Seven Ways of Looking at a Dragon

The dragon has a scaled body.
What must it be like
to be protected all the time?

What does it hunt
with its claws?
What flesh does it rend
with its teeth?

Or does it live
on air, earth,
fire, or water?

That sound I hear
as I fall asleep –
is that dragon song?

Do dragons curl up
at night surrounded by clouds?
Or do they sleep upside-down
underwater, like whales?

How must it feel
to have such a long tail?
Do they chase their own tails
when they are young?

Are they born wise?
Or do they learn
like us?

/ / /

This is a poem started last Thursday in my classroom, and finished this morning. Susan Sibbet, of California Poets in the Schools, was teaching a poetry writing lesson, inspired by our talk of dragons, connected with the new lunar new year, and using Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and Steven Siu’s “7 Ways of Looking at a Butterfly” as inspiration for form.


It was a nightmare, a dream
that brought me awake, afraid, wishing
instantly that it was beyond recall,

But my brain insisted on recalling
those images of that horror-dream,
mocking my hopes and feeble wishes.

The truth is that time will twist that wish
and when my memories, my trusted recall
fades, I will want again that fearful dream:

That broken dream I’ll wish I could recall.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the Tritina prompt at Poetic Asides.

Wordle 40 (untitled)

Boys run in my family.
I have a brother, two sons,
and too many male cousins.

But I do have sisters,
the women who teach with me.

Bridget, who can scatter
clumps of gossipy girls
with a scalding look that leaves them
ashen and ashamed,
their whispering dead,
their half-truths now shards
on the faded blacktop.
She should be a government agent,
crushing rebellions.
Perhaps she already is.

Her students are lucky.

Maria urges me on
with her hallway comments
and her questions
about my latest story,
so I know she’s been lurking on my blog.
She herself has a knack for visual art;
her animal drawings are charming,
inviting everyone in to her classroom,
making visitors feel welcome.
Surely that is an instinct;
I don’t think it can be taught.

Her students are lucky.

I’m lucky too.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to Wordle 40 at The Sunday Whirl.