2012 Poetry Theme Challenges

#10 Fairytales in Poetry

Recently in my creative writing class I set a wee challenge to the students to retell a fairytale or nursery rhyme. Sounds easy enough but the twist was to write it from a different point of view. For example the story of the princess and the pea from the view point of the pea. We had great fun with it so I thought I would bring it to Tir and see what you guys do with it and I hope you have as much fun with it as the students did.

The Frog Prince

I am a frog
I live under a spell
I live at the bottom
Of a green well

And here I must wait
Until a maiden places me
On her royal pillow
And kisses me
In her father's palace

The story is familiar
Everybody knows it well
But do other enchanted people feel as nervous
As I do? The stories do not tell,

As if they will be happier
When the changes come
As already they are fairly happy
In a frog's doom?

I have been a frog now
For a hundred years
And in all this time
I have not shed many tears,

I am happy, I like the life,
Can swim for many a mile
(When I have hopped to the river)
And am for ever agile.

And the quietness,
Yes, I like to be quiet
I am habituated
To a quiet life,

But always when I think these thoughts
As I sit in my well
Another thought comes to me and says:
It is part of the spell

To be happy
To work up contentment
To make much of being a frog
To fear disenchantment

Says, It will be heavenly
To be se free,
Cries Heavenly the girl who disenchants
And the royal times, heavenly,
And I think it will be.

Come then, royal girl and royal times,
Come quickly,
I can be happy until you come
But I cannot be heavenly,
Only disenchanted people
Can be heavenly.

Stevie Smith
Happy Quilling!


A Little Imagination

Terry Clitheroe

Aussie and the Leprechaun
Dragon Wings
Humpty Dumpty
Sun God and the Dragon
Three Blind Mice

Divena Collins

Alice in Toadstool Land
Cuddly Tots
Faery Tale
Fanciful Fantasies
Nursery Rhyme Blues
Stranger than Strange

Jem Farmer

Bad Wolf Days
Lost and Found
Mirror Mirror

Peter Willowdown

Gnome About Town
Mother and Child

Ryter Roethicle

The Aussie and the Leprechaun

They seek him here
They seek him there
They seek Horace the leprechaun everywhere

His pot of gold is what they seek
The thought of it makes their knees week
And cunning though they think they are
He sees them coming from afar
And laughs and thinks I'll have some fun
For he's got them beat, everyone.

Too many years men have tried
And for a while he did abide
But that pot o gold they were all denied.

Until one day a simple Aussie came
He wasn't out to make a name.
Rather a challenge had been sent
And to that his task was bent.
He wasn't out to show he was the best one
Just that little twerp needed a lesson.
So one day Horace and he met up
And on pints of Guinness began to sup.

Although Aussie was a drinking man
To beat him this way was not his plan
But he plied himself to the task at hand
The conceited Horace thought this was grand.
Matching the Aussie pot for pot
When he'd had enough off he'd trot
Leaving Aussie laying on the ground
And when he woke,
He’d have to pay for every round.

In a while he saw Aussie knew no more
Seeing him sink to the bar-room floor.
Horace grabbed hold of his golden pot
And to his den he began to trot.
Thinking once more he’d done it again,
Feeling even more contemptuous of men.

A hundred yards he’d gone
When the Aussie sang
And from his jacket
Drew out a boomerang.
Horace didn’t know a thing aboutem
Till it flew and his head did cloutem
And that was how a simple Aussie
Showed a Leprechaun who was bossie.

The morals of this rhyme are clear;
Never try to best an Aussie when drinking beer,
Avoid bludging Elves that never shout a round
Bragging about pots of gold to be found.

And now I heard a Leprechaun as he sang;
"Beware of an Aussie with a boomerang."


Dragon Wings

Gliding on mighty dragon wings,
Floating high o'er silken cloud,
Of sweet white cotton candy crowd,
Looking below makes my heart sing.
Ploughed field are not for kings
Tapestried earth makes farmers proud
But fit warriors only with a shroud,
And dragons think of different things.
We think of gold as common stuff,
Greed and power is the sin of clan.
Whilst what we have is quite enough,
Humans acquire what e'r they can.
Being told that their life is tough,
This is the first lie told by man.


Humpty Dumpty

I was not meant to sit on a wall
But it was you who put me there.
I did not wish to have this fall.
I believed when you said you care
And said I loved you in return
But now my shell is broke and bare.
There is no help in which to turn
So I must put myself together.
Another lesson I have to learn.
And any senses I can gather
Curious about life and love and all
Is uncertain like the weather.
I was not meant to sit on a wall
I did not wish to have this fall.

Sunset - Vladimir Kush -----

The Sun God and the Dragon

Apep arose from its nest, from its slumber it had awoke
With darkness Ra's strength vanished like the drifting smoke,
And his barque, sailed into the darkness with the end of day
As night lengthened he sailed deeper into the dragon’s way.

