Monday, October 31, 2016

The Black Deck Tales

The Black Deck
David Sharpness

Copyright © 2016 David Sharpness
All rights reserved.

for Liz
Above The Aleian Plain
 I hang on to Pegasus,
 Your winged horse.
 I'm no Bellerophon,
 And in your sky
 I dare go no higher.
 We're hovering here like a Kite,
 So nearer.
 I plead Euripides' case.
 He was no Epicurean
 To argue your non existence,
 Nor I.


Of Black Dragons
And Black Ships
 Upright, the tall heels
 Make you soldier straight
 Patrolling to shanghai
 Vandals vagrants
 An occasional fool
 For your school.
Black Deck (or Pirate Queen)
 It's the Black Deck
 On occasion reddened
 That sails on nights of pale Moon
 You panther pace
 In your crew's dream.
First Mate
 First mate
 Among the lonely I rate.
 Late, at your command,
 Pirates stand.
 I bring them to muster,
 A shy cluster.
 They blush and redden
 At your attention.
China Sailors
 Your Black Decked Ship
 With the neon sails
 Could some night tie up
 At the Village's boat docks.
I hadn't thought.
 One doesn't
 When at Sea.
 For the crew,
 No shore leave,
The Black Ship
 Keats imagined your Black Ship,
 Then fled overboard
 For dry land...
 Too scary.
We Are
 We are a single minded crew,
 Simple minded too.
 The Planets and Stars reflect,
 Plot on the polished Black Deck
 Our bow's direction.
 Ask the Ravens
 In the neon rigging
 That keep us scrubbing.
 Each has the same answer,
 Ours too.
Her Black Ship
 The black light running lanterns
 Shine across the polished Black Deck,
 Down the black hull
 On the phosphorescent sea,
 The mast, aglow with corposant,
 The neon sails taught with wind
 From the arctic dark winter,
 Rolling clouds
 Thundering with lightning webbing,
 Ebony dolphins
 Chase the crimson prow bow waves,
 The denizens of the benthic
 Salute the passage of her keel.
 Will we fall out of favor?
 Each watch with cautioned steps
 Patrols the black ice slick deck
 Rolling side to side
 On cold oblivion.
 Did I tell you
 It is a mixed crew,
 Siblings of sorts?
What Can I Say?
 A long voyage's day to day,
 What can I say?
 Today's tale?
 An unfinished book
 Put away.
 Bring you common things?
 Like the cannon fodder underlings?
 Rather approach empty handed
 Than that!
I Hadn't Thought
 I hadn't thought to come this far
 But now that we are
 Ever more simultaneously
 Closely distant,
From The Shadows
 From the shadows,
 The siblings
 Cool calculating scrutiny.
 Your lipstick print
 Brings their inspection
 And enquiry.
 This place is full of fear,
 But it appears
 Our arrears
 Require us here.
Night Dive
 Night dives are eternal
 Where a fellow trades feet
 For flippers and mermaids
 Free of fishy jealousies.
Your Home
 Your home, where
 News will never reach,
 Academics never teach,
 Holy never preach,
 Your crew ever runs to
 Over every beach,
 From the dictionary look up check:
 May 22, 2016,
 Word of the Day,
 A lady love, sweetheart.
 Increase my vocabulary?
 For that I have desire's sighs,
 Dilemma is the translated reception,
 Another windmill!
I Can't Fathom
 I can't fathom
 Lawyer talk
 Doctor talk
 Mathematical talk
 And such,
 Precision like
 The engineers use
 To transport us about.
 Any wonder I take to your Black Deck
 Where we swear a lot
 And giggle at our own jokes?
 When the stiffly clad,
 With their elaborate languages of doom,
 Try to come up the plank
 We pull away from that shore quick!
 Oh, the Black Deck is for dancing,
 And my words like to dance,
 Rock back and forth,
 Twirling around spinning,
 Shinnying up the mast
 To the very top
 With you,
 Swaying beneath the Stars and Moon.
Cinderella Dreams
 The Black Deck is always moving,
 And while on our knees
 As we scrub and polish and clean
 We can see before our very noses
 All the Cinderella dreams.
 On the Black Deck,
 Work done,
 We cross legged huddle
 And play cards
 With a Black Deck, of course.
 No king but Clotho
 No queen but Lachesis
 No jack but Atropos.
 The joker we call Pip.
 Queequeg always deals.
 Leave me alone with your Ship,
 And I'll take it,
 A la Jack Sparrow.
Minuet in G
 What instruments might we be?
 Watteau's violin for me?
 You, Madeline's cello?
 All the Seven Seas will hear our tones,
 All the electric dreamers.
 Minuet in G?
 Yes, surely,
No Hoods No Colors
 It's a gentlemen's agreement
 Not to assassinate one another,
 And sit at a round table,
 No hoods, no colors,
 Just hard long looks.
 Our agreement too!
 We relax on her marlin snout to tail fin
 Black Deck,
 Mirrored to eternity,
 No hoods, no colors,
 Just hard long looks.
 Overboard, just for a swim,
 We dive in droves,
 Smiling, dying with laughter.
 Quixotic, I'd say I am,
 And you my Dulcinea,
 My knightly acting
 Having convinced me,
 Creating my own heraldry
 That your genuine noble Knights
 Find amusing,
 I hear a Dragon nearby,
 "Just a windmill!" they say,
 Hmmph, what do they know.
Really Really
 Anchored, the night swells phosphor
 And slap slap the hull,
 I rest by the rail and thought talk,
 Commensurate with the fish:
 'We're a crew of romantic orphans,
 You know?,
 And the navigators interpreting
 The Black Deck
 Haven't a clue where we're going.
 Hard to tell Captain
 We're really really lost,
 Her Black Ship on a course
 To nowhere in particular
 However really really she's assured.

 Pip with his concertina
 Entertains us,
 Yours and your siblings' steps
 Find his rhythms.
 Oh, where would we be
 Without his concertina?
 Where would Pip be?
 Quiet, below the Black Deck peeling potatoes?
 Where I would be
 Absent you.
Parrots Come
Oh, the Parrots came back!
And dislodged the Gulls and Ravens
From the neon rigging
With their riotous color
 And raucous talk!
Parrots Go
 The Parrots left,
 So short a visit,
 As usual,
 And the Gulls and Ravens back,
 With their usual,
 And we back bent over the Black Deck,
 Doing the usual.
Making Me
 I look in these Black Mirrors
 And I'm not even sure it's even me there.
 Then again, before,
 I wasn't sure either,
 But at least then on the other side
 There wasn't someone making me!
  Deal Queequeg!
 Deal Queequeg!
 Just deal the Black Cards.
 I feel lucky.
 And wipe that hungry smirk
 Off your tattooed face!
Bucket Of Fish
 You pull them in
 On multiple hooks
 Like mackerel at the end of the pier,
 And flippity flop,
 Unhooked into the bucket.
 They look exhausted,
 Even belly up dead!
 For now
 I'm content with you
 And you with I.
 I can imagine though
 With what glee
 At some misstep by me
 Your associates would help me out
 Your Black Glass Door
 In the day is grey gloom eternal,
 The Black Ship pales,
 A faded ghost in the great fog
 Over all the ocean.
 From the shore,
 The constant roar,
 Workaday waves
 Again again again.
 The neon sails and rigging sag,
 Dimmed, dripping cold dew.
 The Ravens and Gulls
 Colorless, the Parrots'
 Visits quiet quiet too.
 Last night, where were you?
 Oh! A surprise!
 Your bejeweled
 Black glass saxophone
 With gems from many lands
 And keys to many doors
 Your jazz hands open.
The Black Window
 Through the barred window
 I could see a sail boat on a lake.
 Eyes closed,
 I'd see you.
 The blind can tell the tale
 Not having seen there
 With the seeing's cares.
Black Tombstone
 No sooner I write this
 Than I'm beneath a
 Black Tombstone
 From the Black Tombs
 You can find their writings
 And recorded selves.
 On illuminated stages,
 Surrounded by darkness,
 You can see them
 Seemingly alive,
 As buried too, I.
 Buried alive,
 The panicked scratch and claw
 The Black Tombs' walls.
 It's dark in them beyond compare.
 A small candle is all they need
 To find the door still open.
New Development
 Piled in heaps,
 Black Tomb Stones
 Removed for development:
 Such the demand for new real estate.
Black Soil
 Here, I'm not much good at this,
 But I've planted carrots and radishes
 In this rich Black Soil.
 I hope you find them delicious.
Black Crickets
 Black Crickets in the Black Light Night
 Finish singing in the daylight.
 Click off
 Click off
 Click off.
Like Ishmael
 Like Ishmael,
 I perch atop the Black Ship's mast,
 Far below,
 The Black Deck Black Light lit,
 The neon sails and rigging
 Glimmering like the Northern Lights,
 Lightning graced filigree sunders
 The dark clouds lowering,
 White caps on the Black Ocean
 The crew below singing,
 Siblings all dancing,
 The Parrots all raucous:
 Cold wind driven
 The Black Ship galloping forward.
 I hold steadfast to the rocking mast
 And your hand..
 How can I be jealous?
 They are all ghosts like me,
 Shades of what we can be,
 My entreat.
Blood Slick
 In the fog shrouded morning,
 The lookout spots a blood slick
 On the Black Sea.
 The Black Ship maneuvers close,
 Torn carcasses
And moaning wounded,
Dragons' work.
 "Tend to the wounded,
 Tend to the dead with our prayers,
 We sail on."
 "Aye, Captain!" the crew as one responds.
 The card you receive
 From Queequeg's Black Deck
 Is yours for keeps,
 As soon enough
 Queequeg will have you neat.
Ned, Ned Land
 Overboard again from the fantail,
 Treading in the black water reddened.
 “Oh, a survivor nearby!
 What is your name?” Ishmael says.
 “Ned, Ned Land.' Ned says.
 “Odd name for a fellow afloat.
Call me Ishmael. 
 Might you be able to toss a harpoon?'
 Says Iahmael.
 “You might say that,
  I'm infamous among the Squids.” Ned says.
 “This watery treadmill exercise won't be long,
 The Black Ship will turnabout soon, pick us up,
 They can't get far without me,
 And can use you.
 Welcome.'” says Ishmael.
