St. George Updated

Our age old bold defender
__Now an up to date transgender
Is consorting with the witless and the woke.

He has quit his knight malarkey
__Now he hates the patriarchy
And our green and pleasant land’s gone up in smoke.

He fought the fiercest ogre
__Till he took a class in yoga,
Then he ditched his sword and tossed away his lance.

He found his inner damsel
__And is nowhere near as manful
Since discovering a flair for mime and dance.

He cannot stave off peril
__In his flowery apparel—
He’s too busy with his make-up and his nails.

He is mixing with wild wizards—
__All those parliamentary lizards
Who have sent Old Blighty spinning off the rails.

We used to raise our flagons
__To the conqueror of dragons,
We hailed our chain mailed king of monster kickers.

We’d fly our flags and bellow
__For this brave, courageous fellow
Before he swapped his cod piece for silk knickers.



Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.

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26 Responses

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Rohini… I am glad you enjoyed my little bit of St. George’s Day wit.

  1. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, I have a vision of you laughing your socks off as you wrote this. It’s strange that we English are ok with Burns nights and St Patrick’s days but we have a problem with St George’s celebrations. Hang a flag of England out of your window here and you will probably get a visit by the local constabulary. There are some great lines in your hilarious poem. I love “The chain-mailed king of monster kickers” and “Old Blighty spinning off the rails” which is actually true. Just off to find a Morris dance as our parliamentary lizard heads home from India. Thanks for a great laugh today.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, I’m thrilled you’ve picked up on the message beneath the hilarity. It’s almost as though the English have to be apologetic for celebrating their saint. A friend in England, who always sends me a St. George’s Day card has had dreadful trouble getting one for the last few years – they were always behind the counter, he had to ask. This year they were out on full display. Perhaps the tide is turning. Georgie has dropped his drawers and put his armour back on! I have a thing for Morris dancing… it’s the hop, skip, and the handkerchief that does it. I think Thomas Hardy got me hooked. Jeff, I wish you Morris and maypole frolics on this special day! Thank you and ave fun!

  2. Mia

    I thought I couldn’t add to Rohini’s excellent comment. Certainly could not improve on superb.
    Except the word sad comes to mind. Well done Susan for making it so poignant and so hilarious at the same time.
    my favourite lines
    He cannot stave off peril…he’s too busy with his make -up and his nails.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Mia, I’m thrilled you found the poem amusing. You’re right when you say times are sad, and there’s more than an element of truth in my words… but, if you can’t see the funny side, then life would be awfully miserable. I am celebrating St. George here in Texas… there’s not a dragon in sight, a few alligators and rattlesnakes, but no dragons.

      • Mia

        In my family we always celebrate St George. My grandfather was called George and he was my hero. My sister is called Georgia and she is named after him as are countless cousins , nephews and great nephews!
        My grandfather lived very near a little church called St George’s church and when my mother, as a little girl was very ill and dying he spent the whole night there holding a vigil for her . She recovered from Typhus or typhoid fever without even going to a hospital. This was about the time of the Second World War when there was an epidemic and huge suffering in Europe.
        Both my grandfather and mother have passed away now and I don’t want this family folklore to die with them.
        As I commented to Paul, is it not fascinating that , St George’s fame, who was a christian martyred for his beliefs in about 300AD, reached England even without the internet!
        Dear Susan, I hope you are having a very happy St George’s weekend.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Mia, what a beautiful slice of family history that ties in with St. George. I’m thrilled to hear you’re keeping it alive… I think our roots and family events are so important. I think our histories grow dearer to us the older we get. We realize the significance of family and the wonder of the lessons we’ve learned from them. The name George was my grandfather’s middle name. He gave me his car which I named George… I adored that car. My husband, Mike, comes from a family of eleven and two of his brothers were named George. That’s how marvelous the name is. We also have a cat called George… he’s seventeen this year and he’s more of a king than a saint. He enjoys wandering his castle grounds and loves to be spoilt. I’m certain he has royal blood. Thank you very much for your interesting family story.

