Over books, they pretend they understand.
The lonely king, the monster of the waste—
These are motifs, no more. Readers demand
Motifs – but pain you feel and blood you taste
Are fierce, unfriendly things, not to be faced
Except, beloved Beowulf, by you.
The frightened queen, the royal court disgraced:
They too are real, and give your strength its cue.
In such a place, a hero has to do
Heroic deeds – and you will do your share.
About these weighty acts, the classroom crew
Will read. Some will convince themselves they care.
But you’ll have paid the price that dragons claim—
And known at last the emptiness of fame.