 Below the Black Deck
 There's always a clatter,
 A speculative chatter,
 From the bones in the
 Catacombs' alcoves
 As the Black Ship
 Rocks and Rolls.
Tour Guide
 Along the Boulevard,
 One passes these Black Glass Doors:
 OTI: Open To Interpretation:
 A not to be missed location
 For seeking solitude's inspirations.
 A 'once upon a time' Town!
 A nickname too
 For my Town.
 One has had to see
 Bodie's Boot Hill,
 Her ornate high wheeled Black Hearse,
 Heard the Black Piano that always plays,
 And the wind moaning tumbleweed streets
 Coyote walks, sings
 To understand.
 Here, above the pearlescent wake,
 By the fantail rail,
 Take my hand.
 We can see where we have been.
 The view from the Black Ship's bow?
 Too scary.
 Our dreams
 Our homes?
 Everyone's house?
 I'll ever
 Never ever see you
 This is
Lateral Lines
 A rare day, not often
 The fog lifts, rifted apart
 By sunshine on a
 Blue blue ocean.
 The Black Ship
 Like an obsidian spear point
 On horizon to horizon
 Lapizlazuli silver glittered.
 Pip is playing his concertina,
 Ned his guitar,
 Watteau his violin,
 Madeline her cello.
 Lateral lines below
 Swirl and shoal.
 The crew about Queequeg
 Exchanging Black Cards.
 Ishmael at the Red Wheel
 With Dulcinea.
 "A fine day, Captain!"
 She smiles.
 Ishmael considers,
 "And as you say,
'Never trust a blue sky day.'"
 "Yes," says Dulcinea,
 "Never ever."
From The Mast Head
 From the mast head
 The lookout sights a craft,
 Long, slender,
 Once many oared
 But now adrift
 With a solitary oarsman
 Under the shade of a bamboo and paper umbrella.
 The Black Ship warps aside.
 The umbrella lowers,
 And an inquisitive friendly face
 With eyes squinting off into space,
 "Ichi!" Dulcinea exclaims.
 Brought aboard,
 Ichi is invited to Dulcinea's cabin.
 "Ichi! Your craft?" Ishmael inquires.
 "Oh!  It will find its own way to Hawaii!"
Ichi smiles.
 From the masthead
 The lookout sights
 A bulge in the ocean's surface
 From something submerged
 Rapidly approaching.
 And a second bulge not far behind
 With a roar from under the Black Ship's bow
 A Black Dragon surfaces,
 Takes wing,
 And in a moment gone.
 The pursuer nowhere to be seen.
 "Lower the sails." Ichi suggests.
 For thirty days and nights
 The Black Ship drifts
 As Ichi listens to some strange creature
 Beneath the Black Ship's keel.
 "Ready yourselves!" Ichi calls out.
 A tarnished bronze craft
With rows of rusted iron scales and horns,
And two bulging 'eyes'
 Surfaces aside the Black Ship.
 The crew at the railings in wonderment.
 "I know the craft." Ned Land speaks up,
"Having been aboard her of late. 
The dead and the wounded
You pulled from the blood slick sea
My shipmates, part of her crew. 
 Nautilus she's known by,
 Nemo's craft. 
 Mobiles n mobili."
 From the masthead
 The lookout watched
 The wounded of the Nautilus crew,
 Now recovered, return.
 "Wait!"  Ishmael calls to the last to depart,
"We're shorthanded,
 And you have the look
Of one who has traveled far. 
 What is your name?"
 "Dana, Richard Henry Dana.," the crewman says.
 Ismael says,
 "You're with us."
 From the masthead
 The lookout can't make out
 What Queequeg is about
 Guarding a lump under a
 Tarpaulin on the Black Deck
 With his harpoon.
 "Give it a poke, Queequeg." Ishmael suggests.
 "Hey!" says a tall bookish looking fellow
Jumping out from under the tarpaulin.
 "I was reading."
 The Black Deck pearlescing where
 The tarp shaded it, fading in the sunlight.
 "And who are you?" Ishmael asks.
 "Melville, Herman Melville."
 Queequeg sets the tip of his harpoon
 Against Melville's cheek.
 Ishmael smiles,
 "A tattoo for Herman, a small one,
 A whale. 
 He can read the Black Deck Tales."
 Even from the masthead
 The lookout can hear
 Queequeg and three of the crew,
 Usual sorts, shirtless,
 Laughing and joking,
 Sharing Queequeg's pipe,
 Sharing body art,
 Some of which came by natural like,
 Acquired in scrapes with creatures of the sea.
 Ishmael standing nearby, smiling,
 As the one with a wide grin,
 And a missing front tooth, relates a tale.
 "I thought you'd all been eaten."
 Ishmael says.
 "Mermaids rescued us, Chief!
 Now we're on Queequeg's menu!"
 Queequeg smiles,
Pearlescent teeth.
The Cephalopods
 Two long tentacles
 From the Giant Black Squid
 Beneath the black waves
 Waved about the masthead, and Ned,
 Leaning over the Black Ocean
 From the Black Ship listing,
 Heavily laden.
 The Black Ocean surface
 Roiled and swarmed
 With lesser black and red
 Enormous squids and octopus.
 From the masthead,
 Ned had been distracted
 From sighting ice flows and bergs
 By the Cephalopods' approach
 And forewarned the crew.
 Beneath battened hatches,
 The crew now waited
 As the Cephalopods commanded the Black Deck.
 For hours the standoff continued,
 Suction cupped arms
Searching each gap and crevice.
 And it was cold, light rain slush snow falling,
 A breeze making the frozen sails knock,
 Icicles extending longer
And longer from the rigging.
 Ned's hands numb and painful.
 'Enough of this!" says Ned,
 And he reaches for a rope,
 Swings from the masthead to the Black Deck,
 Avoiding the surprised tentacles.
 Ice and snow clatter onto the Black Deck,
 The Cephalopods scatter,
 As Ned crashes through the rigging,
 Lands upright and grabs a harpoon.
 The Cephalopods pause, consider,
 And one by one retreat
 Over the sides to the black waves.
 Snow begins to fall heavily,
 The Black Ship returns to upright
 Even keeled.
 Ned pounds on a hatch,
 "Come on up,
 What are you, moles?"
 The crew gather about Ned in the snow,
 And all, all a sudden,
 Stagger to keep their balance
 As the Black Ship lists once more
 With the Giant Black Squid draped over one side.
 Arms surround,
About to embrace the crew,
Stoic, silent.
Nothing said
But everything read
And a mutual salute.
The Giant Black Squid
Slipped softly
Back into the Black Sea.
On The Longest Day
 On the longest day of a summer sea,
An orange full Moon just rising,
The lookout from the masthead,
Swaying above the Black Ship peaceful,
Sights the Black Dragon Flight,
Dark pack from the dark northern horizon
Nether Side
 Below the Black Deck
 The crew is entranced.
 On the low ceiling,
 The Black Deck's
 Nether side as it were,
 A painting is taking shape
 From brushstrokes of one of the crew.
 Nearby, another crew artist
 With the more popular effort.
 No ordinary brushes they use,
 The bristles like chameleons,
 And at each soft point's touch
 The Black Deck responds
 And depicts a tale.
 Ishmael comes below to see
 What's about.
 Taken with admiration,
 He councils the crew,
 "Work needs your eyes too,
 Don't make a habit of viewing these tales
When work's to do."
 "Who are they?" he questions the crew.
 "French!" a crewman answers.
 "Oh, from the Nautilus.
 You two, what are you names?"
 "Delacroix, one word, three syllables,
 Rhymes with Ha!" says Delacroix.
 "And you who can barely reach?" says Ishmail.
 "Fragonard, one word..." Fragonard begins to say.
 "From the North,
The Black Dragon Flight!!",
 From above,
 The masthead lookout's warning...
 "All hands on the Black Deck!"
 Ishmael commands.
 The crew all reach above their heads,
 And where their hands touch,
 The Black Deck pearlesces,
 Assigning each their combat orders,
 The Black Ship's battle design.
Quasimodo could not have done it better,
Ichi, with Dulcinea under one arm,
Slid down the rope,
The towing tether to his slender craft
Still behind the Black Ship.
Dulcinea quiet, under an enchantment.
Ichi gently laid her below the gunnels,
With the oars, Ichi stroked the black waves,
Now even blacker
From the Cephalopods' released inks beneath.
Cephalopods and Nautilus
Battling Black Dragons submerged,
The black waves turning red with blood.
 Quixote looked distraught beyond distraught.
 "Have you found her?"
 Ishmael asks.
 "Everywhere I've looked, she's not aboard."
 "Here, take the Red Wheel.
 It's suspicious, Ichi is missing too."
 Overlooking the pearlescent wake
 From the Black Ship's stern,
 Ishmael finds Ichi's slender craft gone.
 "Dulcinea!" sighs Quixote.
Above The Black Ship
 Above the Black Ship,
 Black Dragons soared,
 While below they swam,
 Battling the Cephalopods and Nautilus.
 Around the Black Ship
The Black Ocean crenelated,
 Lightning streaked,
 The Black Ship calling
On the powers of the black waves,
 The charged air,
 The dark lowering clouds.
 Any Dragon that dared to descend in the gloom
 Was struck by corposants
Shooting out from the mastheads,
 And destroyed in a lightning burst.
 Many Dragons tried,
 And all failed,
 Littering the Black Ocean,
 Joining Dragons torn asunder
 By the Cephalopods and Nautilus beneath.
 The Black Ship floated in carnage,
 The sea reddened,
 Glinting in the lightning flashes.
 With a great roar,
 The Black Dragon Flight assembled,
 And descended as one on the Black Ship.
 Each of the crew, stationed, readied,
 Waited patient,
 And at Ishmael's command,
 Flung all their harpoons.
 The Dragons reeled,
 The air itself guided
 And hurried on each harpoon to its mark,
 Not a single Dragon reached the Black Ship,
 And a sudden, the Dragons left off,
 What remained gathered,
 And retreated North whence they came.
 "That was too easy,'  smiles Ishmael,
“Something is afoot,
 What are the Dragons up to? 
 Oh, Dulcinea!"
 "One Dragon heads South!"
 The masthead lookout calls out.
 Ishmael looks to the Ravens,
"Go see!" he implores.
Above The Aleian Plain
 I hang on to Pegasus,
 Your winged horse.
 I'm no Bellerophon,
 And in your sky
 I dare go no higher.
 We're hovering here like a Kite,
 So nearer.
 I plead Euripides' case.
 He was no Epicurean
 To argue your nonexistence,
 Nor I.
What To Do
Your sibling has me alone
What to do
What to do
That part of me
Knows just what to do
Without regard for
My heart's longing for you
Who are over there,
Arms around someone else.
What to do,
Now, am I no one to you?
I'll not entertain that
And make
I'm no one to you
Then you're no one to me.
That's just not true!
Truth Be Told
Truth be told
I came through your
Black Glass Doors
Just to shake myself loose
From masochistically
Enduring too much
For much too long.
Nothing's changed.
I Would Like The Ocean To Be Green
 'I would like the Ocean to be green
 Not just one green
 But many shades of green
 And I would like the Ocean to be blue
 Not just one blue
 But many shades of blue
 And the shades of blue and green
 Mixed together into every possible tint
 And I would like the surface of the Ocean
 To be like silk
 Gently disturbed by soft breezes now and then
 Making tints
 Of violets and purples
 In with the greens with blues.'
 The Ocean seemed to hear Dulcinea's thought,
 And was just so beneath the morning rising sun,
 And the Ebony Dolphins
 Listened to her singing to them,
 Bobbing, and smiling upwards
 Beside Ichi's long slender craft
 Adrift at the moment,
 As Ichi waved his arms at the Ravens and Gulls
 Perched all along the rails
 And fluttering about.
 "Go away,'re making a mess!”
 They wouldn't listen, 
 And with a cloth Ichi wiped his forehead.
 Dulcinea sang
 Beneath the paper and bamboo umbrella
 "Oh, what is this!" Ichi said,
 And became rock still,
 Head lowered listening,
 Ignoring the Ravens and the Gulls
 Fluttering wings..
 "Oh...a Black Dragon's wings..."
 The Black Dragon that had broke
 From the Black Dragon Flight
 Low, like a black shadow on the sea.
 Ichi hurried to the stern,
 And from storage,
 Found his bow,
 Grabbing an Arrow,
 Which no sooner had he had it nocked,
 He let fly.
 The Dragon loomed large,
 Clawed feet about to snatch Dulcinea,
 But the arrow found its right eye,
 And the Dragon with a roar of pain,
 Plunged into the sea.
 The Ravens and Gulls
 Had retreated high into the sky,
 The Ebony Dolphins gone too,
 Dulcinea quiet.
 She rose up,
Dressed in her black pantaloons,
And maroon blouse,
 Her wide dark eyes enquired
While she tousled her short black hair,
 "What are you about, Ichi?"
 Ichi listened to the waves,
 Trying to hear the submerged Dragon.
 "I made a deal."...still listening.
 "Deal?" Dulcinea asked, curious.
 "For you, and...with...oh!...they're here!"
 The slender craft rocked back and forth
 As the Nautilus
 Surfaced with a wave foam filled explosion aside.
 Nemo poked his head up
 From the opening deck hatch.
 "Quickly, a Dragon's about!" said Ichi.
 Nemo's crew scrambled,
 Loading the slender craft
With jewels, gold,
 Treasures of supreme value,
 All only ballast aboard the Nautilus,
 Taken from ship wrecks of all the Seven Seas. 
 The treasures secured in the slender craft,
 A dozen crew from the Nautilus took their seats
 With long oars newly fashioned
 To replace those lost. 
 Dulcinea needed no further explanation,
 And hopped up on the Nautilus deck,
 "My Dolphins will see you home, Ichi. 
 So long." she said.
 Ichi waved,
 And the powers of the waves
 Joined the long slender craft,
 And Ichi and his new crew rode swiftly
Towards the Western horizon,
 The Ebony Dolphins riding along side.
 Dulcinea turned to Nemo, hands on hips,
 "And you Nemo,
 What are you about, kidnapping me?"
 Nemo was aghast, his open mouth silenced,
 As the Black Dragon submerged
 Reached the air,
 And in one quick movement
 Captured Dulcinea in its claws
 And ascended high into the sky,
 Scattering the Ravens and Gulls.
 Two Ravens followed the Black Dragon
 As it flew South,
 All the other Ravens and Gulls
 Returned to the Black Ship.
Black Cat
 Do you think I'm groping?
 You are a feline of darkness
 Among these Black Tombstones
 That I stumble around bumping into.
 Is it my touch,
 That makes you arch your back,
 And caterwaul?
 The Black Deck scattered,
 Some cards up,
 Some cards down,
 A broken mirror,
 Blacked and silvered
 Futures' sharp edges
 I fear to handle
 Deal out
 In one reflection.
 The Homeridae were gathered
 Under the Dodona Oak,
 A motley crew,
 Some blind,
 Some cripples,
 Some weaklings,
 Some runaways from wars,
 And so possessing acuities
 Suiting them to tell the tales
 And be singing troubadours.
 It was Winter, and rain and snow
 Had paused their itineraries,
 Going from town to town
 Trading storied lore
 For their livelihoods.
 And trading stories now they were about,
 Competing, challenging,
 Exercising their imaginations,
 Just as they would practice tunes on their lyres.
 "Does the Black Ship have a name?"
 Asked Melville.
 "Pastiche!" suggested Poe.
 "That's a description, not a name!"
 Countered Dana.
 "I'll lend you Argo."
 Offered Rhodius.
 "Oh, Argonauts goes well with my Aquanauts."
 Commented Verne.
 Silence, as they considered.
 "Emily, what do you think a suitable name
 For Pirate Queen Dulcinea's Black Ship?"
 Asked Twain.
 "Elizabeth," said Emily simply.
 And a gust of wind blew snow
 In all their faces beneath the Oak.
 "Lenore" said Poe,
 Aside the Black Ship's railing beside Ishmael,
 Looking out over the black waves.
 "Dulcinea to us." said Ishmael.
 Poe gave Ishmael a wry look,
 And listened to the Raven on his shoulder
 Croaking in his ear.
 The Ravens and Gulls were back in the rigging,
 And the crew returned to their knees
 Cleaning and polishing the Black Deck.
 "The one Black Dragon captured Lenore
 From Nemo and the Nautilus." said Poe.
 "Nemo!?"  What of Ichi and his craft?"
 Asked Ishmael.
 Poe lent his ear to the Raven.
 "Ichi traded Lenore to Nemo for treasure,
 And a new crew for his craft. 
 They rode the waves westward,
 With Lenore's Dolphins, and blessings."
 "And where to the Black Dragon with Dulcinea?"
 Asked Ishmael.
 Poe paused to listen to the Raven.
 "To the South,
 To the Land of Lost Loves,
 Wait...there's more..." Poe continued,
 "Ravens Huginn and Muninn
 Have eyes on the Dragon, and pursue."
 "And so we have, and so we will!"
 Ishmael called to the gathered crew.
 Ah, you thought to escape
 But took a few things with.
 I thought I'd seen that
 In your 'Nevermore'.
 Her pose is classic
 And fantastic,
 A language to supplant
 All that went before.
You're my conversation now...
When I left the mountains
I lost my conversation.
Conversations actually.
Now, there's you.
It can be fatal not to have someone
To talk to, they say.
What do they know,
It can be Death himself
Waiting behind your Black Glass Doors.
 Volcano Never,
 The old and dormant volcano
 Stood risen up from the Southern Sea.
 It stands off shore of Nevermore,
 Winter bound with broken pack ice
 And drifting ice bergs.
 The sky grey over the wave heaving ice flows.
 Fledgling Black Dragons
 Soaring, hovering, dove into the sea,
 Pursuing panicked seals.
Dragon Dreams
 The Southern Black Dragon Flight
 Dreamed Dragon dreams.
 The fledglings returned to their
 Respective nests,
 Spread their wings
 And shook their feathers dry,
 And nestled into sleep.
 And Volcano Never,
 And the Dragons' nests,
 Were quiet like a cathedral ruin.
 In Winter,
 Ishi's family foraged the shores
 Of Nevermore
 Like all the families
 Of all the tribes
 Of all the Lost Peoples.
 Volcano Never was far far in the distance,
 The Black Dragons in their hibernation.
 Ishi speared a fish,
 And retrieved fish and spear
 From the wave slosh among the
 Barnacle covered rocks,
 And was happy.
Petra And Pet
 The Black Dragon reached
 Nevermore's shoreline
 And followed it along,
 The head of Volcano Never
 In the distance nearing.
 Dulcinea, weary of days
 Seated on the Dragon's scaly claw,
 'Enough of this!
 Huggins, Munnins,
 Take the Dragon's other eye!'
 And the two Ravens happily did so.
 The Dragon roared
 And spouted flames in pain,
 Terrified of blindness.
 Ishi looked up
 To see the Dragon twisting and turning,
 Descending to the seashore,
 And hurried his family
 Into  the Conifer Forest.
 The soft sand softened the Dragon's crash,
 And Dulcinea hopped free,
 And trotted to opposite the Dragon's writhing head.
 Arms akimbo,
 She soothed the Dragon's pain,
 “I'll be your”
 The Dragon roared,
 Belched flame and black smoke,
 “Deal.  What is your name?” the Dragon asked.
 “I have many,
You can know me as Petra.”
Dulcinea said,
And stepped forward to scratch the Dragon's chin. 
“And you I will call Pet.”
A Waking Dragon
 "A waking Dragon makes his nest
 Hoping for no rest
 And with family to be blessed."
 "A sleeping Dragon dreams
 Of nightmares teams
 Pulling carriages of treasures
 Beyond all measure."
 "The stolen dream treasures
 She critically measures
 Offering her pleasures
 To her Dragon not rested,
 Awake, not dreaming,
 In duty, not seeming,
 And completed, nested."
 "Humankind quests
 To steal back stolen
 Dragons' bequests
 Treasures all golden."
 "One above all
 Among the Dragon mates,
 To Humankind's gall,
 The hero that takes
 To Nevermore."
 "Stop already!"  Ishmael protested
 To Pip, Watteau, Ned, and Madeline,
 Gathered in a circle,
 Trying to compose rhymes and lyrics,
 Playing out of tune
 Experimental melody strains.
