here, but for me, there were dragons

For We Write Poems poetry prompt: my life as a poem


here, but for me, there were dragons

Have learned to speak myself
into being.
With a word, a phrase,
could change where I’d been,
what I would become.

Charted a course by inner compass
locked onto stars only I knew
the names of.
Sailed seas of inmost soul
pulled by currents
of peculiar knowing.

Traversed plains of tall grass
on padded paws,
moving over continents
wrapped round this spinning globe
of spanned seasons.

Split darkness of interior canyons
on silent wings,
seeking that life which hid
in deepening shadow.

Pen as mast, created a map
of fine blue lines,
conquering worlds built
to other people’s definitions.

Made myth from these moments
of owned existence,
confident in knowing
that all of these dragons
were mine.

Elizabeth Crawford  12/11/12

Notes: I wrote this poem over twenty years ago. I struggled with today’s prompt until I remembered this one. I revisited it, and realized that it would be different today, so made some changes to reflect the time that has passed. It’s inspiration comes from several  different sources. 1. I have often said that poetry, for me, was the cheapest therapy in town. I did not write to be published, but to work out inner conflicts and issues. Publication came much later. 2. This was written after I first saw the Tall Ships and was astounded by how small they were and how brave and fool-hardy those first explorers were, to do what they did. 3. Part of what they did was draw maps of the worlds they discovered. They would draw a line around where they had been and on the other side of that line, they would write Here, there be dragons. A wonderfully poetic way of saying this is unknown.

All of that came together in a poem titled Here, but for me, there be dragons. It became the title of a poetry chapbook I published in 1999, about writing and poetry and what it has meant to my life. Several of the poems would fit this prompt, but I thought this was the best of the lot for this purpose.  The image is a Clipart illustration I found online, enhanced and colored. His name is Neosafalus and yes, he is one of mine. A bit of his story may be found here:

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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7 Responses to here, but for me, there were dragons

  1. vivinfrance says:

    I am sighing with envy at the beauty of your poem, and what it says about you.

    And I am sighing with warm gratitude at your compliment. Thank you Viv,



  2. The sign’s meaning is in the beholder: you document the discovery of your dragons and understanding them. I keep trying to crack open my ribcage and map what’s in my chest. May your sailing be a continued voyage of discovery, as beautiful as what you offer here.


    Thank you Nicole, and yes I agree about the signs meanings. I have taught others to see their dragons, but at some point we are all on our own,



  3. JulesPaige says:

    My map had drifted, some faded points where tear stains have spilled…Looking forward to meeting a dragon or two. I enjoyed your explanations. Embracing who we are is indeed a unique life challenge. So many lessons yet to learn. I really like the last stanza.

    I let my muse play here:

    Hi Jules, I’ve written a few things about dragons on my other cites: how I came to know and to see them and what they mean to me. They’ve been a large part of my journey through the interior of my existence. In fact, one came back after posting this and we had quite a conversation. I feel very child-like when that happens: mouth open and gawking, lol. Thanks for reading and commenting,



  4. Wayne says:

    nicely done

    Thank you Wayne, you made me think of my own room where most of this took place,



  5. anl4 says:

    I like the poem, and I like the process note.

    Annell, I have always liked this piece and changing it to reflect time passed made me aware of so many things. I like that when it happens. Thank you,



  6. Just beautiful, Elizabeth. Oh the truth of the inner compass!

    It took a while to actually find it, but what a blessing it has proven to be. Thanks much for your comment,



  7. Sherry Marr says:

    Well, you know how deeply this poem resonates with me! So many wonderful lines, such a journey, I love best “by inner compass locked onto stars only I knew the names of.” One of your best, Elizabeth.

    Thank you, my friend. I believed you would understand, if anyone could. We travel such similar paths, each in our own fashion. Shortly after writing the original piece, I was invited to read at the University where I graduated and later taught. My mentor from my college days also read that evening, so he was in the audience and grinned all the while I was reading that original poem. And was one of the first to buy the chapbook it was featured in. Those memories are very warm ones.



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