A Song of Goudas and Grays

February 1, 2014 (Sat)



30 Minus 2 Days of Writing (2014)
Day 1: “Gouda”

“Sing us songs of Gouda!” proclaimed the Queen of Cheeses,
and her courtesans bowed and scurried
for the Queen gets what she pleases.
The Queen’s decrees do reign supreme
across the land of abandoned dreams,
for it is the cruelty of “Her Beloved Majesty” —
         in words and deed — that compels in fear her weary subjects
to genuflect in deadened reverence upon their ragged knees.

The Queen’s command for Gouda songs descended
to the town below where throngs of trodden souls were heard
to sob in fits of anguished moans.
“Mercy! Mercy!” the townsfolk cried. “Winter is upon us, and spirits are low;
         We very nearly died when last you asked of us to sing your whims
         amid the bitter snow.”

“Hold back your words you insolent curs!” the Queen roared in reply.
“Breathe not another sniveling gripe, or else you will surely die.”

The people fell prostrate in withered defeat
as soldiers with sabers marched down every street.
And so by the writ of the Queen’s decrees
all were summoned unto the palace to bring
a song, and a dance, and block of cheese
         to appease Her Majesty’s malice and manic caprice.

For twenty-eight nights this madness lasted
though before the end, Her Majesty was blasted
         from a nauseating cocktail of Cheez Whiz and gin
         and a questionable addition of Finnish candy and molasses.
The palace grew fuller with all the town’s cheeses
stacked tall to ceiling just like the Queen pleases.
She laughed a cancerous cackle, for cruelty’s a disease
“Let it be known from this day forth,” she said, “that you all work for cheese.”

Then out of the shadows stepped forth a lone figure —
not the tallest in stature, but overflowing with vigor.
He was clad to the hilt with plate mail and chains
and a cloak spun of fine threads of Prosaic Shades of Gray.
He breached the palace doors with defiance and with stride
and the guards dared not oppose him as he sauntered his way inside.
He entered the royal courtroom where the Queen sat upon her throne
delighting in her cheeses, and in the suffering that she’d sown.

“Salutations, Dear Queen” said the noble gray knight,
“I greet you in peace, though I stand ready to fight.
         I am called Sir Kay of Zed, from the grand Household of Grays
         cease your decrees of cheeses, and desist your wicked ways.”

It angered the Queen wholly to be so openly defied
and she called for Sir Kay to be slain for his insufferable snide.
Guards closed in reluctantly on the good knight in gray
but none were a match for the sword of Sir Kay.
         One after another, the palace guards fell
         and as the last was dispatched, the Queen’s anger did swell.

The Queen unleashed a fearful roar of fury and of spite
then uttered foul words from ancient tomes which hastened the fall of night.
By the blackest of dark magic, the Queen engulfed herself in flame
when there arose from out the fire came the fabled Dragon Queen of fame.

Sir Kay of Zed held fast his sword in confrontation of the Dragon
which snapped and snarled and bit and shrieked like a drunk without a flagon.
The knight and Beast clashed about the court with slashes and with plunges —
         with jabs and jumps and scrapes and parries, and with fiercely ventured lunges.
The Dragon Queen belched firebolts without pity or discretion
she bathed the court in waves of flames spewed in every which direction.

The heartless Beast then cornered Sir Kay within a ring of fire
         The blaze danced high, twelve times his height,
         Sir Kay’s prospects were surely dire.
The Dragon Queen laughed and taunted, for cruelty came to her with ease,
“You were a fool to fight me, Sir Kay — now behold the wrath of cheese.”
         Sir Kay hurled his sword up through the air, soaring toward the Dragon’s heart
         the Beast deftly dodged the sailing blade with a mighty swoop and dart.
“‘Twas the final gambit of a desperate man” the Beast Queen blithely taunted
“Think again,” said the brave Sir Kay,”you’ve done exactly what I wanted.”

The sword sailed onward past the Dragon to strike a stack of cheese
which lurched and leaned and tumbled down in a hail of Goudas and Bries
The Beast looked ’round her cold scaled shoulder with a flash of understanding
her newfound footing was now the place where the falling cheese was landing.
The Beast let loose a startled screech and turned in vain to flee
But lo, the Dragon Queen was crushed beneath a heap of dairy debris.

Word made rounds all through the town of the Queen’s untimely death
and the streets spilled full of joyful crowds all singing with collective breath —
“All hail Sir Kay of Zed, our savior and new regent,
         for he is brave, and just, and lactose free, and altogether decent.”
All the town’s people did lavish Sir Kay with a sovereign’s share of riches
         with a crown, and gold, and fine royal robes sewn of silken stitches.

Sir Kay of Zed bowed to the ground in deference to the adoring crowd
         and with grace he spurned the riches and robes
         for the grayness of his war-torn shroud.
“You are all most generous,” said the noble knight in gray
         “But I am hardly fit for royalty, and I must be on my way.
         Tyranny is a dismal plight to which you should no longer cling
         It’s your freedom I now grant you, so seek not a Queen or King.”

So ends the hallowed tale of how the Dragon Queen was vanquished
Sir Kay of Zed rode out of town, and in his wake the darkness languished
To this day the bells still ring in honor of the brave Sir Kay
Who freed the land of Queens and cheeses, the Noble Knight of Gray.

