Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Legend of the Pearl Dragon

author’s note:

If irritants create pearls, then I must have a lot pearls within me.


As a child I was told
of a perfect pearl
festering in the belly
of a gold-plated dragon
at the bottom of the ocean.

Because I wanted to be a hero
I waited until I came of age
then waded out from the shallows
and dove down into the deep blue...

but to my disappointment
when I landed in the floor muck
I found only a giant bullfrog--
cold as a corpse
and to all appearances,

I could hardly believe
such a loggy lump of inertia
might actually hold a pearl

yet when I examined its dull gray eyes
I thought I detected a deep glow
brightening for a moment then gone.

So I committed to the dirty job
of climbing down
into that murky buggy belly
to dig, to dredge
through the massive rotted morass

where my gung-ho bravado soon died
of boredom and disgust.

But what this task really required
was the patient tedious work ethic
of an ant.

Yes, I realize my determination
might better be described as stubbornness

and my endurance as extra energy to burn

and my ambition as a mere foolish dream...

but through these three qualities
I've discovered my strength--

maybe that's the real pearl
       of the ocean dragon story.

Even so, I am not ready to stop searching...

but though I'm still driven,
occasionally, I need to encourage myself
so I'll imagine my triumphant return:

when I proudly display the pearl's light
and tell all children gathered 'round:
kids, I won this prize
by wrestling with a dragon.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

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