Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Dragon in St George

I think it’s funny when we talk about how
We might go about terraforming Mars—

Look around. Wouldn’t you says odds are
We’re more likely to Marsaform Earth?

We know it, too. We’ve known it for a while.
Why else all our tales about the Martians

Who come to couch surf with us after
They’ve thoughtlessly ruined beautiful Mars?

That’s just the way it is with us. We can’t
Get out of the habit of myth-bombing

Our own fantastical mad anxieties. Either
We’re the plucky victims lashed by alien gods

Or we’re the greatest gods ourselves,
Become Death, destroyer of worlds!

It’s always St George or the Dragon
With us—we have to root for one of them,

And see ourselves in one of them, but rarely
Both of them in us. Mars has been bright

Much of the past several months, above
This desert now increasingly dry. War, dragon,

Garnet wandering star, maybe still pickled
In just enough frozen brine to support

A few of us and our latest slaves, robots.
Kenneth Grahame was on to something right

When he wrote out his silly improvisation
In which a child negotiates a kayfabe fight

Between his friend—a gorgeous, sonorous,
Blue-scaled, poetical, but lazy dragon—

And the golden-armored celebrity saint, just
So that the rude villagers can be entertained

Then properly scolded, a badger set free,
And neither the dragon nor St George die,

Much less end up being eaten or beheaded,
But wander off singing instead, offstage pals.

A dragon has always been in St George
And St George in the dragon, and both

Of them in us, us in them, and all of this mess
On Earth, which will go on shining reflectively,

Even more brightly than Mars, thanks only
To position and size, not to lights, lies, or lives.

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