Tag Archives: dragon

Sun, Clouds, Goose, and Reeds

a children’s poem by Thomas Davis

A dragon ate away the night!
Clouds, white from fear, fled through the sky.
A morning trumpet stormed to flight
As reeds lay silent, hushed and shy.

The sun burned red into sky-blue.
Great ships sailed white from burning sun.
A lonely goose with honking flew
Up from hushed pickets, slim and glum.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

30. Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

The great black dragon banked and hurtled down
Toward the ring of valley stones, his silence
So disciplined and fierce it seemed a fire
Inside his belly ready to be flamed.
Behind his plummeting Ssshraann and eight
Great dragons followed, silent, disciplined,
Intent on coming on their enemy
So unexpectedly that he would have no time
To organize an orderly defense.
A hundred feet above the stone, Sshruunak
Swerved hard, his flame scorched black into the circle
Inside the cold, black stones, and soared back up
Into the air, each dragon following,
Emitting flame at different spots pre-planned
Before the drill had started in the dark.
Around the stones the earth was bare and soft
In spite of ten foot snows inside the valley.

Sshruunak veered from the circle to a pattern
Where claws extended to the ground and flame
Burst down into the hordes of made-up men,
Death chortling inside his hearts as chaos
Defeated enemies as old as dragonkind.
Behind him every dragon took a pattern
That spiraled from the center out to points
Designed the make the enemy despair.
Sshruunak then trumpeted retreat and flew
Toward the rendezvous inside a hollow
Below a great, snow covered mountain peak.

Inside the hollow in a wind that howled,
He grinned to see each dragon land exactly
As he had ordered them to land, their eyes
Awhirl with colors fiery with delight.
The dragons planned. Their days of passiveness
Inside the mountain caves were nearly done.
The joy of rage and battle lust was burning
In dragon hearts and dragon strength again.

The eight great males around him waited, eyes
Locked on his eyes, their frenzy disciplined
By how he’d forged their senses to his will.

“We’re ready,” he announced, his triumph edged
Into his voice. “We’ll wait until the moon
Is new and blacker than my scales, then strike
The village near to where we’ve cowered all
The years since Mmirrimann invoked his peace.
We’ll see how strong our tactics are before
We use our skills and strength to decimate
The King of Tryon’s vaunted capital.”
He paused. “We’ll win this war and start to end
The human’s dominance,” he said. “But when
We burn the village to the ground, we need
To see that every human in the village dies.
We need to test what we have learned, but if
A single human gets away, they’ll flee
And warn the armies that the peace is done.
We won’t possess surprise, a weapon needed
With only nine to score a victory.
Ssruaane and Mmirrimann still lead the dragons.
To win the war we need the ones that hide
And live their lives in peace inside the caves.
To bring them to the war we have to kill
Each woman, child, and man inside the village
Or else face armies greater than our numbers
Can beat inside Tyron’s stone city gates.”

Stoormachen smiled and shook his head. “I am
A dragon male,” he said. “I won’t hold back
From tasting human blood and crunching bones.”

“We’ll hide until the night of darkness comes,”
Ssshraann said. “Then we’ll meet inside the circle,
As you have said and start another war.”

“We’ll end the human dominance and breed
Like dragons ought to breed in open air,”
Sshruunak said. “We will make an age that dragons
Will celebrate as long as dragons live!”

Stoormachen roared as nine great dragons let
Their voices smash into the mountainsides
And loose great tides of snow in avalanches
That roared back at their thunderous roars.

“To victory!” Sshruunak screeched. Then he flapped
His wings and shot into the air and flew
Toward the valley of the scorched black stones.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

Note: This is the thirtieth section of a long narrative poem, which has grown into The Dragon 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 Dragonflies, Dragons, and Her Mother’s Death to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Another Dragon Scale to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next poem in the epic, click on Doubt


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

10. Not Just a Little Girl Alone

by Thomas Davis


The morning light spilled on the floor and woke
Wei from a dreamless sleep. She yawned and stretched,
Got up into the cold of early morning.
She built a fire to take the chill away,
Then fried potatoes on the stove before
She shrugged into her heavy coat and stood
Before the door, her heart-beat loud, her hands
So still they felt as if they’d never move.
She felt her mother’s hands move through the air.
She let her hands move like her mother’s hands.
Light jumped into the early morning light.
Outside a hissing sound steamed through the air.
Wei stopped the motions, pushed against the door.

A wall of snow confronted her beyond
The space her light had made around the door.
She started weaving hands again, the light
Streamed from her fingers in the frigid cold.
Snow turned to steam, a whiteness hissing up
Into the morning’s crystal clear blue sky.
She walked toward the wood pile, open ground
Materializing as she slowly walked.
She felt triumphant, filled with victory.
The storm was gone, and she could make a path
Through seven feet of hard packed, drifted snow.
She’d make it through the winter storms and cold.
She was not just a little girl alone.


The Old One, tired from lack of sleep, went out
Onto the ledge outside her cave and launched,
her wings alive to currents in the air,
Her eyes so deep with seeing that the universe
Throbbed, blazing morning light, around her head.

She flew above the cabin where the girl
Was steaming snow into the morning skies.
The sight of magic shining in the sun
Unsettled her; the girl unsettled her.

A moment later, higher in the sky,
She saw two hunters, with their snowshoes sunk
Into the sweeping plains of drifted snow,
Strain up the mountainside, the snow too deep
To let them make the three day trek to where
The human girl was gathering her wood.
They’d be at least a week at struggling
Up slopes that steepened rising into mountains.

What should she do? She asked herself, disquiet
a power in the steady beat of wings.
What madness had the girl brought to the world?

She swooped toward the hunters, forcing them
To see her hurtling from the shining skies.
The hunters stopped and looked at her, dismay
And fright stunned through the way they stood and looked.
The one she’d singed raised up his arm and fist.
She tipped her wings and soared toward the mountains.

She flew above the cottage where the girl
Was loaded down with heavy chunks of wood.
She swooped so low she had to swerve to miss
The cottage roof, her whirling, golden eyes
Locked deep into the girl’s small human eyes.

Wei did not flinch or turn her head away,
But looked into the Old One’s eyes, a question
Unsaid inside her look. Ssruanne soared high
Toward the mountain peaks again, toward
The places where the wind blew unabating
In fierce intensity and moaning rage.


Wei felt the dragon’s wings before she saw
The eyes that coldly bored into her mind.
She felt intelligence inside the glare
And felt the dragon searching deep inside
Wei’s heart. She stood and watched the golden dragon
Fly up toward the mountains high above
The peaks that towered over where Wei lived.
She fought to memorize the dragon’s shape
And how it felt inside its golden eyes.


Inside the moaning winds the Old One sent her thoughts
Toward the human girl. Run child, she thought.
The hunter has his cunning and his bow.
The dragons have no love for human kind.
Child, run and hide, she thought. From all of us.

Audio: Not Just a Little Girl Alone

Note: This is the tenth 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. Click on 9 to read the ninth section of the poem. Click on 11 to go forward one section.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

8. Shock and the Weirding of Boundaries

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.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

3. The Coming of the Weirding Times

by Thomas Davis

Ruarther stopped upon a ridge, the sound
Of dragon wings behind him rising up
Into the sky, his breath so short from running
He had to kneel and gasp, too trembling
To see the golden dragon fly away.
He’d been afraid, he thought. His mouth was dry
And stomach clenched against the memory.

He failed to force himself to move for minutes
That crawled like hours as he tried to see
Why he had turned and run when flame had sprouted
Out of the female dragon’s gut into the tree.
He’d always thought that he was strong enough
To face a dragon, look it in its eyes,
And force the beast to fear his human strength.

At last he got up off his knees and looked
At skies and snow clouds massing in the mountains.
He’d been away for weeks, the game so scarce
He hadn’t even used his bow, not once.
The village needed meat. Winds gathered
And soon they’d cover mountains deep in snow,
And then the herds of deer would head downhill
And hunting would become a test of stamina
So difficult that only full-grown men
Could hope to bring home meat enough to feed
The children, women, and the older men.

The dire wolves, black with yellow, shining eyes
Would find the village too, their hunger bright
Inside their growls and nightly moonlit howls.
The harshness of the winter world would batter
The villagers and make them long for spring.

Ruarther stopped his musing, turned toward
The village, started running with a long, sure stride.
Ruanne, the girl who thought he was a fool,
Would laugh to hear he’d run from dragon fire,
Confirming what she thought of him already.
He wondered at the dragon’s curious words,
The plea to save the witching girl, the meaning
Of dragons taking interest in a human’s life.
He couldn’t let Ruanne hear of his fear,
He thought. Her yellow hair and dark green eyes
Ran with him as he jogged past tree trunks massive
Inside the forest’s twilit canopy.

As night grew out of shadows on the ground,
He stopped and built a fire. The winter cold
Walked like a forest beast whose hunger burned.
He took his blankets from his leather bag,
Edged close to where the flames danced merrily
And closed his eyes, sleep letting him forget
The dragon, witch’s girl, his fear, his dread.

Before the sun had risen over mountains
He woke. He smelled a bear. He grabbed his bow.
The world was silent. No bird song, no breeze. . .
And then he saw the bear so huge it seemed
As if it was the spawn of dragons, brown
And shaggy in the darkness, dangerous,
Eyes glowing in the moon’s dim silver light.
Its eyes looked straight into Ruarther’s eyes.
A weirding chill iced deep inside his head.

The great bear stood on hind legs eight feet tall.
It made no sound, but stared and stared at him.

And then, inside his head, a rumbling voice
Said, “Humans should beware of dragon’s minds.”
He touched his ears; he had not heard a sound,
And bears did not have speech like dragons did.

He looked around. Light crept through trees.
He thought he heard the warning of a growl,
But when he looked back at the bear, the bear
Was gone, and birds were singing to the sun.
He sensed the snow clouds not yet in the sky.

