POETRY: The Fairy Tale Collection

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Child of Ash and Darkness

So we were sitting with the story of Snow White and exploring its many iterations both across time and geography.  The professor leading the course asked us to respond in any medium to the following:

"When the flakes of snow were falling like feathers from the sky, a queen sat at a window sewing ..."

Let Your Fury Breathe

A Faery Tale poem. 


This time,  in addition to Little Red and Sleeping Beauty, inspiration came from  Tracee Ellis Ross' TED talk in Vancouver,  British Columbia (April 2018).  Tracee reflects on the fury of a friend who had experienced being moved out of the way by a man who wanted to get access to something that she was "blocking" as she stood filling out forms.  His hands on her body and then moving her out of his way.

Little Red and the Forest Way

I've been taking a Fairy Tale course with Joanna Gilar, a professor from Sussex, and this week we started Little Red Riding Hood - who I think is probably my favourite faery tale heroine.    A number of poems have been written.  These are in pretty raw form and may go through an edit or twenty but I decided to post them up as is for now so that I can link to them for my fellow course attendees.

Selkie Winds

While I have a deep and abiding love for the Folk of the Sea, I have always found most of the selkie stories profoundly disturbing.  That a man would think that his loneliness should justify the stealing of a woman's life so that his own would be more whole is not a thing of love.  It is possession, perhaps obsession but it is not, no matter how pretty the stories try to make it, an act of love.  The tragedy is doubled in that the selkie maid is put forever between choosing the life she has been exiled from and the lives that she has birthed on the land.  The love in these stories always comes in the end, where the child looks upon their mother's hidden skin and set her free, no matter the cost to them all of that choice.

The Harlequins Were First

One of the prompts for creative for our final week of the Fairy Tale Atlas course was to consider how we could use "The Frog King" tale today as space for ecological exploration of our relationship to water.  And I thought about how frogs are one of our indicator species in terms of their vulnerability to changes in the water ecosystem ... 

All the poems written on this page are the creative output of the opportunity to sit for an hour each week and talk with women from all over Great Britain and North America about our readings of all the various wonderful versions of the old tales, modern and traditional.  So much creative potential.

One of the discussions we had in the seminar on Little Red was the degree to which the Wolf was demonized by Church and by the ordinary people.  The story of Little Red reflects a particular point in time when the  Wolf's reputation in Europe was not informed by our modern understanding of the critical need for this apex predator in an ecosystem to maintain its health.  And the health of all the members of that ecosystem.  There are hints of that in the alchemical relationship between Little Red and the Wolf, if viewed as a rite of passage story.

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All artwork on this page, except Wolf's Reflection is © Chalkmaster Dave Johnston and is used with permission of the artist.  Wolf's Reflection is part of a street art painting (artist unknown) from Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada.  Photo Credit: Fiona Mackintosh. 

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