 And the Ravens with Ishmael agreed,
 Croaking from their austere aerie
 High in the rigging and yard arms,
 And the Gulls chimed in.
 Ishmael jumped up,
 And threw from his scrub bucket
 Soapy water across the Black Deck.
 The crew sat back on their haunches and laughed, 
 Then continued their effort,
 The Black Deck doesn't clean and polish itself.
 "Oh!" said Ishmael, "Nemo's daughter."
 "How's that?" asked Shaw,
 Bent over scrubbing.
 Ishmael sat on his bucket
 Beside Pip, Watteau, Ned and Madeline,
 Listening to their rhymes and tunes.
 Ishmael twirled around to Shaw.
 "Nemo made a deal
 With a Black Dragon for Dulcinea,
 Knowing we'd follow to Nevermore,
 Rescue Dulcinea,
 And his daughter." he said.
 Shaw smiled,
 "We'll need more ships."
Black Dragon Nests
 "No one has returned from Nevermore
 So it is only rumor what goes on there."
 Said Melville.
 Ishmael and the crew gathered about and listened.
 "Having been to the Southern Reaches,
I have a notion,
 From the tales of the adventurers thereabout.
 One has it the Southern Black Dragons
 Take their captives to their nests,
 And feed their young.
 Another, they make prisoners of them,
 And trade them for treasure,
 But not with Humankind,
 They trade only among themselves. 
 You see, Dragons build nests,
 Each mated pair its own. 
 The nests are elaborate affairs,
 Meticulously crafted,
 And interleaved between
 Each twig and branch and log
 Gathered from the driftwood
 Along Nevermore shores,
 They carefully set their treasures,
 Like jewels in their settings,
 For all the other Dragons to admire and see. 
 These nests are as tall as a mast,
 And having been passed down
 From generation to generation,
 Many are older than Humankind. 
 Before Humankind,
 For their nests the Dragons gathered
 Seashells, and pretty stones,
 Baubles and geegaws from the natural world. 
 But then,
 Flotsam and jetsam from Humankind began to
 Wash up on the shores of Nevermore,
 And too on occasion, castaways from ship wrecks. 
 The Dragons were much curious. 
 Having found these new treasures,
 And wanting more, they began exploring.
 And from then on we all know about Dragons,
 As no Humankind Town
 Is without its tales of Black Dragons."
 Oh, the Black Ship was going nowhere,
 Only on occasion
 Pushed by zephyrs here and there,
 And the crew scrubbed
 And scrubbed the Black Deck,
 Ishmael alongside.
 Weeks went by.
 "What's to be done, Chief?" asked Shaw.
 "Well, we need Dulcinea. 
 Without her the Black Ship is listless,
 And all of us useless." said Ishmael.
 One by one, thr Ravens and Gulls
Returned from Towns
With the same disappointments.
 No Town dared to send ships
 Least they wake the hibernating Black Dragons
 And bring again grief.
 The wind was still, the ocean still,
 And the crew just as engaged still with scrubbing.
 Oh, and then two Parrots
 And then, two by two,
 The whole flock reached the masts,
 Raucous as usual.
 The crew looked up,
 And the masts slightly swayed
 One way, then back.
 A pause, then again,
 Slightly more widely,
 The masts rocked one way, then back.
 The crew as one went to the rail side to see,
 And from the West,
 Long sets of wave swells were approaching.
 The Black Ship rolled with each one,
 And the mast tops leaning
 This way and that
  Became more extreme.
 The crew found handholds and gripped tight,
 And couldn't see beyond the wave tops
 Approaching like green liquid walls. 
 Finally they saw a wave taller than all,
 It's crest breaking white,
 And a tiny sight,
 A slender craft riding the face
 With twelve oarsmen.
 "Ichi!" the crew called out.
 And Ebony Whales breached from the great wave
 And leaped over the Black Deck
 As the Black Ship rose up,
 Rode over the wave crest
 And the slender craft
 Thudded against the Black Ship's hull
 As both settled down on a peaceful sea.
 Ishmael looked down over the side
 At Ichi in silence, considered,
 "Done is done, Ichi.  Who's your friend?"
 Ichi was helping her feet
 Find the rungs of the rope ladder.
 Agile, she climbed right up,
 Appearing over the railing to the crew.
 "'Kannon!!!" they shouted as one.
Rocky Slope
 Near Ishi's village
 There was a small cave
 In the forested rocky slope
 The village backed up against,
 And this Pet now called home,
 And curled inside,
 She was sleeping her kind's long winter sleep,
 And dreamed Dragon dreams,
 Except, and this she found annoying,
 When Petra woke her up
 To fly Petra hither and yon
 To the snowbound
 Humankind villages of Nevermore.
 Ishi's fellow Villagers,
Qnly knowing Black Dragons
 From when trading,
 Did what they always do,
 And brought crafted treasures,
 Along with driftwood logs from the Conifer Forest,
 And set them at the entrance to Pet's cave.
 In the Spring,
 Pet would awaken
 To the makings of a nest.
Rap Rap Rap
 Kannon beside Ishmael at the Red Wheel,
 The crew free from scrubbing awhile,
 Rain squalls keeping the Black Deck clean.
 The sails wind full,
 And the Black Ship galloping
 Over the Black Sea, South.
 Pip, Ned, Watteau, Madeline,
 Sing and play a tune,
 The crew coming in on the chorus.
 Rap rap rap
 There's a Raven at your door
 Tap tap tap
 And her name is Nevermore
 Rap rap rap
 Who'd ya think was there?
 Rap rap
 D'ya  think that she will care?
 Tap tap
 Let her in if you dare
 Rap rap
 There's a Raven at your door
 Rap rap rap
 And her name is Nevermore
 Tap tap tap
 Ignore her if you can
 Rap rap
 Tell her you're not a fan
 Tap tap
 Don't want her pot and pan
 Rap rap
 And her name is Nevermore
 Rap rap rap
 There's a Raven at your door
 Tap tap tap
 She'll sit upon your lap
 Rap rap
 And take your ugly cap
 Tap tap
 And make you take a nap
 Rap rap
 She'll have your kids and more
 Rap rap rap
 If you let her in the door
 Tap tap tap
 And her name is Nevermore
 Rap rap rap
 There's a Raven at your door
 There's a Raven at your door...
 The Ravens in the Black Ship's rigging
 Thought the song a wonder,
 The Gulls not so much,
 Poe was non-committal.
Dragon Song
 Stick by stick
 We build our nests
 Twig by twig
 To impress our guests
 A treasure here
 A treasure there
 To show how much we care
 Our angels sing
 Our angels dance
 And celebrate our romance.
Dragon Song 2
 Dread the night
 The dark with no light
 With eyes to see
 You weren't meant blind to be.
Dragon Dreams
 Dragons dream Dragon dreams
 Clouds made in imagination's glade
 Flowers crowd a mottled shroud
 Over mountain meadows
 Waterfalls fountain
 Roaring descending
 Dragons dream unending.
Midnight Sun
 Red volcanic rubble
 Crunched beneath their feet,
 And Nemo's caravan
 Reached the rim of Origin,
 A shallow crater,
 Ancient as the Northern Black Dragon Flight.
 Below they could see the Stage,
 A wide round disc
 Of dark red stone at Origin's center. 
 From the disc outwards,
 Up the sloping crater walls,
 Black monolith pillars spiraled,
 Counter spiraled,
 To Origin's rim.
 When the Dragons come
 And perch astride each
 Their ancestral pillar,
 Origin becomes
 A red and black flower,
 The Midnight Ceremony.
 Nemo motioned his crew forward.
 The Dark Red Stage,
 The stone disc at the center of Origin,
 Mirrored the spiraling pillars to the crater's rim
 With bowl like dimpled depressions,
And into each of these,
 Fledgling Dragons
 Carefully placed Nemo's treasures.
 Finished, the Stage glittered
With gold and silver and gems.
 Black Dragons all take names from treasured gems,
 Loomed over Nemo.
 "Have I your approval?" asked Nemo.
 "Yes, surely,
 The Ceremony of the Midnight Sun
 Will be a grand success!" said Onyx.
 "And you understand?" Nemo enquired.
 "As to the rest..." Onyx hesitated.
 "Yes..." Nemo prodded.
 "We have it that we declare war on the Southern Dragon Flight...afraid of certain defeat, they will sue for peace...and we offer in trade for peace that they give us your daughter...and we return your daughter to you in exchange for the treasures you brought."
 "You have it exactly!" said Nemo.
 "One more thing..." said Onyx. "Your daughter remains with us to sing at the Midnight Ceremony, afterwards she joins you."
 This was more than Nemo bargained.
 "And another thing..." added Onyx,  "you and your crew assist in the capture of Dulcinea....we met defeat in battle with the Black Ship."
 'I dealt Dulcinea to the Southern Flight....some arrangement can be made, similar to the one with my daughter." explained Nemo.
 "The Black Ship?" speculated Onyx.
 "Not a problem...without Dulcinea, the Liz is adrift, and will be nowhere near the Southern Reach." said Nemo.
 Onyx ruffled his wings, lost in thought.
 "Deal?" said Nemo.
 Onyx looked over the glittering treasures on the Dark Red Stage, imagined Maya singing at the Midnight Ceremony...a duet with Dulcinea...stretched out his wings, belched flame and smoke..."Deal."
Baubles And Songs
from Black Dragon Lore
 Black Dragons become deliriously happy listening to humans sing and play their instruments.  Next to treasures fashioned by humans, it is their favorite.  A Dragon Clan with a stable of singers and musicians, and crafters too, is set. 
 Tall nests encrusted with Human treasures,
 Long summer evenings of Human music,
 Nothing could be finer,
 The best of Dragon things. 
 Dragons are clumsy, claws and wings being such,
 And while they have visual
 And hearing acuities next to none,
 They can't make a thing, or sing a note, themselves.
 Dragons will die for a bauble, and a song.
When Asleep When Awake
 Dragons dream together,
Awake, disparate paths they take.
 Oh, a golden search,
 Brain panning
 With a sieve for a mind,
 Trying to find,
 Liken from an olden time,
 On a dangling climb
 To a dragon's perch
 The hero's bold reach
 For the storied Gold Fleece,
 The Dragon's necklace,
 A charm for peace.
