The Dragon Mages

by Thomas Davis
To John Stevens and Nick Moore

The dragon, deep inside the earth, the cave
Warmed by the bubbling natural pool,
Its scales half-moons that glistened blue
In light that emanated from the fires
That seemed refracted off a mirror’s shine,
Stared at the mages’ mumbling sing-song words.

Their incantations changed from spoken words
That echoed through the darkness of the cave
Into a rain of rainbows, dropping shine
Into the watered depths inside the pool.
The dragon’s eyes began to whirl with fires
Intense with cold and sparks of sapphire blue.

As light shot out from dragon eyes, a blue,
Dark luminescence glowed with rainbow words
That seemed as if they burned with endless fires
As timeless as the dark inside the cave.
The mage’s eyes, the dragon’s eyes began to pool
A meaning from the deep, dark water’s shine.

“Time is a watch,” the first mage said. “A shine
That lets a human get through heartaches blue
Enough to color universes, pool
Through generations into endless words
That forms an understanding of the cave
That makes of human minds great human fires.”

“Time is the earth,” the young mage said. “It fires
Up summers long with sun, then brings fall shine
To forests dancing red and gold as winter’s cave
Spreads fields of snow beneath skies’ frigid blue
Until the birds of spring begin to sing and words
From poets makes the world a spring fed pool.”

The blue-scaled dragon blinked its swirling pool
Of rainbow eyes and flicked its tongue at fires
Beyond the sight of mages, made its words
Into a stream of images, a shine
That showed the Book of Time as water, blue,
That bubbles warmth into a deep earth cave.

And time spun from the darkness of the cave
Into the world above and skies shined blue
As hearts lived lives inside time’s endless shine.

Note: A number of poets have been writing sestinas and publishing them on their blogs. There are different kinds of sestina, of course. The pattern used here is: 1. ABCDEF, 2. FAEBDC, 3. CFDABE, 4. ECBFAD, 5. DEACFB, and 6. BDFECA. The last three lines in an Italian sestina are used to summarize the poem. I have dedicated this poem to two masters using traditional forms: John Stevens and Nick Moore, who inspired me to write this after they published sestina masterpieces on their wordpress sites. I wish I could write with such mastery of craft and form.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

14 responses to “The Dragon Mages

  1. Looks like mastery of craft and form to me! Wonderful experience reading this tale of dragons and poets!

  2. Caddo Veil

    Well, I appreciate the masterful form, imagery, story–and I wish I had more elaboration of the sestina; however, that will motivate me to do research–because, as you may know, I’m challenged to learn from the finer blog poets. Let’s see how long it takes me to learn, and craft a sestina! Bless you, bless you–as I visit you late Christmas Eve!

  3. Merry Christmas, Thomas
    I am nominating you for the “Liebster Blog Award”
    Check it out: Written Words Never Die >
    Eric Alagan

  4. Once again you leave me lost for words, Thomas – both with your dedication (which is one of the most amazing things anyone’s ever done for me) and your glorious sestina. Perfect in form, rich in imagery and language, full of wonder and mystery and wisdom: it’s simply breathtaking. I could quote the whole piece back to you, but for me, these were standout lines:

    Their incantations changed from spoken words
    That echoed through the darkness of the cave
    Into a rain of rainbows, dropping shine
    Into the watered depths inside the pool.

    Wonderful. Like you, I have a great reverence for the old metrical poetic forms: one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do more of it, in line with Robert Frosts’s maxim that free verse is ‘like playing tennis with the net down’. And I also feel so much modern poetry is inward-looking, and concerned only with the personal minutiae of life: I think we need to reclaim it as the means to discuss Big Ideas, and allow ourselves to explore mystery, myth and imagination, as you’ve done so brilliantly here. In short, your sestina is a triumph, and I’m more honoured than I can say to have it dedicated to me. Thank you, my friend.

    • Nick, thank you for your kind words, but your sestina, and John’s, stunned me. In your sestina you took John’s theme and applied it to the seasons and the Yule season, and I am hoping this sestina gives you a little traffic. Your work really deserves to be read.

  5. The intertwining word themes layered the poem with even more richness. Thank you for posting! 🙂

  6. Anna Mark

    Hello Thomas. I have tried my best to respond to the “Versatile Blogger Award.” Thank you for your nomination. I wrote a poem recently, “Memories of Fire” that I thought you and Ethel would enjoy. I haven’t been here to read meaningfully in a while, but will do soon! My post for the Versatile Blogger Award looks a little unprofessional because the “links” option is not working at all for me. Phooey. Ah well…joy to the world!!

  7. I really enjoyed reading this poem and your blog. I will be back fore more.

  8. So much fun reading this masterful work, Thomas (and yes, it IS masterful!) I greatly admire the works written in classic poetic forms – the structured side of poetry combined with metaphor, your enchanting story and the astounding imagery! So glad you shared this here!

  9. Looks like you had a lot of fun composing this one, and it fits beautifully with the illustration above by William Bingen – a whole world of fantasy in verse and painting, and I agree with Nick Moore (at gonecycling) that it is rich in imagery and language.
    You make the sestina look easy. I felt I had aged a couple of years writing mine! I am honoured that you have dedicated this one to Nick and to me – thank you!

    • John, the sestina is not easy. Yours is magnificent. You and Nick sparked something in me. I’ve even been contemplating a double sestina as developed by Swinburne, but I don’t know if I have the courage. I’ll probably never manage a technical feat like that, but I honor your mastery of traditional forms.

  10. Anna Mark

    What a spell binding sestina. I get caught in the pool, in the dragon’s eyes, in the mages’ songs and by the blue. Gorgeous.

  11. The sestina is an intricate and long form, and you have done excellently with it in this fable-like piece offering magical descriptions and meaning.

  12. You met the challenge you set yourself and passed with flying colours!

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