Tag Archives: dragons

37. The Song of Becoming a Dragon

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.

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36. Mesmerized Cave Dragons

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

1

Ssruanne’s cry ripped through Mmirrimann and jerked
Him upright in his cave, his whirling eyes
So bright they made the morning light seem dim.
He moved toward his ledge and launched in flight
Like other dragons from their sheer cliff caves.
The sky was filled with dragons, colorful
And urgent as they flew toward Ssruanne.
As Mmirrimann flew violently toward
The cottage where the witch’s child was braving
The harshness of the winters’ cold and wind,
He saw an image of Sshruunak, black wings
A smudge above the icy mountain peaks,
Imagining his victory against
Ssruanne and Mmirrimann, his mind still not
Aware of all the forces lining up
Against the brightness of his shining dreams.

Then, heart beats wild, the ancient dragon felt
The place where grim shades gloamed inside the dusk.
He felt disintegrating history
As dragons failed into miasma’s cold.
He almost plummeted to earth to see
Ssruanne upon the ground beside a whirling,
Wild dance of colors where the human girl
Was changing from a human’s frail, small shape
Into a dragon’s powerful, full form.
The girl was melding spindly bones and flesh
Into hard scales that shined with rainbow light
That caught the morning sun and danced and whirled
With making so unnatural and weird
It made him want to flee to memories
Where life was how it ought to be and weirding
Was more a legend than reality.
He roared so loud he thought he’d strained his lungs,
But then he heard the other roars surrounding
The place of transformation, heard the fear
That raged into the morning’s clear, clean skies.
He spread his wings and landed as a hundred
Great dragons found a place to place their legs.

What madness had inhabited the world?
The dragons sat inside a massive circle
Around the human girl and felt her melding
As power danced out of her human heart
Into the thunder of a dragon’s hearts.
As time coagulated, formed, then flowed
Into the swirl of being, nothingness
Around the rainbow dragon, human girl,
Ssruanne began to hum deep in her chest,
Her song so deep it throbbed out of her bones.
Her song memed out into the other dragons,
Their voices oscillating through the snow,
The earth caught in the miracle arising
From where the nexus of the ether-world
Had linked into a weirding of reality.
The thrumming dragon song reverberated
Off mountain peaks and echoed through the caves
That sang the song into the valleys far
From where Ssruanne and Mmirrimann sat stunned
Upon the plateau climbing to the mountains.
What madness had inhabited the world?

Huge dragons, rainbow colored, like small hills,
Upon the whiteness of a winter’s snows,
Around a rainbow swirl of burning light
Shaped like a dragon never seen before
In all of space or time, hummed dragon songs
That seemed to fill the universe in time
And where the chaos of the swirling souls
Spun emptily past dragon memories.

2

What have I done? Ruarther thought. I am…

The golden dragon that had made him run
Away from her so long ago came down
And landed in the snow beside the child
Transforming from her small girl human shape
Into a swirl of light now dragon shaped,
And then another dragon landed, then
Another, then another, wings so loud
It made him deaf to any other sound.

The dragons closed around him, breaths so loud
It made him feel as if he’d chanced a storm
Too powerful to live through if he stayed
In place without a shelter from the winds,
But not one dragon even looked at him.
They landed, whirling eyes fixed on the light
That burned a rainbow dragon’s hearts alive
Into a life that could not really be.

Ruarther dropped his bow into the snow
And turned toward the forest evergreens
Around the cottage’s stone-earthen walls.
He moved around the dragons one by one.
They did not threaten him or even see
That he was like an ant inside their midst.

He felt the emptiness inside of him,
The absence of the spirit bear who’d lived
Inside his body longer than he’d dreamed.
He thought about Ruanne, her dark disgust
At how a man she loved could dream of killing
A child he’d never known or even met.
How could he have become that evil man?
What madness had inhabited his world?

The dragons did not frighten him or make
Him feel the way he’d felt the night the great
Black dragon had attacked him by the ledge.
He felt confused, afraid of whom he’d been.

He stopped. He could not go back to the village.
He’d never wanted anything so bad.
He wanted to forget the witch’s child
Burned like a brand inside his tortured spirit
And go back to the days when he had been
A hunter bringing game to feed the people
Depending on the skills he’d honed from childhood.

What had he done to him? he asked himself.

Inside the trees he still maneuvered slowly
Around the dragons mesmerized in snow.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Mesmerized Cave Dragons.

Note: This is the thirty-sixth 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 Determination, Doubt, and Dreams of Victory to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next passage, click on The Song of Becoming a Dragon.

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

34. Metamorphosis

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

As Wei woke up, she felt as if the fire
Inside the fireplace had gone out and left
The cottage icy from an outside wind,
But then she saw her mother glittering
Beside her death bed, coldness pouring blue
From where her mother sat so still it seemed
As if she was more than a radiant ghost.
Mysteriously, a fire was burning bright
Inside the fireplace even though hot coals
Were all that should have lasted through the night.

