UrsulaV (ursulav) wrote,

It Has Come To My Attention

I have been reading fairy tales recently. I’ll apologize now, because I’m not much of a poet, but there are things for which prose is useless, like trying to pry a nail out of a wall with a Buick, and if I can’t come up with a hammer or a screwdriver, I will make do with a butter knife.


It has come to my attention

that people like me

are generally not welcome in fairy tales.


It’s the talking birds that do it.

The minute a sparrow shows up to pipe a direful warning

it’s all over

down at the first hurdle



The body in the fifty-fathom well

will have to wait

the old woman turned into a hare

the murdered mother in the juniper tree

as I whip out my Sibley guide and look for the entry

with the fieldmark labeled capable of human speech.

For this crime

I have been accused of a failure of wonder

of having chained up my inner child and sent her

to work in the salt mines.


But the truth

(if you really want to know)

is that I have read so many fairy tales

and lived a little bit too long

to be surprised by anything that happens in

the cottages of lonely woodcutters.


I can even venture a guess

as to why the bear speaks with the voice of a maiden

(my heart goes out to her)

and why, when the animal has saved your life,

you will be required to make a harp out of its bones.


These are old familiar mysteries

as love is an old familiar mystery

the dwarf’s name

the contents of the enchanted walnut

the thing which stands behind the mill.

Fairy tales are human things

which we have chewed over

since before we could eat solid food.


But a bird!

A bird that talks!

This is outside my experience

this un-parrot-like fluency.

I have so many questions for it—

Where did you learn?

and How do you make the P’s and B’s and M’s with that small stiff beak?


and most important,

Are there more like you out there?

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

Tags: writing
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →