an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis
As Wei woke up, she felt as if the fire
Inside the fireplace had gone out and left
The cottage icy from an outside wind,
But then she saw her mother glittering
Beside her death bed, coldness pouring blue
From where her mother sat so still it seemed
As if she was more than a radiant ghost.
Mysteriously, a fire was burning bright
Inside the fireplace even though hot coals
Were all that should have lasted through the night.
Wei sat up slowly, staring at her mother,
Fear cold inside her stomach as she felt
The fateful meaning of her mother’s form
So bright beside her bed, the whirling chaos
Emerging from another universe
An unseen cloud that filled the cold, bare room.
The minute Wei sat up her mother rose
And floated swiftly to the cottage door.
Wei pulled her boots on as her mother waited,
Then shrugged into her winter coat and rushed
To follow as her mother disappeared.
She felt a patterning of power spark
Into the rhythm of her heartbeats, speeding
Her sense of time into a blur of light
That danced as stars that swirled before her eyes.
She opened up the door and went outside.
The morning sky was blue and bright, the snow
Reflecting light in waves of dancing air.
Her mother moved toward the springtime pond
Now sheathed with snow encrusted on its ice.
Wei hurried as the sparks of power surged
And made her feel as if she’d gained a life
Beyond the life she’d always lived, a song
That melded with the music of the stars.
Beside the pond her mother stopped and turned,
As sightless as a bat bathed blind with light,
And waited for her daughter as Wei crunched
Across the crusted snow, her heartbeats singing
Alive the winter world and morning light.
As soon as Wei was close her mother raised
Her shining arms and made a sure, swift motion.
Wei stopped and mimicked how her mother moved.
The light around her seemed to coalesce
Into a wave of fiery lines that burned
Their substance deep into the morning air.
Her mother turned toward the spot the sun
Rose up above the mountains, starting day.
The dragon scales on Wei’s arm throbbed with heat.
She turned just as her mother turned and saw
The golden dragon rising from her cave.
A man was standing in the line of sight
Dictated by the dragon’s rising flight.
He had a bow inside his hands and stared at her
So evilly it almost made her flinch,
But then her mother made another motion,
Her arms a liquid movement streaming fire
Out of her substance bright into the day.
Wei waved her arms and saw the dragon etched
With rainbow colors in the waves she made.
She did not look toward her mother’s light,
But waved her skinny arms again, as sure
Of how the spell should be as if she’d labored
For years to master every nuance sung
Into the power of the art she made.
Her mother’s form began to dissipate
And flow into the dragon’s rainbow light.
Wei held her breath and felt a forceful surge
Of energy suck all the air out of her lungs.
Her mother’s disappearance made her feel
A mourning just as sharp as what she’d felt
The day she’d moved her mother’s body out
Into the grave she’d dug beside the pond.
She mumbled incantations made of sounds,
Not words and sang her breath into the dragon
That seemed to flow around her human form.
Another dragon, then another dragon,
Then scores of dragons left their mountain caves
And tracked Ssruanne into the morning skies.
The sky filled up with dragons boiling bright
With colors from the mountain’s rocky cliffs.
The hunter with his bow seemed stunned to see
The dragons and the witch’s child together
In air that seemed alive with turbulence.
He had an arrow notched, but could not seem
To force his arms to pull the bow’s taut string.
Wei smiled and brought his frightened face
Close to her face, her body still as stone,
And then she moved her arms again and felt
The rainbow dragon’s hearts begin to merge
Into the beating of her single heart,
The drumming loud and painful, all the earth
And snow and sun and sky a unity
That knew no start or end, but spiraled out
Into the substance of the coming being
That was the spirit of the time that was.
She was the rainbow dragon, double hearts
The song of who she was, the witch’s child,
Transformed from human flesh to dragon flesh.
The pain she felt as bones began to grow
And shape themselves into a dragon’s bones
Wracked through her body, made the stars that danced
In front of her a fire that belched from air
Into her skin and blazing dragon scales.
She whimpered as the pain grew more intense,
So hot it seemed to wipe away the day
And who she was, a little human girl.
Ssruanne, above Wei’s head, her wings a storm
Creating funnel winds of shining white,
Turned round and round as other dragons came
And grew so numerous the morning light
Dimmed from the thickness of their roaring wings.
The sky had metamorphosed wild with wings
And dragon bodies as a hurricane
Of dragon generated winds whipped harsh
Across the snow-bound landscape dark with storm.
Stunned, terrified, Ruarther held his bow
And tried to understand the weirding loose
Inside the world, its singing powerful
Enough to make him feel invisible.
To listen to this section of the epic, click on Metamorposis
Note: This is the thirty-fourth section of a long narrative poem, which has grown into The Dragon Epic. Originally inspired by John Keats’ long narrative poem, Lamia, it tells a story set in ancient times when dragons and humans were at peace. Click on the numbers below to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. Click on Dragonflies, Dragons and Her Mother’s Death to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Vertigo and the Moment of Sudden Truth to go to the section previous to this one. To go to the next section of the epic, click on Determination, Doubt, and Dreams of Victory.