POETRY: St. George, The Dragon, And The Virgin by Robert Bly

St. George, The Dragon, And The Virgin by Robert Bly

A sculpture made by Bernt Notke in 1489 for Stockholm Cathedral

St. George fights the dragon.
The spiny dragon,
Who lives in the rat-
Filled caves, is losing.
He fights back,
As when a child
Lifts his four
Feet to hold
Off the insane
Parent. The dragon
Hand grasps the wooden
Lance that has
Penetrated his thorny
Chest, but…
Too late…

And this girlish knight?
Oh I know him.
I read the New
Testament as I lay
Naked on my bed
As a boy.
That solar boy
Rises up radiant
With his forehead—
Eye that sees past
The criminals’ gibbet
To the mindful
Towers of the spirit city.

I hate this boy
Whom I have been
Lifting his lance above
The father. Each of us
Has been this harsh
Dragon on his back.
He is Joseph, Grendel,
What we have forgotten,
The great spirit
The alchemists knew of,
Without whom is nothing.

As children, we knew ours
Was a muddy greatness.
How long it took
To break down that horse
So that he would agree
To abet the solar boy.
This earth-handed, disreputable,
Hoarse-voiced one
Is dying, all
Over the world.
And the Virgin?
She prays
On her knees while
This goes on,
As well she might.

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