The Unlucky Dragon
HUNGRY, sputtering over the tree tops,
Not landing yet, for there might be food
Over the next rise. There: a rabbit
Wondering at your shadow, so smoky and vast.
Grab it: just a slightly larger than usual reach
Of your massive haunch. The rabbit is only a tidbit
In your cavernous mouth. A single seed
Would feel the same to a man.
Man. What a monstrous little verminous creature.
Him and his spears; him and his maidens.
Man, who would not share his babies with the hungry lords of the skies
No matter how many he had.
Man, who makes fire, too, but not in the least magically,
and far more efficiently than you do.
Theif. Braggart. Wretch.
And now he wants to fly as well?
It was your sister told you
thirteen days ago at Midnight Flight
when seventy dragons or more sailed together
far above the terrestrial divisions of hunting territory.
Man has devised some way by which to glide the same air currents
that bear you and your kind aloft.
Did he think you would share?
Your sister is clever. She understands how men gather,
or make their slaves gather, thousands of stalks of plants
and how these become, in the course of time,
in the course of innumerable twists of man’s scrabbling little feathery claws
Wings. Wings for boats, wings for windows, wings for maiden’s hair
Wings on the back of a man who wants to shield himself from the sun
(O holy, most holy high Lord of the Blue Vault!
What a wretch man is, to scrabble at plants
till he makes himself a coward’s shield
from the glorious King of Fire!)
Wings for every purpose, and now at last
Wings to fly with. You should have seen it coming.
Does it amuse you, little Man (you ask)
That I must bump my noble head on your towers?
That you must annoy my hide with trees that you have made sharp
Does it seem reason that you will not give me your babies?
What are they more than beasts in the grass?
Must I now bank aside for you as you swim in my wind?
Wind that was my own,
For it was the only field vast enough
To be my home.
When you next land, you will die.
You haven not eaten enough in the past month,
cornered by your sisters into this
Man-infested hunting territory,
To rise from the ground
one more time.
There, two hawks quarreling.
They will not notice;
they will hardly mind;
You will settle their quarrel forever.
But no, like man these little specks will not
do you homage. They fly away.
And now at last you come to it.
Here, on the outer edge of your territory.
On a hill, no less,
to tempt you!
You know, you know – your sister knows that you know.
It was a joke for her to warn you.
Not as if you did not realize
What would happen to you if you should try to take
a meal from this little platter on the hill.
There: Trees, sharpened in deception.
A platter swarming with fragrant little beasts,
Cattle of man.
Each would be almost a mouthful to you.
How pleasant to die thus,
with a mouthful of beef
seared and smoking and being cooked
within your mouth as you ate it!
(Oh, the crunching bonelets…)
Yes, they may kill you
but as they do it they must give up so much!
Now you swoop down, now you do not think
now you only feel and hope and desire.