A Journey with Dragons’ Breath

When I discussed Jo Bell’s poem Hoary Alison a few days ago, I should also have mentioned her New Year-launched project, “52”, a website to encourage poets – of whatever ability/experience – to WRITE at least one poem for every week of this coming year. Being as it’s Jo’s initiative, the themes are well worth pursuing and the sample/prompt poems are a fabulous mix of thought-provoking poetry.

There is a 52 FaceBook group for FaceBook-using poets to join if they wish. It’s a “closed” group, which means than non-members cannot see what is posted there and nor can Google searches find anything (so contents are “unpublished” if you might want to polish and submit your poems to magazines or competitions). However, at the moment, there are more than 250 members in the group; at one poem per week each (even if not everyone participates), that’s a lot of poems to assimilate.

Week 2’s theme was to look at a journey; so many possibilities in response.

I went for a walk up and around the Malvern’s North Hill. I’ve been contemplating writing something about the brothel that may or may not have existed in Happy Valley but, looking out over the frosty vale, my “dragon breath” steaming in the chill air, I thought of the poem below.

I give you two versions: yesterday’s immediate response to my walk and then today’s edited revision so you can decide if I have improved or spoiled the poem. It’s still not quite what I intend but, now it is technically published – visible to anyone here – it’ll do.

Frost

Rampaging dragons don’t
exist, except in hills’

mythology. Yet quantum,
existential beasts persist,

aestivating beneath beech
tree roots, in broken concrete

gaps or capped colliery shafts
until snapped awake

by biting cold. Overnight
they stretch shrivelled wings –

hear grey scales slip-scritch
through holly thickets;

hot claws whisper-sizzle
in tarnished puddles;

hiss of close breath
misting this indigo dawn.

 

Freeze

Dragons don’t exist,
except in hills’
mythology. Yet quantum,
existential beasts persist,
aestivating beneath beech
tree roots, in broken concrete
gaps or capped colliery shafts
until snapped awake
by brittle cold.

Overnight
they stretch shrivelled wings:
grey scales slip-scritch
through holly thickets.
Listen, shh: hot claws sizzle,
in burnished puddles,
with a whispered hiss
of close breath
misting this indigo dawn.

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2 Responses to A Journey with Dragons’ Breath

  1. JAM says:

    Heya Foxy. I’m not sure the enjambments work so well when it’s not across stanzas. I think the break between hills’ and mythology is abrupt–maybe put except on its own line and then the rest? I like the Listen bit. Try hiss as hisses (to go with claws, implying multitiude)?

    But I really really like the ideas and execution behind this.

  2. Myfanwy Fox says:

    Excellent suggestions, thank you, JAM. Appreciated.

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