Go forth alone, dragon slayer!
Crawl through the ugly blight, wade through the quagmire.
Never flinch your eyes.
Proceed deeper into the domain of darkness
until you stand inside the beast's soul!
You are alone with yourself,
engulfed in the searing fires of your embittered rages.
You find yourself surrounded by the flames
of your most odious fears.
You summon all your strength to slay
that which you cannot understand.
In a frenzy of self-preservation
you lunge your scrupulous sword into your own heart.
You shriek with pain; the wound burns like acid; your soul bleeds.
Crippled, you stagger back into the daylight
and accept the martyrdom of your tortured self.
You move slowly through the crevices of your long life
until you find yourself perched on a ledge facing death.
You turn inward, seeking salvation.
The dragon is still there, suffering.
You look into the monster's ancient eyes
and see that it was conceived out of a terrible fear
which could not trust the Powers of life.
You look into its eyes and ask the dragon
to allow you to guide it back toward the path leading to God.
And now with only minutes left to live
you become a friend to yourself.
By Neal Grace
Taken from the book The Stars Are Listening by Neal Grace
Published in 1998 by Creative Arts Book Company