Poems by D.K. Pritchett


You asked me

to tell you of

a dragon.

The Chinese of old knew it.

It’s skin is the most

Beautiful, brilliant color.

It billows and curls like pure silk.

The skin is what you see first;

irridescent, ethereal ~

a deceptive shroud.

Then it sheds its brittle skin

and slithers out,


a writhing mass

of pure corruption.

it eyes slide toward you ~


black and cold

(ever so sly, deceitful);

a knowing wink…

and then you know

that you’ve been had.

A dragon

is just another serpent...

and that is how the children

are being deceived.



Out of the carbon vault of night,

the beautiful one has come,

suffused unseen with shades of night,

save for a band of aural light

on shoulders draped in gold.

Awed, necromantic murmurs

of masterworks on massive scale

have filtered down through age and earth

to beckon from a hidden world

her silent, ancient ka.

In restive wonder, she surveys

our modern land of glass and steel.

Unperceived, her kohled eye...

a lengthened, mystic moonlit land,

cool and ashen, slowly shifts

like dark, volcanic shifting sands;

and settles on an edifice

that looms against the graphite sky.

Swift, fleet clouds, luminous

as silver sails on phantom ships,

glide through oceanic skies,

moor in coves of polished glass

and billow softly in the wind.

Envisioning sepulchral gray,

illumed by living firmament

as this one seems ~ she palls on still,

oppressive gloom (the dust and chill

of pyramid, and rock-hewn tomb.)

Divine descendant of the sun,

once blessed of Egyptian rule ~

in exile, now denied esteem

and buried in obscurity.

Embittered, questioning, she lifts

a regal hand, encircled by a

strand of tear-drop diamonds

in startling white against the sky.


Inside the topmost chamber, mute

discordant music strains, unheard,

as cryptic neon hieroglyphs

beckon soft, to those who would,

come dance the ritual dance of ankh...

None do.

Decaying shrouds of musty smoke

have mummified the airless room.

A mystic eye, lined neon pink, stares dimly through.

The silent, know-all sphinx gives none a clue

as watchful Horus judges all they do.

Drones, the mourners, cluster round

to share of stored profundity

and suck distilled nectar, sweet

death-surmounting drink of gods,

from plastic cups.

Pale visages, in liquored trance

gape outside, through deadened eyes

across the dark necropolis

and focus, blind, on chill blue-white

effluvium of gaslight glare.


A yellow band of jewelled light

surrounds a lucent black abyss

of night enshadowed lake. Nearby,

a ring of streetlamps stand,

a single strand of tear-drop lights

in diamond-white against the sky.

Moonlit Water Garden

ebony pool, rippling

dark and oily;

pale winter moon,

ice-white and cold.

marble statue,

of fragmented self

in pearl-colored


broken by

silver rings ~

moonlit circles

on black water;

stone cold, its

moss-covered rim


liquid black depths,

darkly obscured, both


and deep.

First published by Soul Food Cafe, in the 'Lemuria' forum (a site hosted by Heather Blakey).

The Snake

Two yards met at the corner: one,

Spruce, clipped, neat as a deacon

Sporting his gold chain and vest; the

Other, unkempt, forlorn; none

The less, one such as youths seek on

Nice days ~ paradise to zesty

Devil-darers who rode untamed

Limbs to submission. Where it dipped

Into a hollow, an old stone

Wall shored the soil. One girl claimed

The top lawn, its blades nicely clipped;

The other, the base. None had known

The origin of the wall, so

Children liked to believe its past

Lay in mystery, although

Nothing shored their belief. One last

Hindrance finished the division:

A grim guardian, sharp-clawed,

Unkinder than apple or peach

In fall, dropped thorns with precision,

To surprise the bare feet

Of the two who played beneath, each

Forbidden unto her neighbor's

Yard. They made it their day's labors

To gather thorns ('The same thorns,'

Said one, 'in Christ's crown.' 'Oh, no-one

Would wear that,' said the other),

And they quarrelled who owned the tree.

When, slow, along the cold, smooth stone,

The snake appeared, silently,

Its char-gray body, long and still,

Seemed...shadow on stone or a limb,

Fallen. Thoughtless devil ~

He had no refuge! His unjust

Intrusion paled the girls' faces.

Boldly, he stopped, at eye level

With her who stood in the dell.

His subtle eye, dark as places

Below, and deep as an old well

Hidden among wet, black leaves,

Met her clear, gray eye...

And willing seemed to share unspoken

Some ancient secret. Her friend screamed.

Their odd communion was broken,

"Snake, snake!" Her shrill cries of delight

Brought the others. The victim seemed

To wait, his fated doom invite.

Accepting theirs, all the children

Ringed around with rocks, thrilled within

By the lust of hate. Stone clattered

Against stone, and stone battered

Silent flesh, until the snake lay

Broken against the harsh wall. They

Picked him up and raced, screaming

Across the yard. A tall boy held

The snake above his head. Its head

Trailed the ground. The snake, in sunlight,

Looked ordinary, limp and dead.

Children formed a magical ring

Of blond, brunette, black and red

In the light on the cool, green field.

Laughter rose, in fear ~ gleeful, wild,

As the boy darted the snake's head

At first one, and then another child.

"We have killed the snake," the children

Joyous began to sing. "We

Have killed... We have killed... We have killed."

Then, from the mouth of the brute spilled,

Dark as forbidden fruit, a blood

Red drop that stained a bare white foot.

One child stepped back from the ring ~ she

Whose eye his eye had met. She chose

To quit the ritual; alone,

Seemed to know ages past and those

To come (though knew not why). A moan

Betrayed her doubt. She glanced to see

If the sign was seen, and he who

Held the snake laughed; then so, too,

Did she, but hollow rang the tone!

Once, twice more, she swiped at the spot;

Rejoined the ring, out of season

With herself (although she could not

Put her finger on the reason.