St George and the flagging

The attempt to revive St George as a national icon of celebration splutters to a halt today in England.

A verse from The True Dragon by Brian Patten

St George was out walking

He met a dragon on a hill,

It was wise and wonderful

Too glorious to kill


Mr Patten was commissioned to write this poem on this illustrious day, he goes on to say on BBC Radio 4 that he “doesn’t want to kill the dragon, it’s an endangered species”.

It’s a lovely poem — the full thing is here — but to quote Tarantino (who stole it from Ali): “If you shoot me in a dream you better wake up and apologise.” Instead of celebrating, Mr Patten seems bent on apologising . . . before he’s even fired a shot.

Let us not forget the dragon is a fire-breathing, human munching symbol of the devil . . . oh, and it was also make believe. Leaving aside the transformation of the story from hero-conquers-beast into that very 21st century idea: the pre-apology, if you cannot bring yourself to slay such an animal — even in fantasy — then you’ve not just got problems with pest control, you’ve serious doubts with the idea of heritage, legend, symbolism and, if there can be such a thing when it comes to myth, historical accuracy. When one of your national poets is ambivalent about St. George’s day then small wonder everyone else is.


One Response to “St George and the flagging”
  1. Kaylee McCarthy says:

    I LOVE THIS x 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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