So I’m reading Philip Pullman’s “Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm” and can I just say that I love this man? Because I do. If anyone out there hasn’t read the His Dark Materials trilogy they are being very silly and need to go out and acquire the entire series right. now.
Also Philip Pullman is a boss at retelling the Grimm’s fairy tales. They sound like the originals, but better. He understands how to twist the tales to make them his own, without changing their fundamentals. And blah blah blah pretentious blah blah blah just, stop, okay, and go read them.
So this AM I re-read the “Twelve Brothers,” which is a variant of one of my favorite tale types, “The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers.” If you like this tale type, you should read the Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier as well cuz it is fabulous.
Anyways the point is! This morning I re-read “Twelve Brothers” and then sat down to write maybe a short story or something inspired by it but this very odd poem popped out instead. So, here is another poem I wrote. That’s basically it. This introduction was unnecessarily long.
there is a little girl sitting on the curb
she has brown hair like a fawn and sad blue eyes and her dress is torn and dirty.
crow feathers in intricate black
–or maybe they are white it is hard to tell in this light
have been tattooed up her left arm
above them is a star
and next to that star is a stinging nettle.
i could walk away but i’m drawn in by the feathers
or maybe it is the hair
again it is hard to tell the light is really very bad.
“why are you sitting here and why are you sad”
“I have lost my brothers
There were twelve of them
I looked first in the madhouse
and then in the jails
but no luck so far.
I think they have been turned to birds
after all I have a wicked step mother
and a weak father. ”
i shrug but she is looking very pathetic
so i offer some good advice.
“maybe it would help if you were silent
i mean completely silent
or those weird snort giggles girls do sometimes”
“I tried that
that is how I lost the oldest five”
she sighs again and the movement shakes her shoulders and that movement draws my attention to the stinging nettle on her left bicep.
i am struck with inspiration
“maybe you could sew them shirts
but not regular shirts
maybe you could take some nettles
and turn them into thread
and make that thread a cloth
and make that cloth a shirt.
but don’t speak while you’re doing it
i think you need silence as well as blood
for this kind of thing to work.”
i look at her hopefully and am cheered when she seems to think about my suggestion
she tilts her head and worries her chapped lip
between slightly crooked teeth.
“That’s not a bad idea.”
she nods and stands, looking about for something
i spot a needle on the ground at my feet
pick it up and hand it to her.
she leans over and kisses my cheek with her chapped lips
it’s a bit rough but i try not to mind too much
i say as she tucks the needle into a sash tied around her waist.
she is worrying her lip again
already searching the cracks in the side walk for nettles
and she doesn’t hear me.