Themes: 

Poetry and The Dragon

From Things You Find in a Poet's Beard by A.F. Harrold

 

If you open up my skull

  You won’t see a brain in there,

underneath the skin and bone

  and bushy spreading hair

is something rather different,

  something quite unique,

something I must feed with fancy

  several times a week.

 

There’s a dragon in my brain-box,

  puffing fire in my head,

it’s always hungry, always thirsty,

  always must be fed

on images imagined,

on truthful things and lies –

this dragon needs some stoking

  To puff its fire in my eyes.

 

I feed it with the glitter

  of dew on a spider’s web,

no sooner is it noticed

  than it’s gulped into my head –

I see the leaves of autumn

  turn yellow and red and fall –

the dragon takes everything I see,

  the dragon eats it all.

 

He swallows the shouting of people,

  angry in the street,

the roar of a jet down the valley

  is gobbled up like meat.

The smell of new bread baking,

  the green of the garden in spring,

the touch of a ghost at the back of my neck –

  the dragon eats everything.

 

He’s kept alive by the world –

  by the sounds and the sights and the dreams,

he’s got no ideas of his own, you see,

  but he’s bulging at the seams –

he’s fat with the pictures he’s swallowed,

  huge on the noises he’s heard –

from cheers in the playground football match

  to the squawk of grannie’s bird –

 

that day when Mum was mad with me,

  and the day that I fell in love,

and other days that passed so slow,

  the hurt of the bully’s shove,

the dream that I set foot on Mars,

  the clatter of Beowulf’s fight –

all roll around in the dragon’s maw,

  sparking and letting out light,

 

and once in a while he puffs up a flame,

  bursting with all he’s eaten

and the images rush, they flutter and roar

  like runners who won’t be beaten

in the race of memory, the race of words,

  of poetry flaming anew –

and I write it all down, one way or another,

‘cause that’s what poets do.

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A F Harrold - Poetry & The Dragon

A F Harrold - Poetry & The Dragon