Saint George and the Dragon, colored engraving, from the Heures de Charles d'AngoulêmeA Poem for St. George’s Day: ‘By George!’ by Paul A. Freeman The Society April 23, 2022 Culture, Humor, Poetry 14 Comments . By George! By George, St. George! You really are a slouch. Arise, pick up your lance, eschew the couch. Like Patrick, Andrew, David, fill our breasts with pride and we shall wear upon our chests your colours—background white, a crimson cross, since of all saints, you’re England’s saintly boss. All hail that day you struck a dragon dead and to a rescued damsel gave its head. With meat and ale, each year, we’ll hold a feast to mark St. George’s slaying of the beast, cry, “Rorke’s Drift! Nineteen sixty-six! The Rock!” to fish and chip shops, pubs and maypoles flock. Forget all dull engagements, join our herd of Anglophiles on April twenty-third; for English folk have found the saint they seek, no matter that the fellow was a Greek. . . Paul A. Freeman is the author of Rumours of Ophir, a crime novel which was taught in Zimbabwean high schools and has been translated into German. In addition to having two novels, a children’s book and an 18,000-word narrative poem (Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers!) commercially published, Paul is the author of hundreds of published short stories, poems and articles. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 14 Responses Margaret Coats April 23, 2022 Paul, you make it all the more comfortable to be an Anglophile with these jaunty verses. But how about a gloss for line 11? And what’s this about maypoles before May? Pubs and fish and chip shops warm my heart, and you’ve alluded to the carvery in the “meat and ale” line. Ah, for Kentish asparagus and the hearts of cos lettuces! Cheers to you and Saint George! Reply Paul Freeman April 24, 2022 My apologies about the lack of a gloss, Margaret. For those interested, the heroic defence of Rouke’s Drift (the majority of defenders were actually Welsh) was filmed as the epic movie ‘Zulu’, in which Michael Caine plays a British officer and has a plummy English accent. As for ‘1966’, don’t ask – okay, it’s the one and only time England won the World Cup, despite going close several times since, and is a sore point with most Englishmen and women. As for the Rock, no, it’s not a prison in San Francisco Bay that Clint Eastwood escaped from and Nicholas Cage got blown up – it’s the Rock of Gibraltar, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, Britain’s only mainland European possession and much coveted by the Spanish. Thanks for reading, Margaret, and cheers to you, too, this St. George’s Day. Reply David Watt April 23, 2022 Paul, I also appreciate your inclusion of the English ‘chippy’ and ‘boozer’ in your lively poem. It is a curious fact that the English hero, St. George, was a Greek buried in Israel. Reply Paul Freeman April 24, 2022 I recall that once, as a child, I was off school watching an early afternoon TV programme aimed primarily at women (there were now live morning shows then). The winner of the show’s St. George’s Day poetry competition was being announced. The winner was present in the studio and read out her poem, I believe. Then some Professor of Literature or such like proceeded to rubbish the poem, saying that although it was the best poem of the bunch they received, it wasn’t a patch on Shakespeare and the traditional poets of yore. My word, even as a kid I felt for that poor lady. Mind you, I’m sure that professor would have been just as horrified the jauntiness I tried to add to what has become somewhat of a trope about a guy killing a dragon and rescuing a damsel in distress. Thanks for reading, David. Reply Mia April 23, 2022 Imagine, St George a Greek! And a hero! They were different times then. I feel a poem germinating, but I only have the title so far, The significance of the passage of time… Seriously, thank you for this great poem although personally I would change the last line to a worthy fellow and a noble Greek. But I am biased! Happy St. George’s day to all named George or Georgia. Reply Paul Freeman April 24, 2022 Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Mia. I do recall as a child wondering why England’s patron saint was Greek, and it’s often commented upon when English people first find out. He was actually an Anatolian Greek, so these days he’s usually pegged as being a Turk. I’m sure the Greeks and Turks would have something to say about this. Reply Mia April 24, 2022 Thank you again for your excellent poem Paul. I find history fascinating. For example a few years after the first Easter, St Paul, your namesake, founded the seven churches of Asia in Greek Anatolia! He converted many Greeks to Christianity. It is documented in the Christian Bible. He was actually Jewish but will he be thought as a Turk soon I wonder?! Perhaps in the future nationality will not matter anyway as we will all be Global citizens or serfs more like. It appears that St George was martyred for his Christian beliefs in about 300 AD. Fascinating that even without the internet his fame reached England! Paul Freeman April 23, 2022 And for all the football / soccer fans out there: We wear St George’s cross upon our breast when England takes the field against a foe, but not to pass a grim crusading test. Instead two football teams go toe-to-toe and so a nation’s life is put on hold. One hour and a half until one sees what separates faint-hearted from the bold, or extra time – or maybe penalties. Reply Brian Yapko April 23, 2022 This poem is great Anglophile fun, Paul. I’ve heard St. George’s story before but not with this level of gusto. Well done! Reply Paul Freeman April 24, 2022 Glad to hear you found the poem had ‘gusto’ in the poem. That was what I was aiming for. Thanks for reading, Brian. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant April 23, 2022 This is a fine poetic nod to St. George, Paul! A very happy St. George’s Day to you! Reply Paul Freeman April 24, 2022 And a happy St. George’s Day to you, too. Let’s hope it catches on. Thanks for reading. Reply Cynthia Erlandson April 23, 2022 This is great fun! Reply Paul Freeman April 24, 2022 Thanks for reading, Cynthia. Glad you enjoyed it. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.