Flying foreign coils unfurling, thoughts caught
In transit, grave sages, monstrous serpents
Forever ruminating, wanderers.
Dragons are winged paradox—satanic
Horrors as children’s allies, rain bringers
As creators of drought. They don’t exist,
But when they breathe, we can see the results.
Every dragon dreams an aspect of fact,
An aspect that suffers for proving false,
A necessary enemy of myth,
The truly unknown, hic sunt dracones.
There are those dragons that know we love them,
Want them, draw them, tell them, sail them, sell them,
And there are their mysterious sources,
The solitary dragons, ten in all.
~The dragon of random surfaces hides
An intricate order, a treasure map
Among its scales, stable but on the brink
Of rippling gold muscular destruction.
~The dragon by the name of Azazel,
Inventor of weapons and cosmetics,
A wilderness in culture that culture
Wished back into wilderness, one thick book
Crawling along, library still attached,
A giant sand worm churning, returning
To swallow every sin-filled scapegoat sent,
Dwells in starred deserts, docile between meals.
~Wavlen, the dragon that lives in night’s sea,
The dragon that is the sea, the ocean
Whose teeth and scales alike are waves, nothing
Much but waves, has anchored more than one god,
Cannot be slaughtered or subdivided,
But rejoins its waves after every cut
And ruins every sword, Leviathan
Of everything, infinite finities.
~The dragon of invisible masses
Hides in spinning galaxies and snickers,
Too dark to be seen in the brightest fires
Burning quanta can make, a fantasy
For the most serious philosophers.
Oh, to find that invisible dragon,
The dark that holds the cosmos together,
The black pulse puffing out our universe!
~The dragon of answers gnaws its own tail,
Consumes its own ejecta, fresh questions:
Ourobouros, loneliest of dragons,
Metabolic solipsist, life living.
~The forest dragon named Humbaba guards
The cedars from the wars. It hugs the trees
And blunts the axe, and if the god who rides
The cloud is thundering in the mountains,
You may be sure it’s Humbaba he fights,
Monstrous Humbaba still resisting him,
Humbaba brought low by a godlet king
And companion, first knights to slay dragons.
~ The farmers’ dragon named Long, glittering
Serpent, horizontal asterism,
The river dragon swimming the seasons
All night, announcing the spring and autumn,
Much prettier than Litan, much less fierce,
Still watery although composed of stars
For scales, night for limbs, xian mount, auspicious
Peregrine, shines on fields and blesses them,
Long, the torch, the boat, the parade, the proud
And cheerful cousin of the crocodile,
Dragon of cornucopia, culture’s
Colorful haul, yang to Azazel’s yin.
~Treefold, three-headed, trialist dragon,
Fierce, flames and fury, the dragon of theft,
The one who swoops down on battening sheep,
Hideous, always up for innocence,
Never dreams and is never the dreamer,
Is the dream, rainbow-scaled, studded with teeth,
The creator and destroyer serpent,
Sleep itself, whose eggs hatch selves, ghosts, and souls.
~The dragon of light, the enveloper,
Ancestor of every known form of fire,
Blinds its victims, who are its worshippers,
With the obscuring gift of prophecy.
The body of light consists of angels.
It rises like a ladder in the night
And is the dragon most responsible
For concealing its invisible kin.
~ Last, the evasive dragon of enough,
Which neither flies nor swims nor crawls from caves,
Is not a colorful form in the sky,
Not a pattern in the stars, not a light,
Not discoverable in underworlds,
Not enveloping, not invisible,
Without hunger, without any answers,
Nothing, the empty set, which is enough.