Friday 6 July 2018

Poem by Virginia Lowe

This fear of dragons
 for Ursula Le Guin

by Virginia Lowe

Once upon a time
in a land far far away
there lived a race of people
who were terrified of dragons -
dainty little elves as well -
of rabbit holes, faraway trees,
Narnia, Earthsea
any sort of magic really
fairy tales and fables,
myths and legends
even Bible stories

‘No time!’ they said
‘we’ve got to make money
play golf or the Casino
surf ocean or internet
Then make more money!’

Too afraid to stop for dragons
witches or fairies
talking animals or hobbits
all fantasy scared them witless
No time, no mental space
Possessions and money matters –
harsh realists all

That race exists no more
Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings
Game of Thrones, Star Wars
visual fantasy
has put paid to it

And readers return
as they always have
Always Coming Home
to books, to fantasy
to Hainish planets
to mind experiments
to empathy
to be Dispossessed

Note by Virginia Lowe: Le Guin’s 1974 article ‘Why are American’s afraid of Dragons?’ was very influential when I first started teaching children’s literature at university. It is available at:

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