Tag Archives: fairytale

Inflection

Once upon a time there was a girl
who became a boy
He lived happily ever after

Bonus poem 1
Once upon a time there was a boy
who became a girl
She lived happily ever after

Bonus poem 2
Once upon a time
there was a world
where you could be
who you want to
without people
making a fuss of it

The prompt at octpowrimo.com for day 18 was fairytale, the suggested form a fable. I became very concise instead. I just felt the story was told after three lines… I’ve written longer ones before: https://unassortedstories.wordpress.com/tag/fairytale/

Maybe the portrait I chose for this poem deserves some explanation. I’ve been practicing my drawing by using pictures of the fabulous photographer Valérie Belin as reference pictures. She creates amazing portraits of people, things and dogs. In all of my drawings the gender of the model became harder to read – through lack of skill on my side. Unintendedly, this seems to be in line with her (highly skillful!) photography, as I just discovered in this article.

Here’s the link to the picture I used for my practice (I used a book): https://valeriebelin.com/works/black-women I’ve seen the pictures in real life, I real size, and they just blew me away!

The other portraits I drew accompany If you were me and Fixed (original pictures here). I haven’t referenced the works of ms Belin there, because I thought the drawings too far away from the quality of her work.

Inflection - by Angela van Son

A heroins journey

Each night before I go to sleep
I retell the story of my day
as a fairytale. A hero’s journey
My son waking up is a call to adventure
I’m asked to leave my sleep and head off into the unknown
I refuse the call, for fear of what the day might bring
but he is not to be ignored
so I, the heroin, get out of bed
hoping for a guide, a magical helper
a talisman that will help me in my quest
a magical appeal-repellant that makes me immune
to the pushing of requests
a cloak of silence that will dampen noise
a wand that makes people comply

Before they find me I cross the first threshold and get out of bed
crossing into the field of adventure
leaving the realm of my bedroom and stepping into a place
where rules and limits seem to be endlessly changing
Breakfast is the belly of the whale. The day swallows me.
The road of trials awaits.
Dragons and barriers, dragons and barriers –
and I’m still waiting for my aide

Here’s where the metaphor goes wrong. I am no heroin. Daily life is not a quest. I refuse to see my child as a dragon to be slain, a frog to be kissed, a beauty or a beast. I know there are no magical aides and I know I’ll have to find the answer within myself. Sod it. I’ve been searching too far, too wide, too long already. I’ve travelled many miles within myself and most certainly haven’t found what I’m looking for. The answers within myself are a myth.

The irony
The heroin appears
I just go about my day
performing my usual struggles
I can’t bear the noise – I’m glad he’s having fun
I need quietness – He needs to be accepted for who he is
I don’t want to look, listen, answer – He has a right to attention
I want to tell him to SHUT UP – I don’t want his world to be as dark as mine

After breakfast we enter the realm of chores. Neither of us has a magical aide. We need to clean the table ourselves, lunch has to be made, the school back pack packed, teeth brushed, cat litter cleaned. Where are fairies when you need them? My son is definitely no fairy. Neither am I. We both resent what needs to get done. He resents the chores. I resent trying to get him to do his part and having to work so HARD on that. He’s no Cinderella, yet I am an evil stepmother.

When he waves his sword I turn into Medusa
Snakes hiss at him
My look can kill

You see, people wonder why I’m tired all the time. This is just 90 minutes of my day. Out of bed, defences up. Dodging curses. Often cursing myself. After those 90 minutes do I go back to bed? No. The day has started. There’s no turning back. My bed has transformed into a witches cauldron. Even the fumes are poisonous. Returning there would boil me alive. So I seek another shelter.

The couch
The television
A book
Work
Each has its own perils

The couch
A siren
It’s seducing song
leading to destruction
The television

A ball
I’ll turn into a pumpkin or loose a glass slipper
Either way it won’t change a thing
Mice aren’t horses
A prince no self esteem

A book
Ah, books!
My entry into the land where
I can be king or queen
Lion or faun
I can be good, I can be evil
But will I ever return?
Will my life be led?

Work
My pleasure island
I’ll spend the whole day having fun
and turn into a donkey without realising it

More chores?
Time thieves who try to kill my Momo

I’m torn between obligation and pleasure
and I wonder
which one is the dark side?

But I digress. I was retelling the story of my day as a fairytale. A hero’s journey, containing a call to action, a threshold, a magic aide. Joseph Campbell claims there will be a goddess on my way but I can’t find her. I can’t even find the darkness in the deepest chamber of my heart. No mystical marriage. No scales falling from my eyes. My desire doesn’t find its peace.

On with the day
There’s work to be done
Relaxation to be scheduled
Chores to slay
A mystical wedding on tv
I perfume, whitewash, reinterpret.
The hairs in the soup are someone else’s fault.
There’s no lecherous fever in my cells.
I’m distracted by a purring kitten, trying to be fed.
It gets washed instead.
What’s the deeper meaning of that?

