I'm fairly certain this is the longest poem I've written - and most the politically charged too. I can't remember what piece of news inspired it specifically, but I remember it was about some obscenely rich person doing obscenely rich things. My response was some version of "Smaug the dragon wouldn't be this greedy!" And then a poem happened.
There are a few spots where I feel like this one didn't turn out quite as well as I wanted. But I like it overall!
A shepherd was tending his flock one day,
When a dragon set down to greet him.
“It makes me quite curious (I have to say),
That you don’t seem afraid to be eaten?”
The shepherd, at ease, and with no small aplomb,
Simply shrugged to the winged serpent’s question.
“What can you do that my lords haven’t done?
What worse travesties are your predilection?”
“Please explain,” pled the dragon - confused.
“For I’m a terror – a fire-spewing beast!”
“I agree that you’re frightening,” said the peasant - amused.
“But you’re a monster that’s honest, at least.”
“Perhaps there’s a chance you might eat me today,
Or fly off with my flock in your gullet.
I would take that fate over humanity’s ways,
Of treating proud men like stringed puppets.”
“That’s what it felt like when the lords took my sons,
And marched with them off to their wars.
It was an honor they swore! But then the battle was won,
And I had no more sons anymore.”
“Dreadful,” the dragon admitted.
“I’d relish no days in your shoes.”
“Don’t count the matter acquitted,”
Said the shepherd. “That’s not all my kind do.”
The shepherd asked, “You have a great horde?”
“The greatest!” The dragon insisted.
“There are rich men,” came the shepherd’s sure words.
“With more gold than any dragon e’er existed.”
“How can that be?” The dragon roared.
“Absent aid of fire and claw?”
“The market they call it,” explained the old shepherd.
“Dressed up thievery protected by law.”
“What of the king?” The dragon’s voice boomed.
“Surely his grace must object!”
“His wisdom with silver met corruption’s cold doom;
“The king lives at the wealthy man’s beck.”
“For every copper I eek they take home a gold,
I taste but a fraction of my spoils.
They claim they come to it through wisdom of old,
But in truth they just steal from my toil.”
“Why allow it? I don’t understand!”
The dragon bellowed in rage.
“You know all they do and yet here you stand,
As though your fate were writ on a page.”
The shepherd just shrugged, “What could I do?
I’m one simple man with some sheep.
I wake each day and try to live true,
And hope they don’t demand more of my reap.”
“Would you like one, by the way?”
The shepherd asked. He gestured to his small flock.
“I’m no fool! It’s why you came here today.
I can’t imagine you just stopped to talk.”
The dragon shook head,
“I’ll go elsewhere instead and bother one not so forlorn.”
“You might fly til you’re dead,” the old shepherd said.
“For most live this way after they’re born.”
The dragon said “goodbye” and flew into the sky.
The shepherd returned to his labors.
“The old legends are lies,” the man sadly sighed.
“Dragons are far better neighbors.”