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing (2014)
A painful exercise in forced inspiration brought to you by
We Work for Cheese


  1. KZ          
    February 1, 2014 at 12:15 am Reply

    All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. That is, you know, except for the Queen of Cheeses and the Gray Knight. Those are totally based on real people.

  2. dufus          
    February 1, 2014 at 10:16 am Reply

    That was truly amazing. I really enjoyed it. I too have suffered the wrath of cheese and believe me it was not a pretty sight.

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm Reply

      I imagine this story could either be really violent and heroic, or something gastronomical, and therefore disgusting. Either way, I'm intrigued.

  3. Boom Boom          
    February 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm Reply

    Absolutely fabulous! But seriously, now that you've vanquished the evil Dragon Queen of Cheese, do we really have to continue this charade known as 30M2DoW?

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm Reply

      The Dragon Queen has a way of coming back to haunt us in real life. We should all be very afraid.

  4. injaynesworld          
    February 1, 2014 at 1:52 pm Reply

    This is beyond amazing! Loved every verse, Sir Kay! Can't wait to see what other fun you have up your writing sleeve.

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:17 pm Reply

      Many thanks! I just hope I can follow this up, because I put a lot of effort into the initial entry. Here's hoping I haven't yet run out of steam.

  5. Diana          
    February 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm Reply

    Sounds like Sir Kay of Zed was nothing but a bully. He didn't even try to work out a deal with the Queen and try to solve the problem peacefully. Maybe some stronger foe wanted to demolish the town but the Queen was able to appease his wrath by giving him cheese. The next poem should be about how a gigantic manticore comes down to the town, demanding his cheese and, upon not receiving any because of stupid Sir Kay of Zed, burns every last villager to a crisp. Just before their agonizing deaths, everyone feels regret for what they had done to the Queen and blames it all on Sir Kay of Zed.

    Go Team Nikki!!

    • Nicky          
      February 1, 2014 at 6:48 pm Reply

      Diana, I have long suspected and now know with certainty that Sir Kay of Zed does not deserve you. I can take care of that for you, if you like. I know people. Just sayin'.

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:18 pm Reply

      You know nothing, John Snow.

  6. Linda          
    February 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm Reply

    I think this is a great poetic story and justice was served in the end. After all, it is all about Freedom!

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:19 pm Reply

      I'm glad somebody gets it. :)

  7. Ziva          
    February 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm Reply

    My word, an epic poem of tyranny, cheese and bravery. Amazing work, KZ, I am very impressed! That said, I love the Queen of that-horrible-food-that-shall-not-be-named, and I must now avenge her. Be afraid.

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm Reply

      What are you going to do? Feed me Finnish candy?

  8. laughingmom          
    February 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm Reply

    That was purely awesome! I bow to thee, Sir!

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm Reply

      You're too kind. I certainly tried a little harder than I usually do on this one.

  9. Nicky          
    February 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm Reply

    “Let it be known from this day forth,” she said, “that you all now work for cheese.”

    Best line ever written.

    Oh, and Sir Kay of Zed? Lovely work of fiction. Obviously a far cry from reality.

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm Reply

      I was a little nervous to see what you'd think of this one, Nicky. you know, because i respect your opinion and all. This story totally has no analogous parallel in the real world. Well, the Sir Kay of Zed character was based on somebody very close to me. Let's just leave it at that.

      • KZ          
        February 4, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        Upon further reflection, I think the line works better without the word "now". The updated line now reads, "'Let it be known from this day forth,' she said, 'that you all work for cheese.'"

  10. Malisa          
    February 1, 2014 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Wowsers! All that fabulous work for the fricking word "gouda". Don't you now feel bad, Nicky and Mike? KZ just bowled us all over with his poetic creation!

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:24 pm Reply

      I have to say, when I first learned that the first prompt of the challenge was "Gouda", I was a little annoyed. "What the hell am I supposed to say about Gouda?" I said to myself. That irritation was the catalyst.

  11. MikeWJ          
    February 2, 2014 at 12:42 am Reply

    Good lord, man. It's great, but surely you can't do this much writing every day? You'll break yourself,

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm Reply

      Believe me, I am acutely aware of the dangers you speak of. I'm nearly ready to pass out already, and we haven't even hit the One Week mark.

  12. Katherine          
    February 2, 2014 at 6:52 am Reply

    Wow that was fantastic! I see how you slipped "We Work for Cheese" in there... brilliant... you will get SO many points for that! ha ha!

    The line, "from a nauseating cocktail of Cheez Whiz and gin" made me picture a few bad college nights!

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm Reply

      Thanks, Katherine. I'm not sure how many points will really be counted in my favor, given the tone and intention of this poem. Cheez Whiz and gin sounds absolutely disgusting, but not as disgusting as Peppermint Schnapps. That stuff was my kryptonite in college. Blech.

  13. Frank Lee Meidere          
    February 2, 2014 at 7:57 am Reply

    Damn! That's good!

    • KZ          
      February 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm Reply

      Thanks, Frank. I really appreciate it.

  14. P.J.          
    February 12, 2014 at 7:02 am Reply

    I'm not sure I believe your first comment about this being fictitious. It's a little too real to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *