Tag Archives: witch’s child

33. Vertigo and the Moment of Sudden Truth


He woke as groggy as he’d ever felt
In all his life, miasma thick inside
The copse and deep inside his self.
The fire he’d built was smoldering as light
Crept through the branches to the snowy ground.
He forced himself to sit, then slowly stood,
The weirding powerful enough to change
The way the trees stood as he tried to find
His balance in a universe that seemed to roll
As if the land had waves beneath its soils.

I have to kill the witch’s child, he said
Into a wilderness that did not hear.

He bent and carefully picked up his bow
And sheaf of arrows, then walked warily
Out of the copse into the fields of snow
That climbed toward the mountains and the green
Of pines that snaked between the dark cliff rock.
He had to orient himself toward
The cabin where the witch had made her home,
But then felt better as he slowly made his way
Across the blinding fields of crusted white.

A half mile from the copse he felt a wave
Of nausea sweep through his body, hands
He could not see opposed to letting him
Continue on the path he’d set himself.

The witch, he thought. She’d died. The dragon said
She’d died, but she had used the spirit bear
To forge a link out of the chaos wild
With death and nothingness and willed his will
To falter as she made the universe before
Him toss and turn into a whirling wall.

How could I know what’s going on? he thought.

And then he saw the spirit bear refracted
Out of his walking body on the snow.
His arm hair stirred with skin that tingled fear
Into the coldness of the snow and light.
He’d lost the battle that he’d thought he’d won.
He’d sent the bear into the nothingness
Out of the who of who he was, the man,
But now he was Ruarther and the bear.
He was a monster walking on the earth.
He looked again and felt the shadow bear
Beside him as he walked across the snow.

What should he do? he thought. What could he do?
The witch and bear were locked in mortal combat,
And he was in the center buffeted
By forces greater than mortality
Could hope to face and still survive intact.


Ruanne froze as her hand reached for a nail.
A vertigo so powerful it stunned
Her made her freeze upon the steep sloped roof
Where she was working on a shelter made
To hold a bowman who could shoot his arrows
At roaring dragons with a hope he’d live
When claws or fire came raking from the sky.

The voice that filled her mind was not the voice
Of Mmirrimann, but even larger, singing
With powers amplified by centuries
Of dragon elders taking care of dragons
In spite of all the awful human/dragon wars.
The dragon looked at her, evaluating
The woman that she was, and sighed so deeply
The sigh seemed dredged from all eternity.

“I am Ssruanne,” the dragon slowly said.

The golden dragon’s eyes blinked twice, and then
Ruanne was in the fields of blinding snow.
Ruarther, sheltering a spirit bear
Much larger than his body, eyes as red
As blood inside his veins, stood stunned, his life
Undone by knowing that he’d let the bear
Inside of him in spite of what he’d thought he’d done.

Without a thought Ruanne screamed out, “Ruarther!”
The village workers stopped their preparations
For dragon war and stared at how she stood
Upon the roof, her body aimed toward the mountains.

Ssruanne conducted all the power streamed
Into Ruanne’s wild cry toward Ruarther.
She shattered through the whirling chaos dancing
In waves around the hunter’s muddled head.


Ruarther felt a wave of raging love
Slam at the spirit bear inside of him.
He felt the bear’s fierce spirit spit a spume
Of hatred at the cry that pierced it like
An arrow singing from Ruarther’s bow.
He stood up straight. The winter air was clear
Of all the whirling that made the morning
Miasmic, filled with chaos, hatred, loss…
He felt as if he’d found himself and shrugged
The forces centering into his body out
Into a universe he could not know or see.

He looked toward the mountains, and the trees
He’d not seen lost inside the cold miasma.
He felt as if he was a child at night
Who was alone as dire wolves howled their hunger
Toward the darkness of an unseen moon.

