The Ballad of Blue
By Gray Winsler
By Caitlyn Grabenstein
Published Issue 097, January 2022
The dragon Blue, whom you may know,
The one who lost his fire,
He flew the cerulean seas,
With wings that never tire,
Every vein flowing with flame,
A creature to admire.
Until the day the skies grew gray,
And thunder boomed with ire,
A bolt of light struck from the night,
And pierced Blue’s body entire.
Blue fell from the sky to the sea,
Unconscious to his mire.
Beneath the swells his body sunk,
Dimming his inner fire,
Falling deeper and deeper,
Drained of all his desire,
Hanging limp in the sea’s current,
The dragon lost his fire.
He slept beneath the waves until,
An anchor broke his rest,
And from the sea his body rose,
To break the water’s crest,
Frightening the old fisherman,
Whose boat Blue took to rest.
For years Blue floated in that boat,
A dragon lost at sea,
Sleeping away day after day,
In endless apathy,
Fire drained from his every last vein,
Hope lost to atrophy.
Until a violet cloud floated
Over the dragon’s head,
And whispered to the dragon, Blue,
“You look as if you’re dead.”
Blue gave not a glance to the cloud,
And curled up back to bed.
“A dragon without inner fire,
I know of no fate worse,
But how can you merely lie here,
And not combat your curse?”
Blue, unmoved, unspoken for years,
Made his reply quite terse:
“Go away wretched cloud above,
Your kind did this to me,
On that dreadful night, when your light
Pierced into my body,
And felled me to the waves below,
My fire lost to the sea.”
The cloud mulled on this and replied:
“I suppose that is true,
But I am just a cloud, with no
Control of what I do.
I am not a dragon — I’m not
As powerful as you.”
“My inner fire is gone for good,
As you can clearly see.”
“Not gone my friend,” the cloud cut in,
“But merely lost in sea.”
At this the dragon’s ears perked up,
“What exactly do you mean?”
“No fire can be put out for good,
It must be found again,
Deep down in the vast sea below,
Is where to search my friend.”
“But the sea is my enemy,”
Said Blue to make this end.
“Many enemies you allege,
But the sea is not one,
For water now flows through those veins,
Dragon fire you have none.”
“Ah!” said Blue, as surprise struck through,
“You are right, violet one.”
With that Blue dove into the sea,
His hope rising higher,
Flowing through the sea water blue,
With wings that never tire,
Searching for the dim amber glow,
Of his lost dragon fire.
Decades he spent beneath the sea,
Brimming with new desire,
Befriending every creature passed,
But none knew of his fire,
Forcing Blue deeper and deeper,
Beneath the sea’s entire.
And in the abysmal blackness,
He saw an amber blaze,
Beckoning the dragon to come,
Return to his old ways,
And reclaim the fire he longed for,
To reclaim his lost days.
He swam up to the scorching blaze,
And swallowed the fire whole,
The heat burning out his insides,
Setting ablaze his soul,
Fire and water fusing within,
The first time he was whole.
Gray Winsler is the first ginger to be published in Birdy Magazine, Issue 091. He loved living in Denver despite his allergy to the sun and is now based in Ithaca, NY. He spends his mornings with his dog Indy by his side, writing as much as possible before his 9-to-5. If you’re curious about Normal, IL or why TacoBell is bomb, you can find more on his site.
Caitlyn Grabenstein, a.k.a. Cult Class, is a collage artist, sketch artist, and designer out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She started doing art at a very young age and has pursued it in different forms throughout her life. While working in the music industry and running her own charitable business, BANDADE, she began creating websites, ultimately hosting more than 50 charitable shows with over 60 different artists including Imagine Dragons, Jason Isbell, Maren Morris, Ingrid Michaelson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Alabama Shakes, Florence Welch and more. During this time, Caitlyn started collaging out of necessity to create concert posters. She fell in love with the process and began collaging regularly. Caitlyn now runs her own design business, CLG Design Co.. Her work can be found in buildings around Philadelphia. Caitlyn’s pieces have been commissioned by individuals, musicians, businesses, and real estate companies from Chile to Germany to Los Angeles. Check out more of her art on Instagram.
In case you missed it, check out The Messenger by Gray inspired by Caitlyn’s piece, The Time Traveler, or head to our Explore section to see more work by these two creatives.