Wei sat up slowly, staring at her mother,
Fear cold inside her stomach as she felt
The fateful meaning of her mother’s form
So bright beside her bed, the whirling chaos
Emerging from another universe
An unseen cloud that filled the cold, bare room.
The minute Wei sat up her mother rose
And floated swiftly to the cottage door.
Wei pulled her boots on as her mother waited,
Then shrugged into her winter coat and rushed
To follow as her mother disappeared.

She felt a patterning of power spark
Into the rhythm of her heartbeats, speeding
Her sense of time into a blur of light
That danced as stars that swirled before her eyes.
She opened up the door and went outside.
The morning sky was blue and bright, the snow
Reflecting light in waves of dancing air.
Her mother moved toward the springtime pond
Now sheathed with snow encrusted on its ice.
Wei hurried as the sparks of power surged
And made her feel as if she’d gained a life
Beyond the life she’d always lived, a song
That melded with the music of the stars.

Beside the pond her mother stopped and turned,
As sightless as a bat bathed blind with light,
And waited for her daughter as Wei crunched
Across the crusted snow, her heartbeats singing
Alive the winter world and morning light.
As soon as Wei was close her mother raised
Her shining arms and made a sure, swift motion.
Wei stopped and mimicked how her mother moved.
The light around her seemed to coalesce
Into a wave of fiery lines that burned
Their substance deep into the morning air.
Her mother turned toward the spot the sun
Rose up above the mountains, starting day.
The dragon scales on Wei’s arm throbbed with heat.

She turned just as her mother turned and saw
The golden dragon rising from her cave.
A man was standing in the line of sight
Dictated by the dragon’s rising flight.
He had a bow inside his hands and stared at her
So evilly it almost made her flinch,
But then her mother made another motion,
Her arms a liquid movement streaming fire
Out of her substance bright into the day.
Wei waved her arms and saw the dragon etched
With rainbow colors in the waves she made.

She did not look toward her mother’s light,
But waved her skinny arms again, as sure
Of how the spell should be as if she’d labored
For years to master every nuance sung
Into the power of the art she made.
Her mother’s form began to dissipate
And flow into the dragon’s rainbow light.
Wei held her breath and felt a forceful surge
Of energy suck all the air out of her lungs.
Her mother’s disappearance made her feel
A mourning just as sharp as what she’d felt
The day she’d moved her mother’s body out
Into the grave she’d dug beside the pond.
She mumbled incantations made of sounds,
Not words and sang her breath into the dragon
That seemed to flow around her human form.

Another dragon, then another dragon,
Then scores of dragons left their mountain caves
And tracked Ssruanne into the morning skies.
The sky filled up with dragons boiling bright
With colors from the mountain’s rocky cliffs.
The hunter with his bow seemed stunned to see
The dragons and the witch’s child together
In air that seemed alive with turbulence.
He had an arrow notched, but could not seem
To force his arms to pull the bow’s taut string.

Wei smiled and brought his frightened face
Close to her face, her body still as stone,
And then she moved her arms again and felt
The rainbow dragon’s hearts begin to merge
Into the beating of her single heart,
The drumming loud and painful, all the earth
And snow and sun and sky a unity
That knew no start or end, but spiraled out
Into the substance of the coming being
That was the spirit of the time that was.

She was the rainbow dragon, double hearts
The song of who she was, the witch’s child,
Transformed from human flesh to dragon flesh.
The pain she felt as bones began to grow
And shape themselves into a dragon’s bones
Wracked through her body, made the stars that danced
In front of her a fire that belched from air
Into her skin and blazing dragon scales.
She whimpered as the pain grew more intense,
So hot it seemed to wipe away the day
And who she was, a little human girl.

Ssruanne, above Wei’s head, her wings a storm
Creating funnel winds of shining white,
Turned round and round as other dragons came
And grew so numerous the morning light
Dimmed from the thickness of their roaring wings.
The sky had metamorphosed wild with wings
And dragon bodies as a hurricane
Of dragon generated winds whipped harsh
Across the snow-bound landscape dark with storm.

Stunned, terrified, Ruarther held his bow
And tried to understand the weirding loose
Inside the world, its singing powerful
Enough to make him feel invisible.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Metamorposis

Note: This is the thirty-fourth 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 Vertigo and the Moment of Sudden Truth to go to the section previous to this one. To go to the next section of the epic, click on Determination, Doubt, and Dreams of Victory.

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

32. Mmirrimann Inside the Conclave He Called

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

1.

