Bellum Dei

A Ballad By Molly Hopkins

In my waking mind there dwells
A Griffin in a garden.
He tends to plants and creatures tame,
Serving as its warden.

He coaxes beauty into bloom
By acknowledging its truth.
He thinks of love and roses bud,
Virtue springs fountains of youth.

But it’s God and His promises
That breathe life all around,
To the twittering birds and chittering foxes,
To the llama, jaguar, and hound.

They live in harmony together,
Laughing in the sun,
But Griffin keeps a watchful eye,
For peace, it is hard won.

He guards against what? you ask;
What harm could befall them?
On the outskirts lurks a foe,
A fearsome, flesh-eating dragon.

Made of slander and tarry doubts,
Of anger, greed, and briar,
He longs to gormandize the Eden,
And lick it up with fire.

Dragon prowls the outer fringe,
Singeing what he can
Before Griffin comes and tamps it out,
And scares him off the land.

But sometimes Dragon grows big and strong,
When Griffin takes a nap,
And in an instant, all’s aflame
And the trees start to crack.

Flowers crumple, and creatures flee,
Scrambling to keep alive,
While Dragon rages in his power,
Roaring out his lies:

“Nothing matters, nothing’s right.
Give up, give in, why try?
Dissolve away, ludicrous Griffin,
And let ME reign on high!”

Griffin startles to attention
Aghast at all the death
As Dragon devours the stallion of freedom
And lights the earth with his breath.

Griffin lunges at his foe,
His wings whipping the air.
Dragon eludes his assault and taunts,
Leering with a maniacal glare.

Snapping beak and tearing claws
Shower crimson rain,
Which sizzle as they meet the fire
As it murders, delighting in pain.

Everything falls prey to its tongue,
The mountain of strength is consumed;
So too, the dove of hope is devoured.
Uncurbed, this world is doomed.

The war rages on, vicious and deadly,
A flurry of feathers and scales,
As the creatures fight well into the night,
Lashing and thrashing their tails.

Dragon seizes the upper hand,
Spewing venom and malice.

He snaps viciously with his fangs,
Throwing Griffin off-balance.

When Griffin is pinned by talons sharp,
He chokes out a sob,
“Where is my God? Doesn’t He care?
Doesn’t He want this to stop?”

Dragon, he answers, “No and No!
He pleasures in your torment.
Why else would He discard to me
Your worthless life as forfeit?”

The cause did crumble; destruction was nigh.
Griffin’s courage, it did fail,
When from the sky, all black with cloud,
A miracle did sail!

A sword as gleaming as the Son
Blinded the dragon with light.
He recoiled, but the blade struck true,
Crippling his wing-ed flight.

He roiled, emitting a terrible shriek,
Angered by the attack,
And Griffin, feeling too weak to rise,
Saw, still sprawled on his back,

That on the blade, read these words
In glorious lettering true:
“I’ve never left; I love you still.
Have faith and fight on through.”

A stir of reason moved his heart,
And Griffin desperately gasped.
Reaching for the two-edged sword,
It’s golden hilt he clasped.

Pulling it from the dragon’s wing,
He let out a warbling cry,
“I don’t understand, but I trust.
And I know it’s you who lie.

“I am not God to know His ways,
They are high and I am lowly.
Yet He is wise, right, and good,
In all His ways most Holy.”

Griffin raised the weapon high
And dashed it at his foe.
Dragon contorted to avoid the advance,
Seeking escape in shadow.

Griffin pursued the retreating beast,
Bellowing a dauntless roar,
And plunged his blade through inky heart,

Piercing straight to its core.

Dragon shriveled and cursed his name,
Proclaiming his return,
“As soon as you fall careless, I
Will burst forth to spurn.”

“That may be,” Griffin replied,
“But I’ll fight you once again.
With my God, who’s ever faithful, we
Will war to the glorious end.”

Then what was left of Dragon’s form,
Griffin sternly banished.
Along with his foul murmurings,
And acrid flames, he vanished.
As Dragon slithered through the smoke,
Griffin assessed the land, 
The embers dying in ashy heaps,
The barren glen, once grand.

He thought himself the lone survivor
Then pink noses he spied
Emerging from ‘round rocks and brambles,
God’s promise creatures, alive!

He felt quite weak and overwhelmed
To start it all anew,
But he gripped his sword and said a prayer
And began with an earnest, “Thank you.”


*For more poems of a similar vein, check out my Amazon book entitled “Gold in the Gray,” by Molly Hopkins.

**Photo credit

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