Tag Archives: dragon epic

23. Creating a Dragon Out of Air

Wei waved her arms and saw the dragon grow,
The bones and flesh beneath scales pulsing life.
The image seemed to meld her blood with blood
Alive and moving through the morning’s sun.
Inside her mind she started singing, trying
To bring from light a life that flowed from hands
That conjured particles of light and made
them dragon flesh. Her voice, reverberating
With power larger than a little girl,
Rang out into the mountains, fields of snow.

She felt the dragon twist in front of her,
Saw dragon eyes look down into her eyes,
And felt the power in the spells she cast,
Her spirit singing hymns of earth-born bliss.
She’d never dreamed that she could see a dragon,
Feel deep into its spirit and its bones,
And conjure life from sunlight, empty air.
She felt as large as jagged mountain peaks
That rose majestically above the world.
Her voice rose deep into a dragon’s roar.
She breathed her life into the dragon’s life.
She reached for chaos where her mother’s hands
Were weaving magic through her hands,

But then she felt the dragon’s tail begin
To flicker as the whole she tried to hold
Inside her mind began to dissipate.
She quickly moved her hands, solidified
The tail, but as the image firmed, the life
Inside her voice began to skitter, fragment
Into a dance of light above the snow.
She reached out to her mother, tried to find
Her essence in the chaos of the light.
An overwhelming sense of emptiness
Engulfed her, causing her to feel how young
She was, how vulnerable, how lost.
The dragon, formed of light, collapsed as flesh
Became the molecules of nothingness.
The winter day was bright with morning sun.

She tried to find her mother in the maelstrom
Where death whirled clouds of souls into a dance
That had no individual substance, life.
She felt like wailing like a little girl
Whose mother slept inside her restless grave.
She held back sobs, got on her feet, and stumbled
Into the cottage to her mother’s bed.
Ssruanne, she told herself. Ssruanne still lives.

She tried to see her mother by the bed,
Her form half in the room, a wavering
Between the universe of death and life.
She waved her arms and tried to cast a spell
That penetrated boundaries and let
Her see her mother and her father’s forms,
But nothing happened. All her power wisped
Into the air and only let her touch
Her mother’s bed, an aching emptiness.

She felt the dragon’s scale upon her arm
Pulse hot with beating from a dragons’ heart.
She stared at where it glowed with dragon life,
A life inside of her that was not her.
Ssruanne, she thought. Ssruanne still lives.

The revelation seeped into her like
The rising of the pool where dragonflies
Assembled in the early days of summer.
The dragon scale was part of her, her flesh.
She’d conjured it without Ssruanne in front
Of her to make her feel how it should be.

She reached out to her mother once again.
She felt the knot of humans waving arms
Inside a wind that was no wind or substance.
She felt despair inside the knot, the sense
The gate they’d made had transferred dragon flesh
Into the world and now was closed for good,
Their power faltering inside the chaos.
Wei sent her mind into the place her mother
Had made outside her deathbed’s bleak despair.
The essence of her mother sensed her presence,
Surrounded her with deathless weaves of love.

Stunned, Wei sat on the floor and stared at where
The dragon scale, embedded in her arm,
Throbbed from the beating of a dragon’s hearts.
She was alone, she thought: No human friends,
No dragon friends, no family, alone.
The winter cold burned harshness through the world.
She wondered if she’d be alive come spring.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Creating a Dragon out of Air.

Note: This is the twenty third installment of a long narrative poem, which has grown into an epic. 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to 22 to go to the section previous to this one. Go to 24 to read the next section of the epic.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

20. Inside a Furnace

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

He felt as if he was inside a furnace,
The brick kiln burning with a glowing heat,
His skin so sensitive it seared with pain
As if he’d touched a fiery red-hot coal
And spread its agony across his face,
Hours blistering into eternity,[1]
The fire from dragon’s breath a shroud he wore
That made each wracking gasp for air his life.

Inside this pain he still got to his feet
And gathered wood and kept the fire alive
As night turned day turned night turned day again.
He would not die, he said inside his mind.
He could not think, but still, he told himself.
I will not die. I’ll live another day.

A dawn rose golden over mountain peaks.
Snow sheened sky gold across the wilderness.
Asleep at last, arms twitching uncontrollably
As nightmares danced with fire and pain,
Ruarther did not see the bear rise from
The ashes of the dwindling fire so huge
It seemed as if it was the spawn of dragons,
Its dark, brown fur tinged gold by morning light.
Its smell was strong enough to have a whiff
Of sulfur as it shimmered, then solidified
Above the man who whimpered in his sleep.

