Saturday 16 March 2024

Myths and Fairy Tales

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog.

Been a while since I attended a writing workshop.

And been a while since I have written a poem.


With one fell swoop I shall rectify all of the above.

This afternoon I went to a Myths and Fairy Tales Poetry workshop.

We warmed up with a CINQUAIN – which I will confess I’ve never written before and I was glad when we were told how it is written. Two syllables in the first line, four in the second, then six, then eight and back to 2 syllables in the fifth and final line.


Rose red

lips like petals.

Here lies Snow White asleep.

I aim to wake her with a kiss,

I miss!


I am definitely in a playful mood, just right for subverting the fairy tale stereotypes.

We looked at some other poems, several from Carol Ann Duffy’s collection The World’s Wife which give a different slant on many traditional myths. I also really enjoyed this one by A.E. Stallings, which includes a multitude of magical tales.

Then, we had twenty minutes to write a poem from the perspective of a different character in a familiar story.

I chose someone’s mum – see if you can guess whose?



I should have had a daughter

Jacqueline, I would have called her

Not as foolish as my lazy son

She would have valued our cow

Seen her true worth

Traded her for more than a handful of beans.


Oh my stupid, stupid boy!

Head stuck in the clouds

With thoughts of giants in his tiny head

Made up stories that grow exponentially over night

And fill his world with madness.


There’s not even enough beans for a stew tonight

We’ve no eggs for breakfast either

When the golden sunrise comes.


I cast the beans upon the ground

Stomp on them for good measure

In defiance!


Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum

If only I’d had a daughter, instead of a son!


We then looked at the location and how myths and fairy tales can take on a whole new direction when you change the setting. The challenge was to place a character somewhere new.

Before writing about Jack I had toyed with the idea of writing something about Rapunzel. What if after she escaped her tower she took a visit to the hairdressers? A strange experience for someone who has not visited one for a very long time.


The Up Do


They gather a team for my dramatic “up do”

“Your hair is so thick.”

“Would you like a tea or coffee?”

“Any holidays planned?”


I sit in a chair like a throne

No longer all alone.

Being pampered and cared for

Enjoying the incessant chatter.


I have little to offer in the conversation of celebrity.

I’ve been shut away too long.

But I don’t have chance to answer

Or drink my tea which sits growing cold, forgotten.


They wash and brush and snip and jabber,

And trim and curl and twirl and prattle.

They surround me in a miasma

of product and spritz and spray

Which scratches my throat

Like the sharp thorns

That one held me prisoner.


They twist strands of my hair, like rope

And pin it up into a high tower on my head.


How will I get out of here?



Finally, they let me see

A mirror is held to the back of my head

They smile, suddenly silent, awaiting affirmation


I wish I’d gone short instead!


So there we have it, 2 poems written, 3 if you include in the cinquain, all in one afternoon. And it was lots of fun, especially sharing at the end and seeing what everyone else had written about.

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