Each Must Decide

Mortimer lives for over twenty years inside
his valley, quite isolated but happy among
his brethren. The ground is scorched far and wide,
with trees shorn and air smelling of dragon dung,

but it is all Morty knows, and he remains satisfied.
True, it is sometimes hard to stay away from trouble.
When the older dragons fight, breathing fire, he’ll hide
and wonder why do they reduce their home to rubble.

Morty’s mother raises him to be a kindly dragon,
for she has seen before what fate a hostile, mean
dragon suffers. Morty’s father died hitched to a wagon,
enslaved by the outside world, where prejudice is seen.

The day soon comes when Morty and friend hear tales
of beauty and grandeur in a world just outside of their
own valley. They decide to sneak away to visit a spell,
all excited and happy, for this is their first trip anywhere.

The world they find is lush and green, full of wonderful
new sights. They are frolicking, merely enjoying life, until
encountering a group of humans, who shout, “Be careful!
They are dragons, and you know how they are.” Morty still

has hopes of avoiding confrontation, when suddenly they
are attacked without warning, with wounding and hurting.
They both flee, followed by shouts of glee, “Leave and stay
where you belong!” Back at home, Morty is soon seething.

“I swear the next time I venture into their world outside,
I’ll be ready to fight like a dragon, breathing a fireball
at those humans!” Hearing, his mother now does confide,
“Mortimer, this day comes to us dragons one and all.

“Now you must choose who shall decide your fate.
Will you live true to the values you have learned,
or will you act as others expect? If you should let hate
fill your mind, your heart will become shriveled and burned.”

Mortimer the dragon wisely makes the correct choice,
lives a contented life, never listening to bigotry’s voice.
However, he can only watch helplessly as his friend keeps
a life of anger and violence. Soon, at his death, he weeps.

Harry Edward Gilleland      03.29.04