Tag Archives: young girl

The Last Tiger

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

 He is a great Siberian Tiger,
the last one.
They have him
in a steel cage
with thick grey bars—
there, at the center
of our town.

Sharpened sticks
lie all around him.
He has many wounds,
but there is still fire
in his eyes.

A young girl
comes to the cage,
crying and afraid.
She says,
“You must stop this now.
You must save this animal.
He is the last
of a royal species—
a sacred kind.”

She knew the combination
of the lock and opened
the cage door.
He sprang towards
the light, carrying
with him the girl’s heart.

“Go to the most northern
region of our country.
There the forests
will save and protect you.
There is still yet time.
There is still yet time
to balance God in the universe.”

2 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, poems, Poetry

29. Another Dragon Scale

an epic poem by Thomas Davis

Beside the pond’s white, frozen face, the sound
Of water from the stream beneath the ice
A muffled music in the morning air,
Wei waved her arms and conjured motes
Of fire congealing to a dragon’s shape.
She strained to make the dragon breathe with scales
As golden as Ssruaanne’s great shimmering.
She concentrated, gathering the whole
Of whom she was into the spell she wove.
The motes of light began to coalesce.
The dragon in the air took shape, its eyes
So bright they nearly seemed to be alive.
Wei felt the power in her young girl’s body
Sweep out of her into the dragon’s head,
Its nostrils flaring as she tried to find
A dragon’s breath in dragon lungs beneath
The light she wove into the winter air…

But then, just like the other times, the motes
Of light collapsed into a day’s blue skies.
She held the eyes a moment as they looked
At her, their golden green intelligence,
But even though she danced her hands and wove
Her body as she tried to find the power
That let the spell she’d made exist in time,
The dragon eyes scattered into nothingness.

The irritation that she felt was strong
Enough to make her want to cry, but deep
Inside she knew that if the tears began,
They’d wrack her body, bringing weariness
That would not let her try to form a dragon
From air again for days and maybe weeks.

She shook her head and felt the warmth the sun
Was pouring down onto the fields of snow.
A hint of spring was in the air, although
Real spring was still at least a month away.
Why did she feel as if she had to form
A dragon from the still-fresh memories
Ssruanne had left inside of who she was?
What kind of girl had she become? Her mother’s
Ethereal spirit once alive, now gone?
Her body thin enough so that it seemed
As if a puff of wind could scatter her
Just like the dragons that she tried to make
Evaporated into empty air?

She sighed and turned away from where the sun
Would shine upon the pond’s still face in spring
And walked to where the woodpile stood and took
Two chunks of wood into the cottage-warmth.
She put one piece upon the fire and watched
As flames licked up its sides through rising smoke.
Why had her mother’s ghost not come again?
She asked herself. Where had her mother gone?

She shook her head and picked the rabbit laying
Beside the sink up by its large hind legs.
The trap she’d made from fire had kept her fed
As winter kept its grip upon the land.
Strong spelling had its uses. That was sure.
She took a knife out of the drawer, started
The job of skinning rabbit fur and hide,
And thought about her coming birthday, how
It would not mean what once it would have meant.
She’d get no presents, eat no special meal.
She missed her mother, not the spectral form
That taught her spells out of her mother’s grave—
Her living mother quick to comfort her
And pick her up and make her feel love’s warmth.
She put the knife down, poured some water, washed
Her hands and quietly walked to her bed.
She’d never heard of anyone with power
Enough to make a dragon out of air,
But still, she felt as if she ought to breathe
And work her spells and feel a dragon’s life
Flow from her hands into a living dragon.

She sat down on the bed and looked at where
The dragon’s scale was burned into her arm.
A bunch of other kids would stare at her,
Then scream and run away to see the scale,
She thought. They’d know that she was strange.

She waved her arm above her head and felt
The scale grow warm. She moved both arms and felt
A spell grow in the air, its power stirring
Inside the cottage, stimulating life.
She started humming underneath her breath
And broke into a song that trilled and soared
And made her feel her power once again.
She was a girl, she thought. A girl. A girl.

A square beside the scale she wore began
To burn her flesh; she felt the fire inside
Her arm and felt a second scale begin
To grow beside the first, a dragon’s life
Inside her life, out of her life, a dragon…

She stopped and let her arms fall from the air
And let the silence come back to the room.
She held her arm up, stared at where two scales
Laid side by side, their gold burned in her arm.
She waved her arm and tried to feel if it
Was heavier than it had been before.
It felt as if it was her arm, but looked
As strange as any arm had ever looked.

What kind of girl had she become? she asked.
She felt the movements of the fate
That waited her and felt as strong and fierce
As any dragon born out of an egg.

To listen to this section of the epic, click on Another Dragon Scale

Note: This is the twenty-ninth 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 1 to go to the beginning and read forward. Go to Unexpected Warning to go to the section previous to this one. To read the next section of the epic, click on Valley of the Scorched Black Stones

9 Comments

Filed under Poetry, The Dragon Epic, Thomas Davis

Stars Shine So Brightly

a drawing by Phoebe Wood, our granddaughter

8 Comments

Filed under Art

Winter Solstice

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Light is returned to light
on the high desert.
December’s darkness
never reaches the ground
like in the northern regions.

The north,
where once snow drifted
over tops of fences
and cold nights turned drifts
into white, frozen dunes
solid enough to support
the weight of a young girl and her dog
as she ran to celebrate
new-found freedom.

It was here,
near the southern corner of the field,
where she saw the great snowy owl.
He dipped down to her level,
scrutinizing her
with piercing yellow eyes.
She felt both fear and amazement
as the great white body
brushed near her face,
close enough to see the black spots
on his white feathers.

Now we roll the darkness
with our feet
into the fire,
amazed by the brilliance
of the light.

14 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

Drawing by Phoebe Wood

Phoebe Wood is our granddaughter, and her grandmother believes this is modern and classic in the same breath.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized