Galleon Beast

(One of my sculptures)

One stole a golden sunset,
One bled a fallen tree,
One wove and spun from clouds a net
And caught a storm at sea.

And with many a magic rhyme
And many a magic dance
To tame the flight of time
And command the fall of chance,

They made a powerful potion
And fed it to the earth.
The hills heaved with a motion
Like a mother giving birth.

Their clamour reached the stallion
That lives beyond the skies;
The prow-head of a galleon
With sea-pearls for his eyes.

He rent the veil of paradise
And lit the labouring land
With incandescent fire and ice
Beyond mortal command.

And in that glow of other worlds
A shadow touched the earth:
The Galleon-Beast (whose eyes are pearls
Of inestimable worth)

Descended to our homely realm
To behold the magic spell,
A fairy sailor at the healm
A-ringing his silver bell.

And in the ground a chasm grew,
And forth a serpent fled;
His scales shone like dawn-lit dew,
His eyes were rubies, red.

“We summon thee, we summon thee!”
Exultant voices sang,
And into England, raging free
With fury, flame and fang

Unleashed the deadly Basalisk,
Who turned upon the three.
In hubris they saw not their risk
And did not think to flee.

Those very ones who called this curse
Met death between his jaws,
For they had mocked the universe
And scorned her sacred laws.

And when the hapless three were gone,
Destroyed, devoured, then
The demon monster slithered on,
To darken the world of men.

But as for human haunts he turned,
An arrow from the sky
Like a comet blazed and burned
And pierced his ruby eye.

The fairy archer kissed his bow
And spread the galleon sail,
Leaving the corpse of the vanquished foe
A-writhing its poisonous tail.

And back beyond the cloudless blue
The Galleon Beast still flies
Alive at the hand of his fairy crew,
With pride in his pearly eyes.

C. 1998

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