The conversations one overhears around the cathedral are enlightening. An eavesdropper soon learns that there are answers to seemingly impossible questions, including this one: “Why is that gargoyle smiling?”
A MOTHER CONSOLES HER DAUGHTER
“Lizards must perish, as sure as they’re born;
Children who love them are fated to mourn.
Yet lizards live on when their season is flown:
Scales fall away; the remainder is stone,
And wings, like green legends, burst forth and unfold.
The beasts they become covet altars of gold;
They roost on cathedrals, unnoticed and gray,
Watching the centuries die in a day.
Well may you wonder, ‘But what happens next?’
This question leaves even the wisest perplexed.
The wyrd of these wyrms is a subtle decree,
But here’s what a wyvern once whispered to me:
When Time bids these buttresses buckle and break,
Scattering rubble and ruin in their wake,
Things wearing wings will awake and take flight.
On towering temples a few will alight;
Some will watch kobolds construct them a shrine;
Some will stalk longships, their prows to entwine;
Some will grind gryphons to dust in their claws;
One may remember a child, and pause.
So listen, for wings carry comforting truth:
Honor the monsters that creep through your youth,
And never make light of a reptile’s pride;
A lizard, though small, is a dragon inside.”
(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tag.)