Thursday, 4 June 2015

Dragons? Really?

drăg’on n. 1. Mythical monster like reptile , usu. with claws
and often breathing fire; (w. allus. to legend) watchful guardian
of treasure etc; fierce person, the old D…, Satan;
lizard of genus Draco with wing-like structures; KOMODO dragon.
2. …-fly, neuropterous insect with long slender body and two pairs
of large wings usu. Spread while resting; …Concise Oxford Dictionary 1982.

People love dragons. They say so. A discussion about a movie, let’s say, we were talking about The Hobbit, Battle of The Five armies and the special effects including the design of the dragon Smaug is mentioned in passing. Someone always pipes up, “Oh I really love dragons, don’t you?" 

At this point, apart from having a sensible discussion interrupted by a complete fantasist, I now have to consider my viewpoint and try to be diplomatic. I have to consider whether I may hurt someone’s feelings by telling them the obvious truth. “THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS DRAGONS.” 

No honestly! You can’t have one as a pet. Palaeontologists have never uncovered their remains, nor has anyone in history ever report actually seeing one.  So, I ask myself, “How can someone say that they love dragons?” And yet …

as a species we are fascinated by the unexplained, the imaginary and the paranormal. There is no doubt that the Komodo dragon is a fantastic creature. It is exotic, spikey, scaly and almost other-worldly! But it doesn’t fly, breath fire or jealously guard treasure. There must be another type of dragon.  A dragon-fly is scaly, beautifully shiny, colourful with translucent wings and crucially, it flies! But it doesn’t breath fire or do anything much other than eat, pollinate, mate, lay eggs and die.
I must conclude that dragons only exist because of a human need to create something beautiful beyond imagination; that exceeds our own physical boundaries; that is stronger than any other living creature and has capabilities far beyond our own. We have tamed many of earth’s wildest creatures and outlived many others: we walk in the footprints of dinosaurs. Perhaps then we need dragons. 

Dragons – fly
Are there dragons or just a fantasy?
Do their beating wings whip up the winds
that stir the stormy sea?
Does the dragon’s breath ignite to fire the burning brush?
Their piercing cries vibration, begin the landslide’s crush?
Are tales about their gentleness mere myth?
Were they hunted to extinction,
yet remain immortal in illuminated glyph? 

Still their stories echo through the valleys and the hills
to trickle down through streams of endless time
and fuel imagination in our quills.
A tender heart beneath a fearsome breast.
Fond friendship forged with mortals, who
as authors, to their beauty and magnificence attest.
Can earth-bound soul resist a winged beast
with flaring nostrils, breathing plume and flame?
Their awesome strength is legend, East and West? 

Are there dragons or just a fantasy?
Does the prose invent them on the page in solid form?
Do words' atomic fusion set them free?
If this be so –
Then fly you mighty dragons.
Fly for me! 

Adele V Robinson