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Jim Miller Jim Miller
Recommendations: 29

Wyrm, a Self Portrait


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soul mates

I coast through the gray-pastels
Of these vast mid-heavens,
With nary a flap of my wings;
And the sun hangs cool and red on the horizon,
And the bitter-sweetness rises once again in my belly,
And I bring it all up
And begin once more to chew on it.
For I must remember
Who I am,
And where I have been,
And what has happened to me.
And especially . . .
Especially, I must remember
What has been promised to me.
For it is my only
Hope.


Yes,
I know who I am.
A great, ugly, old dragon,
A wyrm.
Some think me wise and intelligent,
For I have lived long.
But I know the truth,
And the truth is that I am neither.
It is just that I have lived with my torments,
My fire and my ice,
Longer than most.
And I know who I am.
I am a wyrm.


Once, they built me up and extolled my virtues,
"Wyrm, you are so kind, and gentle, and creative."
"Surely, there are not many like you!"
But I knew the truth of my inner self,
And I strove to choke it and to cloak it,
And to continue showing forth only that which they wanted.


Until one day the fire bubbled up
From deep within,
And they were there
To see it
And to hear it.
And as my rage burned senselessly,
I opened my mouth,
And spat the fire out at them.
And it burned them.


And they were surprised and afraid.
Terrified, they threw up their hands
And backed away.
With eyes askance, they pleaded with me,
"Wyrm, this is not you!"
"This is not the Wyrm we know!"
"Please stop it now!"
And they could not bear
To look upon me any longer.


And I saw that they were now afraid of me.
And so I became afraid.
And I ran.
And then I unfurled my great, ugly wings,
And flew off
Into the cerulean sky.  
And up there, I forgot that I had hurt them,
And that they were afraid of me,
And that I was afraid of me.



And flight was beautiful!
From this perspective,
Every cloud, indeed, was silver-lined.
And I saw yellow . . . yellow of and un-earthly intensity,
Yellow so bright that it should have been humanly impossible to perceive it.
Then I said to myself,
"Silly Wrym, it is only the sun!"


But I flew too close,
And I looked too long,
And I was invigorated, and dazzled . . . and charmed.
My mind danced crazily,
And prickled with white-hot energy and emotion,
And I was ecstatically alive!
I was joyously, unbelievably, filled


Beyond any capacity
To express or relate
To others.
This must be heaven,
I reasoned.


And then, suddenly,
I was out of control, and I was burning!
I screamed with pain as my great wings were charred,
And my mind fizzled in a loud cacophony
Of repetitious nonsense,
And I was falling!
"If I fall into the sun," I reasoned, terrified,
"I will surely burn till nothing
Is left of me!
I will disappear in a great resounding explosion
Of nothingness!"


But instead I fell back to earth.
To the cold, cold earth.
And the pain only intensified,
And I bellowed in great anger, fear, and confusion.
I pleaded with heaven, and with earth,
And with hell, that I would do anything
If the pain would only stop!
For this must be hell.
But it didn't
Stop.


And so the "great" Wyrm
Became as a child,
And I huddled myself into a little, fetal ball,
And I wrapped my great, scarred wings
Around my battered, tortured frame,
And my soul turned to ice,
And I slept for a thousand years,
And I retreated farther
And farther
Away.


They found me there
And they shook me and tried to rouse me.
"Wyrm, you are so kind, and gentle, and creative!"
"Please do not give up!"
"Do not leave us!"
"Oh, Wyrm, don't go where we fear!"
And I saw again that they were afraid of me,
And so I was afraid all over again,
And so I ignored them,
And I did not
Care.


And every time that I began to care . . .
Even a little bit,
I threw it farther away from me,
Until it was really gone.
And I could not feel anything;
Not even the pain itself;
Not even the fear.
And there was only this little, itty-bitty piece left,
The piece that I call "me".
And I had convinced myself
That without much effort at all, really,
I could throw that piece away, too,
And retreat forever
Into the blessed solitude
Of death itself.


And I was about to let go
And drift,
And let God Himself decide where I should go,
When she came to me as I lie there curled up in the mud.
And she spoke to me, saying,
"Silly, ugly old Wyrm!"
"Don't you know that you are loved?"
But I would not answer her,
Though I thought,
"It is not true!"