But let’s move on. The atonement with the abyss is what we’re heading towards. To confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in my life. I look at the clock and see that I have 60 minutes left. 60 minutes before I’ll have to pick up my child from school. 60 minutes until uncensored power, pure life force will be unleashed. The beast. I’ll need patience. I’ll need mercy. I’ll need a place to centre my faith. To be a mother is to be your own godmother.

I want to be him
I want to be relentless in my demands
To feel I’m the centre of the universe
I want to be noisy and play and don’t think too much
I want my childhood back

Now I have 50 minutes left for my apotheosis. Or a trip to Neverland. Which shall it be?
Witch, it shall be. Alchemy is the way to the holy grail.

I will not send out a chivalrous search party
I will not roam the seas for a number of years
I will not spin gold from straw
I will not eat the poisoned apple

I have 45 minutes left.

I’ll paint
Just for the fun of it

I wrote this when we still had kittens, so it must have been a while ago. The last of them left the house this June. I don’t remember what I painted that day. I’m not even sure IF I painted, but I expect I did. I probably shared what I painted on Facebook. I didn’t share what I wrote. It felt too vulnerable.

I quote from today’s prompt on octpowrimo.com: “Today’s prompt is Falling through the cracks. Nothing is perfect and sometimes, things do slip through those pesky cracks. […] How do you deal with things that slip through? Is it ok to reveal our flaws?” I wanted to write something new, but I kept thinking about this piece. So I decided to share it. Even though it still feels vulnerable.

I think I used wikipedia to increase my knowledge of the hero’s journey. I know I want to learn more about it, and I’ll start by checking sources on the Joseph Campbell Foundation page.

Elixer

They made him seem such a hero
but they left out the bit
where he fondled the dwarfs

They made him seem such a hero
but they left out the bit
where he provided the GHB for the apple

They made him seem such a hero
but they left out the bit
where she couldn’t marry in white

They made him seem such a hero
but they left out the bit
where he called her ‘my immaculate’

She was no fool
She knew the ways of the world

She was no fool
She knew what he had done

She was no fool
She knew she’d have her chance

She was no fool
She knew she’d take revenge

One drop for each fondled dwarf
Two drops for every letter in GHB
Three drops for the wedding dress
Four drops for calling her Maria – the fool

He got a night cap
Every day
For the rest of his life
She lived happily ever after

Yesterday’s prompt inspired me even through my moodiness. I guess I upended it a bit, turning the hero into a villain. And the victim into a perpetrator. I happily blame/thank a fellow participant for that. Alison Dunne.She tweeted something that got me thinking:

I’ve decided in 2018 to keep a count of how many women are victims in the cultural stuff I consume, books, plays, telly, you know. Thinking of a catchy hashtag ? I’m fully expecting it to catch on.

I love altered fairy tales. There something about something SO familiar turned into something surprising that makes me excited, that makes me smile, that makes me happy. I’ve done a couple in the past, either prompted or unprompted.

Jenny Luddingtone wrote my all time favourite altered Little Red Ridinghood story last year, for the ‘poem from a minor character’ prompt. Yesterday she wrote one about the soft spot of the wolf – and she has a point!

Since I’m a fan, I searched yesterday’s NaPoWriMo.net entries for more fairtytale related poems, coming from the prompt to write a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil)

I found poetry tales featuring these characters from the Northern European story book:
Snow White by Smitha V.

Cinderella by Charlene Delfin

Rapunzel by Vandana Bhasin

Captain Hook by N.K. Hasen

Loki by S.G. Liput

Please leave yours in the comments if you can add to the list. They don’t need to be from this year’s #NaPoWriMo. I used an old drawing of mine, for example 😉

Elixer by Angela van Son

You can’t hang an apple from a tree

You can’t hang an apple from a tree
Still I know they’re after me
Accused of murder in the first degree
Everyone thinks I did it, you see

You can’t hang an apple from a tree
Still I feel the urge to flee
It started out so innocently
Down beneath that apple tree

You can’t hang an apple from a tree
It was an accident, you see
Though I watched her take a bite with glee:
Finally, she picked me. Me, me, me!

You can’t hang an apple from a tree
It wasn’t I who poisoned me
I beg you, listen to my plea
Hang the witch instead of me

Apple by Elena Savelyeva

The prompt for today was to think of a fairytale, and write from a different perspective than the main character. I love messing with fairytales, so really liked this prompt! NaPoWriMo day 21 was happily done 😉

Here are some other fairytale related writings:
Cinderella, the lost version
As if your life depended on it
A fool’s fairytale

And here is my favourite one for this prompt, written by a fellow poet I quite admire.

I found the apple I was looking for on Flickr. I thank photographer Eva Savelyeva that she shared this photo under this license. No changes were made, it’s perfect already.

As if your life depended on it

The miller’s daughter looked confused.
“I’m sorry?”
“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.”

She eyed the stranger conspicuously,
“I beg your pardon?”
She saw how he looked at her first-born.
“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.”

