Be assured, the Dragon is not dead
But once more from the pools of peace
Shall rear his fabulous green head.
The flowers of innocence shall cease
And like a harp the wind shall roar
And the clouds shake an angry fleece.
'Here, here is certitude,' you swore,
'Below this lightning-blasted tree.
Where once it struck, it strikes no more.
'Two lovers in one house agree.
The roof is tight, the walls unshaken.
As now, so must it always be.'
Such prophecies of joy awaken
The toad who dreams away the past
Under your hearth-stone, light forsaken,
Who knows that certitude at last
Must melt away in vanity --
No gate is fast, no door is fast --
That thunder bursts from the blue sky,
That gardens of the mind fall waste,
That fountains of the heart run dry.
Robert Graves, Poems 1914-1926 (1927).
Given Graves's lifelong preoccupation with love, "Vanity" may simply be about the vagaries of human relationships. However, I like to think that it has broader implications. I find that people who display a great deal of "certitude" -- particularly about how the world ought to be -- are deluding themselves. And are tiresome. And are possibly dangerous (when they want to make their idea of Utopia yours as well, whether you like it or not).
Off the top of my head, only three certainties come to mind. First: the World -- right now, this moment, as it is -- is paradise. Second: we are all scheduled to depart from this paradise. Third: there is a toad under the hearth-stone; be assured, the Dragon is not dead.