‘A Dragon Curled Around My Heart’ by Quinn Murphy
‘In my chest, a dragon curls,
Around my beating heart.
To guard it from the many
Who would see it pulled apart.’
Quinn Murphy’s poem ‘A Dragon Curled Around My Heart’ was the opening piece for Spellbinder’s Winter 2023 Issue. It employs the ballad form well to create an enchanting magical narrative, and is a true masterpiece in its flexible yet pronounced use of metre and rhyme. As an editor, I have always stated my appreciation for musicality in poetry, and therefore I was instantly struck by the lilting rhythms of Murphy’s skillful verse.
The poem is from the point of view of a dragon’s companion and warns others that the ‘dragon’s trust is earned’, and that they must heed this advice otherwise they will ‘be burned’. This is a wonderfully dramatic ending to the poem which confidently asserts both the beauty and the danger linked with the dragon, whilst also questioning its powers of discernment and its position as protector.
What I find most interesting about this work is its metaphorical layering. The dragon is depicted as the protector of the human heart, something internal to us all allowing us to guard our emotional centre from attack by others. This poem reads as a defence of those individuals who may seem closed off and ‘appear with cool disdain’, and explains that you need to gain their trust before they will open themselves up to you, and drop their guard – the dragon.
Murphy’s work exemplifies remarkable penmanship and contains the gift of narrative which evokes an enchanting fantasy landscape and simultaneously utilizes metaphor to engage with matters of the human psyche.
Amber Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief
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Photo by Craig Adderley: https://www.pexels.com/photo/hungarian-horntail-dragon-at-universal-studios-3359734/