The great bear wove its arms above the man.
Ruarther woke, his blood shot eyes wide with his fear.
The bear stood silent, waiting, coiled intensity.
Ruarther tried to gather thoughts from pain,
The shroud of heat consuming who he was.

“I have to kill the witches’ child,” he croaked,
His throat so dry with heat it hurt to talk.

The bear’s eyes gleamed and glared at him.
“Blood is a juice of rarest quality,”[2] it said.

“You are a spirit bear,” Ruarther said.
“You have the strength to take this pain away.”

The bear just stared at him. Light streamed around
Its massive form and shimmered as the sun
Rose up above the mountain peaks and golden light
Blurred deep into the blue of winter sky.

“I’ll feed upon your pain,” the great bear said.
“I’ll feed upon the pain your hatred burns
Into the human and the dragon worlds.”

The fire behind it blazed a dance of flames.
The great bear turned and seemed to sway with winds
Not felt within Ruarther’s winter world.
It roared, the sound so loud if shook a crest
Of snow and sent it plummeting from off
The ridge above Ruarther’s camp, a cloud
That stung Ruarther’s skin and chilled the shroud
Wrapped round his burning flesh and mind.

Ruarther gasped. He could not breathe. The cold
Of nothingness pierced deep into his bones.
He felt as if he had no eyes or ears,
As if his human senses had dissolved
Into a void where men did not belong.
The bear was in the void, a monstrous shape
That had no form, but whirled into a wind
That was no wind, but ash that heaped its blackness
Into a glittering beside a fire
That wisped with smoke into the freezing skies.

Ruarther’s lungs gasped air. He shuddered, gulped
The bitter cold into his lungs as if
It was ambrosia, life, unexpected joy!
He was amazed to feel that he was still
Alive, a human not possessed by spirits
That roamed the earth in search of human souls.
He touched his arm. His flesh was hot.
He flinched to feel the pain his touch could cause.
His weariness ached deep inside his mind
And made each joint and bone seem brittle, sore,
But he felt cold. The shroud of fiery heat
Had dissipated when the bear turned back
Into the ash he’d risen from to life.

What now? He asked himself. He was alone.
The fields of snow were blinding bright with sun.
He had to have a fire to stay alive.
The huge, black dragon dove out of the dark
Toward the boulder that he hid behind.
He closed his eyes and felt the wind of wings
That lifted blackness through the moonlit skies.
He had to end the dragon threat of war.
Inside his universe of pain he’d kept that chant.
He glanced toward his bow and deadly arrows.

The bear had given back his life and will.
He’d kill the witches’ child. He’d kill the child.
He smiled. He’d rest; then, with the coming dawn,
He’d start the journey to the meadow where
A cottage sat below the caves of dragons.
He’d drive an arrow through the child’s black heart.

1 This passage was inspired by Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “The Future Punishment of the Wicked Unavoidable and Intolerable,” delivered in 1741.
2 From Scene IV of Faust by Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe.

To listen to this section click Inside the Furnace.

Note: This is the twentieth installment of a long narrative 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 below 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. Go to 19 to read the installment before this one. To read the next installment, click on 21.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

16. Separation in the Wilderness

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

His stupefaction, as he sat in snow
Beside the boulder as his pain seared skin,
Kept him from seeing Cragdon packing up
To struggle back the way they’d come across
The treachery of fields of blinding snow.

“I’m leaving now,” the young man said, his face
A mask of pain where dragon’s fire had burned
His arm and side. “I’m done. I’m going home.”

Ruarther, from his seat, looked up and stared
Into the young man’s bleary-looking eyes.

“You’ve lost your mind,” he said. “We’re injured bad.
Until we’ve got our hurts controlled, the village
Is just a dream you’ll never reach alive.”

The pre-dawn cold was hinting at the light
Now filtering along the eastern ridges.

“I knew I’d have to go alone,” the young man said.
“You’re crazy. Why I followed you out here
Is something that I’ll never understand.”

“The witch’s child has stirred the dragons up,”
Ruarther growled. “You’re suffering from burns
Inflicted by a dragon hurtling
From skies without a reason made by us.”

“Perhaps it read our minds and gave us warning
That murdering a child is not the way
To keep the human, dragon peace,” he said.
“I’ll send the hunters out with fresh supplies.
You’ll have to keep alive until you’re found.”

