight's Tale

Author: Susan R. Johnson MD, F.A.A.P.

Published: Aug 29th, 2019



Once there was a Silver Knight
who sought to transform her soul.
Wisdom, compassion, and selfless deeds
were her ennobled goals.

She joined a group of similar knights
who were also on this quest.
They all were in search of this Holy Grail
and vowed they’d never rest.

They rode by horseback dawn to dusk,
galloping ever so fast.
They avoided the paths where dragons lay,
so they would not be last.

They traveled over huge mountains,
crisscrossing rivers and streams.
They traveled through thick forests,
pretending they were a team.

There was no stopping at villages,
where dragons lay in wait,
nor time to talk with strangers,
for that would make them late.

Their gaze was always forward,
not ever side to side,
and looking back was forbidden
for that would slow their stride.

They were focused on their mission
and kept a rapid pace,
for time was of the essence,
and there was no time to waste!


But now the Silver Knight
was beginning to lag behind,
for dragons of fear and doubt
had started to plague her mind.

Her thoughts were now consumed
with fears of the unknown,
and now her pace had slowed
until she was riding alone.

And as that Knight experienced
her overwhelming fears,
she suddenly fell off her horse,
abandoned by her peers.


She landed hard upon the ground,
her head striking a stone.
She was knocked unconscious for quite a spell
and then awoke with a groan.

The darkness now had overcome the light,
as she gazed upon a star,
and then she spied her horse a grazing
in the meadowland afar.

The Silver Knight could barely stand;
her right leg now was broken.
She used her sword just like a cane,
while angry words were spoken.

The Knight removed her dented armor
and laid it in a pile.
She hobbled over to a clearing
and sat down for a while.

She rested in that meadow,
a pondering her path,
and then she heard a thunderous screech
that filled the skies with wrath.

Her pulse began to rapidly beat:
her heart now filled with fear
and soon that thundering, screeching sound
grew louder and more near.

A fierce and fiery Dragon
now streaked down from the sky,
spewing flames and billowing smoke.
That Knight just wanted to die.

The Dragon had such powerful wings
and a scaly monstrous tail.
It flew right down to that Silver Knight,
who appeared so scared and pale.

And then the Dragon so sweetly spoke:
“Come, climb upon my back,
for I will give you freedom,
and nothing will you lack."

“Come, leave the loneliness and sorrow.
Come, leave behind this Earth.
Come, fly with me, away from here,
to bliss and your rebirth."

“Come, share my dreams and leave this Quest.
You’re not needed anymore.
Fly with me into the moonlight,
where both of us can soar.”

“For becoming wise and loving
and performing selfless deeds
are just some tiresome earthly goals.
Devote your passionate blood to me!”

That Dragon offered a burning death.
Its words were full of lies!
So the sword was grasped by the Silver Knight
to fight that beast from the skies.

The Silver Knight and that Dragon
battled throughout the night.
The Knight fought bravely with her sword
exerting all her might!

At last, the Dragon retreated.
It flew back into the sky.
The Knight collapsed in the meadow
and let forth a huge sigh.


The Sun appeared on the horizon,
bringing the morning light.
The Knight looked up to see a cliff,
now just within her sight.

And then that Knight did spy a cave
within that cliff nearby,
a place providing warmth and shelter,
a hole in which to hide.

For now the Knight so greatly feared
that Dragon’s swift return,
and did not want to be carried off,
away from Earth to burn.

The Knight was able to climb the cliff
and hide within that hole,
until a deep and trembling roar
did shake that Knight’s poor soul.

And now another Dragon appeared
from deeper in that cave,
a terrifying, skeletal beast.
A dreadful hiss it gave.

And then that Dragon so sweetly spoke:
“Please have no fear of me.
For I am here to save your bones.
Do not despair. Trust me.”

“Just join me in my world of darkness,
down deep in this abyss.
For I will bind you to this Earth,
and nothing will you miss.”

“Great riches will surround you,
endless jewels and countless gold.
Pain will no longer plague you,
and you will have treasures untold.”

“No longer will you be burdened
with all these human woes.
Instead, you will have great power
to conquer any foes.”

