It’s the third day of National Poetry Month and I’m three poems into my poetry-reading binge, which I’m happy to say has been so much fun so far! Today I thought I would share some of my own poetry with you. This is a piece I wrote earlier this semester for my Literary Retelling & Impersonation class.
During the first unit of our course, we read both original fairy tales and retellings or impersonations of them. This included a selection of poems from Anne Sexton’s work Transformations, a book that retells seventeen Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Her retelling of “Cinderella” was not actually on the reading list but since it’s my favorite fairy tale, I chose to bring it to life while impersonating her style. I originally decided to write a poem because it could be shorter and therefore less work than a short story, but ended up loving this medium more than I’d thought I would. (More on that later…)
I’m a little nervous about sharing this because I don’t often post my own writing here, but I did promise to and I intend to make good on that promise. I’d appreciate any comments and feedback you’re willing to give! Any suggestions for revision? (This has already been revised multiple times, but I thought I’d ask anyway.) Have you ever read any of Sexton’s poetry?
The prince, that lovesick boy,
went from house to house in the village,
searching for the girl.
He brought with him the lost glass slipper,
five inches of glittering sparkling.
The shoe did not fit any woman he met and the prince
had almost given up hope when his courtiers said,
“Here, here! Here is a house we have not visited.”
The prince, daft with lovesickness as he was, had not noticed
a little cottage at the edge of the village.
It was Cinderella’s house, of course.
Inside she was at work, of course.
Her stepsisters were delighted to see the prince, of course.
Maybe someday one of them would become queen.
They bickered and quarreled and quarreled and bickered
about who got to try on the slipper first.
It did not fit so they
cut off their toes to spite their feet
as it were.
One, two, three, four, five, chop! Into the slipper went one stepsister’s foot.
One, two, three, four, five, chop! Into the slipper went the other stepsister’s foot.
The prince was not convinced.
Is there not any other girl or woman living here? he asked.
I’m looking for the girl I danced with, he said. She ran away.