by Thomas Davis
Ssruann’s long neck jerked up into the air
And twisted to the cave’s night opening.
Outside the storm still raged and howled with winds.
She was awake, prophetic dreams had fled.
The human girl was watching as her mother
Used unseen lines between the waking world
And universes where the shadows swarmed,
In patterns sibilant with singing winds
That dragons, humans, spirit bears, and others
Who walked could not access with eyes or dreams,
To guide her daughter’s hands into the ways
Of power she had never known while breathing.
The daughter’s hands spewed webs of light.
A dance of heat ran through the webs and burned
Through cold and snow as if they’d never been,
Exposing ground beneath the piles of snow.
The Old One’s golden eyes expanded, whirled
While power flowed into the human girl.
It was a dragon’s power, power drawn
From blood more ancient than the blood of dragons
That lived inside community inside
The caves dug deep into the mountain’s heart.
Ssruann’s two hearts were beating with a force
That seemed to echo through the caves and tunnels
Where dragons waited out the storm so they
Could climb on ledges, launch into the air
To hunt for mountain goats and sheep and deer
Now hunkered down, protected from the storm.
Where did the power now inside the girl
Orginate? What did it mean? What force
Had mother’s love sent from the songs of death
Unleashed into the world of dragons, humans,
The seasons marking, marching, passing time?
A long, low wail lunged from the unseen peaks
Above the cave and rolled with fearsome winds
So filled with shards of ice it seemed as if
The mountain’s face would sheer away and leave
A grinning skull of gaping mountain bone
Into the valley where the human girl
Turned back toward the fire that threw its warmth
Into the cottage’s deep darkness, air
Alive with possibilities not known before.
Appalled, her pounding blood a double beat
That sang the history the dragon race
Had lived inside the shining web of time,
The Old One stared into the stormy darkness.
The human girl was linked to her, she thought.
Linked somehow deep inside her dragon blood.
What sorcery is this? She thought. She’d known
The mother, but had never thought too much
About the woman living in the valley
Below the dragon’s mountains and its caves.
But now? Her blood was boiling contradictions,
A moving tapestry of fear, hope, rage, delight,
A stream that made her feel sick from the strength
That surged and ebbed inside her pounding blood.
There were no walls between the universes
That never touched except in tiny whorls
That knitted all that was together, bound
By actuality, the mind of God.
The weirding of the storm and darkness raged
Inside the webs of light the young girl wove.
Ssruann, the Old One, stared and stared at where
Her cave led out into the storm and dark,
Her long neck rigid with a dragon’s fear.
Audio version of the poem: Shock and the Weirding of Boundaries
Note: This is the eighth installment of a long poem. 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 to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. Click on 1 to go to the beginning and read forward, 7 to read the installment before this one. Click on 9 to read the next section.