“You also won’t be bothered
by other human beings,
for humans always disappoint
at times of greatest needs!”

“And I’ll teach you to be ruthless,
to be clever, and to lie.
You’ll learn how to distort the truth,
and you’ll never have to die.”

“For becoming wise and loving
and performing selfless deeds,
these only lead to heartaches
and unfulfilled deep needs.”

“So give up these dreams you carry.
Abandon this foolish Quest.
Just crawl with me into darkness,
for I know what is best.”

That Dragon offered a cold, heartless life,
devoid of light and bliss,
so the sword was grasped by the Silver Knight
to fight that beast from the abyss.

The Silver Knight and that Dragon
battled on throughout the day.
The Knight fought bravely with her sword
to keep that Dragon away!

The Dragon finally retreated,
deep back inside its lair.
The Knight collapsed within the cave,
exhausted and in despair.


The Sun appeared on the horizon,
bringing the morning light.
The Knight crawled down to the meadow,
uncertain of her plight.

The Knight was so depleted,
lying on the ground,
but then the Knight heard singing.
Oh, what a beautiful sound!

And now appeared two children
with hearts as pure as gold
surrounded by their angels
of beauty yet untold.

So quickly ran the children
to the side of the injured Knight,
their hearts so full of love,
their eyes so sparkling bright.

One child sat close-by
to bring comfort to that Knight,
while the other child found the horse
and rode it out of sight.

It did not take too long
for other villagers to arrive.
They brought sweet tea and blankets
to keep the Knight alive.

The Knight was gently carried
to their village to be tended.
The Knight slept well and was nourished
while wounds and heart were mended.

For the Dragons in that village
had been banished long ago.
Still the villagers remained alert
in case a Dragon ever showed.

And, as that Knight recovered
under loving and watchful eyes,
the Knight felt love and hope return
and was happy to be alive!

For now the Knight was learning
the art of giving and receiving,
the type of love the villagers showed
that gave to life its meaning.


For everyone in that village
was also on a Quest,
for wisdom and compassion
and service at its best.

They all wore spiritual armor
that emanated gold,
and they carried glistening swords
that served to transform souls.

Their eyes shone with brightness,
and their hearts glowed with love.
Their armor served to protect them,
while their strength flowed from above.

An inner Sun so brightly shone
within these Golden Knights,
radiating courage and love
while they upheld the light.

And unlike those Silver Knights
who avoided Dragons on the trail,
these Golden Knights sought out the Dragons
so others would not fail.

And as these Knights journeyed onward,
through countries far and wide,
they frequently looked behind them
and often side to side.

They knew that their weakest member
was just a tender seed
who only needed extra care
to not become a weed.

They also kept a watchful eye
on others and their peers;
they knew the Dragons could return
and tempt them through the years.

Their journey was often slower,
not speed at any cost,
for the journey was what mattered
so goals would not be lost.

For to be wise, loving, and selfless,
are humanity’s goals.
So deep love and transformation
can occur in all our souls.


The Silver Knight, with patience and love,
was finally able to heal.
This Knight was given the “Golden” armor
and the glistening sword to wield.

She set off on her journey again,
now with the Golden Knights,
and together they sought the Dragons,
battling day and night.

For where the darkest forces appeared,
bringing sorrow and strife,
were also the places where the brightest light
could shine forth into this life.

For Dragons, she was learning,
were not meant to be faced alone.
Support was always needed
when facing fears of the unknown.

And as this Knight journeyed onward,
the Quest upon her mind,
she frequently gazed side to side
and often looked behind.

And she, too, needed to remember
to sometimes slow her pace,
for Quests were shared by all
and not meant to be a race.

And now there is a Golden Knight
who seeks to transform her soul.
Wisdom, compassion, and selfless deeds
are her ennobled goals.

-- Susan R. Johnson MD

With tremendous gratitude for. Dr. Ellen E. Lane, my childhood playmate and friend, who generously edited this poem and for Dr. Karl König, whose poem, “Knighthood of the 20th Century" (now 21st!) deeply inspired this one!