Stagknights and Dragons


Once a year, in Newcastle Chinatown
they have to deal with a dragon.
It may be made of paper but it is fierce,
breathing firecrackers roaring with the sound of children’s drums.
It’s like the one in the stories
except they placate it with bits of cabbage rather than maidens fair.

Meanwhile, on the Quayside
the modern dragonslayers keep the rest away.
I mean, of course, the Stagknights.
They come at least three times a week on railway steeds
with breath of Carling hot and strong as any flame
charging forth from the station
into the Bridge Hotel for a pint.

Remember too,
while St George battled his scaly foe in far-off lands
these people faced the Lambton Worm.
A toxic, goggly-eyed, salamander of a thing
that ate children and drank cows like leathery cartons of milk.
Its body may still be there in the water of the Wear
old as the crusades and long as the Bible.
It seems this place has stagknights and dragons from the East and West
in its bones.


Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons. Artist: Bror Anders Wikstrom.


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