Yes, you get choices today for this Poetry Friday entry, and that would be because I had Poetry Friday plans and then kind, thoughtful Alkelda came along and stood them on their head.
Your first option today is a more traditional Poetry Friday entry — an actual poem, that is, though it’s hardly reverent in nature. Your second option is a more non-traditional entry: Song lyrics and a performance.
Or you can go with both options. I happen to like them both myself.
My girls and I read Perrault’s Cinderella yesterday. The four-year-old listened attentively and all wide-eyed (the two-and-a-half-year old jumped around like a monkey on crack, as usual, after about two minutes of the story, but this is to be expected). I was reminded, after reading it, of my old and tattered copy of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, so I pulled it off the shelf in honor of the recent post on “demented” stories that Adrienne and I did. Dahl’s version of Cinderella is the first poem in this anthology.
Whoa. I had read these before — but a long time ago. This is far from your feel-good Cinderella (hence, my goofy image at the top of this post). This is some seriously offbeat stuff. Beheadings. The Prince calling Cindy a “dirty slut.” And the ending? She chooses a “simple jam-maker by trade / Who sold good homemade marmalade” instead.
Good goin’, Cindy. Always good to marry one talented with baking (and the one who, uh, doesn’t call you names). Even better than royalty, I say. Not to mention, Dahl’s prince is choppin’ off heads, leftrightandcenter.
Here’s the first stanza below. The poem can be read in its entirety here.
I guess you think you know this story.
You don’t. The real one’s much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.
If you visit our kicks posts on Sundays, you know I’m a hopeless (verging on annoying) fan of Sam Phillips’ music. I’ve followed her career closely for about twenty years now, and she’s my absolute favorite musician. Notice I said “verging on annoying” there; it’s a great time to be a Sam fan right now, since she just released a new CD, and so I’m even starting to irritate myself talking about it. I’ll try to keep this brief.
Alkelda saw Sam perform at a Borders bookstore in Redmond, Washington, on Wednesday evening and lined up some surprises for me, including filming two of Sam’s songs. ‘Cause she’s that considerate. Anyway, in the past, I’ve talked myself out of MANY a Poetry Friday post in which I post (and ask for discussion) on various and sundry Sam lyrics (again, I can be an annoying fan), but I’m going to post this performance Alkelda caught, ’cause a). it’s timely — this was just this week, and b). this is one of my favorite songs of hers. These are Sam’s lyrics—her capacity for true poetry—at their best. She knows how to be irreverent and witty and sly and also how to rock it (think Tom Waits meets Kurt Weill meets The Beatles). But this is Sam Melody and Sam Lyrics at their most beautiful: “Now that I’ve worn out / I’ve worn out the world / I’m on my knees in fascination / Looking through the night / And the moon’s never seen me before / But I’m reflecting light.” This one’s all about how, as she puts it further, loss can open windows, how a dark heart can light up the skies. And my favorite bit of poetry from this song?
Give up the ground
Under your feet
Hold on to nothing for good
Turn and run at the mean dogs
Stand alone and misunderstood
Here’s the performance — and with Eric Gorfain from The Section Quartet on a Stroh violin (or violinophone). If anyone watches it, there is much discussion at the beginning (about “Die Hard 3,” of all things), but the music is at approximately 3:10ish. Thanks again to Alkelda, who says she now has a new appreciation for good camera-people.
Today’s Poetry Friday round-up is at a wrung sponge. Enjoy!