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.


1 Comment so far

  1. Kaylee McCarthy on February 21, 2011 2:42 am

    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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