Ruarther looked inside the raging self
That seemed to boil with pain and anger branded
So deep it was the substance of his life.
He growled again, but did not say a word.

As Cragdon looked at him, the man he’d seen
As better than a man could ever be,
His hero since he’d been a child who’d hung
Upon the village’s stone wall to watch
For hunters coming from the woods, their game
On tripods made of fresh-cut branches roped
Around their hips, or slung on massive shoulders,
And wondered why he’d failed to see the truth.
The grim, dark man who leaned against the boulder
Was not a village man, but bound
To raving spirit beasts whose sentience
Danced chaos born from rage into the world.
He shook his head and looked toward the slopes
That angled down toward the only place
He really cared about inside the world.

“I’m going now,” he said. The snow shined brightly
As sunrise danced with sky fire as it crept
Across the treacherous, white miles of crust.
He wondered if he had the strength to make
It to his wife and child, the life he loved.
He briefly wondered where the dragon was.
It too was facing weeks of burning pain.
He shook his head, then moved out from the ridge.

Ruarther failed to hear, or see, when Cragdon
Began his journey home. He fought to block
His pain from consciousness and tried to focus
Upon the task of finding peace again
By murdering the witch’s child and letting dragons
Go back to living in their caves away
From hunters and their villages and homes.
He tried to see the child’s unnatural eyes
And wondered how a witch with minor skills
Could birth a witch so powerful her strings
Turned dragons into puppets of her will.

He felt the golden dragon’s whirling eyes
Confront him, heard the power in her voice,
But when he looked around to see her body,
The wilderness and sky were empty, vast
Beyond imagination, fevers wrapped
Around him like a fire inside his flesh.
He cupped snow in his hands and spread its cold
Upon his burns and coughed deep in his lungs.
He wondered if he’d be alive when dawn
Lit up the sky again and wheeled another day.

But then he knew: He’d kill the witch’s child.
He’d give Ruanne the peace his love deserved.
He’d let the dragons settle back into their lives.

He forced himself onto his feet and put
More wood to burn upon the dying fire.

Click to hear an audio of this section: Separation in the Wilderness

Note: This is the sixteenth installment of a long narrative 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 below 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. Go to 15 to read the installment before this one. Click on 17 to go to the next installment.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

15. Ending Dragon Community

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

Inside the conclave’s cavern elders sat
Upon the great, stone ledge, their eyes so bright
The darkness near them whorled with colored lights.
Ssruanne, her spirit broken by the chaos
Of dragons violating rules set down
To let community replace the greed
And singularity of dragonkind,
Joined song with Mmirimann as elders strove
To calm the storm as dragons fled from caves
Into the bitter cold of winter skies.

Wwilliama, feeling that her words had caused
The chaos when she’d let her fear of humans
Subdue her sentience, worked hard to meld
Her spirit’s song to all the others’ songs,
The elder’s unity the sanity
That could undo the madness firing hearts
With ancient hate and rage, the skies alive
With vengeance borne on frantic dragon wings.

At last they found Sshruunak’s black rage, the fear
Inside his hearts so dark it made him blind
To everything he’d learned of dragon lore.
They felt him hurtling toward two humans
Beside a fire that burned against the cold.
Ssruanne sent songs of peace and calm through skies
To where his fierce-some rage was uncontrolled.
The elder song inside the cavern rose
Into a symphony of power filled
With whirling eyes and hearts that tried to mend
The great black dragon’s rage and mindless fear.
The cavern echoed with the voices drawn
From dragon chests and massive vocal chords.

They felt the violation of the truce
Made with the human Clayton, King of Tryon.
They felt an arrow burn into Shruunak’s dark eye
And felt the burning agony of human skin
Seared by the fire of dragon breath and rage.
Their song intensified, past who they were.
Sshruunak turned, hurtled at the humans’ stone shield
Until the hunter jumped from hiding:
Another arrow, burning agony.
Flames wrapped the hunter in its searing shroud,
His pain, Sshruunak’s pain echoing a war
Into the cavern counterpoint to what
The elders had been sending out through skies.

The elders’ wings flared out and made a wind
Inside the cavern sweeping out through tunnels
Into the caves where dragons, not yet stained
By fear, confusion, rage, were pacing, troubled
By what had changed their lives so suddenly.
The males, spread out along the mountains’ slopes,
Sensed pain enveloping Sshruunak, felt wind
Inside the tunnels and the safe, dark caves.
Sshruunak fled humans and their deadly arrows;
The concave elders strove to turn to order,
To end the stirring of a world enraged.

