Tag Archives: webs of light

8. Shock and the Weirding of Boundaries

by Thomas Davis

Ssruann’s long neck jerked up into the air
And twisted to the cave’s night opening.
Outside the storm still raged and howled with winds.
She was awake, prophetic dreams had fled.
The human girl was watching as her mother
Used unseen lines between the waking world
And universes where the shadows swarmed,
In patterns sibilant with singing winds
That dragons, humans, spirit bears, and others
Who walked could not access with eyes or dreams,
To guide her daughter’s hands into the ways
Of power she had never known while breathing.
The daughter’s hands spewed webs of light.
A dance of heat ran through the webs and burned
Through cold and snow as if they’d never been,
Exposing ground beneath the piles of snow.

The Old One’s golden eyes expanded, whirled
While power flowed into the human girl.
It was a dragon’s power, power drawn
From blood more ancient than the blood of dragons
That lived inside community inside
The caves dug deep into the mountain’s heart.

Ssruann’s two hearts were beating with a force
That seemed to echo through the caves and tunnels
Where dragons waited out the storm so they
Could climb on ledges, launch into the air
To hunt for mountain goats and sheep and deer
Now hunkered down, protected from the storm.

Where did the power now inside the girl
Orginate? What did it mean? What force
Had mother’s love sent from the songs of death
Unleashed into the world of dragons, humans,
The seasons marking, marching, passing time?

A long, low wail lunged from the unseen peaks
Above the cave and rolled with fearsome winds
So filled with shards of ice it seemed as if
The mountain’s face would sheer away and leave
A grinning skull of gaping mountain bone
Into the valley where the human girl
Turned back toward the fire that threw its warmth
Into the cottage’s deep darkness, air
Alive with possibilities not known before.

Appalled, her pounding blood a double beat
That sang the history the dragon race
Had lived inside the shining web of time,
The Old One stared into the stormy darkness.
The human girl was linked to her, she thought.
Linked somehow deep inside her dragon blood.
What sorcery is this? She thought. She’d known
The mother, but had never thought too much
About the woman living in the valley
Below the dragon’s mountains and its caves.

But now? Her blood was boiling contradictions,
A moving tapestry of fear, hope, rage, delight,
A stream that made her feel sick from the strength
That surged and ebbed inside her pounding blood.

There were no walls between the universes
That never touched except in tiny whorls
That knitted all that was together, bound
By actuality, the mind of God.
The weirding of the storm and darkness raged
Inside the webs of light the young girl wove.
Ssruann, the Old One, stared and stared at where
Her cave led out into the storm and dark,
Her long neck rigid with a dragon’s fear.

Audio version of the poem: Shock and the Weirding of Boundaries

Note: This is the eighth installment of a long poem. Inspired by John Keats’ long narrative poem, Lamia, it tells a story set in ancient times when dragons and humans were at peace. Click on the numbers to reach other sections, or go to the Categories box to the right under The Dragon Epic. Click on 1 to go to the beginning and read forward, 7 to read the installment before this one. Click on 9 to read the next section.

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

4. Dreams of Fire

by Thomas Davis

Wei sat inside the cottage by the fire
And wove light strands into a radiant web
That glinted firelight back toward the flames.
The web threw light into the darkest corners
And made the cottage seem as if its warmth
Was filled with friendly spirits as the wind
Blew sleet and snow against the walls and roof
And seemed intent on battering its way
Into the small, safe place that Wei called home.

At last she let the strands of light go dark
And got up from the floor and walked to look
Outside into the storm’s cold, deadly fury.
She thought about her mother’s face before
Her sickness took away her strength and left
Her pale and weary in her single bed:
Her pale green eyes had always danced with light,
Her smile so bright it banished little hurts
That little girls could always seem to find;
In storms her eyes would grow intense, alive
To clouds that sailed with lightning, dragging fire
Beneath their rumbling through a winter’s skies.
Wei sighed and shivered. Frost had caked the window
And only left a small round hole to see
The wind ghosts walking just above dark ground,
Their fleeing emblematic of Wei’s life
Now that her mother was inside her grave.

Wei’s loneliness was sharp enough to burn
Into her flesh, her sadness like a mask.
She thought about the moment by the grave
When numbness made her silence all encompassing,
Her heartbeat stilled to nothingness.

She’d thought about the humans in the village,
Considered walking down the mountainside
And telling them she was a lonesome child
And not a fearsome witch birthed by a witch,
But then she’d felt the mountain stir its rock
And touch her spirit with a spirit old
As water splashing over mountain stones.
I won’t need them, she’d thought. They’d chase me off
And treat me like the deer their arrows kill.

But by the window, looking out at winter,
She felt herself begin to shake, not from the cold,
But from the loneliness she’d felt each day
Since she had been alone, her mother gone.
She thought about the dragons in their caves,
The way they lived their lives together, bound
By memories and happenings that flowed
Into their flights above the cottage, sang
Into their daily voices as they linked
The way each dragon was into community.

She dreamed while standing by the windowpane
About a golden dragon looking fiercely
Into her eyes and saying, “Yes, you’ll do.
The elders won’t object to how you’ve grown.”
And then she felt herself spread wings of light,
Made of the light she’d strung into a web
Beside the cottage fire, and lift into the air.
She saw the cottage below her as she flew
Toward the human village in a rage of joy.

The vision faded. She shivered, turned away
From wind that howled at wind ghosts in the storm,
And went back by the fire that needed wood
She’d split if death was not to be a guest
That visited with tendrils exquisite with frost.
She felt the dullness of her hunger burn
Beneath the burning of her loneliness.

“I’ll be a dragon.” In her voice she sounded sure.
She looked at arms too thin as food had dwindled
And rabbits had become aware that she
Was not as skilled at calling them to her
As when her mother did the winter calling.
She wondered if she’d ever feel alive
With happiness the way she’d felt before.
She settled by the fire and watched the flames.

Note: This is the fourth section of a long poem I have been skeptical about publishing in wordpress format, but have been encouraged to do so. The story was inspired by John Keats’ tale in his narrative poem, “Lamia,” although this poem uses blank verse rather than the rhyming couplets Keats used. Click on the numbers to read earlier sections: 1, 2, 3, 5.

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Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis