Issue 30 – Hic sunt dracones… part two

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Here Were Dragons
By DS Davidson

Once dragons ruled here
No longer
The poetic beauty of living flame
Overthrown by prosaic utility
The high-flying by the earthbound
The fire gone out of the world
Leaving only memories
Memories that fade with time

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Pytho of Chthon
By Harris Coverley

serpentine figure
fiery herpetology
sweet god of chaos
until felled by Apollo
at the centre of the Earth

dragon-4417431_640Notes on the Unfortunate Extinction of Dragons
By Lee Clark Zumpe

Book 1

Little is known about the mating practices
of the predominant species:
the Welsh Red, for instance, disappeared
before a single nest could be found.

It is generally presumed that females laid eggs
once every two hundred years –
genetics predisposed them to small broods
consisted of no more than six young.

A reliable medieval source, however, reports
on the infamous lindwurm of Klagenfurt:
that beast sired a clan of twenty
two-legged, winged dragons over one century.

Tragically, locals butchered the beast’s offspring,
fearing for the welfare of their farms;
only a handful were said to have survived
the angst-fueled bravado of overzealous knights.

Biologists assert that to maintain a steady population,
to ensure an adequate food source for succeeding generations,
reproduction likely only occurred once or twice
during the ordinary dragon’s life cycle.

For thousands of years, dragons topped the food chain
in each milieu they occupied
they remained untouched by disease;
they knew no competition from rival carnivores.

When finally faced with a threat to their existence
by the emergence of human civilization,
dragons simply lacked the numbers necessary
t
o sustain a prolonged fight against extinction.

Book 2

Dragonologists unanimously lament the scarcity
of skeletal fragments for clinical research:
Unlike comparatively common dinosaur fossils
(which evidentially may
be found in anyone’s backyard twenty feet
beneath the spot where the previous
owners buried their beloved pets),
dragon bones are as hard to find as Atlantean coins,
an unflustered elferingewort and harpy feathers.

Anthropologists studying prehistoric medicine
offer an explanation for the troublesome shortage,
citing excavations in Europe and Asia:
the ancient shaman sought dragon bone
for its alleged healing properties –
moreover, ground into a fine power,
combined with unknown components,
dragon bones yield a rumored fertility tool
coveted as recently as the 17th century.

Recently, dubious reports have circulated –
countries are said to have stockpiled dragon bones,
amassing them in high-security military facilities:
concocted by conspiracy theorists,
stories suggest specialists seek to perfect
All plain unsubstantiated fiction spawned
by paranoid individuals with avid imaginations.

 

Lee’s work has earned several honourable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collections. As entertainment editor for Tampa Bay Newspapers, his work has been recognized repeatedly by the Florida Press Association, including a first place award for criticism in the 2013 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest.

Learn more at http://www.leeclarkzumpe.com

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Dragonslayer
By DJ Tyrer

Ground shudders, shakes, quakes
Mighty dragon devouring
Kingdom helpless falls
Shining sword in hero’s hand
How the mighty are fallen

Originally published in Tigershark issue 19, Autumn 2018

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Two Opinions
By David Edwards

Diptych

Dragons went extinct
not from dragon hunts
(dragonslayer organized)
nor natural selection
nor from climate change
nor from falling stars–
too many, too strange–
but indifference.
Human beings simply found
(capriciousness it appears)
other things around
more fearsome to fear.

Haiku

Dragons never died,
they simply shrank in size. They’re
now called ‘dragonflies’.

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I Know No George…
By Harris Coverley

I know no George…
I do not recognise whom you speak of
So persistently

I was born in the darkness
Before the beginning of time
With Chronos
As he made Aether and Chaos
And the Egg of Phanes

In the chaoskampf I was slain
By a thunder-god barely formed
He the force of Order
Me his counterpart

I ran alongside Huwawa
As Enkidu took his head

They called me Leviathan
When I placed my tail in my mouth
And wrapped it around the pillars of the Earth

Against Zeus I had my myriad heads seared off
And was banished to Tartarus
Like a common Titan

But I know no George
So please don’t ask me again…

Under the Pharaohs I was treated poorly
Spat upon and fettered by the priests
My waxen effigies burned
And forced to lie below the horizon

In old Hindoostan I was struck down
By that usurping Indra
My fortresses destroyed
And my rivers stolen from underneath me

And in my greatest shame:
Beowulf did take his dirty vengeance
And plough his pathetic dagger into me

That killer of an innocent child
And his poor, grieving mother!
Such an immortal disgrace!

But as I say: I know no George
You must be thinking of someone else
And I wish you would cease asking…

Imprisoned now in overblown
And garish heraldry
For all eternity

But still, I shall say a final time:
I know no George, I know no George…

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Lunch
By K. A. Williams

Dragonslayer
Sneaks into a cave
A blast of fire
Toasted slayer
The dragon’s favourite dish

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