“The peace is done,” said Mmirrimann. “The dragons
And humans know the taste of blood again.”

His words destroyed the elders’ song and plunged
The cavern deep in dark intense enough
To spread across the winter of the earth.

Ssruanne slumped on the eldest dais.
Inside the darkness of her spirit, small,
She felt the witch’s child and saw her hands
Create a golden dragon’s scale and burn
It into flesh, transforming human flesh.

Before the peace all dragonkind had faced
Eventual decline into extinction.
The young males thought that dragonkind could win
Against the tides of human machinations.
They knew their strength and did not understand
That war was more than strength or dragon will.
Shruunak had breached the truce, and now? She shuddered.

“What now?” she asked as Mmirimann stared blankly
At cavern darkness. “Wisdom still exists.”

“The witch’s child is dead,” the dragon mourned.
“I felt your vision, saw the withering
If rage was loosed into the world again.
Shruunak’s a hero now inside the caves.
He’ll want revenge against the girl, her death.”

Wwilliama said, “This will not be. I caused
This madness with a mindless stream of words.
The males will listen. If I see my madness,
They’ve got capacity to see their madness too.”

The geas came on Ssruanne and made her cry,
“The girl is still alive! She’ll stay alive!
I’ll use my dragon life to find the peace!”

Old Mmirrimann looked at his ancient lover,
Then slowly dragged himself into the dark.

Click to hear an audio of this section: Ending Dragon Community2

Note: This is the fifteenth 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 below 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. Go to 14 to read the section before this one. Go to 16 to read the next section.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

9. Ruarther’s Threat

by Thomas Davis

As Reestor glared at him, Ruarther felt
As if he’d turned to stone, his spirit hard
And eyes as cold as when the wall of ice
Had overtaken him inside the field.

“We’ve been at peace with dragons much too long
To start a war with them,” the old man said.
“You’re dreaming’s not enough to have them fly
Above us as their breaths chars all we love.”

“It was no dream,” Ruarther growled, his temper blazing.
“The dragon singed me with her stream of fire!
We have to kill the witches’ girl, or else
The world will change in ways that weird us all!”

Ruanne, disoriented, looked at her only love.
He’d kill the child? She’d dreamed of having children
Since childhood, playing with her handmade dolls.
What child had powers strong enough to cause
Grown men to quail before their unlived lives?
She tried to see inside Ruather’s rage
And understand what fear was driving him.
A hundred times she’d thought she’d earned his love,
But every time he’d danced away from her.

“Why do you meld the dragon with the child?”
A stubborn Reestor asked, eyes fixed on rage.
The man was weak yet, still affected by
The storm he’d barely made it through to home.

Around them half the village stood inside
The hall, the argument a bane when winter
Was harsh enough to threaten all of them
If they could not depend on long-term braids
To knit their wills together as they strove
To live until the distant, longed-for spring.

“The dragon spoke about the child,” Ruarther spat.
“Why wouldn’t they be linked? She spoke of her.
If not from spelling by the witch’s child,
Why would a dragon speak again to men?”

Old Molly grasped Ruanne’s slim hand and hissed.
“You’re young, young man,” she said. “Your blood runs hot
Or else you would have known what good is yours.
You’re foolish. In the past we fought the dragons,
And many died, but then the dragons seldom
Attacked unless they were alone, but now
They have communities just like this place.
If stirred, they’ll come together in a pack.”

Ruanne felt like she ought to scream the swirl
Of roiling feelings trapped inside her chest.

“The storm is done,” Ruarther said. “I’ll go.
It doesn’t matter what the village thinks.
I see the danger rising in a cloud,
and like I’ve brought back game when others failed,
I’ll save the village from temerity.
The weirding’s got to stop. The girl is dead.”

Ruanne heard children screeching in the snow.
The storm was over. Now they’d laugh and sing
As if the awful winds and cold had never been.
Inside her mind she felt the dragons flying
In multi-colored packs, an endless stream
Of fire and deadly claws out of their caves.

“I’m leader still. Not you, not yet. You won’t
Go up the mountain,” Reestor said. “We need
More meat. The hunters have to hunt for game.”

Ruarther glared at him. He glanced at Brand.
The hunter looked away as if he heard
His young ones as they worked to dig a path
Between the cottages through feet of snow.
At last Brand looked into Ruarther’s eyes.