  3. Cheryl Corey

    I don’t know anything about St. George, but this is a very funny piece; and then to have a touch of naughtiness in the last line – oh my!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cheryl, I’m apt to get a little naughty now and then and I’m glad you found the poem funny. St. George is the patron saint of England, and even though I’m in Texas, a piece of my heart dances for George in my homeland… a place that has sadly embraced the gender fluid idiocy infecting the Western world… hence my naughty words. I’ve decided to laugh instead of crying. 🙂

  4. jd

    Enjoyed this too, Susan. It’s so clever, funny and timely.
    You just get better and better.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      jd – I thoroughly appreciate this lovely comment… and it thrills me to know you enjoyed reading the poem. Let’s hope St. George comes to his senses soon… there are too many reptiles prowling parliament.

  5. Brian Yapko

    Susan, this is absolutely hilarious, cheeky fun which nonetheless presents a serious subject. I know that the UK, along with the U.S., is rushing headlong down a slippery slope in celebrating and promoting what is truly unacceptable from any sensible standpoint. I don’t have time now to delve deeply into a theme we have been expressed concerns about. But I want you to know how much I love your phrasing of St. George finding “his inner damsel” and I have to give you a shout-out for rhyming “ogre” with “yoga.” That’s gotta be a first! I’ll be re-reading this one over and over. Well done.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, what can we do but laugh! I refuse to hand wring in despair on St. George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. Perhaps highlighting insidious idiocy with a loud guffaw at its ridiculousness will help some see the light… time will tell. Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. Long live St. George… may his lance spring back into action soon!

  6. Jack Dashiell

    It’s a witty poem with a rare type of stanza that helps the originality. I hope you do win the Pushcart award. It would help your career and perhaps other formal poets left out in the cold.

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Thank you very much, Jack. Your encouraging comment is much appreciated. You’re spot on when you say formal poets are left out in the cold… but, I have a feeling the desire for formal poetry is rekindling and I intend to do all I can to keep it alive. This site is a great place to showcase formal poetry and it’s wonderful to be in the company of some exceptionally talented poets.

    • Jack Dashiell

      I’m sending all formal poems of mine to poetry and literary magazines. Thus far I’ve not gotten any acceptances though I’m as adamant about contemporary formal poetry as these editors are about the now rather old free verse poems. I’ve looked at the poems they’ve published and all these magazines do is publish the same type of poetry almost as though every poem’s a variation of the same poet.

  8. Paul Freeman

    Thanks for a humorous take on the St. George and the Dragon Tale.

    I wrote a ‘Lost Canterbury Tale’ over a decade ago where the Knight’s Squire rescues the damsel (the Knight got incinerated by the dragon), only to discover the damsel is a guy!

    Of course this was in an era when Monty Python was still highly popular, harking back to music hall comedy when men regularly portrayed comic female characters – also, think of Alistair Sim’s dual role as the headmistress Miss Millicent Fritton and her twin brother Clarence Fritton in ‘Belle’s of St. Trinian’s, or more recently the actor who played the Nurse and the boy who was supposed to play Juliet in ‘Shakespeare in Love’.

    I don’t even bother trying to submit that Canterbury Tale any more since it’s very unlikely to get published – though it may have been 10 years ago.

    Anyhow, once again, thanks for a fun St. George’s Day read.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Try submitting your ‘Lost Canterbury Tale’ here. It can’t be any more challenging to today’s sensibilities than my silk-knickered saint.

  9. David Whippman

    You hit the bullseye again, Susan. Just a thought…what if the dragon self-identifies as a budgerigar?

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you! And the dragon identifying as a budgie is a bonus treat – unless it wants to perch on my finger and nibble at a cuttlefish.

  10. Joshua C. Frank

    Susan, I love your poems! I’d love to write poetry as good as yours someday! How, if I may ask, did you learn the craft as well as you have?

    This one’s great. It reminds me of the one by Ovid about Hercules laying down his weapons and spending his days spinning with his wives.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joshua, thank you very much for your kind comment. I’m thrilled you’re enjoying my poetry. Poetry is my hobby. I’ve written poetry since the age of six. I’ve had a pretty good education in literature, but I think my poems are by products of my passion for words. I adore them – their sound, their ability to fit together to create linguistic music and vivid and colourful images that rise from the page and come alive. I think words are magical. If written with zeal and fearlessness they can make the impossible possible. Words are my dopamine and I’m addicted to them. 🙂 If you are passionate about words and collect them like fireflies in a jar beside your bed, you’re well on the way to writing a great poem.


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