By Thomas Davis, a passage from what has become The Dragon Epic
Wei felt the light around her, felt her bones
And flesh expanding out toward the light.
She heard Ssruanne, above her changing, saw
The golden old one stretch her claws to land,
But could not pay attention to the voice
That called to her, her flesh becoming light,
Congealing back to flesh that felt too heavy
For any human frame to ever bear.
She felt no pain although the singing fire
That rose up from her chanting voice created
An agony that seemed as if its roots
Were in the universe her mother’s life
Was clutched in, struggling against the formless,
Cold winds that were no winds, miasma blank
Enough to be an element beyond
The understanding of an individual life.
She felt her spell and light that flowed in rainbows
Out from her spell solidify to bone,
Then dragon scales as bright as drops of sun.
She did not think, I am a little girl!,
But felt her transformation as her head
Ballooned into a dragon’s head, her heart
Into the double beating of a dragon’s hearts.
Her hands stopped moving in their spelling dance
As wings grew on her back and arms and legs
Became a dragon’s massive arms and legs.
Inside her mind her mother sang as if
She’d left the nether world and fixed herself
Into the flowing of her daughter’s thoughts.
Wei felt as if she was no longer Wei,
But more than Wei, a human, witch, her mother,
A dragon unlike any other dragon
Hatched from an egg upon warm hatching grounds.
Light hardened into flesh and scales and bones.
Her body seemed too large, unwieldy, awkward,
As if it was not who she was, but still
Was truly who she was, a spirit creature
Transformed out of a human to a dragon
Who had a witch’s powers and a human’s wiles
Imbedded in a child with dragon wings.
At first she only saw the light congealing
A rainbow storm inside her mind, around
Her body; then her hearts began to beat
And then she saw out of a dragon’s eyes,
The whirling strangeness of the world a bending
Of consciousness and even understanding.
She tried to move her massive dragon legs,
But saw her movement made the dragons gathered
Around her in the snow involuntarily
Move back from her, their fear of weirding strong
Enough to make them want to spread their wings
And flee into the freezing winter skies.
Ssruanne and Mmirrimann walked forward, though,
Fear whirling in their eyes, but brave beyond
The ancient age that lived inside their bones.
Wei tried to move again, but felt as if
She was a baby still inside her crib,
Her movements larger than they should have been,
But human-sized, not fitting for a dragon.
Ssruanne, her mind awhirl, sent thoughts
Into the rainbow dragon’s mind, “Slow child,”
She said, awe in the song inside her thoughts.
“You have to take things slow until we know
What magic you have brought into the earth.”
Wei looked at her, at all the dragons strewn
Like boulders on the fields she known since birth.
She tried to find her mother’s ghost among
More dragons than she’d ever dreamed existed
Inside the caves above the cottage she’d
Grown much too large to even fit inside.
She did not want to be a dragon, did
Not want to live a life that was not human.
She could not see her mother, could not feel
The humanness that made her who she was.
She was a girl, she thought. A human girl!
Ssruanne moved close and touched her scales.
Wei tried to move again, but felt the awkwardness
Of never having been so large before.
She stumbled, then moved upright as the strength
Ssruanne sent shocking through her body made
Her feel as if the light about her was her self.
The dragons in the field seemed so intense
With whirling eyes and primal fear she coiled
Away from who she knew she had become.
“Enough!” the thundering voice of Mmirrimann
Demanded calm. “We’re dragons, not the spawn
Of emptiness,” he said. “I’ve heard of this,
Of humans taking on a dragon’s shape
And dragons taking on a human’s shape.
We need to find the reason why this weirdness
Has come just as existence trembles where
Extinction and continuance are poised
Upon a ledge that I can’t see around.”
“Slow, child,” Ssruanne said once again. “You’re not
A dragon, not a human child, but something else.
You’re not alone. Both Mmirrimann and I
Are here; we’ll find the balance that is you,
And then we’ll understand this craziness.”
Wei moved her foot and slowly moved her wings
And let them fall back to her massive back.
“I need my mother who has died,” she said
While looking at Ssruanne’s bright golden eyes.
Ssruanne looked at the dragon child as large
As any full-grown dragon, but was silent.
As Mmirrimann stared at the rainbow fire
That seemed to pulsate from Wei’s dragon scales,
He started humming, dredging up a song
Out of the depths of dragon memory.
Another dragon started humming too, and then
The mass of dragons hummed, an echo bouncing
Out of the caves that were their mountain home.
Wei startled. What was going on? But then her mother,
Inside the flesh that was her flesh, inside the dragon
That she had wanted to become, began
To hum just like the field of dragons hummed
She looked into Ssruanne, her golden eyes.
She was a dragon. Born of light, her mother’s
Deep human love for her had turned her life
Into a dragon’s life. Her mother lived
Inside of her, inside the dragon that she was.
She glanced at Mmirriman, Ssruanne.
She felt her mother’s humming, heard the song
Dredged from the ancient dragon memories.
She moved her massive legs and tested wings
That felt as if they could not be her wings.
And then, deep in her chest, she let the song
She felt come out of her so powerfully
It added music to the dragons’ song.
To listen to this section of the epic, click on The Song of Becoming a Dragon.
Note: This is the thirty-seventh 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 Mesmerized Cave Dragons to read the passage before this one. To read the next passage, click onThe Mind’s Black Fire.