Tag Archives: metamorphosis

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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Filed under 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