A mile away a small stone cabin stood
Alone inside a wilderness that seemed alive
With songs too powerful for stone to silence.
He felt as if he’d starved himself for days.
He knew he’d reached the cottage that he’d sought
So angrily and single-mindedly.
He could not see the witch’s child outside,
But smoke was rising from the cottage fireplace.
He knelt down on the snow and took an arrow
And notched it on the bow’s taut, ready string.

He’d show the golden dragon that his heart
Was strong enough to mock her dragon fire,
He thought. He’d found the witches’ child she’d tried
To make him save from winter’s deadly storms.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Vertigo and the Moment of Truth

Note: This is the thirty-third 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 Mmirrimann Inside the Conclave He Called to go to the section previous to this one.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis, Uncategorized

16. Separation in the Wilderness

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

His stupefaction, as he sat in snow
Beside the boulder as his pain seared skin,
Kept him from seeing Cragdon packing up
To struggle back the way they’d come across
The treachery of fields of blinding snow.

“I’m leaving now,” the young man said, his face
A mask of pain where dragon’s fire had burned
His arm and side. “I’m done. I’m going home.”

Ruarther, from his seat, looked up and stared
Into the young man’s bleary-looking eyes.

“You’ve lost your mind,” he said. “We’re injured bad.
Until we’ve got our hurts controlled, the village
Is just a dream you’ll never reach alive.”

The pre-dawn cold was hinting at the light
Now filtering along the eastern ridges.

“I knew I’d have to go alone,” the young man said.
“You’re crazy. Why I followed you out here
Is something that I’ll never understand.”

“The witch’s child has stirred the dragons up,”
Ruarther growled. “You’re suffering from burns
Inflicted by a dragon hurtling
From skies without a reason made by us.”

“Perhaps it read our minds and gave us warning
That murdering a child is not the way
To keep the human, dragon peace,” he said.
“I’ll send the hunters out with fresh supplies.
You’ll have to keep alive until you’re found.”

Ruarther looked inside the raging self
That seemed to boil with pain and anger branded
So deep it was the substance of his life.
He growled again, but did not say a word.

As Cragdon looked at him, the man he’d seen
As better than a man could ever be,
His hero since he’d been a child who’d hung
Upon the village’s stone wall to watch
For hunters coming from the woods, their game
On tripods made of fresh-cut branches roped
Around their hips, or slung on massive shoulders,
And wondered why he’d failed to see the truth.
The grim, dark man who leaned against the boulder
Was not a village man, but bound
To raving spirit beasts whose sentience
Danced chaos born from rage into the world.
He shook his head and looked toward the slopes
That angled down toward the only place
He really cared about inside the world.

“I’m going now,” he said. The snow shined brightly
As sunrise danced with sky fire as it crept
Across the treacherous, white miles of crust.
He wondered if he had the strength to make
It to his wife and child, the life he loved.
He briefly wondered where the dragon was.
It too was facing weeks of burning pain.
He shook his head, then moved out from the ridge.

Ruarther failed to hear, or see, when Cragdon
Began his journey home. He fought to block
His pain from consciousness and tried to focus
Upon the task of finding peace again
By murdering the witch’s child and letting dragons
Go back to living in their caves away
From hunters and their villages and homes.
He tried to see the child’s unnatural eyes
And wondered how a witch with minor skills
Could birth a witch so powerful her strings
Turned dragons into puppets of her will.

He felt the golden dragon’s whirling eyes
Confront him, heard the power in her voice,
But when he looked around to see her body,
The wilderness and sky were empty, vast
Beyond imagination, fevers wrapped
Around him like a fire inside his flesh.
He cupped snow in his hands and spread its cold
Upon his burns and coughed deep in his lungs.
He wondered if he’d be alive when dawn
Lit up the sky again and wheeled another day.

But then he knew: He’d kill the witch’s child.
He’d give Ruanne the peace his love deserved.
He’d let the dragons settle back into their lives.

He forced himself onto his feet and put
More wood to burn upon the dying fire.

Click to hear an audio of this section: Separation in the Wilderness

Note: This is the sixteenth installment of a long narrative 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 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 15 to read the installment before this one. Click on 17 to go to the next installment.


Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis