Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - Spinning Tales

On Friday I mentioned that I've been reading The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm's Fairy Tales for quite some time. I really have been savoring these poems. Here are two I've highlighted this year.
Jane Yolen has a poem in this book as well. It's entitled Fat is Not a Fairy Tale.

Other poets you'll find in this volume include Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Lucille Clifton, Carol Ann Duffy, Barbara Hamby, Randall Jarrell, Amy Lowell, Gregory Orr, Anne Sexton, Joyce Thomas, and many more.

I have been on a steady diet of fantasy and fairy tales in recent weeks. Since these themes keep recurring, I thought it would be a good time to use this topic for a poetry stretch. So, your challenge this week is to write a poem inspired by a fairy tale, legend, bit of folklore, or fantasy. Use any form you like. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Hoodie

    Not for me the soft grey hood,
    flanneled, drawstringed,to perfection.
    Not for me the silken red hood
    Sewn with motherly perfection.
    a sop to wolves and woodcutters both;
    Not for me these old school tropes,
    I touch the now, the new, the never;
    I live on chocolate and on hopes.

    I go camouflaged into the forest,
    sit under a low-hanging live oak.
    Disguised by clothing and by silence
    I watch all the fairy tale folk
    walk, run, leap, fly by.
    I would rather read their expressions
    parse each fast-beating made-up heart.
    This has become my chief obsession:
    I do not want to be one of them,
    but watch in simple silent laughter;
    for none of them--not hero, not wolf
    gets to live happy ever after.

    c Jane Yolen 2009

  2. Three gold coins.
    Three wishes wished.
    Three magic seeds
    and three magic fish.
    Three bad guesses.
    three real tears—
    now the sea is salty
    now the seeds are years,
    now the threes are doubles,
    now the doubles, one;
    now the world is spinning
    ‘til it comes undone.
    Now you are a changeling,
    now you are a haunt,
    now you're hardly here at all,
    and now you're not.
    Now you're just the wind
    as it moves through leaves,
    I can hear you whispering:
    one, two, three.

  3. P.S. That was fun - thanks for the Stretch, Tricia. Jane, I love those lines: "I touch the now, the new, the never; / I live on chocolate and hopes."

  4. Mutual love fest in here:

    "now the threes are doubles,
    now the doubles, one;
    now the world is spinning
    ‘til it comes undone"

    carries a fairy tale sensibility.

    Thanks, Julie.


  5. This looks great. I'm adding it to the list. Thanks!

  6. These are so wonderful that I'm embarrassed to add mine, but here it is anyway.

  7. Gosh, I haven't seen this book! I'm hoping it has a poem by Agha Shahid Ali about how wonderful it was to be warm inside the wolf!

  8. Harriet--what? You are dissing your own poem? I wish I had written it!


  9. Jane and Julie's poems are fabulous! The last four lines of both of those--so haunting!

    I have a poem up at

    And--I want this book! Out of my price range, though:>)

  10. Tricia,

    I LOVE fairy tale poems! In fact, I wrote an entire collection of them nearly 15 years ago. I made a few changes to one of the poems--and posted it this morning at Wild Rose Reader. The poem was written in the form of a Q&A.

    P.S. I love all the poems that people have submitted to this week's Poetry Stretch!

  11. These poems are all so much fun. What a great subject this week!

  12. Okay, you got me, Tricia. Gotta play. For Poetry Friday tomorrow, I'm sharing a cento dedicated to the Frog Princes, made of lines from poems with the word LEAP in them. I'll come back and leave the link when it posts.

    Meanwhile, I'm going to marvel some more at the riches spilled here for all to find.