And a second time she said to me,
Silly, ugly old Wyrm!"
"Don't you know that the Father loves you?"
When she used that title,
I didn't know whether to fly into a rage,
Or retreat even farther away,
But I was beginning to feel---
Something.


And then yet again a third time she spoke,
"Silly, ugly old Wyrm!"
"Don't you know that Jesus loved you so much that He died for you?"
And I caught my breath,
And I risked a peek up at her.
She was like me,
Except that her wings were diaphanous,
And her eyes were clear, blue sapphires . . . and she was beautiful,
And she walked above the mud.
And so, I pressed my face
More deeply into the mud,
For I was greatly
Ashamed.


And she said again,
"Silly, ugly old Wyrm!  Take my hand!"
But I shook my head, "No!"
For I was dying,
And it seemed only right to me
That I should do so.
Then quite suddenly,
She averted her eyes heavenward
As if listening to music
That I could not perceive.
And then in a fluid instant of time
She was face down in the mud beside me,
Though she was not soiled by it.


Her wings unfurled with an audible "snap"!
And with them she covered her face, head, and entire body,
And I got the feeling that she was standing at attention
As she lay there prone in the mud with me.
And I heard her chant loudly and reverently
And over and over again,
"Holy!  Holy!  Holy! . . . Holy!  Holy!  Holy!"


And then I heard a Voice,
A great Voice,
A still, small Voice,
A Voice of authority and command
Tempered with the richness
Of unconditional love.


"Wyrm!"
"Get up and walk!"


I could refuse the angel, Shandril,
But I could not refuse this Voice,
So I got up.
But before I could take a step,
I fell.


"Wyrm!"
"Get up and walk!"


I had no power;
Not an ounce of strength left;
I was sure of it,
Yet I did not argue with the Voice.
I tried.
I got up.
I took a step.
I fell again;
Back into the cold, slick mud.


"Wyrm!"
"Get up and walk!"


All through the cold, dark night He prompted me
Until eventually I could get up without Him prompting me to.
And then I stopped hearing His Voice,
But I kept on walking back and forth and up and down and all around
That pathetic parcel of ground
Until she was there again.
And she took my sleeve,
As I let here touch me this time.
She pointed to the new dawn of the eastern sky.


"Do you see the light beginning to come?"
She asked.
"I see the light, Shandril.  Is it over?"
"Yes, for now."
My heart stopped.  "It will happen again!"
I asked, incredulously.
"Yes," she stated serenely,
With eyes open and honest.
"I can never bear it again!" I cried.
"Yes, you will."


"Wyrm, it is OK; OK to try to fly again."
"And it is even OK to gaze into the heart of the sun,"
But it is not OK to come so close"
"That you are consumed by it."
"And it is OK to sleep . . ." she began.
". . . Just don't do it for a thousand years."
I ventured to finish.
"And Wyrm, death is inevitable for you . . ."
"But it is wrong for me to try to choose the time and the place."


And then I opened my wings
And looked at them as if it were the first time.
Already they were healing
And the scales were falling away.
I saw myself in a new light.
"You know," I marveled, "I am really not that ugly."
"No, Wyrm, not that ugly."
I canted my wings and tested the breeze.
She suddenly became very animated.
"Wyrm, someday you will fly everywhere without limits."
"Even through the very heart of the sun itself"
"And you will not burn; you will not fall."
"And you will find a peace and a rest that will allow you to be filled"
"And not serve as an escape from your reality."


"When will that be, Shandril?"
My eyes flooded with tears.
And then I sighed a great sigh that gave a great, whispered voice to the depths of my longing,
"I . . . am . . . ready!"
She reached up to wipe the tears from my eyes
And I saw that they were in hers also.


And then it came to me
And I gave it words, "Just a little while . . .
Lower than the angels,"
I stated as I sprang up and cupped the heavens
Beneath my wings.


"Yes!" she shouted in my direction, "That's it!"


Well at least I'm learning---
Something anyway.
And though I know that I am still a wyrm
I also know that I am also something much greater.


For He knows me,
And He has saved me,
And He has shown me
That He loves me.
And this counts above all.
And it is this that
I must
Never
Forget!


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