Dragon - Poem by David McLansky
In a cavern, deep remote,
Across a bilious, burning moat,
In my relentless bent to wander
In search of marvels on which to ponder,
Did I find a sleeping beast
'mid scattered bones as from a feast,
Whose very breath did reek of meat,
Of fatted lambs and spitted treats,
But then I heard an eerie wail
From the snores the beast exhaled,
For in his breath of smoke and fire
Rang dulcid tones as from a choir.
Stood I agape, stunned, transfixed,
As his sleeping tongue did flick,
As he yawned, he made such sounds
They lulled me leeward to the ground.
Such honeyed music did I hear
It awoke in me a dreadful fear,
Such music meant to tantalize,
And then in sleep to hypnotize.
Was this the way the beast did conquer,
To mesmerize into a stupor,
Then to seize its languid prize,
With talons locked and greedy eyes;
At which the victim would awake
And then in horror try to break
The grasp that pulled him to its maws,
Its sparkling teeth, its steaming jaws.
I fought the music as it lulled my senses
Fought it as it quelled defenses,
For if this whisper could so detain
My very limbs with its refrain,
What resistence would I have to its power
Full awake in echoing bower.
Slowly made I backward steps,
Lest I wake the beast that slept,
Recoiling from the foul breath stench,
With my teeth and fingers clenched,
I backed my way from out this cave
Feeling as though my mind depraved.
At last I breathed the fresh night air,
Then blocked the tunnel to his lair;
Piling stone on stone to build a wall
To deafen man to this enthrall;
I trapped the beast within his cave,
Insuring more than I be saved;
For when the dragon flaps its wings
And voices psalms like cherubims,
The mind grows drowsy with such hymns
And sated souls may then give in.
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