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Not My Best Side

Ursula Askham ("U.A.") Fanthorpe (19292009), 1989

I 
Not my best side, I'm afraid. 
The artist didn't give me a chance to 
Pose properly, and as you can see, 
Poor chap, he had this obsession with 
Triangles, so he left off two of my 
Feet. I didn't comment at the time 
(What, after all, are two feet 
To a monster?) but afterwards 
I was sorry for the bad publicity. 
Why, I said to myself, should my conqueror 
Be so ostentatiously beardless, and ride 
A horse with a deformed neck and square hoofs? 
Why should my victim be so 
Unattractive as to be inedible, 
And why should she have me literally 
On a string? I don't mind dying 
Ritually, since I always rise again, 
But I should have liked a little more blood 
To show they were taking me seriously. 

Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello, circa 1470 (National Gallery, London)

II 

It's hard for a girl to be sure if 
She wants to be rescued. I mean, I quite 
Took to the dragon. It's nice to be 
Liked, if you know what I mean. He was 
So nicely physical, with his claws 
And lovely green skin, and that sexy tail, 
And the way he looked at me, 
He made me feel he was all ready to 
Eat me. And any girl enjoys that. 
So when this boy turned up, wearing machinery, 
On a really dangerous horse, to be honest 
I didn't much fancy him. I mean, 
What was he like underneath the hardware? 
He might have acne, blackheads or even 
Bad breath for all I could tell, but the dragon-- 
Well, you could see all his equipment 
At a glance. Still, what could I do? 
The dragon got himself beaten by the boy, 
And a girl's got to think of her future. 
III 

I have diplomas in Dragon 
Management and Virgin Reclamation. 
My horse is the latest model, with 
Automatic transmission and built-in 
Obsolescence. My spear is custom-built, 
And my prototype armour 
Still on the secret list. You can't 
Do better than me at the moment. 
I'm qualified and equipped to the 
Eyebrow. So why be difficult? 
Don't you want to be killed and/or rescued 
In the most contemporary way? Don't 
You want to carry out the roles 
That sociology and myth have designed for you? 
Don't you realize that, by being choosy, 
You are endangering job prospects 
In the spear- and horse-building industries? 
What, in any case, does it matter what 
You want? You're in my way.