The weirding shocked Ssruanne awake and stirred
Inside of her a fear that made her hearts
A double drum vibrating in her bones.
Beside her Mmirrimann was sleeping like
A dragon slept, not like a dragon caught
Inside miasma’s cold, chaotic winds.
He twitched to feel her movement, stirred,
But stayed asleep, his eyelids fluttering.
She softly moved away from him and stood
Upon the ledge outside his cave, her eyes
As restless as the beating of her hearts.

She spread her wings and launched into the air.
Disturbances seemed everywhere, the signs
Of abnormality small waves in drafts
Beneath the surface of her golden wings.
She looked toward Wei’s cottage, felt the wilding
That seemed frustrated as the human girl
Attempted magic far beyond her skill;
Then turned her neck toward a copse of pine
That seemed to swirl with chaos not unlike
The chaos Mmirrimann had fled to find
His life again inside the dragon caves.

The swirling seemed to buffet her with winds
That were no winds, repelling her to heights
She hardly ever tried to reach in flight.
Behind her, deep inside the mountains, stones
Scorched black from dragon fire grew tangible
Inside her mind, their silence testament
To how the dragon race would face extinction.
She shuddered at the death they emanated
Into the cold, high beauty of their valley.
Downhill she felt the fear inside the humans
That huddled in their village cottages,
But also felt the strength infused in bows
They’d use to face unwanted dragon threat.

They would not face Sshruunak oblivious
And unprepared, she thought. His plans had gone
Awry without his knowing once again.

The clarion call from Mmirrimann inside
The caves stirred deep in dragon blood and tipped
Her wings so powerfully she almost plunged
Toward the fields of snow beneath her flight.
Her neck whipped round toward the ancient call
And wheeled her in the air toward the caves.
She shuddered at the implications buried
Inside the call, the threat of dragon war
Where dragon’s faced each other in the skies
And tried to force their will through claws and fire
Into the hearts of spirit, sentience.

How had their peace devolved to this? She thought.

2.

They all were there: The nine huge elders sat
Upon the round, black dais, their eyes a-swirl
With patterns troubling to look at, each
One grim with seeing Mmirrimann perched high
Above them on the dais where, during peace,
Ssruanne, the oldest one alive, presided
While conclaves delved into the wisdom born
Of dragon dreams and dragon sentience.
Before the nine of them the dragon race
Was gathered, restless, angry, filled with fear
Born from a dread that overwhelmed the hall.

Ssruanne walked in the massive cavern
And took her place below her lover’s mass.
He’d shed the weariness he’d felt before
And looked as if he’d never faced a time
He doubted his own strength and dominance.

“The younger males are stirring dragon blood,”
He said, “and taking on another war
That adds another chapter in the long,
Long history of battling the human race.

“I’ve journeyed deep into our memories
And tried to see if they could find a way
To victory that would not threaten all
The strength of dragonkind with racial death,”
He said. “But in the chaos where the dead
Are gathered in a storm of chaos empty
Of who we are upon this splendid earth,
I saw despair without a shred of hope
If dragon/human war erupts again.
I’ve called the call against our senseless sons
Not out of love for humans, but for our eggs
Still incubating in the birth cave’s warmth.
“If any can convince Sshruunak that he
Must not continue in his path, I ask
You for your words and passion. Otherwise
I’ve seen no way that dragons will survive.
The puny humans are like swarms of wasps
That sting and sting no matter how we sear
Their lives with dragon strength and claws and fire.
I’ve warred upon them time and time again,
But dragons dwindle every time we choose
To face our foe with war instead of peace.

“We must choose peace to build our population’s strength.
That’s what I found inside miasma’s chaos.
I saw no other way to keep our eggs alive.”

The nine great elders stared into the mass
Of dragon eyes that whirled perplexity.
As Mmirrimann kept staring at the eyes
That stared at him, a clutch of males positioned
Toward the passages into the cavern,
As silently as possible, began
To turn and leave the hall to join Sshruunak.
Williama sighed so loud she forced Ssruanne
To turn her head to look at her dismay.
At least another dozen males had left.

At last, his voice so sad it seemed to flood
Miasma from the chaos through the hall,
His whirling eyes uncertain, Mmirrimann
Rose to his hind legs, larger than Sshruunak
Or any other male alive, and roared,

“We cannot fail. We must succeed. To war!
To war against our brothers and our sons
And all their unwise dance with dragon deaths!”

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Mmirrimann Inside the Conclave He Called

Note: This is the thirty-second 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 Doubt to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next section of the poem, go to Vertigo and the Moment of Sudden Truth.

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31. Doubt

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

Ruarther struggled to his feet confused, his head
A swirling pit of vertigo that made
Him feel as if he’d left the world and found
A state of being where the dead and living
Danced crazily between reality
And purgatory’s gray, miasmic void.
The sun was going down, and as he thought
About the spirit bear and how its strength
Had battered him, attempting to possess
The self he knew was who he’d always been,
He also knew the night would rage with cold
And threaten him with all the swirling mass
That made it difficult for him to stand.
He had to find a sheltered place to build
A fire or else not see another dawn.

At last he stood, a tottering old man
Whose will to live was interlinked with rage
Against a child he’d never even seen.
The thought that he had never seen the child,
Who plagued him like a meme, caught in his head
And echoed from his thought into his breath.
Disquiet made the swirling chaos sing.
He felt his body weave as if a wave
Flowed underneath the snow, unsteadying
His capability to stand upright.
He had to move, he thought. Before he fell.

He took a step toward the mountains, paused,
Then forced another step, the day’s last light
So blinding that he turned his head away.
Out of the corner of his eye he glimpsed
A copse of pines dark in the sunset’s fire.
He changed direction, stumbled awkwardly
Across the hard-crust snow toward the pines.

And then he stopped. He felt the spirit bear
Inside the murkiness in front of him.
The bear was in the void, a monstrous shape
That had no form, but whirled into a wind
That was no wind, a shape that struggled through
A turbulence that formed a boundary
Against its will and need to be alive.
Ruarther braced himself to feel the strength
The bear could batter at his grasp of self.
The bear had healed his body. Now it stalked
Him as he tried to find a place to start a fire.
The turbulence grew larger as it swirled,
But then it disappeared as if its winds
Had flashed into the void, the bear’s dark home.
There was no sense the witch was near to where
Ruarther forced his legs to move again.
He concentrated on the copse of pines
And lost the sense of fear he’d felt for days.
He felt as if a weight had been removed.
He touched the bow inside its case and smiled.

He stopped again. Above the mountain peaks
A black dot flew toward him through the air.
He felt malevolence that emanated
From where the dragon flashed the sunset’s fire
Off coal black wings a score of miles away.
He did not want to be upon the plains
Defenseless as the dragon hunted prey.
He forced himself to run toward the copse.

The time was near, he told himself. He felt
The dragons practicing their ancient skills,
Anticipating how they, at long last,
Could end continuance of human life.
He had to kill the witches’ child, he thought.
He had to end the threat all humans faced.

At last the pines grew larger as he ran.
He gasped for breath and tried to keep the world
From reaching up and slamming him to ground.
The pine trees welcomed him into their dusk.
He found a sheltered spot beside a trunk
Long fallen to the ground and built a fire.
As fingers trembled just above the flame,
He wondered why he thought the child had sent
The dragon searching for him in the woods.
The dragon had not said the child had sent
Her with intent to frighten him with flame.
The witch was dead. That’s what the dragon said.
The child was young and needed human care.

Perhaps the child was dead, he thought. Perhaps…
But then he felt the child across the miles
Inside her cottage by a warming fire.
He tried to puzzle out the feeling that he had,
But all he knew was that the child still lived.

There was a link between the golden dragon
And witches’ child, he thought. The coal black dragon
Was deep in plans for devastating war.

He stared at how the fire he’d built woke up
The dark and made it dance with leaping shadows.
Doubts gnawed at him inside the shadow dance.
He looked up at the sky. The waning moon
Cast little light, intensified the cold.
He took his blankets from his deer hide pack
And put more wood upon the growing fire.

He’d make the peace, he told himself. I’ll kill
The witches’ child and end the dragon threat.
He wondered why the spirit bear was blocked
From coming to the earth and walking where
Its kind had always walked through haunted light.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Doubt.

Note: This is the thirty-first 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 Valley of the Scorched Black Stones to go to the section previous to this one.

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

29. Another Dragon Scale

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

Beside the pond’s white, frozen face, the sound
Of water from the stream beneath the ice
A muffled music in the morning air,
Wei waved her arms and conjured motes
Of fire congealing to a dragon’s shape.
She strained to make the dragon breathe with scales
As golden as Ssruaanne’s great shimmering.
She concentrated, gathering the whole
Of whom she was into the spell she wove.
The motes of light began to coalesce.
The dragon in the air took shape, its eyes
So bright they nearly seemed to be alive.
Wei felt the power in her young girl’s body
Sweep out of her into the dragon’s head,
Its nostrils flaring as she tried to find
A dragon’s breath in dragon lungs beneath
The light she wove into the winter air…

But then, just like the other times, the motes
Of light collapsed into a day’s blue skies.
She held the eyes a moment as they looked
At her, their golden green intelligence,
But even though she danced her hands and wove
Her body as she tried to find the power
That let the spell she’d made exist in time,
The dragon eyes scattered into nothingness.

The irritation that she felt was strong
Enough to make her want to cry, but deep
Inside she knew that if the tears began,
They’d wrack her body, bringing weariness
That would not let her try to form a dragon
From air again for days and maybe weeks.

She shook her head and felt the warmth the sun
Was pouring down onto the fields of snow.
A hint of spring was in the air, although
Real spring was still at least a month away.
Why did she feel as if she had to form
A dragon from the still-fresh memories
Ssruanne had left inside of who she was?
What kind of girl had she become? Her mother’s
Ethereal spirit once alive, now gone?
Her body thin enough so that it seemed
As if a puff of wind could scatter her
Just like the dragons that she tried to make
Evaporated into empty air?

She sighed and turned away from where the sun
Would shine upon the pond’s still face in spring
And walked to where the woodpile stood and took
Two chunks of wood into the cottage-warmth.
She put one piece upon the fire and watched
As flames licked up its sides through rising smoke.
Why had her mother’s ghost not come again?
She asked herself. Where had her mother gone?

She shook her head and picked the rabbit laying
Beside the sink up by its large hind legs.
The trap she’d made from fire had kept her fed
As winter kept its grip upon the land.
Strong spelling had its uses. That was sure.
She took a knife out of the drawer, started
The job of skinning rabbit fur and hide,
And thought about her coming birthday, how
It would not mean what once it would have meant.
She’d get no presents, eat no special meal.
She missed her mother, not the spectral form
That taught her spells out of her mother’s grave—
Her living mother quick to comfort her
And pick her up and make her feel love’s warmth.
She put the knife down, poured some water, washed
Her hands and quietly walked to her bed.
She’d never heard of anyone with power
Enough to make a dragon out of air,
But still, she felt as if she ought to breathe
And work her spells and feel a dragon’s life
Flow from her hands into a living dragon.

She sat down on the bed and looked at where
The dragon’s scale was burned into her arm.
A bunch of other kids would stare at her,
Then scream and run away to see the scale,
She thought. They’d know that she was strange.

She waved her arm above her head and felt
The scale grow warm. She moved both arms and felt
A spell grow in the air, its power stirring
Inside the cottage, stimulating life.
She started humming underneath her breath
And broke into a song that trilled and soared
And made her feel her power once again.
She was a girl, she thought. A girl. A girl.

A square beside the scale she wore began
To burn her flesh; she felt the fire inside
Her arm and felt a second scale begin
To grow beside the first, a dragon’s life
Inside her life, out of her life, a dragon…

She stopped and let her arms fall from the air
And let the silence come back to the room.
She held her arm up, stared at where two scales
Laid side by side, their gold burned in her arm.
She waved her arm and tried to feel if it
Was heavier than it had been before.
It felt as if it was her arm, but looked
As strange as any arm had ever looked.

What kind of girl had she become? she asked.
She felt the movements of the fate
That waited her and felt as strong and fierce
As any dragon born out of an egg.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Another Dragon Scale

Note: This is the twenty-ninth 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Unexpected Warning to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next section of the epic, click on Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

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28. Unexpected Warning

an epic poem, The Dragon Epic, by Thomas Davis

For four whole days Ruanne stayed in her cottage,
Her mind obsessed with understanding how
Ruarther had decided that he’d keep
His vile intent to kill Crayllon’s young child.
When Reestor knocked and called to her, she sat
Inside her rocking chair, her energy
So sapped she could not force herself to move.
When Old Broar came she listened to his voice
And told herself she ought to answer him,
But as she tried to force herself to move,
She lost her will and fled into a place
Where silence made her feel as if she was
A stone, a weight too ponderous to stir.

What’s wrong with me? she thought. How can I sit
When in the wilderness Ruarther stalks
The child, and dragons calculate how fire
Will rain upon the village that I love?
Why can’t I find some energy to act?
To try to talk to dragons, let them know
The humans want to keep the peace alive?

She got up from the chair, her restlessness
So powerful it seemed to make her move.
I need to sleep, she thought. Or maybe die.

The thought of suicide hit like a bolt
Of lightning coursing through her sluggish blood.
She’d been so positive, determined that she’d find
Ruarther, keep him safe, end threats from dragons,
And shield Crayllon’s child from Ruarther’s rage.
She sat down on the bed and longed to end
Insomnia and all the doubts that crowded
Into her head and took away her rationality.
She been awake for days, she thought. For days.

She laid down, closed her eyes, the universe
A journey in the dark toward a place
Immenseness spiraled ever outward, past
The smallness of the woman who she was,
Past consciousness into an emptiness
That seemed to stretch and stretch into forever.

The darkness overwhelmed her, made her feel
Alone, as worthless as a woman lost.
But then she felt a rhythm in the dark.
Hands wove a web into the nothingness.
A woman’s hands, had grabbed a spirit bear
Translating from one world into the next
And forged a passageway, a tiny portal,
Between the purgatory of the dark
And sunlight stretched across great fields of snow.
She felt Ruarther’s rage strike at the bear…

And then she felt a dragon’s curious mind
Invade her like a boiling swarm of bees,
His hugeness startled at the spark she sent
Across the fields into a darkened cave.
Her body shook to feel intelligence
That poked at her as if her insignificance
Was novel, hardly to be countenanced.

Inside the dragon’s thought she forced herself
Away from where she’d been inside her bed
And, sloughing off her lethargy, discovered
The fire of who she was, the woman wild
Enough to set off in the wilderness
To find the only man she’d ever loved.

She felt the dragon staring at her mind.
He did not speak, but stirred out of his thoughts
To see what human was confronting him.
At last he said, “And who are you?” his voice
So loud inside her head it made her tremble.

She looked into his eyes inside his cave
And wondered how she saw across the miles.
She could not think. His hugeness was too large.
He waited, looking patiently at her.
She felt a panic rising up into her throat.
“Who are you?” she demanded, wondering
At how she’d found the bravery to speak.

The dragon blinked. “I’m Mmirrimann,” he said.
“I ask again: And who are you that’s brave
Enough to face a dragon in his lair?”

His words unnerved Ruanne. Mmirrimann?
The leader dragon who had made the peace?
The murderer of Reestor’s father ? Legend
That spoke to her as if she was alive?

“The humans do not want a war,” she said,
The mission given her by Reestor flooding
Into her head. “Our children need to live.”

The dragon blinked again. Inside his eyes
So alien to human eyes Ruanne believed
She felt a sadness powerful beyond
The human sadness that had troubled her.

“I too would like to keep the peace,” he said.
“But I am old, and younger males see war
As part of who a dragon ought to be.
You’d better let your leaders know my words.
I cannot stop the war to come though I
Would give up all my years to see the peace
Stretch out into an endless march of time.
War’s near, and though I’ll try to keep its rage
From ending dragon life, I’ve searched, but found
No way to stop the conflagration’s fires.”

He looked away. The emptiness returned.
Ruanne stared at her hands clutched in her lap.
The greatest dragon that had ever lived
Could find no way to stop the war Ruarther
In madness had engendered from his rage?

Someone was pounding at her cottage door.
“Ruanne? Ruanne?” a worried Reestor called.
“You can’t hide from the world, Ruanne,” he said.

Ruanne remembered sadness in the eyes
That stared so powerfully into her eyes.
She got up, went to open up the door.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Unexpected Warning

Note: This is the twenty-eighth 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Conversation From Love Through Fear to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next section of the epic, click on Another Dragon Scale.

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27. Conversation From Love Through Fear

As Mmirrimann stirred, lost in ancient times,
A great green dragon in a cave as black
As scales that somehow gleamed inside the dark,
He felt Ssruanne beside him, sending life
Into the dreams that tried to capture him
And let him drift away into forgetfulness.
Then, slicing through his dream as if a claw
Had separated clouds, revealing sky,
An image of a valley high above
The caves, beneath a shining silver moon,
Filled up the emptiness inside of him.

He opened up his eyes and saw Ssruanne.
Her head raised up, her eyes awhirl with colors,
Engaged with all the images that flooded
Through Mmirrimann and forced him back to life.

He stirred, his thoughts replete with shadowed shapes,
And concentrated on his long-time love.
She saw his grin and puffed a ring of smoke
Into the darkness of the icy cave.

“What did you find?” she asked inside her head.

He looked away from eyes that seemed to scald
His life with endless memories, the two of them,
Wings filled with power, spiraling toward
The summer sun as passion trumpeted
Their fervor to the mountain peaks below.

“The mother of the girl has built a bridge
Of power in the purgatorial space
Where winds that are no winds blow in a gale,”
He grumbled deep inside his massive chest.
“She needs to save her child and interrupts
The natural order of the universe.”

Ssruanne stayed still, and let her body’s heat
Send life into the love she’d cherished through
The human wars into the days of peace.

“The geas is right?” she asked. “The child must live?”

“I took the woman’s bridge from nothingness,”
He answered. “When I passed I’m sure the bridge
Disintegrated into nothingness.”

“It’s over then? The child has lost her powers?”

“Shrrunak has left his cave and gathers males
Around him for another human war,”
He said, the image of the valley bathed
In silver light inside his head. “I felt
The rage the witch felt when I used her bridge.
She’ll not give up. She’ll make another bridge.”

Ssruanne looked at the smudge of morning light
That tinged a small cloud’s underside outside
The cave, dawn gray and cold with winter winds.

“How can you build a bridge between the wall
That separates reality from death?”
She asked. “I know the spirit beasts can find
A moment anchored in our time, but they
Are insubstantial, not quite corporal.”

“Perhaps the child should perish,” Mmirrimann
Said softly. “But I fear the forces spinning
From where I was into this world or ours.
I don’t believe the dragon race can live
Unless we find a way to live in peace.
The human girl is like a key stone strong
Inside a wall, but if it’s taken out,
The wall will crumble to a pile of dust.
Shrrunak can send all that we’ve built to dust.”

Ssruanne looked long at him and hummed her fear.

“We’re old,” she said. “Shrrunak can char our scales.”

“He’s gathering a dragon army, figuring
He’ll use the tactics made by human wiles
To waste the villages and towns that sprout
Like mushrooms all across the wilderness.”

“The deathless realms will fill with spirits then,”
She said. “Both dragons and their human foes
Will die in droves. As dragons we won’t win.”

“Shrrunak has left the caves and won’t be back
Until he’s built his dragon army, ravening
Across the landscape like a fiery scythe.”

Ssruanne’s scales rippled her distress that made
Her move from Mmirrimann. He did not move.

“We’ll face our doom,” he said at last. “I need
To rest and think about experiencing
The winds of purgatory, what I’ve learned.
I did not journey past my memories
To die,” he said. “I trekked to find a path
That leads to dragons hatching out of eggs
Into the glories of a dragon’s life.”

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Conversation from Love through Fear.

Note: This is the twenty-seventh 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Escaping Possession to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next poem in the series, click on Unexpected Warning.

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26. Escaping Possession

The Dragon Epic by Thomas Davis

Ruarther woke to sunlit cold, his head
So sore he felt as if his life was bound
Inside the thrumming pain that made him scowl.
The burns were gone from arms, legs, chest,
And though he felt as if he could not move,
His spirit rose to know that he’d survived
The night black dragon and its searing flame.
The fire beside the boulder smoldered, smoke
Still rising from the cold, gray, lumpy ash.
He stirred up from the hollow in the snow
He’d made for sleep and, groaning, found his pack
And put a slice of jerky in his mouth.
The goat was strong beneath the heavy spice,
But he had never tasted food so good.
He was alive and eating, wolfing meat
That tasted like sweet honey to his tongue.

He looked toward the campfire, felt the cold,
And thought he’d build it up and warm his hands,
But then he picked his pack up, shouldered it,
And started climbing through the dazzling fields.
He’d not find where the witch’s cottage was
Before the sun blazed down, he told himself.
He’d better move before his will had failed
And warmth became the cause for lethargy.
He’d never kill the child by staying put.

The surface of the snow had frozen hard.
He moved as swiftly as his legs could move.
The walking cleared his head and made him feel
As if he’d found his humanness again.
He thanked the spirit bear inside his mind,
Exhilarated at the strength he felt.

But then, just miles from where the cliffs rose black
Into the winter’s white, he stopped, confused.
The air in front of him looked charged, a mass
Of swirling chaos threatening to end
The world’s solidity with nothingness.
He felt the bear rear up inside the chaos,
Felt snow and fields and light sucked into dark.
A woman, waving hands, had somehow grabbed
The bear with energies Ruarther felt,
But could not see, a battle raging far
Beyond his senses even though he sensed
The powers devastating what was real,
Miasma threatening existence anchored
To life he’d always thought was all that was.
He stepped back as the chaos inched toward
Where he had stopped, the swirling wild with songs
Originating from beyond existence.

A greater fear than what he’d felt the day
He’d faced the golden dragon seized his heart
And made it beat so fast he could not breathe.
He saw the bear’s face waver in the light
And then the woman’s weaving web of hands
As death came from its natural place and tried
To build a portal to Ruarther’s world.
He wondered why he’d left his days-old camp
To face a wilderness he’d thought was myth
Made up by women and old, doddering men.

The great bear turned away from chaos, stared
At where Ruarther stood in front of him
Inside the realness of the real world
And leaped toward the body with a heart.

The witch is doing this, Ruarther thought.
The witch! He tried to dive away from where
The bear had aimed his leap, but even though
He moved as fast as any human could,
Convulsions ripped his consciousness.
He fought against the spirit entering
His spirit, tried to be the self he was,
But in his mind the great bear roared and roared.
Time wavered as the sunlight flared, then died,
Then flared alive again, the chaos mixed
With life’s stability, existence swelling
With spectres lost beyond the boundaries
Of what could ever be or come to be.

The child, Ruarther raged inside himself,
The witch’s child had made the dragon mock
Him as he hunted in the woods that day,
And now she’d witched the bear into his spirit.
He’d kill the child, he roared. He’d kill the girl.

The spirit in him roared against his roar.
Ruarther felt the self he knew recoil
As chaos swirled into his head and bones.
I’m stronger than the bear, he snarled inside.
His heart beat crazily, his fear
The only rage that kept him from possession,
The end of who he was, a human man.
I’ll kill the girl, he chanted in his head.
The witch’s girl is dead. I’ll kill the girl.

The great bear twisted as it fought to find
A place away from where the woman’s hands
Wove order out of chaos in chaotic song.
Ruarther twisted painfully in snow
So cold it seemed to burn his throbbing flesh.
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.

The bear retreated from the searing pain,
Life’s sharpness shredding who it was
Into the emptiness of air and sky.
Chaotic swirling dissipated like a mist.
The sunlit cold possessed the world again.
Ruarther, body still, stunned, felt his life
Inside the who of who he was, a man.

Splayed out upon the snow, he wondered how
He’d ever thought he had the strength to kill
A witch so powerful she had the force
To bend a dragon’s spirit to her will.
He could not countenance that he still lived
Outside of deathless chaos in his world.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Escaping Possession.

Note: This is the twenty-sixth 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to 25 to go to the section previous to this one. Go to 27 to read the next section.

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24. Rising Sentience

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

Inside her cave, emotions traumatized
From feeling how Wei’s eyes had looked at her
And seemed to strip her essence from her spirit,
Ssruanne instinctively sent out her thoughts
To Mmirrimann inside his nearby cave.
The ancient dragon dragged his shrouded spirit
Toward his bed beside the cave’s deep pool
Exhausted, beaten by a journey taken
In desperation that he could not curb.

The sense of Wei’s bright eyes beneath her scales
Exploring deep into a dragon’s self
Dissolved when Ssruanne felt the song of chaos
Reverberating uncontrollably
In Mmirrimann’s unconsciousness as if
He’d faced his doom and somehow was alive.
The aches she’d felt from feeling violation
Wisped out of her and, with an eagerness
Pushed by a rush of fear, she stood outside,
The mountain winds soft on her golden scales.
What had her ancient lover tried to do?
She leaped to air and glided to his cave.

The leader of the mountain dragons slumped
Onto his bed and stared at golden eyes
That whirled at where his head was pressed in stone.
He tried to order thoughts into his mind,
But images replete with nothingness
And roaring sounds of endless chaos made
Him close his eyes against the fierceness burning
In living dragon eyes that stared at him.
He had to live, to leave the nothingness
Infecting who he once had been behind,
But in the roaring thought was tenuous,
A string of self that could not know his self.
He willed the window from the chaos closed,
But in the cave the stone walls wavered, motes
Solidifying, then dissolving into motes,
Light flickering into his mind, then sweeping
Into the roar of silence swirling, swirling. . .

Ssruanne stared angrily at Mmirrimann.
He’d gone too far. She saw the journey braved
Past dragon memories into the realms
Where time and living spirits danced in chaos
More spectres than a memory
Of life once lived upon the living earth.
What will had brought him back into his cave
Was past an understanding she possessed.
His scales seemed insubstantial, light, not flesh.
He did not seem to have the strength to open
His eyes to see the safety that he’d found.

She knew the motivation driving him.
She heard, inside her mind, the rage Sshruunak
Spewed from his mind into his followers,
The great young males that saw his massive strength
And did not see how puny human strength
Had sent him, wounded, fleeing to his cave.
She saw what rage and mindless joy in strength
Had done to dragon lives through time, the long,
Dark spiraling toward a time when dragons
Were only myths long lost from memory.
His courage blazing, Mmirrimann had braved
The chaos where the spirit beasts brewed life
From nothingness and came to feed
Upon earth light and dragon/human lives.
He’d tried to find elixirs that would lead
The mountain dragons past the young males’ rage
Into a future guarding dragon eggs
And dragon wings and dragon sentience.

“You are a fool,” Ssruanne said. “Just a fool.”

She walked into the cave and pressed her scales
Against his scales and tried to warm the cold
Chilled deep into his spirit by the wind
That was no wind, the place of deathless souls.
She forced her warmth into his cold and strained
To find the order still inside his mind
And tried to reach the will that he had used
To bring his body back into his cave.

“The dragon race is not gone yet,” she said
Outloud, her voice an echo in the cave.

She felt his reaching out toward her warmth,
The fiery essence of her dragon mind.
She forced her thoughts of Wei to disappear
And placed a block upon Sshruunak’s dark thoughts
To keep them out of Mmirrimann, his cold.
She laid beside him on his stone smooth bed
And sent her memories of watching eggs
Begin to wobble as a hatchling struggled
From darkness into light and dragon life.
She felt again the joy of seeing life,
The promise of another generation,
Continuing the glory of their race.
She nestled close and soaked his cold with warmth
As hours passed day toward the winter night.

“You’ll live,” she told him in the ancient tongue.
“We’ll face Sshruunak and keep the war
He’s brewed from ever happening. We will.”

He formed a thought, then lost its substance, fought
Toward his sentience, fell back, then felt
Ssruanne beside him in his mountain cave.
He reached toward her warmth and living mind.
He loved her. She loved him. A thought
And feeling formed inside the chaos, let
Him feel her body pressed against his body.
He sighed his rising sentience and grinned.

Click on Rising Sentience to listen to this section of the epic.

Note: This is the twenty fourth installment 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to 22 to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next section click on 25.

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