Tag Archives: mountains

Himalayan Goddess

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

We found her
in the mountains
near a rushing stream
carved out of white marble,
a sign of purity.

Under her whiteness
was written these words,
“…she hears the cries of the world.”

Last night
a Syrian boy and girl
lay dead under rubble,
not much older than six or seven

…cries in the world.

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A New Year

by Thomas Davis

The old year hung behind a hill
that sang with birds and bears and animals
as numerous as water plummeting over black rock
to a canyon far below a granite cliff.

The new year, over the hill, was shrouded in fog,
whiteness obscuring dark shapes
that could almost be made out inside the hint of brightness
from a sun that could not be seen.

We walked into the mountains with our two dogs,
the old year on the hill behind us,
the new year over the hill in front of us,

and we listened to the singing of the old year hill
and wondered why we have to keep going on
into a fog that could hold miracles
or terrors
or a continuation of rich songs now behind us.

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San Juan Mountains in the Winter

a photograph by Sophia Wood

San Juan Mountain Winter

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Winter Near Telluride Colorado

a photograph by Mary Wood, our daughter

Telluride1

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39. To War! And Raging Dragon Hearts!

a passage from The Dragon Epic by Thomas Davis

Above the earth, stars hard and bright against
The thin, cold blackness of the atmosphere,
Sshruunak felt faint from lack of oxygen.
The tug of gravity was powerful enough
To make him strain his wings to stay in flight,
And then he felt the weirding far below,
The swerve of history as rainbow light
Congealed into a dragon’s hardened scales
Around the heartbeat of a human girl.
From Mmirrimann an image filled with dread
And wonder seemed to dance before his eyes.
He felt outside the ganglia of minds
That sparked into connections buried deep
In dragon memories linked back to times
When solitary power filled the minds
Of dragons hid in solitary caves.

He felt a journeying that seemed outside
Of who he was, kaleidoscope of rage
Red-eyed, incensed that human brains could scurry
In bodies small as ants and still wrap him
With ropes that would not let him save himself.
He felt the memories of Mmirrimann
Begin to sing into the rainbow light
That haloed round his stratospheric flight…

And then, his self alive inside the old,
Dark dragon’s mind, the power surging out
Into connections not available
to younger dragons still involved in making
The self that would protect them from the songs
Miasma and the ancient memories
Could strike into a dragon’s hearts, Sshruunak
Exploded with a black, cold rage that slammed
Into the human woman linking him
And Mmirrimann, the human that had burned
An arrow deep into his eye, and humming
That throbbed from dragon spirits to a world
Upon the cusp of breaking from its egg
Into a newness never known before.

He felt the woman fall, saw the human evil
Beside a dragon in the snow fall down,
And heard the grumbling rage in Mmirrimann
Distract the ancient dragon from the light
Inside the field and force awareness, harsh,
To lock on Sshruunak’s seething bolt of rage.

As Mmirrimann’s awareness ricocheted
Back to Sshruunak, the younger dragon’s wings
Collapsed, and suddenly he fell as if
He’d lost what strength he had to have to fly.
He plunged toward the cold, hard mountain peaks,
His rage so great he could not make his wings
Flare outward, letting air support his weight
And finishing the free fall hurtling him
Toward a death he’d never contemplated.
He struggled as he fell and twisted, turned
Until, at last, he forced his wings to flare
Into the thickening of air as flight
Came back to him and let him feel control
And let him flatten out his flight above
The earth and let him feel alive again.

The line between the dragons in the field
And him was gone, and in its place he saw
He could not wait for night to start his war.
A miracle had caught cave dragons deep
Into a rainbow mesh they did not understand.
He could not let them extricate themselves
If he and all his followers were fated
To ever rid the earth of human evil.

He aimed toward the valley where black stones
Were charred with dragon fire and flew so swift
The air around him whistled from his flight.
The light was growing in the sky as shadows
Retreated from the slowly rising sun.
He shot his urgency into Stoormachen.

“The war has come!” he screeched inside his mind.
“We’ve got to make the war begin right now!”

Stoormachen startled from the shallow cave
He’d dug into the mountainside and looked
Into the sky to see Sshruunak’s black scales.
He seemed confused, unsure of what dark threat
Had changed the plans Sshruunak had drilled in him.

“We have to move!” Sshruunak repeated, wild
With edginess, afraid delay would end
Up ruining all the dreams he’d brewed inside
Since arrows buried fire into his eyes.
“The dragons and the humans are distracted.
The plans have changed. We’ve got to hurry! Move!”

Stoormachen spotted blackness in the sky,
Sshruunak’s flight swift enough to startle him.