 Oh, by what judgment,
 Judge Aphrodite,
 Have I this prolonged award?
 I mimic the wryneck
 And hiss and twist
 To no avail.
The Shore Of Nevermore
 No one wanted to go ashore,
 The long slender craft's bow
 Scrubbed up the shingle,
 Secure against the coming and going waves.
 Far to the east along the Rocky Shore,
 Volcano Never,
 And before the shore party
 The tall trees of the Conifer Forest,
 The black sand beach.
 Ishmael looked them over,
 "Well?" he asked them.
 "It's Nevermore, Chief," Shaw said,
 "No one returns from Nevermore."
 " quiet..." Ishi said.
"A Black Dragon comes..."
 Ichi listened,
 And the crew scanned all the dark clouded sky.
 Ichi grabbed his bow, and prepared an arrow.
 "Oh, it is the same Dragon that took Dulcinea!"
 Ichi said.
 The crew couldn't see a thing,
 Their heads all turning about, craned upwards.
 And then the Dragon came out of the low clouds,
 But not attacking,
 But rather making a slow leisurely approach...
 Ichi let loose an arrow
 When the Dragon was in range...
 And to Ichi's amazement
 The Dragon dodged it easily,
 And the Dragon followed
 The arrows flight
 As it harmlessly flew by,
 And as it lost momentum,
 And was falling to earth,
 The Dragon flew beneath it.
 Ichi smiled.
 "Ichi, meet Ishi." said Dulcinea,
 And Ichi graciously bowed,
 And accepted his returned arrow from Ishi.  
 Black Dragon Pet
 Calmly sat on the black sand beach. 
 The crew, not so calm, one by one jumped
 Over the gunnels of the long slender craft,
 Waded through the surf,
 And gathered before
 Dulcinea, Ishi, and Black Dragon Pet.
Dragons In Our Caves
 Around the fire
 At the encampment in the Conifer Forest,
 Petra settled in with her
 Black Ship Crew.
 Pip, with his concertina,
 There's a dragon in my cave
 You make me sing and roar
 There's a dragon in my cave
 That wants to be with yours
 See our dragons wave
 Together they'll sing and roar
 There's dragons in our caves.
 The crew joins in on the chorus,
 There's dragons in our caves
 Together we'll sing and roar!
 There's dragons in our caves
 Loud as the ocean waves!
 Black Dragon Pet
 Sat disconsolate,
 Black Dragons can't sing
 But Pet was delighted to listen
 And add her roar to each roar...
 "Sing this please,
 At the Midnight Ceremony!"
 Pet's request.
 The crew around the fire
 We're in like a dome
 Of hellish illumination,
 The wide columns
 Of the tall trees,
 Their shaggy bark red against the blackness,
 Between the trees,
 Black shadows
 In the forest's blackness
 Began to appear,
 Eyes fire lit glowing,
 Gathering near.
 Pip and the crew continued singing,
 Closer to the fire moving,
 Ned, Watteau, Madeline
 Adding their verses to Pip's.
 There's fire in the night
 See our Dragon's fight
 There's thunder in the night
 Hear our Dragon's might!
 There's a Dragon in my cave
 That likes to misbehave
 There's a Dragon in your cave
 That wants to be my dragon's slave!
 In Volcano Never
 My Dragon is dreaming
 Snoring and steaming
 In Volcano Never
 Your Dragon is dreaming
 Rumbling and heating.
 From Volcano Never
 Black smoke the sky clouding
 From Volcano Never
 Red rivers o'er the earth snaking.
 Over all of Nevermore
 Black Dragons all dreaming
 Over all of Nevermore
 Black Dragons all snoring
 Rumbling and steaming
 Over all of Nevermore.
 My Dragon is waiting
 For winter soon melting
 Your Dragon is waiting
 For the Midnight Flowering.
 Pet roared to one last chorus,
 Then couldn't contain herself.
 Pet Grabbed Petra in a claw
 And hovered above
 The startled crew around the fire.
 "Follow us to Volcano Never!"
 Petra said, as Pet flew off!
 "But," Pip protested,
 "There's more..."
 "Grab your gear
 Grab your instruments!"
 Ishmael said.
 The crew,
 None too pleased,
 And unnerved,
 Took flaming sticks from the fire
 To light their wending
 Way through the
 Dark menace of the Conifer Forest
 Back to the Black Ship.
 Notes: from Black Dragon Lore: at the Equinox the Black Dragons of the Northern Reach celebrate the Midnight Ceremony...the retelling of the Spring and Summer events, and the memorial for those fallen...the Black Dragons of the Southern Reach celebrate the Midnight Flowering...this to say, when it is Fall in the North, and Spring in the South...when otherwise, things are reversed...ral...was looking for a 'handhold'...with 'Flowering' found it...changed 'Midnight
Ceremony' to 'Midnight Flowering' in the first verse...and 'ocean waves' to 'oceans' roar' in the chorus...Pet wanted more
Magic Mirrors
 That we can be
 One another's magic mirrors,
 Our eyes in each our eyes reflect
 The current states we reside
 Inside beside
 Teeth, throat, tongue,
 Ears, eyebrows, eyelids,
 Spit, snot, tears,
 And the rest in line
 Down to our feet,
 Our souls' pedestals.
 By your singing,
 Your light inside me,
 I vacation in delightful places
 I had never thought to see."
 Black Dragon Pet finished speaking,
 Pulled back from being
 Face to face with Petra,
 Who stood, arms akimbo,
 Looking up.
 "Black Dragons are poets?" she asked.
 Black Dragon Pet settled down,
 Seated on the black sand.
 The surf's eternal welter among the shore rocks.
 Looming over all the slopes of Volcano Never.
 "Not very good ones."
 Pet answered.
 Petra turned and spoke to the wind,
 "And Ichi and I blinded you."
 "Yes." Pet said
 "But with you near I see."
 "Our deal," Pet continued, and asked,
 Petra turned,
 Looked up at Volcano Never,
 Turned back,
 Eyes to eyes with Pet.
 "Still." Petra said.
Arrival of the Northern Flight
 Nemo stood on the Nautilus deck
 With his binocs observing
 The long slender craft return
 To the Black Ship.
 The crew had piled into the craft
 In a hurry from the black sand beach,
 As though fleeing some menace
 In the Conifer Forest.
 He studied closely,
 But could nowhere see Dulcinea.
 'How did they get here?' his thought.
 'Oh,'  Kannon came into the binocs view.
 'Kannon is with them.'
 A commotion overhead made
 Nemo lower the binocs and look up.
 The Ravens, Huginn and Muninn,
 Were circling in the sky.
 "Submerge!"  he ordered his crew,
 "Submerge quickly, they know we're here."
 Far off shore of Nevermore,
 The Northern Black Dragon Flight
 Waited, spread wide,
 Floating on the Black Ocean swells.
 They waited for Nemo's return
 And report his reconnoiter.
 Onyx grew impatient,
 As much time passed,
 And more,
 And no Nemo.
 The faraway shore
 Was only a pale streak on the horizon,
 Volcano Never a tiny cone.
 To pass the time,
 The Dragon Flight
 Dove for fish,
 Gossiped with one another,
 Daylight waned,
 'Nothing doing today,'
 Onyx thought,
 'Tonight the Flight will sleep upon the waves.'
 In the glooming,
 Onyx glimpsed the two Ravens,
 Flying as though searching,
 And nearing,
 And perceiving the Dragon Flight on the waves.
 Wheeling about, the Ravens flew straight away,
 Back to Nevermore.
 "The Black Ship is here!"
 Onyx said.
 "And Dulcinea!
 Nemo has betrayed us!"
 What have we come to?
 Oh, the palace throne room is like a tomb. 
 The throng has their faces to the stone floor,
 Praying to the gods in disbelief. 
 Tears from their faces
 Mingle with blood
 From Creon and his daughter,
 Their bodies now cinders
 Wrapped in Helios' golden robe,
 Our mistresses' children's cruel gift for Glauce,
 Smeared with burning flesh eating magic,
 Medea's witchcraft handiwork
 To further her vengeance on Jason.
 Quickly, before we are noticed,
 We must accomplish Medea's appointed task. 
The Golden Fleece is displayed
 Behind the empty throne,
 Like a golden grape vine on its trellis.
 I, we, dare touch the Fleece?
Tutor and Nurse
 Just take it...
 Here now in our arms the Fleece is gathered...
 Hurry now...
 Our bare feet quiet on the stones...
 We return to our mistress
 Having escaped the throngs' attention,
 But dragging Medea's and Jason's chains.
At the courtyard outside Jason's and Medea's Palace apartments.
 We interrupt...
 They are like two combatants,
 Exhausted, pausing to take a breath,
 Glaring at one another.
 Like Priam with Achilles,
 Jason would have the return of their two sons,
 Slain by Medea.
 And Medea would have her glory,
 Complete revenge on Jason,
 Take away the corpses to Athens,
 Conceal behind Aegeus' shields,
 Make good her escape from Jason's wrath,
 And the wrath of Creon's and Glauce’s mourners.
 The boys lay limp at her feet in the chariot,
 The harnessed dragons crouch to leap, fly up.
Tutor and Nurse
 She sees us!
 Bring me the Fleece.
 Our Master Jason takes stance
 Between us and Mistress Medea!
 And Medea wheels her chariot around!
 And one Dragon swallows Jason with one gulp!
 Bring me the Fleece.
Tutor and Nurse
 We obey.
 A marvel beyond
 To see Helios' chariot arise
 Pulled aloft by two winged Dragons.
 Marvel this!
 We hear the running
 Approaching steps of the angered throng!
 That we had been taken aboard
 With our master and mistress,
 Away from all this,
 In spite of all that was done by them.
 We soon to be swallowed now too.
 From the corridors the angry mourners come!
 Hold fast to me daughter,
 As Odysseus to the mast.
 Close your eyes.
 The throng is upon us
 With the human roar Dragons envy.
 Father, it is so quiet.
 We are else ware a sudden.
 Dare we open our eyes?
 Creon, Glauce, be not afraid, you are with me.
 What can be seen
 Can be unseen
 What can be done
 Can be undone.
 I thought myself
Jason's and Medea's children's tutor.
 And I their nurse.
 Just so it was,
 As in a dream
 You were and you were not,
 As now,
 You are here
 That isn't there.
 Oh, but it is the same! 
 My Father's empty throne,
 The Golden Fleece on the trellis behind,
 Like a tomb,
 Mourners prostrate around the dimly lit room!
 Wait, daughter, it is different.
 I know this place,
 It is the Palace of Aegeus, good king of Athens,
 It has resemblance with mine.
 Just so,
 Aegeus' attendants sleep on the floor. 
 In my arms is the robe of Helios,
 An ornamental harmlessness as always,
 Impervious to Medea's intentions.
 I return it to Olympus, 
 Its terror to you a memory faded. 
 Assist me and gather up the Fleece. 
Creon and Glauce
 Again we drag this golden weight!
In the Palace courtyard.
 Helios' chariot,
 And the two Dragons chained!
 Give room,
 And hold your noses.
 Stand not so close to the Dragons!
Creon and Glauce
 Oh, one Dragon vomits out Jason...
 He is covered in digestion...
 And stinks...
 But still whole!
 Where is that witch?
 And still pissed.
 She beds Aegeus, even now. 
 Your sons' corpses,
 Like forgotten dolls,
 In Helios' chariot still.
 I am without courtesy,
 And do not know my place,
 Or even where this place is...
 Mount upon the chariot
With Creon, Glauce, and the Fleece. 
 I have a task for you.
 I leave off being digested by Medea
Once and for all!
 Bury your sons beside the Argo
 On the beach at Pagasae. 
 The Argo, too long shore bound, has moldered. 
 The talking prow fell
 And crushed to a pulp
 A sleeping wayfarer beneath it.
 Gossip and rumor have it, it is you,
 Medea's prophecy of your doom fulfilled. 
 Let the rumor be so,
 What can seem, can seem. 
 Retrieve the prow's talking plank
 Made from the oaks of Dodona. 
 It will tell you what is next!
Athene unshackles the Dragons, and returns to Olympus.  The Dragons with their passenger loaded Chariot of Helios leave for Pagasae.
Not To Be Disturbed
Not to be disturbed
 Dragons dreaming
 Seldom awaken
 Before Dawn's breaking.
Glauce’s Crew
Glauce's crew pushed them aside,
 Making way through the flotilla
 Of the somnolent
 Black Dragons of the Northern Flight
 Afloat on the Black Ocean
 Beneath twinkling stars
 And a Moonless night,
Moments before morning.
 The crew thought the Black Dragons ice bergs,
Just like the white and blue ice bergs
 Impeding their passage,
 But all blackened somehow.
 The black bergs' nature puzzled,
 And Jason a sudden,
 Carried away by his curiosity,
 Leaped over the side onto one.
 Black Dragons sleep with
 Their heads tucked under
 Their wings,
 A round boulder like bobbing buoy
 The Dragon presented to Jason's feet. 
And soft.
Jason reached down to touch the Dragon's feathers.
 The Dragon stirred, and lifted a wing,
 One great eye opened and beheld Jason.
The Beach At Pegasae
Fog so thick
 They could barely see the ground,
 Jason, Creon, Glauce, mourned over
 The graves of Jason’s sons.
 Soft waves lapped the fine sand beach of Pegasae.
“Listen.” Glauce said.
 Jason and Creon heard the lyre music playing too,
From somewhere hidden in the fog.
“It's beautiful!” Glauce said.
“It's Orpheus!” Jason said,
And set out into the fog,
Glauce and Creon in tow,
Seeking the lyre's melody.
“Jason!”  Orpheus said.
“Lord Creon, Princess Glauce.”
And set his lyre aside.
“You've arrived.”  Orpheus said.
“Dropped off, you might say.”  Jason said. 
“And abandoned,
We know not where in this fog.”
“It is where we Argonauts began and returned.
 Pegasae.”  said Orpheus.
“Oh!  The Argo is here!” said Jason.
“Yes,” said Orpheus, “what little remains
 From the scavenging of Theseus' shipwrights. 
 His bunch hurry to build their own 'Argo'.” 
“Oh...the Argo's prow gone too?” said Jason.
“No, they thought the prow bad luck,
 Having fallen and killed you.” said Orpheus.
“We must reach it.” said Jason.
“And you have,” said Orpheus,
“It is where I'm seated.”
“It looks now but a sea worn driftwood log.”
 Said Jason.
The plank from the oaks of Dodona spoke,
“And am I to be sea worms ridden?”
“The plank speaks only to you. Jason,
 Take it, and follow me. 
 You all have a sight to see!” said Orpheus.
“Oh, the Fleece, by my sons’ graves! 
 A moment,
 By our footsteps in the fine sand,
 Through this fog
 We can return and retrieve it.” said Jason.
“Medea, Athene, now Jason,
We've become the Fleece's burden donkeys!” 
Creon said.
“Father, Jason’s arms carry the plank,
 Orpheus has his lyre.” said Glauce.
“I joke.  I know our rich estate,
Rulers of Iolcus, is past,” said Creon,
“And our future now made with Orpheus’ footsteps.
 We follow.”
A Wild Meeting
 “And who might you be,
 Little one?”  Onyx said.
“One who hopes
 You haven't an appetite for breakfast.” Jason said.
 Jason dove off Onyx into the sea,
 Grabbed a crewman's ice berg pushing pole,
 And clambered back aboard the Black Ship Argo.
“A Black Ship in our midst!” said Onyx.
 The Black Dragons awoke as it was day now,
And in a wild scramble,
Wing paddled back away from the Argo.
 Onyx alone remained nearby,
In open water rimmed by the Dragon Flight.
Orpheus stood beside the anchor hawser. 
Looming over head the prow of the Black Ship,
The hull black as night. 
Orpheus pointed to the prow,
“The talking plank’s new home.”  he said.
 And your new ship.”
“Mine?” asked Jason.
“No, not yours, Jason,” Orpheus said,
Black Ships have a preference for girls. 
Only for a Queen, or a Princess,
Will a Black Ship gallop across the sea. 
So I've been told
By the sons of Poseidon that built her.”
“Poseidon?” Jason said.
“My conjecture,” Orpheus said.
“They arrived, mysteriously,
 With the Ravens and Gulls, 
And busied themselves,
Arriving each day with materials on barges
From somewhere at sea. 
From just where, no one could discern,
And they are all gone now.
Each day and night this fog.
The Black Ship is their handiwork. 
Much to tell,
But first the plank to install
 In the Black Ship's prow.
 Captain Glauce, after you.”
Bemused, Glauce ascended the bow gangplank,
Jason, Creon, Orpheus, in tow.
“The Fleece, bring it!”  Glauce said.
“I know that tone!” Creon said.
 Quick to this duty,
Jason, Creon, Orpheus,
Retreated back down the gangplank,
Gathered up the Fleece with lyre and plank,
And carried them all aboard.
 The fog began to lift, darkening,
 Becoming a black overcast. 
The Ravens and Gulls
Took their places in the rigging. 
The three tall masts glowed with corposants. 
The crew left off scrubbing the Black Deck,
Set the Black Sails,
 And weighed anchor.
In the prow there is a niche for the plank.” 
Orpheus said.
Jason placed it.
“Now,”, Jason said, “Now the Argo once more!”
The plank from the oaks of Dodona spoke,
 Beyond the Pillars of Hercules
 Sail South
 Until the prow of the Argo
 Is as far behind you
 As there it will be before you.”
Jason turned to Glauce,
“We sail to beyond the Pillars of Hercules?”
He asked.
“Make it so.” said Glauce.
“Chief,” a crewman nearby Jason spoke,
“There be Dragons.”
Jason smiled, and said,
“What else!”
 Orpheus had found some fellow musicians,
 And they set to playing,
 The crew singing,
 Thunder clouds overhead,
 Lightning flashing,
 The wind up,
 The Black Ship Argo
 Galloping westward.
The presence of the Black Ship they surrounded
Stunned the Northern Flight.
 No less the Dragons a surprise
 To the inexperienced green crew of the Argo
 Who had never laid eyes on a Dragon,
 Let alone a sea full of them.
 Onyx studied Jason and the Argo,
 As Jason studied Onyx and the Flight.
“Why haven't you attacked?”  Onyx said.
“Should we?” said Jason.
“Some puzzle to this...
 You, you haven't seen a Dragon before!”
 Said Onyx.
“Not so," Jason said,
"One in particular I've known,
From outside and inside.
But that tale is far behind.
It's true enough, you have us by surprise,
And likely at your mercy,
Being so many.”
“Just so..” said Onyx.
“Does your Captain sing?"
“She joins our choruses.” said Jason.
“As my crew accompanies my solos.”
Said Glauce,
Joining Jason at the railing.
 Onyx gazed at Glauce.
“May we hear a tune?” said Onyx.
“May we see our way free?” said Glauce.
 For the price of a tune,
Onyx could rid the Flight of the Black Ship,
Which for some reason he couldn't discern,
Had a crew ignorant of the Black Ship's strength.
“Surely, for a tune,’ Onyx said,
 “The open sea is yours.
Glauce smiled, said,
 Orpheus, a tune.”
Orpheus set to playing on his lyre.
 The Black Dragons had never heard the like,
And all the Dragons surrounding
 Paddled up close to the Argo.
 For the Dragons,
 Time was stopped by Orpheus' melody,
 And the Argo
 Slipped between them to the open sea.
 Glauce hadn't sung a note,
 But the Dragons in tow behind,
 Onyx their lead beneath the Argo's stern,
Followed the Argo like so many ducklings. 
And Onyx sighted the Golden Fleece
On its trellis behind the Argo's Red Wheel.
‘A treasure beyond all treasures they have.’
Onyx thought,
And tried to break Orpheus’ spell,
But when Dragons hear a tune
They get so dreamy
They cannot even disturb themselves.
 I may as well have been an ascetic
 A mendicant with his cup
 With thistles in his
 Unshorn hair
 From sleeping in fields
 Alone under the stars.
 You would have an heir.
 I would, and take my place,
 A king among kings,
 Rather than a pauper alone
 With a grandiose dream.
 I will have your son
 As you now have me for wife.
 Just so, things have transpired,
 I gladly admit,
 Having this night been with you.
