Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "As We Have Created It"

This poem came out of the April 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman for The Magp'cat Duchess of Filkhaven, [personal profile] capriuni, and [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron. It also fills the "gentle monster" square in my 4-1-16 card for the Archetypal Bingo fest. This poem has been selected in an audience poll as the free epic for the June 6, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the $200 goal. It belongs to the series A Conflagration of Dragons.

"As We Have Created It"

I am a dragon, but
that does not mean
I must be a monster.

This is the truth to which I cling,
the truth that I seek to make
as my claws dig my den.

I do not have to be so.

I am a dragon, but
that does not mean
I must do the same
as other dragons do.

They may lay waste the cities
of the Six Races and eat the flesh
of thoughtful beings and rut upon
those who do not want them
and watch the world burn.

I do not have to do likewise.

I am a dragon, but
that does not mean
I must think as they do.

They believe the world was made
for their pleasure, to use and abuse
as they will, and then sleep away
the centuries beneath its ashes.

I do not have to make the same bed.

The world exists as we have created it,
a product of our thoughts and our actions.
So to change the world, we must first
change ourselves, and from that
all else will follow in turn.

I may be the first to change,
but definitely not the last.

I watch the Six Races, and
wish that we could be Seven.

Why should it be as it has always been?

There is no advantage for anyone
in all this pillaging and plundering --
as much treasure is wasted as collected.

So I do not hunt the refugees
who struggle to rebuild their lives
from what my kind have done.

Sometimes, they do not chase me.

Sometimes, when the gleaning
has been poor and my body hungers
for metal I cannot find on my own,
I go to a trading post or a market
with a deer in my mouth and see
if anyone will trade it for scrap.

Sometimes, it even works.

Other times, it makes trouble,
but such is the way of the world;
it will not change all at once.

There are those who are willing
to believe that what was
is not the lord of
what will be.

They say that a highway
begins by one person
walking along it.

What would I know of such?

I am a dragon, and
the sky is my highway.

But these people know
more of roads than I,
and so I will heed
their wisdom in this.

Somehow, we will begin
to build a new way between us,
and then the world will be
as we have created it.

They call me Shalmaneser,
which can mean peace or
retribution, and I am not
certain which they intended.

It can also mean
one who is tied, and
I suppose I am confined
by these new ideas that
forbid me from doing what
the other dragons do --

but if I am bound,
I am determined that
it will be by lines of
my own making.

* * *


Monsters are most often defined by grotesque physical form, but can also be defined by abhorrent action.

The behavior of dragons and other mythical beasts would often be described in terms of psychological disorder for a sentient being, such as narcissism or psychopathy.

Peacemaking spans a variety of traits and skills. There are ways to teach peace skills and be more peaceful yourself.

Shalmaneser [N] [S] peace; tied; chained; perfection; retribution
-- Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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