The followers Sshruunak had gathered felt
A stirring in their spirits and their hearts.
They heard the urgency Stoormachen bleated
Into the mountain air and felt the fire
Of battle lust so suddenly inside
Their minds that they could barely see the boulders
Below them shining in the early sun.
They looked and saw Sshruunak’s wild flight and moved
Their wings to greet their leader’s urgency.
The time had come; the dragon’s legacy
Of fire and claws and mindless rage had come!
They watched Sshruunak plunge like a meteor
Into the valley’s eastern edge, his blackness
Contrasting vividly against blue skies.

“To war!” their leader roared. “To human death!
And fiery dragon flame and raging hearts!”

To listen to this passage, click on
To War! And Raging Dragon Hearts!

Note: This is the thirty-ninth 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 The Mind’s Black Fire to read the passage before this one. To read the next passage in the epic, click on The Shock of Rage.

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View From Overlook Mountain

a photograph by Alazanto, Kevin Davis, our son

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Wild Turkeys in a Field

a photograph by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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I Shall Put Upon Your Shoulders

by Thomas Davis

I shall put upon your shoulders
The cloak of the hills,
And at your feet I shall put the mountains
Clothed with the light of early dawn.

With joy I will gather up the blue waters
From the nestling lakes of the valleys
And turn the blue waters into gems,
Rare and beautiful, for you to wear.

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New Mexico

a pastel by Ethel Mortenson Davis

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Dragonflies, Dragons, and Her Mother’s Death

by Thomas Davis

She looked at all the red-eyed dragonflies
That hovered on the water of the pond.
Inside the small stone house, just ten years old,
But feeling like she’d lived at least two lifetimes,
She wondered how the dragonflies perceived
Her hugeness when she walked out to the pond
And stared at them, their gauze-like wings and bodies
As red as eyes that bugged out at the day.

Above her on the mountain peaks, in caves
That joined to caves through tunnels dug by dragons,
As large compared to her as she was when
She stood above the darting dragonflies,
The daily noise of dragonkind was echoing
Down rocky slopes, off cliffs too high for humans.

She wondered, looking at the dragonflies,
What she would feel if, suddenly, she grew
A dragon’s leathery wings and felt the power
The dragons felt when spewing streams of fire.

She did not look behind her where her mother
Was stiff in death, her aging face now smoothed
Of wrinkles wrought by weeks of endless pain
As life ebbed from her as she fought to keep
Herself alive so that her only daughter
Would not be left alone upon the mountain.

At last the young girl sighed. She had her chores:
She had to dig a shallow grave and find
Round stones to place upon her mother’s body.
She’d cried all day until the storm had left,
And now, inside a weariness that seemed
As heavy as the stones she’d have to find,
She had to face what was and nurse her courage.
She thought, this mountain’s home. I’m staying here.

Above the house a golden dragon drove
Its heavy wings through heavy summer air.
A rumbling echoed off the rocks and cliffs
That soared forever up into the sky.

The villagers, who lived a dozen miles away
Inside a wall of circled black, round stones,
Were terrified each time a dragon passed
Above their heads, its wing beats making thunder,
But she had always lived below the caves
And heard their moving, eating, talking noises
As they lived life the way her mother, she
Lived life, joy bubbling out of mountain stones.

Her mother would not weigh too much. Not now.
The stones she found would be much heavier.
She turned away from dragonflies and, careful
To keep her eyes away from where her mother
Looked up toward the dark stone ceiling’s thatch,
Went through the doorway’s arch outside. The chill
That night would bring was still two hours away.

She’d manage living on the mountainside,
She told herself. She’d learned her mother’s skills
At gardening and hunting game too small
For dragon’s bellies or their long, black claws.
She had a woman’s heart in spite of being young.
She went down to the shed she’d used for play
And got their spading shovel off the wall.

What should she do? She asked herself. The stones
Or digging first? She left the shed’s cold dimness
And walked down to a mound above the pool.
She wasn’t weak, she thought. She forced the blade
Into the rich, dark, mountain earth and watched
A worm slide out of sight into the ground.
She fought the tiredness in her spirit, lifted
The soil from the tiny indentation
And dug again, the rhythm of the work
A balm to memory, the single gasp
She’d heard her mother make as all her breath
Exhaled into a world she’d left unwillingly.

Night came too soon. Above her head a dragon
Flew overhead and circled, watching her.
She didn’t look at it, but kept on digging.
A moon as large as dragon fire rose red
Above the jagged peaks around the cottage.

She’d have to gather stones tomorrow morning,
She told herself. She looked back at the cottage.
In mountain air she couldn’t sleep outside,
Away from where her mother’s eyes stared sightlessly.

Do what you have to do, she told herself.
You’ll live through this. Do what you have to do.

Note: This is the beginning of a poem too long to publish on wordpress. 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. To go to the next section of the epic, click on 2.

Ben Naga asked me to do an audio of the poems I have not yet put in place. I’m not sure that that is important this late in publishing the epic, but this is the audio for the first installment of the dragon epic: Dragonflies, Dragons, and Her Mother’s Death.

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis