Peter Newell illustration from 1902
. . . here's mine!
My White Knights
by Judith Cullen
How could I fail to love them all,
clad in shining good intentions,
loyalty, truth, and studied courtliness.
They bow with dignity, holding
a hand when steadying is needed,
a door when access is required.
When a perceived threat draws near
they lock arms, eyeing each warily,
stepping into the breach before me.
It is touching, in its way, being
the recipient: beloved and dearest,
held high at gracious arms length.
I feel a certain felicitous luck
attracting such quality consideration,
a relief after the disappointments.
At some point or another I form
a passion for each one of them,
before tossing the snowy kerchief.
Their steadfastness impenetrable,
their civility and charm invulnerable.
Not one sullied chink in their armor.
The faces change over time,
ranks waxing and waning, developing
enduring ecstasies for other women.
I'm touched, receiving such adoration, yet
long just once for the shine to be fogged
with longing and keen desire ...
for something more than platonic regard,
from just one of these best of men,
guarding my steps, protecting my heart.
So I remain on my pedestal, flattered,
grateful, immaculate, vestal, tinged
with the faintest hues of longing.
It is important to note that the term "White Knight" has taken on a number of differing interpretations over the years. In the case of this poem, the definition used is consistent with Alice's White Knight in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.