The Seer

A ballad by Thomas Davis

 “It is hard to follow one great vision in this world of darkness and of many changing shadows. Among those men get lost.”
― Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

“Not far from Big Skylight and Four Windows Caves,
across fields of aa lava, loose, rough, sharp, flecked with green and orange lichen,
in darkness so absolute light becomes a memory,
blind dragons live beside an underground river”

— Thomas Davis, Inside the Blowholes

One day and night, three days and nights,
He sat inside the earth
And stared at winter’s cold, bright skies
Awaiting spring’s rebirth.

Inside his heart an awful dread
Quaked through each day’s long hours,
His mind’s shade stirring strange,
Malevolent, dark powers.

At sixteen years he should have been
Alive to all life held,
But in the windswept wilderness
He sat alone, compelled

To wait for promises that hung
Suspended in the air —
As foreign to his wish for life
As ghosts of grizzly bears.

Then, with the rising of the moon,
As puffs of glittering snow
Flowed ghostly over coal-black stones,
A trance began to flow

Like water over who he was,
His dreaming powerful
Enough to give him second sight,
A world turned beautiful.

And from the east he saw them flying,
Great beasts with whirling eyes,
Bright wings, long necks outstretched, their bodies
Dark in cold, night skies.

Inside his cave his vision thundered songs
As beasts as large as hills
Flew straight toward his hiding place,
Then flared their wings, a shrill

Bewailing shivering alive
The silver moon, the stones,
The night-time universe,
His fragile frame of human bones.

“Beware! Beware!” His spirit wailed.
“We’re dragons,” said huge minds
Inside his mind. “We’re all that’s left
Of ancient dragonkind.”

He tried to cringe back in his cave,
But as the dragons sank
Their claws in earth and slowly walked
Past where he hid and shrank

From heads and bodies nightmare-huge,
He felt how sadness filled
The night and twisted who he was,
His boyhood murdered, killed

By creatures that could not be real,
By sadness from a trance,
By loss much greater than the loss
Of humans from life’s dance.

The dragons passed him in the night,
Came to a cave so huge
It seemed to swallow dragons whole
Into a centrifuge.

As dragon after dragon went
Beneath volcanic ground,
He held his breath and prayed and prayed
He’d not be seen nor found.

At last a single dragon paused
Before the mawing dark;
She seemed to sigh before she left
The night, a matriarch

Who did not want to leave the world
For life inside old fires
Long ossified to rock and sure
To end her life’s desires.

And as she paused she turned and saw
Him huddled in his cave.
Her eyes whirled fire and made him quake
While trying to be brave.

She made no sound, but stared at him
Until, his heartbeats wild,
He crawled into the night
And stood, a frightened human child

Inside the gaze of dragon eyes
That bored into his heart
And stripped him of humanity,
His spirit rived apart.

The dragon snorted, sending fire
Into the nighttime air.
He stood and forced his eyes to match
The dragon stare for stare.

The world seemed poised upon a brink
Where revelations stormed,
But then the dragon turned from Seer,
Child, leaving him forlorn.

Inside the moment when the dragon
Turned, left him once again
Alone, his hair turned white; he aged
And grinned an old man’s grin.

He kept the dragons’ secret safe
And lived a hundred years,
A man apart, a man so strange
He had no sense of fear.

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Filed under poems, Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

And There Was Light

a photograph by Sonja Bingen

sunrisesonja

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Ethel’s Poem on Poetry Breakfast This Morning

Ethel’s poem, “Cold”, has been published by Poetry Breakfast this morning.  Poetry Breakfast emails one poem a day to subscribers.  It publishes some of the finest and most accomplished poets being published today.  You can see Ethel’s poem at:  https://poetrybreakfast.com/category/all-poems, the site’s web page.  I hope you’ll find time to go to Poetry Breakfast this morning.

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Into the Forest Primeval

a photograph by Sonja Bingen
Into the Forest primeval

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Respite

poem by Ethel Mortenson Davis

We walked Michigan’s shore
against gale winds,
blue-green water
churning up white foam
and throwing large rocks
at our feet

until a stand of cedars
offered warmth and stillness
from the wind.
Leaf-litter
lined the forest floor, softness,
respite from our difficult world.

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An Old Man’s Applause

by Thomas Davis

I was seven years old.
Mom insisted I was too sick to play an old man in a fake gray beard,
but I had worked hard to memorize my school play’s lines.
I was so sick I could hardly get out of bed.
I got up anyway, dressed in old man clothes
Mom had stitched out of Dad’s cast-off pants and shirts
and walked out of the house through darkened streets to Delta Elementary.
Back stage I half fainted when I saw
the auditorium packed with kids, parents, and grandparents.
Other kids and our teacher just accepted that I was there.

Feverish, I feverishly repeated lines over and over in my head
and fought my stomach’s queasiness.
Then the play about pioneering, wagon trains, and wilderness began.
When my turn came I walked teetering, the way I was supposed to, on stage.
My Mom had no idea where I was.

An old man, I sat on a stool covered with a painted cardboard stump,
voice quavering as if I was sixty years old and not just sick.
When I finished the audience broke into thundering applause.
I bowed quickly, went off-stage, down ancient wooden stairs,
and went outside where the Milky Way flowed light toward the horizon.

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Out of the Sky

a photograph by Sonja Bingen

Out of the Sky

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Filed under Photography, Uncategorized