a passage from The Dragon Epic by Thomas Davis
The dire wolves, eyes as glittering as suns,
Began to gather in the hills and forests,
Great packs that knew of dragon, human wars
And salivated at destruction where
They would relieve the earth of carrion.
Upon the crest of hills they started howling,
Their songs a haunting madness shivering
Their ravening into the day’s cold skies.
As Wei kept laboring to stay in flight
The voices of the wolves caused her to rise
Above the tallest treetops, dragons flanked
Around her as they rose up from the ground
And filled the skies with colored scales and wings
That thundered as they flew toward the village
Where dragons battled humans to the death.
How could a little girl be who she was?
Wei thought. The scales of light she wore outside
The human dragon that she was perturbed her,
Although she also held onto her sense
Of self inside the weirding of her life.
Beside her Mmirrimann kept humming songs
That seemed much older than the winter skies.
They seemed to reach into a time before
Time found its measuring, its arrow’s flow.
Below the two of them Ssruuanne swooped down
And grabbed a human in her massive claws
And lifted him into the winter skies.
His frightened yelp was faint inside the beat
Of steady dragon wings that sent the horde
Toward the village Wei had left while young.
A pack of dire wolves burst out from the woods,
Their movement slow compared to dragon flight,
But filled with bristling energies that sang
Of violent spirits empty of remorse.
Beside her Mmirrimann sniffed his disgust.
Toward the mountains, distant from the flight
Of dragons, huge, a wall of mist began
To anvil up into the day’s bright sky,
Inside the mist miasma whirled and sparked
As if it held a winter lightning storm.
Shades gloamed in dusk as chaos sang and gates
And boundaries began to shift and fray.
Inside the storm, inside her daughter’s spirit,
Wei’s mother, father waved their witching arms
And blotted out the shine of winter sun.
Ruanne could feel the storm. The great black dragon,
His claws extended, hurtled at the shelter
She calmly nestled into; strong, gray slate exploded,
His body’s strength so large it took away
Delusions of her safety, hammering
The cottage roof a half a dozen yards
Away from where she’d hid. She sent a bolt
Of energy out of her frightened spirit
Toward the massive dragon with his one good eye.
She felt another spurt of energy
Mesh with the bolt she’d sent, the two bolts strong
Enough to knock the dragon off the roof.
The dragon roared, crescendoing his voice
Into the muttered roars that punctuated
The battles flaming just above the rooftops.
She did not think, but notched a burning arrow,
Then sent it at a violet dragon’s scales.
Knocked to the ground, Sshruunak could feel the horde
Of dragons in the air, their eyes and necks
Strained at the melee in the war’s first skirmish.
He wondered at the feelings forcing him
To understand that all his plans were dashed,
And, like the night he’d lost his eye, his life
Was spinning to a grim reality
He’d not seen in the shining of his dreams.
He pounded wings into the sky and searched
For dragons flying to the humans’ rescue.
A single light burned in the front of scores
Of dragons humming ancient warrior songs.
The rainbow of the light was much too bright
To countenance. Behind its fire the skies
Above the mountains roiled with spirit beasts
And chaos borne upon the winds he’d made
To start the glory of his dragon human war.
He saw his followers were scorched by flames.
The burning underneath his scales seared pain
Into his mind’s slow, sluggish desperation.
What should he do? he thought. What could he do?
He could not, would not lose the war he’d made.
A shock made Wei forget to keep her wings
In motion as she navigated currents
Above, below her shining dragon body.
Ruanne’s thoughts rang in Wei and made the world
Seem brighter than the possibilities that trembled
As dragons filled the skies with who they were.
The great black dragon fell and then was up
And raging at his puny human foes.
His followers were shaken by the fires
That gouged into their scales and weakened them.
Wei sent her dragon human powers deep
Into the stream of power emanating
From where Ruanne sat dazed upon a roof
As roaring captured all the world in pain.
Behind her in the wild miasma’s storm
The universe seemed like a madhouse thrown
Into a time where time did not exist.
Sshruunak’s attacking dragons felt the song
That Mmirrimann, Ssruaanne, the others sang.
Wei flew beside her dragon kin and felt
Her mother’s spelling at the boundary
Where all eternity and history
Spun on the cusp of change so powerful
No being would be like they were before.
To listen to this passage, click on The Dire Wolves
Note: This is the forty third passage 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 The Deadly Dragon Hordeto read the passage before this one. To read the next passage of the epic, click on Confrontation.
5 responses to “43. The Dire Wolves”
Thomas, I enjoy all the perspectives from which we see the war, the dire wolves with no remorse (powerful image of the animal world) and the miasma, the dragons and humans, but especially with Wei and the complexity of what she is and with her connection to Ruanne. I find this description of war very insightful: The universe seemed like a madhouse thrown/ Into a time where time did not exist. This seems so true to me. Though I have not been through a war, I have seen some devastating examples of destruction and the feeling is surreal. Enjoy this very much. A great end to my week.
Thomas, I’m sorry to be so far behind with commenting on your blog – and your dragon epic. Just want you to know I’m still enjoying this series and always eager to see what happens next.
Hope you’re feeling as well as possible right now!
I’m sick of being sick, Betty, but will hopefully get better one of these days. Thanks for the comment, Tom.
You balance so well here two mighty themes: the madness that is war and the intimate unity of all beings and creation.
I’m way behind reading your blog and this – my favorite epic, Thomas. And wow, what a suspenseful return it is! I’m at last taking some time to catch up on everything I’ve missed here, so will read all the dragon epic sequences first. I’m so sorry you’re still ill (and so understand being sick of being sick) … continuing to send positive thoughts, love, hugs and prayers your way, my friend. Love and hugs to Ethel also. ~ Julie xox