St. George And The Dragon
Poem By Sofiul Azam
Shadows fell on indispensable hopes and grace.
All of our inherited clemency cowered;
and the currency of hopes was almost over,
the hopes that had overlapped one another like tiles.
Yet hopes lived on like the scent of fornication;
even when I kind of felt my nerves were
benumbed with cold amnesia, I thought -
despair's a lubber's loom jabbering away.
Not for a moment did I stop anyone weaving
a tapestry of words dyed in rich colours
nor barred even once in darkness so fast
the transport of starry rhapsodies
into someone's heart's heaviness as if lead's;
Didn't I invite you all to an orchestra
when all around our suburban habitation
clangs and fumes of dross would hang in the air?
Yet there often around despair came up
the gentry so servile I got angry. Over there
at the street corner where shoeboxes,
left-over vegetables and napkins piled up
in trash cans like anthills, stench spiraled up,
(this squalid city's overspill got used to all these)
kind of guiltless they stood, of saying, ‘We wonder
why on earth monsters' days are never over.
Nothing we can do, so goddamn helpless we are;
and yes, that's all there is to it, oh dear.'
Wasn't it the brawling that I had ever
braved with so grave the tragedians -
germs of genuflecting before grief's towering
or the scuffling with the crafty prudes,
thinking how they would at last survive
the flare of despair or its cool atrocity?
Grunts of languor streaked out of my mouth;
I shouted, ‘no lubber's loom ever after.'
Friends, you'd better not ever disparage at all
my wait for decapitation on the scaffold
when I didn't even dream of my wallowing
priggishly in the lift of life's countenance; but life
beckoned the man that I was, standing before death,
with its long catalogue of things no less greater
than colours of a rainbow on the autumn blue sky
or prophets' visions out of meditating in caves.
I got off the scaffold for the accused unjust.
Didn't miracles the agents of whoever I didn't know
kind of push me to step down from there forever?
Or didn't I jump into a lake of remorse that I should
have long been some archeologist tirelessly digging
deep into the graveled ground of life itself?
On just the same planet where freaks,
glorious freaks always rising above all plebeians,
kind of never at all cared, I grew up in terror -
of dragons and the scavengers their colonels
more often grievous in Granny's tales
than painted by all Florentine masters in galleries,
of miscreants' poison in all the grim wine-
glasses we held onto our thirsty lips
at all those parties; my life's stuttering gun
was quickly ‘coffined up in rust' that slacked
off like peels of old paint as if off the walls
of a Baroque palace on a lonely forest's verge.
Anyway, I was doing quite fine until I did
crash against grief as if a moss-green log
suddenly halfway down the hill's steep slope,
lost control and plummeted straight down
into the thick forest where nightmares stalked
like dragons in legends buzzing around our ears.
Didn't all the dragons out there flee as I hurled
spears of broken twigs one after another
like St. George in Voragine's Golden legend?
from IN LOVE WITH A GORGON (2010)