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Reply To: The Metamorphic Journey,” with Craig Deininger, Ph.D.”


Well, you have me at “dragons.” I love the creatures. In fact, so much that there’s always been a part of me that is sad when a dragon is slain in a story, even if they were the bad kind hoarding treasure and breathing fire on everything for no good reason and all.

But to me, they’ve always been the treasure. All mythic beings are to me. Though I wax literal, the tangible image has always moved me more than realizing the connotations–I know, you wouldn’t think so for all my scribblings on metaphor and symbol. Ha.

But that brings me to your poem, and to poetry per se, which, in the language arts, is the quintessential image-making genre. I simply am enthralled by the image alone, and like Dylan Thomas, by the shapes and sounds of the words. And that may have something to say about getting to the metaphor. That we can intellectualize and interpret what it means all we want, but there’s no getting there without the image. And maybe by creating the art, making the image, as you did in your “Dragon of the Underworld” it is not the train that shows itself, but the dragon in all its dragon-ness that is the heart of the red train. Or should I say, that is the red heart of the train.

And as your post reads, you now have an image that your mother and you could come back to, to really get to that heart imaginatively. I guess what I’m circling here, is that the dragon is the main event–to me at least–and that being imaginatively present with that image, the rest follows. I still like to carry the residue of the intellectual understanding of the mechanics of metaphor so that I can feel its application to my life. But just enough so that it’s on automatic, so that I don’t have to think about it during the encounter, and instead just get to remain there, fully in the myth.