“No hunter has your strength or skill,” he said.
“You need to throw your madness out and be
The leader that you’ve always been for us.”

“Nobody understands,” Ruarther said,
His bitterness a rancor in his voice.
“Nobody felt the heat of dragon flame.”
He turned and looked toward the hall’s great door.
He looked at Reestor. “I have always done
What’s good for all of us,” he said. “I’m certain
Deep down that what I’m doing’s for the best.”

Before the men around him moved, he strode
Toward the door, his face implacable.

Ruanne took flight outside her thoughts, her feelings
As raw as skin upon the head of children
Brought out into the light outside the womb.

“You’re wrong,” she heard herself say, voice as sharp
As sharpened knives. “You cannot kill the child!
To kill a child forever marks the soul
With blackness stained into an evil life.”

Ruarther stopped and looked into her panicked eyes.

“I’ll love you all my life,” he said, voice loud.

He turned, picked up his bow, plowed through the snow
Toward the stone wall built around the village.
Inside the hall a hunter, Cragdon, startled,
Then left the hall to join Ruarther’s rage.
His young wife grabbed at him, missed, wailed with fear.
The young man did not stop or even pause.

Audio of Ruarther’s Threat

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, 8 to read the installment before this one. Click on 10 to read the next section.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis, Uncategorized

4. Dreams of Fire

by Thomas Davis

Wei sat inside the cottage by the fire
And wove light strands into a radiant web
That glinted firelight back toward the flames.
The web threw light into the darkest corners
And made the cottage seem as if its warmth
Was filled with friendly spirits as the wind
Blew sleet and snow against the walls and roof
And seemed intent on battering its way
Into the small, safe place that Wei called home.

At last she let the strands of light go dark
And got up from the floor and walked to look
Outside into the storm’s cold, deadly fury.
She thought about her mother’s face before
Her sickness took away her strength and left
Her pale and weary in her single bed:
Her pale green eyes had always danced with light,
Her smile so bright it banished little hurts
That little girls could always seem to find;
In storms her eyes would grow intense, alive
To clouds that sailed with lightning, dragging fire
Beneath their rumbling through a winter’s skies.
Wei sighed and shivered. Frost had caked the window
And only left a small round hole to see
The wind ghosts walking just above dark ground,
Their fleeing emblematic of Wei’s life
Now that her mother was inside her grave.

Wei’s loneliness was sharp enough to burn
Into her flesh, her sadness like a mask.
She thought about the moment by the grave
When numbness made her silence all encompassing,
Her heartbeat stilled to nothingness.

She’d thought about the humans in the village,
Considered walking down the mountainside
And telling them she was a lonesome child
And not a fearsome witch birthed by a witch,
But then she’d felt the mountain stir its rock
And touch her spirit with a spirit old
As water splashing over mountain stones.
I won’t need them, she’d thought. They’d chase me off
And treat me like the deer their arrows kill.

But by the window, looking out at winter,
She felt herself begin to shake, not from the cold,
But from the loneliness she’d felt each day
Since she had been alone, her mother gone.
She thought about the dragons in their caves,
The way they lived their lives together, bound
By memories and happenings that flowed
Into their flights above the cottage, sang
Into their daily voices as they linked
The way each dragon was into community.

She dreamed while standing by the windowpane
About a golden dragon looking fiercely
Into her eyes and saying, “Yes, you’ll do.
The elders won’t object to how you’ve grown.”
And then she felt herself spread wings of light,
Made of the light she’d strung into a web
Beside the cottage fire, and lift into the air.
She saw the cottage below her as she flew
Toward the human village in a rage of joy.

The vision faded. She shivered, turned away
From wind that howled at wind ghosts in the storm,
And went back by the fire that needed wood
She’d split if death was not to be a guest
That visited with tendrils exquisite with frost.
She felt the dullness of her hunger burn
Beneath the burning of her loneliness.

“I’ll be a dragon.” In her voice she sounded sure.
She looked at arms too thin as food had dwindled
And rabbits had become aware that she
Was not as skilled at calling them to her
As when her mother did the winter calling.
She wondered if she’d ever feel alive
With happiness the way she’d felt before.
She settled by the fire and watched the flames.

Note: This is the fourth section of a long poem I have been skeptical about publishing in wordpress format, but have been encouraged to do so. The story was inspired by John Keats’ tale in his narrative poem, “Lamia,” although this poem uses blank verse rather than the rhyming couplets Keats used. Click on the numbers to read earlier sections: 1, 2, 3, 5.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis