Tag Archives: humans

A Country of Stones

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

It is a country of stones—
Stoneland.

All you have to do,
when you walk,
is look down,
and there are
the most interesting stones.

All kinds, colors
and strenghs.

Looking down today
I saw petrified wood.

It is a land
more about itself
and less about humans,
it’s vastness
overwhelming.

The animals,
with adept feet,
steal away
where people never see,

a private land,
so much undiscovered.

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Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

The Begging Gangs of Pakistan

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

A young man tells
of his daughter
kidnapped by gangs:

“They kidnap children
and cut off their arms or feet,
sometimes a leg,
and set them
in front of mosques so people
will drop coins in front of them.

“They place them throughout the city
and kidnap many children.

“Our daughter had escaped.
They pulled all her hair out.
She is always terrified.

“I used to think the Devil
was outside of us….
but we are the Devil.

“Humankind is the Devil.”

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42. The Deadly Dragon Horde

a passage from The Dragon Epic by Thomas Davis

1

Up from the mountain slopes above the circle
Of black stone, dragons filled the sky, their hearts
And spirits fierce with dragon rage and war.
Above them, eyes afire, Sshruunak watched fiercely,
Exultant that his time had come, the skies
So filled with rising dragons that they seemed
A swarm of blackness, death aimed at the humans.
The sun was bright and echoed off the snow
That covered jagged peaks thrown at the sky.
He glided as they came to him, then turned
Toward the village closest to the caves
And shrilled his challenge at the universe.

2

The blackness emanating from the mountains
Made Wei attempt to move her too large wings
And lift herself into the morning air.
The snow around her sprayed and glittered light
Into the shining blue of cloudless skies.
Ssruuanne moved quickly back to miss the force
Of wings more powerful than Wei could know.
The human child inside the dragon body
Felt tears well up inside her tearless eyes
As nothing seemed to move as muscles strained
To lift a body not her body off
The snowy ground to insubstantial air.
Wei moved her massive legs and beat her wings
And roared frustration, startling her hearts
That thundered in her chest and frightened her.

She was a child, she thought. She could not be
A dragon with a dragon’s roar and hearts.

A little way away a wild-eyed Mmirrimann
Kept glancing at the sky and then at Wei,
His feet a drum-like tattoo on the snow.
He looked as if he did not know if he
Should launch into the skies or watch the rainbow
In front of him take life that seemed unreal.
Around him, stretched as far as Wei could see,
The other dragons stared at Mmirrimann,
Then Wei, as if they waited for a sign
That told them what the black mind-storm assailing
Them meant inside a day of miracle.
Great dragon eyes whirled colors at the light
Intense enough to make the morning golden.

Ssruuanne was silent as the human dragon
Strained at the gravities of solid ground.
She looked confused, as if she could not make
Her thoughts reorder to reality.

Reality seemed skewered from the course
Of natural life, its permanence undone.
At last, the struggle in her thoughts’ confusion
So strong it made Ssruuanne feel more human
Than elder dragon born with dragon strength,
She shook her massive golden head and grumbled,

“On ground this flat you have to run to fly.
The question is, what are you flying to?”

Sshruunak’s cry slammed its triumph through the plateau
As Wei began to run, her panic turbulent.
She lurched from one side to another side
As Mmirrimann and other dragons cleared
A path for her and wings that did not match
The rhythm of her wildly churning legs.
Ssruuanne took off so smoothly, wings
A golden flashing in the light, she seemed
A definition of a dragon’s grace.
Along the edges of the dragons’ circle
A dozen other dragons leaped to flight.
Then Wei, her heartbeats double beating rhythms
Her legs and wings could synchronize, so slow
It seemed as if she’d slam into the ground,
Rose from the snow into the air in flight.
She murmured to herself to feel the wonder
Of being what she was, a dragon flying
From human form into the heaven’s skies.

Around her dragons filled the air, so many
There did not seem the space to hold them all.
The blackness drumming at her mind suppressed
Exhilaration storming through her spirit.
She was a human dragon flying, strong
Enough to be the being she’d become!

And then she felt another cry, a human cry
That shivered where her arms had been and made
Her human heart asynchronous with how
Her dragon hearts beat with the beat of wings.
She gasped, a human, still a dragon. Fear
And anger made her stall, then start the beat
That kept her in the air again, the blackness
A song outside of who she’d ever be.

3

The coal black dragon led the arrowhead
Of dragons flying at the waiting village.
His heart calm, Cragdon turned and shouted out
The warning that the village knew would come,
Then dropped behind the wall and took his bow
Into his hand and lit a flaming arrow.
There had to be more dragons in the flock
Of dragons flying to their human war
Than he had ever seen in all his life.
Ruarther had not flinched to fight a dragon
By moonlight when the two of them had faced
What seemed to be a night of certain death.
Ruarther had no spirit of his own,
But Cragdon had a wife and child and love
And would not flinch to splash his arrow’s flame
Into the hardness of a dragon’s scales.
He waited, glanced to see the dragon’s distance,
Then knelt behind the stony wall again.

4

Ruanne, upon her cottage roof, heard Cragdon’s voice
And knew the time of blackness came on wings
Of many colors as attacking dragons
Gave shape to darkened songs inside her mind.
She felt the power of their warrior song
And felt her witch’s power stirring in response.
Come on, she thought. Come on. We’ll meet you here.
She lit the pot that leaped with flame and yelled
Defiance at the coming dragon horde.

To listen to this passage of the epic, click on The Deadly Dragon Horde.

Note: This is the forty second passage of a long narrative poem, which has grown into The Dragon Epic. Originally inspired by John Keats’ long narrative poem, Lamia, it tells a story set in ancient times when dragons and humans were at peace. Click on the numbers below to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. Click on Dragonflies, Dragons and Her Mother’s Death to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Fate and Sentinels to read the passage before this one. To read the following passage, click on .

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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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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, 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

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis