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Harris, Abby, First Blood


Abby Harris
Age: 14, Grade: 9

School Name: Manhattan High School For Girls, New York, NY
Educator: Shaina Trapedo

Category: Poetry

First Blood

Fabled night in sable darkness
Tenebrous unstable starkness
Able knight with armor metal
Swordplay fatal, steely mettle
Steep hills lead to caves forbidden
Steeped in shadow, dark and hidden
Owls’ cries ring sharp and lonesome
Lone knight takes a road less chosen

Reaches cave’s mouth, tethers steed
Proceeds inside, prepared to bleed
Head bowed, blade out, eyes glow savage
Knight avenging those who vanished
Vanquish that which ravaged, razed,
Leave the beast dead in its cave

She saunters in impetuously,
Knowing not how recklessly
Eyes adjust to dust and gloom
Blood runs cold from fear of doom:
Looming tall, serrated claws
A dragon, filling wall to wall
A milky-white and pearly creature
Silky smile, glittering features

Small, weak human pales and staggers
Eyes like moons and teeth like daggers
Gaze hypnotic, scales all glistering
Beast spews fire, burning, blistering
She tightly grips her sword and swears
As sulfury smoke swirls through the air
Eyes stream, stinging, sight obscured
The sturdy knight holds on to her sword

The sweat that dews her forehead drips
And scents of fear and brimstone mix
All is thick with smoke and tension
Maiden shakes with apprehension
She advances, her legs jelly
The knight lances the beast’s belly

Monster blazes, eyes twin suns
Dazed, the maid ignores burnt lungs
Ducks her head to dodge the flame
But can’t escape the dragon’s aim
She holds her shield, but feels heat searing,
Fire makes her eyes start tearing

And as the smoke-filled fight proceeds
She feels her strength and might recede
Wounded badly, losing blood,
Dented armor caked with mud,
The tired knight fights hard and well
But scales resist her sharp metal
And every blow she tries to serve
Deters, not the beast, but her

Winking, blinking stars glare bright
And blackness stands before her sight
The weakened knight begins to sway
And as she feels her legs give way
She wonders why she even came
For mere glory, honor, fame?
And, quick as light, she knows right then
That she had come here for her friends
Who fell into the dragon’s claws
And ended in the monster’s jaws

Her former fears all but dissolve,
Replaced by duty, strong resolve
For if here she meets her end,
She knows she’ll perish for her friends
She gets up and stands defiant
Now not frightened of the tyrant

Stabs and jabs with new agility
Focused thrusts and tough stability
Swiping, sweating, gasping, blocking
Striking, dodging, spiking, lodging
Her blade in the gut of the dragon
Roars and flames, but starts to slacken
Once-great creature falls, she slashes
Glowing gore pours from its gashes
Bloodied knight wipes off the guts
Suppressing cries from burns and cuts
She hacks the dragon’s head off, sighs
And lifts the scaly skull up high

Her sizzling saber, stained with crimson,
In the darkness, glows and glistens
Outshone by the dragon’s beacon
Eyes, whose light won’t soon be weakened
Out the cave she limps and stumbles
Looking down, quiet, humbled
Mounts her steed and grabs its mane
The other hand still on her blade

The inky blackness, vast and lonely
Reveals a young knight riding, only
Illuminated by the blood on her brand
The head in her bag and the gore on her hands

And though she’ll scrub with lye and water
Her sword cannot deny her slaughter
And the blood on her hands that haunts her brain
The blood of the first creature she’s slain
The blood that courses through her veins,
That bubbles subtly with shame
The blood that’s hot as dragon’s flame
The blood in her body won’t ever be the same.