Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Song of Saint George

(In honor of Saint George's Day today, here is my reinterpretation of the folktale.)

Near foot of barley hills and roads
rides fair Penelope
across the pasture by the church
with George on faithful steeds.

Within the guarded bulwarks' hold,
the Presbyter and priest
consoles his wife and eager waits
the day they are released.

The ruined walls of belfry stalls
all crushed beneath the feet
of dragons dealing blows to stone
and wrecking their new keep.

The saint strides out against the wind;
his foes crawl forth to meet.
He draws his sword, the dragons arch,
their fire shirks his shield.

And George, before the raided church,
is scorched in harsh defeat,
as willows wail their mourning song
for old-time jubilee.

The daughter of the Scotch Reform
looks on at all the grief
with furrowed brow and prayerful heart,
the Lord her soul to keep.

She begs the Lord to raise her knight,
commissioned to relieve
her parents from the monsters' clutch
and tortured devilry.

The hero fell in bitter brawl
with ancient sorcery.
The serpents crushed him once and twice,
will gladly make it three.

Below the boughs of weathered yew,
he lies revived in sleep,
from fiendish claws and wicked wind,
from monsters' flame and teeth.

Again he rides toward church and snakes,
again their fires breathe.
Their heads brought low to seal his fate,
his sword is plunged in deep.

The demons' scaly necks are hewn
by blade, the cut is neat.
Decapitated, now their forms
lie, mountains in the wheat.

Without their fearsome dragon guards,
the captives are released,
are reunited with their girl
whose suitor felled the beasts.

Rebuilding what the devils razed,
they spark a revelry,
and parents, George, Penelope
return to life in peace.

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