Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010


by Polly Hall

These dragons don’t breathe fire.
They circle their prey,
pick out young naïve morsels,
eyeing the rump as target practice, the legs lunch.
Patience, their modus operandi.
Opportunity teamed with circumstance.
One pool of stagnant water beckons oxen to the bank
Reactions dulled like the thud of a headache
Their need to quench too great
One scratch from the dragon’s
poisoned fang seeps into the victims blood.
They watch, they circle.
They wait for two more days.
Circumnavigating their prey. Licking air
with forked tongues. Becoming the outcast
the weakened beast falters, eyes clouding over.
Flies pitch waiting to steal salt.
It wanders, it sways.
The wound festers.
The dragons watch and wait still.
Their bony bodies lie flat, dusty claws settle
as the pool shrinks. Another day.
Still they circle. A testing nip of rear leg.
The quickening rush of death nears.
Misery has no mercy.
He yearns for kind teeth to release his pain. Eat me now…
But the dragons sniff the air.
They watch, they circle.
They wait for two more days.

Added: 07.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


At first I felt like this poem was overly dramatic, but it grew on me. Certainly one of the best of this batch, however.