The witch’s child! He thought. The dragon, then
The bear! Strange happenings that had a pattern
As if Old Broar had cast his bones and seen
The future through his cloudy, pale blue eyes.
It had to be the witch’s child aligning
The universe against the village peace.

A smallish doe walked through the trunks of trees
Not fifteen yards away. Without a thought
He notched an arrow, let it fly at her.
She startled, leaped, crashed dead into the ground.
He’d hunted for a week, and now he’d found
His prey and felled it with a single pull.
Rejoicing started flooding through his thoughts. . .
But then, he thought he smelled the bear’s rank smell,
Felt fierceness in the coming winter storm.

He’d have to warn the villagers, he thought:
Old Broar, Ruanne, the village leader Reestor. . .
He’d have to run through several long, hard days.
Strange times were on them, weirding times.

Note: This is the third section of a long poem I am skeptical about publishing in wordpress format. 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, 4.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

2. The Old One

by Thomas Davis

The old one, fierce inside her double hearts,
Kept flying high above the human child
As snow whipped down from caves and jagged peaks
Into the plateau where the cottage stood.

She’d sensed the mother’s death and saw the girl
Construct a grave of heavy, rounded stones
And watched her as she harvested the garden,
Trapped rabbits, drying pelts outside the shed,
And fished in waters tumbling down the mountainsides.

At night, inside her cave where hot springs bubbled
From rocky walls, the old one’s dreams were filled
With how the human child looked as she faced
Her lonely life with only dragons flying
Above her to and from the caves set deep
In slopes so steep the mountain goats avoided them.
The dreams were like a fever, always there—
The human child so slight compared to dragons,
But real beyond what any child could be,
Her face emaciated, body starved.

Each day she flew above the cottage roof
She saw the child had made a fire and managed
To get herself through yet another night
As cold raged like a dragon spewing fire.

The humans in the valley far below
The girl stayed in their village, hunting deer
And other game, including goats the dragons
Depended on when winter frosted dragon hides.
The old one kept imagining they’d leave
Their cottages and climb the mountainside
To fetch the girl into their small white houses,
But days passed, weeks passed, a month, and then more weeks
And no one seemed to think about the girl.

At last, her dreams more powerful than ever,
The old one swooped down on a hunter far
From where the village was, her mind on fire.
The man was bigger than most humans were.
He had an arrow notched and stared at her
As wings threw shadows on the snowy ground.

“I know enough to shoot into your eyes!”
He screamed while standing tense before her scales.

She snorted smoke and dug into her memory
For human words she’d learned to use against
A foolish knight who’d sought to find her lair
In days when gold and jewels made her feel
The blazing glory of her dragoness.
Her honeyed words back then had brought him close.
He’d felt the deadly heat of dragon flame.

“The plateau woman’s dead,” she said, her voice
As guttural as water rumbling down a cliff.
“Her child’s alone and needs your human help.”

The hunter’s eyes glared fear and hate at her.
He looked as if he didn’t know if he should flee
Or stay and fight a battle to the death.

“A child?” he asked, voice hard, fear in his breath.
He seemed to search his memory to see
If he could understand what made a dragon
Concerned about a girl, a human child.

“The child above your village in the cottage,”
The old one said. “The little, lonely girl.
She needs your help to get her through the winter.”

“A little girl?” the hunter asked. His eyes grew large
As understanding dawned. “You mean the witches’ child?
The one who lives below the dragon caves?”

The old one’s fires stirred deep inside her throat.
She rumbled even though she tried to still
Her double hearts to keep the hunter calm.

“What foolishness,” she said. “A witches’ child.
What does that mean? A human is a human.
She is a girl, a human girl, and humans
Should have enough humanity to care
About their children when they face starvation.”

The hunter, frightened, drew his bowstring back
And shot an arrow at her shining eyes.
She turned her head and let the arrow bounce.
She roared her rage and sent a spume of flame
Toward the foolish man and set his beard
To smoking as the tree behind him whooshed
Into a puff of angry, flaring flame.
The hunter turned and ran as if he’d seen
The end of time confront him in the woods.
The old one sat and looked at emptiness.

What was a human child to her? she asked.
She’d lived through generations of the villagers.
What was a human child to her? She spread
Her wings and lifted heavily to sky.
She flew above the cabin, saw the little girl,
An axe blade swinging at a chunk of wood.

You humans are a clutch of stupid fools,
The old one thought. She flew up to her cave
And hoped she’d sleep without her troubling dreams.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on The Old One.

Note: This is the second section of a long poem that I am skeptical about publishing in wordpress format. The first section was published in this format earlier as “Dragonflies, Dragons, and Her Mother’s Death.” 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 number to go to an earlier or later section: 1, 3.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

Dragon, a drawing by William Bingen

This should have gone with the sestina, “Dragon Mages,” which is an earlier post. William is our grandson, and both Nana and Grandpa love this! Dragons yes!


Filed under Art