Where Courage Lives

(from Young Voices Magazine, 2017)


Where Courage Lives 

When I was young I thought fear was an ugly, feral monster

With gnarly claws and a pallid visage

It could pucker out up to ten dripping fangs  

According to its greed

I named it Dragon

I thought courage was a Knight 

My saviour who would fight Dragon for me 

Knight wasn’t afraid of anything - but Knight did have a weakness 

Knight only won battles when Dragon was feeble 

So I spent most of my childhood avoiding people 

I neglected opportunities and shied away from the online world 

I felt powerless when Dragon tightened its icy grip on Knight

Eventually, Dragon’s scorching breath led to Knight’s cessation

Nothingness swallowed me that day

I expected Dragon to be defeated only after my heart was 


It was a frosty night in winter when Courage met me

Or rather, I met Courage 

My father’s putrid, alcoholic odor partly withdrew from the bedroom 

There was a creak and a slam, and then a whiff of frigid air fondled my naked body 

But something unusual happened that night 

The lamp in the room lit up 

It was unprecedented, as normally darkness would suffocate me

But no, this time the lamp turned on

This time the light turned on 

I saw in front of me a frail, rejected figure 

Eyes that were weary of obfuscation

Lips so tight they were blue                            

In the corner laid shattered pieces of glass 

I could hear them invite me to an escape

But I turned back to the light 

And chose 


One year later and I still breathe 

I breathe because I met Courage 

Courage taught me things

Courage taught me that Knight and Dragon were illusory   

They never existed and never will

Courage introduced me to Fear

The real Fear 

Me 

I am Fear

But I am also Courage

Courage is the iron in my red blood cells, 

Clinging to oxygen, no matter how hard Fear tries to thrust it away

It resides in my cornea 

Allowing me to see clearly even when Fear’s spit blurs my view  

Courage encourages me to speak my mind

Despite Fear’s devilish whispers 

Courage had always resided inside of me 

It just needed permission to be let out

Courage is an innate power that all of us possess 

It’s our weapon against Fear - not to eliminate it- but to tame it 

To confine it into a cage 

Fear will always exist 

But I have the power to control it 

I have Courage 

I have Me

Jody Hewgill. 'Courage', 2015.

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