 The morning birds
 Greet the sun,
 We too
 Should say ours prayers of thanks.
 Take my hand,
 Together we'll join the melodies
 In your courtyard's garden.
 Oh, your Dragons run to you in greeting,
 Like Artemis' hounds happy to see her.
 Yes, unshackled, unchained,
 On the courtyard's flagstones,
 Some manner of sea wrack.
 It stinks, and sticks to our bare feet.
 Dragon vomit.
 The Chariot of Helios is empty.
Palace Attendant
 The Golden Fleece is gone!
 We know not...
 Some spell came over us and knocked us all out!
Aegeus' Warrior
 Theseus and his bunch have broken down our wall! 
 They come for Medea,
 Vengeance wild in their eyes!
 Come with me, Aegeus!
 I cannot.
 I bear your son!
 I bear my Town,
 As a King I am.
 Stay I will
 And defend,
 Least our son be barren of home.
 As I have always been
 Here or there,
 Not one place of peace have I ever known.
 I am bound to you Medea,
 Some far future awaits,
 But this one,
 Immediate slaughter,
 Mustn't be.
 What can be, can be.
The Dragons fly off with Medea and the Chariot of Helios
Medea's Sorrow
 Medea knelt in the soft fine sand
 By the graves of her sons
 And wept.
 Eye blurring fog surrounded
 And the bays lapping waves
 The only sound.
 "Go." she told the Dragons
 "Return Helios' chariot.
 I know not where you brought me
 Nor care.
 I'll wander these shores now,
 With sorrow my only garment."
Automatons Can Sing
 From the bow of the Black Ship,
 Hephaestus sighted a solitary figure
 Walk past along the shore below.
 He hurried
Limping down the gangplank,
 "Medea," he said
 "Normally a woman nude
 Along the shore
 Would bring a smile,
 But seeing you
 I find my eyes tear ridden."
 "This fog clothes me." Medea said,
 I don't see
 I'm not seen,
 So sorrow drifts about me."
 "There's a wardrobe
 Aboard this strange ship I study.
 A coverlet for your grief," Hephaestus said,
 "Least all that see you
 Become tear fallen on their knees."
 "Kindness I can hear, thank you." said Medea.
 No sooner than Medea and Hephaestus reached
 The Black Deck of the Black Ship,
 Than the fog began to lift. 
 All about the Ship,
 Hephaestus servants busied themselves
 Examining this and that.
 Medea emerged from the Captain's Cabin
 Appareled in black silk pantaloons
 And maroon silk blouse,
 Standard colors of a Black Ship Captain. 
 A Raven from the rigging
 Flew down to her shoulder,
 Chattering in her ear.
 "Oh, quickly Hephaestus," Medea said.
 "Set your servants to scrubbing the Black Deck!"
 "The sky darkens with storm clouds,
 It will rain soon," Hephaestus said,
 "And wash the deck,
 Which is indeed, I've observed, a mess."
 "Nonetheless, do it Hephaestus." said Medea.
 "This Raven befriended a piece of wood,
 And tells a tale.
 Can your automatons sing?"
 "Sing, dance," Hephaestus said,
 "They are musically inclined as can be,
 Being tasked with amusing all Olympus!"
 "Set them to cleaning,
 Set them to singing, “
 Medea said,
 "This Black Ship
 Beyond the Pillars of Hercules
 Is seeking!"
Dragons Awake
 The snows were melting,
 The streams at the base
 Of Volcano Never
 Choked with frazzle ice.
 All across Nevermore
 The meadows were flooding,
 The birds arriving
 Filling the canopy
 Of the Conifer Forest.
 And the Black Dragons
 Of the Southern Flight
 Sleeping in,
 So sweetly dreaming,
 The long Winter hibernation
 Seeming never ending.
 Pet flew about
 The steep slopes of Volcano Never
 To every niche,
 To every tall driftwood nest,
 To every drowsy Dragon.
 It was time to wake up
 And quickly.
 Saddled on Pet's neck,
 Petra sang,
 Pet roared,
 Bringing awake each Dragon
 One by one to launch from their nests.
 Around and around
 Volcano Never
 Pet flew
 Until the Southern Flight rose up,
 Together flocked,
 Crowned the head of Volcano Never
 Like a black cloud.
 Dragons aren't dumb,
 What one of a Flight knows,
 All know,
 Such is their inner hearing.
 Like to an owl,
 A mouse stirring under the snow,
 They listened to Pet and Petra
 Sing their tale in song,
 And prepared to meet
 Head on the Black Dragons of the Northern Reach
 Approaching from sea the shores of Nevermore.
Never Fall
 Dragons one
 Dragons all
 Fly alone
 But never fall.
A Bobbing Toy
 The Nautilus was battered and dented,
 For Kannon's Black Whales,
 A bobbing toy.
 The Nautilus could continue submerged
 But the slamming about was making Nemo dizzy.
 His crew from the concussions
  Bleeding from their noses.
 "Surface!"  he commanded.
 And no sooner the Nautilus breached
 Than the Cephalopods grabbed her
 With their tentacle arms.
 Beside the Black Ship Liz,
 Nemo and the Nautilus now captured.
 Nemo looked up, skyward,
 And saw the
 Black Dragons of the Southern Flight
 "Hmmmph, a bit much." said Nemo.
 "Look Captain.  Another Black Ship!"
 A crewman said.
 Nemo looked through his binocs,
 And laughed.
 "It has the Northern Black Dragon Flight behind it,
 Like so many ducklings.
 We're to be the entertainment
 At a Black Dragon barbecue!
 Give the Pods something to remember." 
He told his crew.
 "On the surface we can outpace the Black Whales."
 Stung and stunned by the Nautilus,
 The Cephalopods released their grip.
 The Nautilus bolted,
 "Go to the other Black Ship.
 Ram it." Nemo ordered.
An Old Story
 Petra leaned over, looking down,
 Trying to discern what was unfolding below.
 "Petra!"  Pet said.
 "I hear a tune from that distant Black Ship."
 "I haven't Dragon ears." Petra said.
 "It pulls us!  All us Dragons!" Pet said.
 "How so?" Petra asked.
 Petra hung on tight
As Pet dove towards Black Ship Argo,
 The entire Southern Flight in tow.
 "Everywhere Dragons!" Orpheus said.
 "You know,
  It's kind of warm and peaceful inside one,
 "But I prefer these cold outdoors." said Jason.
 "Keep playing Orpheus! 
 A melody is all we have
 For a wall between here and there!"
 And the Nautilus rammed into the Argo.
 And the shock made Orpheus drop his lyre.
 And the tune's spell dropped away from Onyx,
 Who flew up to the Argo's Red Wheel,
 Grabbed the Golden Fleece in one claw,
 And Glauce in the other claw,
 And fled North,
 The Northern Flight in tow.
 Orpheus could see the expression
 In Jason's eyes watching the
 Northern Flight fly away,
 Tiny at last to see,
 Gone beyond the horizon,
 Gone with the Golden Fleece,
 Gone with Glauce.
 Orpheus lowered his eyes,
 Apologized to Jason,
 Jason looked at Orpheus,
 An old story made new sense,
 And held him in his arms.
 "Come Orpheus," he said,
 "Let's go see what mashed into the Argo's bow."
 "It looks like something Hephaestus would make."
 Orpheus said on seeing the Nautilus.
 Nemo met Jason's and Orpheus' gaze
 From where he stood on the Nautilus' deck.
 "I made this." Nemo said.
 "And I need a Black Ship."
 "And we need a Captain."  Jason said.
 The Black Ship Argo was healing,
 And had nearly completely extruded the Nautilus.
 "Will my daughter do?"  Nemo said,
 His daughter emerged from below decks
 And stood beside Nemo.
 "Calypso!"  Orpheus said.
 "Quickly!" Jason said, tossing a rope ladder down, 
 "Come aboard, Calypso!  We set sail North!"
The Black Deck
Hephaestus and Medea aboard her Black Ship.
 Your automatons are boring, Hephaestus.
 Yes, like rain finding ways down a mountain.
  I can have an ensemble sing for us.
 I've heard all the tunes,
 They have about them a sameness.
 Yes, my authorship, such as it is.
 And this,
Medea holds up her scrub brush. 
 Who authors this? 
 Compelled I am, like eating and breathing,
 To keep this Black Deck clean and polished. 
 And you, Hephaestus, an Olympian no less,
 On your knees beside me.
 I don't know.
 You, among all the gods, must have a clue,
 The why of this scrubbing,
 And the nature of this Black Ship.
 I study, and I've been humbled. 
 Here, let me show you this Black Deck's magic,
 Magic even you,
Priestess of Hecate,
May find entertaining.
From storage, Hephaestus gathers a tarp, And tosses it over both himself and Medea.  Underneath it they both sit on the Black Deck in darkness,
Shaded from the sunlight.
 A sunless world for a tryst, or are we camping?
 I hadn't thought...
 Oh, it is this you should see.
 The crap rained down from the rigging
 By the Ravens and Gulls
 Is nourishment for the Black Ship.
 And our scrubbing is like teeth masticating,
 Helping the Deck eat the crap, absorbing it. 
 It's no ordinary crap,
 The Ravens and Gulls no ordinary birds,
 Though on their foraging they consume the same,
 Fish and bugs and such. 
 They crap some magic
 Transformed from their digestion,
 Magic food for the Ship. 
 The Ship is no ordinary ship,
 Not an automaton as I first thought. 
 I considered it may be a creature, or even a god,
 But it is some new category on the Tree of Things. 
 Here, in this sunless ink under our tent,
 Set your hand to the Deck with mine. 
 Before them the Deck begins to fluoresce,
 Colors and geometries,
 And then a scene,
 The round earth and the Sun and Moon and Planets
 Against the backdrop of Stars.
 This much we Olympians perceive
 And consider proudly our domain, our universe. 
 In truth, all we know, and thought to know.
 Just so mortals are told.  I see no beyond this. 
Just as Medea speaks, she feels the Deck is speaking to her, showing to her, and the scene changes, another sun but with different planets and moons, and another, and another, and then she sees the galaxy, and understands she is seeing the Milky Way with countless suns.
 Yesterday I was a child.
 And I an immortal. 
 Careful now, what you feel and think,  Medea,
 With your hand on the Deck.
 How so?
