Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Bones of Light and Fire"

This poem came out of the March 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] aldersprig. It also fills the "beauty" square in my 1-31-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem is posted in trade for the awesome Megalodon cartoon by [personal profile] redsixwing. It belongs to the series A Conflagration of Dragons.

"Bones of Light and Fire"

Dragons can die:
this is a thing the Six Races know.

They can die of old age,
though nobody can guess
how many millennia that might take.

They can be killed,
mostly by each other
in disputes over mates
or territory or treasure.

They leave behind
a landscape poisoned
so that nothing wholesome
can grow there,
and a body so toxic
that no scavenger will touch it.

But the legends tell
what to do with a dragon's corpse,
how to bury it deep under ash and clay
so that no one can stumble over it
to their doom.

Only the oldest tales
whisper what happens next --
the change that comes over dead flesh
until all that remains is beauty,
bones of light and fire,
scales of precous metal,
eyes of pearl.

It takes time beyond mortal lives,
but time passes, it does.

There are those, now,
who are looking
for the dragon graves
of an earlier dawn.

* * *


In this setting, I have compared dragons to volcanoes. People usually think in terms of destruction, but volcanoes also have many benefits, one of which is jewel formation. Remember that even though dragons can be devastating, they are a natural part of their world's ecosystem.

Opalization is another mode of gem creation, in which fossil bones or shells are slowly replaced with minerals. Because dragons require large amounts of rare metals and minerals, their bodies consistently generate precious deposits after death. It just takes a really long time.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science, weblit, writing
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