I quelled at the optional prompt from NaProWriMo on Day 21. They suggested doing a ‘homophonic translation’ where you take a foreign language poem and just ‘translate’ it into your first language based on what it looks like and how you think it might be pronounced. Nightmare! No thank you. This is a prompt from previous years. I did try it in the past when I was religious in my practice of not abstaining from the daily prompt. I have done twenty days this year, but NOT today. Anyway, when I woke up for some reason Sleeping Beauty’s castle was floating around in the murk of my semi-consciousness. So I decided to write a poem on that theme.
Anne Sexton wrote many poetry re-workings of folk and fairy tales from the Brother’s Grimm. So there is some lineage to my own take written during this pandemic’s Lockdown.
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Nothing moves under clear skies. Underneath the leafy bramble vines the city sleeps. Not even a mouse creeps. The cat in pursuit is captured for all time in freeze frame. The sweating cook, overset, has her oath silenced in real time. What prince seeks Beauty who sleeps as if coffin encased in her regal bed? Why or how should he awaken her? Perhaps, in the end, it is not for her marble beauty but, in his heart of hearts, pity. And so moved, he proffers a single, soft, caressing kiss, quite chaste. And then he watches as her eyelashes begin to flutter. She stirs. With another and another her eyes are wide. And what does she see? Is this young man a lovelorn swineherd? A cad? A noble lad? Is he the Deus ex machine that will make her tragedy into comedy? She arises, no longer hag ridden, or spell smitten. Beauty can now choose. Will it be love? Or gratitude? Or any of a multitude of story endings? The castle, no longer stricken, has been flicked by some metaphysical switch into life. The cook forgets what made her feel cross. The cat’s still wily. The mouse is fleeing for its life, scrabbling frantically at any chink it can find in the citadel’s woodwork. Copyright © Bee Smith, 2020. All rights reserved.