She moved her body between him and the child.
“Have we met before?”
He moved so he could see the child again.
She noticed a streak of gold in his hair.
“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.”

She sniffed the air.
“Please leave these premises immediately.”
It was the smell of warm sunny days.
It was the smell of impossible demands.
It was the smell of wonders against all odds.
“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.”

She stared hard into his eyes
“Take me with you”.
He looked surprised.
She smiled.
She took her baby and packed her bags.
She handed him a book.

“Your name is Rumpelstiltskin
Please turn to the last page.
We will live happily ever after”

Day 14 of #OctPoWriMo. This poem is based on a these beautiful sentences by Adrienne Rich: You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.

Cinderella – the lost version

I definitely look amazing! She looked down. Fairy godmother sure knew how to conjure up a dress. But the shoes… With a frown she looked at her feet. Glass? Seriously? She took them off and put them in a plastic bag. No need for those in the carriage.

Now what was she going to do? Being left with a pumpkin and two mice at 12 o’clock wasn’t a practical arrangement. She decided to take things into her own hands, and beckoned the coachman. “Change of plans”, she said. “I’ll ride, and you go sit in the back. We take as many children as we can into the carriage. Two penny for a ride.”

The children flocked towards the carriage like fleas to a cat. It was gold, and shiny. And a real princess was riding it! Rumour spread through the town, and the waiting list grew and grew. The market filled with children. When they became too many, Cinderella changed her plan. She knew many parents in town really wanted to get the children off their hands while they were preparing for the ball. She might as well cash in on that.

She invited some of the maids she knew, and promised to share the profits with them. Together they turned the market into a children’s paradise. They told stories, taught the children dances for the ball, created a play involving a prince and a princess who lived happily ever after… Keeping order was not a problem. The children loved to do what the princess asked of them.

In the meanwhile, the prince had heard of a beautiful princess who was riding through town. Her beauty was beyond measure, and she was spreading joy wherever she showed up. He was curious, but not impressed. Probably just good marketing of one of the foreign princesses, he told his footman. “Let’s wait and see. She will surely show up tonight”.

At supper time, all children went home. Cinderella sighed a happy sigh as she was waving them goodbye. This had been one of the best days of her life, but she needed a rest. She sent the coachman to get her a pint of ale, and slumped down in the corner of an inn. She carefully made sure that she got no stains on her dress, and fell asleep instantly. “Wake me up half an hour before the ball starts”, she said.

So he did. Cinderella asked around who would like a ride to the palace. Twelve pence one way. Though many ladies weren’t happy to have such a beautiful coachwoman, they agreed. Their shoes were killing them, and well, it does look good to arrive in such a beautiful carriage, doesn’t it? So off and on Cinderella drove, making lots of money. The whole town was headed towards the ball.

In the palace, the prince was wondering if the beautiful princess had arrived already. He had danced with many women, but none of them stood out. They treated him like gods gift to women, but he knew they were only chasing a dream. The ball was quite boring, really. When he inquired after the foreign princess, he heard she was still riding through town, delivering guests to the palace.  He sent his footman to talk to her when she arrived the next time.

The man waited for her to empty her load before he spoke to her. “Milady, don’t you want to come to the ball?” he inquired. “Yes, I want to” Cinderella replied. “The prince invites you” the footman said, wondering if that was the problem. “I can’t, not just yet”, was the answer, and Cinderella drove away again.

After another hour of graceful dancing and boring conversations, the prince sent out his footman again. “Why don’t you come to the ball”, he asked. Cinderella smiled. “I’m building a future for myself. When I’m done, I’ll come and dance”. The prince looked puzzled when he heard her reply. Building a future, what did that mean? He didn’t know what to think of it.

An hour later he was bored to his wits, and went out himself. When she arrived, he took a good look at her before he stepped out of the shadows. As he’d expected, she was not as beautiful as people had said. Great dress, plain face. Not a trace of a foreign accent, when she was joking with her coachman. He liked her. “Milady, will you come inside and dance with me?” he inquired.

She smiled. “I’ve heard your serving the best food people have ever tasted. All this work has made me hungry. Can I eat first?”.  It was not the answer he had expected. “Right then, food first” he said, and offered her his hand. She saw him raising an eyebrow when he noticed her bare feet. “The dress came with glass shoes”, she explained. “Not very practical”. She put them on to walk to the castle, and took them straight off when she reached the steps.

“Why didn’t you come to the ball sooner?”, the prince asked when she was emptying a plate. “Don’t you like to dance”? “I do”, she said. “Lots. But normally I can’t. You see, I’m a maid and I sweep ashes. I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life. When my godmother gave me a carriage today, I used it to make money.” The prince politely didn’t look baffled. “I need to be home pretty soon. My dress will turn into rags at twelve. If you want to dance, I have five minutes left.”

So they danced.

When she left, the prince asked her if she would like to rule the kingdom. “I’ll think about it”, she said. Do you think it can be turned into a practical job?”

So they married.

So she ruled.

Practically.

Feedback welcome, this is a first draft (well, second draft really).