 It is a black mirror of sorts,
 Giving back reflections
 Of our innermost feelings and thoughts.
The deck ripples with images and scenes, lifelike as can be, snatches of Medea's thoughts, feelings, memories, imaginings.  She watches entranced, feeling one with the Ship. .A scene of her sons graves makes her pause, and scenes cluster of their time together as they grew,and she catches her breath in shock to see again the travail.  Her hand recoils.
 Think of just one thing,
It doesn't have to be a perfect focus.
 I can think of Jason?
 I have reason to think he lives.
 The Deck can tell you so.
Medea holds her hand to the Deck, and sees again when the Helios chariot Dragon swallowed Jason, and then the scene with Athene, including Glauce and Creon, when the dragon vomited Jason up, and they were all taken away to Pegasae in Helios' Chariot.
 I thought as much,
 Jason lives,
 By Athene's intervention,
 Along with Creon and Glauce. 
 Would our sons had escaped me too, Hephaestus.
 The Deck only relates, it can't make.
 Making is our purview.
 I would see where Jason is...
A scene presents of Jason with Orpheus aboard the Black Ship Argo, and the scene fades, along with the Deck's colors and geometries.  It is barely fluorescing.
 Ship's hungry.
Hephaestus stands, and stows the tarp.
 After nightfall, we can explore,
See more scenes in the Deck. 
 At night, the Deck doesn't dim.
 In the meantime, my appetite for scrubbing returns!
 What does this all portend Hephaestus?
 Days now beyond the Pillars of Hercules,
 On this vast ocean,
 We sail like a ghost ship without destination.
 I have my amusement,
 The mysteries of this Ship,
 But I understand,
 A Queen needs a palace.
 The Golden Fleece was a trap,
 Helen of Troy too,
 And Penelope at her loom
 Waiting for Odysseus to come home.
 A trap for every school boy
 On a summer afternoon.
 Soon enough each will grow to see
 Glory Beauty Family
 How illusory they can be.
The Homeridae beneath the Dodona Oaks one afternoon...
 Well, it is a trap, Jason and Orpheus,
 On the Black Ship Argo,
 Chasing after the Fleece again.
 Don't forget Glauce.
 Of course, there's always a girl.
 What fishing line doesn't have a hook?
 We can never be entirely free,
 But to oppression,
 We can be entirely opposed.
 We consider imprisonments?
 Of myriad sorts below and above the wide sea. 
 What does Nemo want with a Black Ship? 
 He has Calypso back.
 Yes, how did that sleight of hand happen?
 A lost fragment.
 Petra found her searching
 The Humankind villages of Nevermore,
 Returned Calypso to Nemo.
 Today it is so hot, not a breath of wind. 
 We share the shade under the Oaks
 With the dry wing chatter of grasshoppers;
 An afternoon lassitude over these storied hills:
 Windmills still,
 Dragons napping.
 A confinement
 With the door open,
 What sweeter torture?
 Perhaps an earthquake;
 It's that kind of weather
 I knew in the West.
 Just so, I too.
 This round globe
 Has its ways
 To rattle our cage.
 Let me turn the page...
 Jason and Medea rage.
 This Black Ship whisked us away, Hephaestus.
 It is curious.
 And you, curiosity manifest. 
 Don't you miss Olympus, Hephaestus,
 The court of the gods?
 My lameness they mock.
 Rather with your automatons you talk.
 And you, Medea, with your magic lore,
 Was the conversation at the Palace's dinner table
 I miss it so. 
 And my sons,
 And Jason.
 And after dinner,
 Gathered together for tales.
 Tales we have...
Hephaestus sets his hand to the Black Deck...moving scenes begin to appear...
 Oh, a fable!
 From Aesop!
The Black Ship sails on the Black Ocean, the waves fluorescing, the neon sails shimmering, Black Dolphins riding the bow waves, and the Moon full, the Stars in a clear night sky...
A Shadow On The Moon
 As a bird's shadow over the ocean
 On a sunny day,
 The Northern Black Dragon Flight
 Obscured the Stars
 And then the silver Moon
 By their thousands overhead.
 Hephaestus happened to look up.
 "Oh, Medea, look!" he said.
 Medea joined Hephaestus in amazement,
 The Black Deck's entertainments forgotten.
 The Flight was bound North, home,
 The confrontation in the Southern Reach
 "Bats?" Hephaestus said.
 "Not so tiny," Medea said.
 "I know these,
 But never so many!
 Glauce was restrained gently
 In her gondola,
 Onyx's claw,
 High over the Black Ocean,
 The Golden Fleece held tightly
 In Onyx's other claw.
 Onyx flew at Flight's lead.
 Looking down, Glauce could see,
 Far below,
 A glowing many colored gem
 On the Black Sea.
 Onyx too sighted
 The Black Ship.
 "Hephaestus, set your maidens,
 The Keledones, to singing."  Medea said.
 Hephaestus commanded,
 And a chorus to make the Sirens envious
 Filled the night.
 The Dragons overhead overheard,
 But flew on
 Until at Onyx's  command
 They circled above the Black Ship.
 'A Black Ship that serenades its own doom.'
 Onyx thought. 
 'A pleasant song too,
 Not that imprisonment
 Of that southern Black Ship's instrument.'
 "We can take our seats
  In the night sky
 For this concert." 
 He told the Flight,
 Who were joyous as Dragons always are
 To hear a Human tune,
 Though this one seemed a bit off,
 Inhuman, but with ethereal beauty.
 Medea discerned Onyx.
 "Hephaestus!"  Medea said.
 "They have the Golden Fleece,
 And Glauce,
 Oh, and intend to attack!"
 "How can you tell?" said Hephaestus.
 "I know Dragons," said Medea,
 "I have them for pets.
 On your Eagle now, we fly up to them."
 At the Black Ship's bow,
 Hephaestus' Eagle
That he rode from Olympus to Pegasae
 Sat perched.
 Hephaestus spoke to its animation,
 And he and Medea were taken aloft.
 And Medea began to sing.
 Onyx and the Flight
 Heard Medea's voice join
 The Keledones' chorus.
 The mix of heavenly and human
 Was beyond any Dragon's ken.
 "We surrender."
 Onyx's first words
 To Medea hovering before him
 On Hephaestus' Great Eagle.
 Medea studied Onyx,
 "No need." Medea said.
  "Your cargo I would have,
 And you for captive.
 The rest,
 Too many to feed,
 Can go free.
 Onyx studied Medea.
 "Will you be our Queen?" Onyx said.
 "Our land, the Northern Reach,
 The white cap of this world,
 We rule
 And share with Humankind.
 You wouldn't be alone."
 "I have things to return, your cargo,” .Medea said,
 Perchance, is there a Palace?"
 "Palaces." Onyx said.
 "I will be your Queen," Medea said,
 "And you will be my ride.
 "Deal." Onyx said.
 Medea met Glauce's look.
 "Drop me in the sea." said Glauce.
 Medea lowered her eyes,
 "Hephaestus," Medea said,
 Take the Fleece,
 And Glauce,
 To the Black Ship,
 Hers now to command."
 "The treasure," Onyx said,
 This Fleece,
 Medea reconsidered.
 "Just so."  Medea said.
 "Once and always
 The Fleece in Dragons' care."
 Onyx belched flames with pleasure, and roared.
 "I am Medea."  Medea said astride Onyx's neck.
 "I, Onyx." said Onyx.
 "Sail South, Hephaestus." said Medea,
 "Deliver Glauce to where I once belonged.
 "Visit me at Olympus, Medea," said Hephaestus,
 "I would see the gods' envy."
 Onyx and Medea at the lead,
 The Flight continued its northern journey.
Of Black Dragons
 Beside Volcano Never
 A small cone, a crater,
 It's ragged rim broken
 Making one entrance for the sea.
 Beneath this sheltered circular bay
 Fumerals on the sea floor
 Steamed and glowed,
 Black and red pillow lavas oozing.
 This heat kept the bay warm,
 Ice free
 And a perfect harborage
 For Petra's navy,
 Three Black Ships,
 A long slender craft,
 And one battered submarine
 That Nemo was delighting in
 Showing off to Hephaestus.
 Not to be outdone,
 Hephaestus took out an
 Object from his pocket.
 "A scrub brush?" Nemo said.
 Hephaestus set it down on
 The planks of the wooden wharf,
 And it scrubbed
 All on its own.
 "For the Black Decks,
 An automaton!" Hephaestus said.
 Along the wharf
 Assembled the ranks of the crews.
 A difficulty has always been if it is
 Dragons with their Humans
 Humans with their Dragons.
 Each crew member was paired
 With a Dragon of the Southern Reach,
 And beside one another they stood
 In their ranks;
 First Mates Ishmael, Jason,
 Ned and Ichi,
 Astride their Dragons at the forefront.
 Petra, Glauce,
 Calypso and Kannon,
 Astride their Dragons,
 Looked on.
 The crews saluted their Captains
 With the Dragon Wave,
 And the Captains saluted,
 Waved in answer.
 All began to sing the Dragons' Roar.
 "Petra," said Pet to Petra,
 Beside herself hearing the singing,
 "We Dragons rule Nevermore,
 The white cap of this world,
 Our Human Towns our care,
 Will you be our Queen?
 "Deal." Petra said.
 "Mount up!"  Petra said to the crews.
 "It's a long flight to the
 Midnight Flowering."
 And the Dragons belched flames
 And roared to the Song's chorus.
And Black Ships
 Snow had fallen
 Over all the Northern Reach.
 The treasures on the
 Midnight Ceremony Crater Origin’s
 Central stage
 Covered over
 Under a white blanket,
 As they would be until Spring,
 Save for one,
 Placed by
 Onyx and Medea,
 The Golden Fleece on a tripod.
 Golden it shown in the stage's
 Lanterns' glow over the snow.
 The Northern Dragon Flight
 Perched each on their families' perches,
 A respectful audience listening
 To Onyx finish the eulogy
 For the Black Dragons
 Fallen in battle
 With the Black Ship.
 Onyx finished,
 And a stillness in the snowy landscape
 So quiet one could hear the Stars.
 Onyx left the stage to
 Who began to sing the Dragon hymn
 "Somewhere it is Fall
 Somewhere it is Spring."








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