Ere gloaming wanes, acceding sable night,
As writhen mists conceal a pallid moon,
From bastion vigil, thou descry a sight;
To rumours, foul and fey, thine ears attune.

Beyond the eaves of darkness lurks thy foe,
Where craven men are loath to tread—and lag,
Thou, heedless, don thy panoply and go
To mark the serpent’s lair among the crags.

Ascending there, the beast, most wroth and fell,
Demands thou quail and abdicate to dread.
Instead, thou, wreathed in faith and trusting well,
Unsheathe thy sword and cleave the wyvern’s head!

For God—thy fealty’s charge—for love of men,
Thou liv’st each day to risk thine all again.


Jeff is a lifelong poet with a particular affinity for writing formal verse.  He currently resides in rural Clark County, outside Battle Ground, Washington, USA, with his wife and a few lingering adult children.  Though his educational background is in English and Theology, Jeff currently directs the Technical Services department for a global architectural glass coatings manufacturer in Ridgefield, Washington.

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13 Responses

  1. E. V.

    You’re very talented. That was a powerful, spiritual poem … and I learned a few new vocabulary words. Gee, this site is great for all the young people who anticipate one day taking the SAT exams!

    • Jeff Nicholson

      Thank you for your kind comments, E.V. Regarding vocabulary words, I recall many hours of reading classical poetry, going back and forth between the text and glossary, until I could read the poems from start to finish with complete understanding. I loved the illumination of the work and the subsequent expansion of my own vocabulary (and still do). I can only hope more young people (and educators) will see the value in such exercises.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Hey, near-neighbor, Jeff!

    What a delightful poem. Although the sonnet form is Elizabethan, I picture the entire scenario written in Medieval illuminated script! The spelling of “unsheathe” is the cherry on the top of this faux-quest tale–albeit one that bears witness to a tangible and valuable moral lesson.

    • Jeff Nicholson

      Thank you very much near-neighbor, James! You have rightly discerned the theme and purpose here. This sonnet was written as I considered the challenging, and often lonely, work of a pastor friend of mine. Though one might more traditionally visualize a shepherd protecting the flock from wolves, I wanted to take this different approach. I hope the Medieval scenario works well in that regard.

  3. LJ

    I am typically not one for poetry but I do find your writings enjoyable and illuminating Very glad to have found you

    • Jeff Nicholson

      Thank you, LJ. If your appreciation for poetry has grown even but a little, I am most happy to be found by you. I hope you will take an opportunity to explore the many great works on this site. You will discover some immensely talented poets and I am confident your enjoyment and illumination will increase considerably.

  4. Gregory Spicer

    I would like to second the honorable Mr. Tweedie’s near-neighbor greetings to you, Mr. Nicholson, and I am curious if you are influenced by the recent works of Ian Doescher? I believe him to be a Portlander, but his writings can be entertaining regardless.

    • Jeff Nicholson

      Greetings to you as well, Mr. Spicer. I am only slightly familiar with Ian Doescher’s work (having once read some excerpts from his Shakespearean Star Wars writings). Entertaining indeed!

  5. David Watt

    I also enjoyed this sonnet immensely. The vocabulary befits the tale, and there is also a powerful, positive, message.

    • Jeff Nicholson

      You are most welcome, Ms. Rodriguez. I appreciate your compliment.


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