PORTRAIT OF A DRAGON
First published in 'Dragon Poems', OUP 1991
If I were an artist
I'd paint the portrait of a dragon.
To do a proper job
I'd borrow colours from the world.
For his back I'd
need a mountain range, all misty-blue.
For spikes I'd use dark fir trees pointing
to the sky.
For overlapping scales I'd squeeze dye from
I'd gild his claws I like shining swords
His tail would be a river, silver
in the sun. For his head, the
secret green of forests and deep seas.
And his eyes would
glow like embers in a tinker's fire.
But I'd keep the best
till last. For his hot breath
I'd use all reds and
yellows - crocus, saffron, peony, poppy,
geranium, cyclamen, rose -
and fierce orange flames from a marigold.