My ego gives me wings.


I am dragon and eagle.


I stamp my impatient foot,

and evil runs off,

as if Exu had blown it away with dynamite,

or Oxala had blown it away with a gentle breeze.


I am Oxala and Exu.


My arrogance is a shield.

Come at me. I don’t care.

I will sing and dance in the public square,

confident as any man.

I am Sheila Na Gig.


My dragon tail wraps around my loved ones,

protecting them. 

I trust the matriarchal immensity of my power.


I used to think I was an alligator, then realized

I am Sphinx

... or I was an alligator that evolved into Sphinx. 


Then I realized

I am the Mystery behind Sphinx’s true Mysteries.

 (Well-known Sphinx riddles obscure its true Secrets).


My arrogance is pure love.







1) I prefer the spelling Sheila Na Gig to Sheela Na Gig.


2) A new insight can be confusing and contradictory to me at first, as was the case with the realization described in this poem. I wrote it prompted by Kathy Crabbe’s question What is your greatest power? 



3) For decades, I’ve tempered my arrogance to good purpose and will continue to do so. However, realizing my arrogance is one of my vital strengths—perhaps not my most important one, despite what I felt when I wrote the poem—was wondrous. It was also a relief.