Ra sighed once again, which caused the nightly breeze
And took up his mighty axe, knowing there was no reprise
For every day, Apep slunk away, and in his lair he slept
And every night, prepared to fight, the Sun God his vigil kept.

Thus it had been from time imemore, this far from equal fight
The evil dragon slept all day, the weakened God fought all night
Lashing tail and stabbing fang, the Sun God he tried to skewer
With swinging axe and weakened attacks Ra managed to endure.

With end of night there comes respite, the barque rises in the East
And with morning light and cease of fight, the Sun God has a feast.
Prayers of welcome to the Sun, are offered for each and every Dawn
And the morning air, fresh and fair, are from the tired Gods yawn.


Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice
Three blind mice
Wasis about blind mice?

See how dey run
See how dey run
Theys blind, how can dey run?

Dey all run after de farmers wife
Dey all run after de farmers wife
Who cut off der tails wid a carving knife.

What kinda woman is she
What kinda woman is she
That mutilates creatures that can't see?

Have you ever seen such a thing in yo life
Have you ever seen such a thing in yo life
As a woman armed wid a carving knife?

Chasing three blind mice
Three blind mice
Wasis about blind mice?

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Divena Collins

Alice In Toadstool Land

Why do you sit on thy toadstool there
Smoking thy pipe of illusioned weed
Within your trance only you can share
To take you away in a dream you need
Is it your troubles within that you feed
So much so that it makes you forget
The present life he had failed indeed
His actions he was never to regret.

Why do you say that you cannot bear
This loathesome existance you lead
If you come along to the land full of care
You shall see you have done a misdeed
For theres more to your life than weed
When life is still good it is not over yet
And has not yet reverted to excede
His actions he was never to regret.

You say you do not belong anywhere
There is nothing on earth to proceed
But there is plenty of loving to share
Then you too shall forever succeed
For survival you shall do a great deed
In the making of a most perfect duet
Yielding such perfect loving to breed
His actions he was never to regret.


Cuddly Tots

Cuddly Tots Nursery Rhyme.--- Luc Bat
Once upon a nursery rhyme
When mothers had the time to read
Childs dreams were in need
Wonders of fantasy feed the mind
Pictures of another kind
With images that unwind to dream
Faerie tales it may seem
May stimulate a theme of fiction
A calming of tension
Thus the attention of an eager child
How cheerfully they smiled
And all because of a nursery rhyme.


Faery Tale

Find me lurking a shadow in your dreams
Thoughts in your mind
Feel light kisses from me from the darkness
Touch's of delight
Sense me caressing you I am the lover
You cannot find
As your eyes half close in pleasure think of
Me in the night
For within the light of dawn I will be gone
I won't be found
Seek where you may I don't exist by day
A ghostly sprite
Hidden in the shades of night I reside
No matter where I'll be by your side.


Fanciful Fantasies

If I close my eyes and wish to see
Amidst the magic of morning mist
Just as the suns rays breaks free
I see faeries dance thro`the glade
Within garlands of roses they play
Weaving through tall grass blades
How they danced at break of day
Wrapped within a mystical stance
Charmed within a magical fantasy
I had opened my eyes to romance
It was only a child then I had been
Yet felt what I watched to be true
I believed what my eyes had seen
Still within sight of fantasies anew.

Art by Brian Froud


Nursery Rhyme Blues

Climbin`that ole beanstalk there
Gonna find him a giant up there
Jumpin Jack he done past care.

I dont mean that ol`Jack Horner
Every one knows ol`Jack Horner
Hes the one that sat in his corner.

Mary once had a tiny little lamb
Never had desires for a little lamb
Was quite contented with a ram.

Not mary contrary in the garden
With cockle shells in her garden
Would not do as she was bidden.

Willie Winkie runs thro`the town
Shocking all the folk in the town
Wearing a ladies frilly nightgown.

All the kings horses and his army
Never saw the likes in the army
He was sectioned off as barmy.

Things aint wot they used to be
Nursery rhymes they wont let be
When false pretences reign free.


Stranger Than Strange

Strange are the creatures of elfin wood
Never to be seen by night or by day
Within silence they strive to be good
Yet with impish ways they yearn for fun
Playing foolish pranks upon everyone
When strange music is heard from afar
To summon others just where they are
They hide away as if no one was there
All that is found are ghost like shadows
Images that were not theirs to share
Strange it may seem within light of day
Not a thing did they do, nor did they say
Creatures they were of a humbled kind
Relying only upon a strange human mind.

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Jem Farmer

Bad Wolf Days

Whilst strolling through the woods one summer's day,
Her scarlet robe captured my lupine eye,
And in her song my caution fell away,
I ran to her and then I heard her cry.
'You get away from me you big bad beast,
You wicked wolf you go away from me!
I'll tell them all you stole my granny’s feast,
And then they will never let you live free!’
I ran away, so angry at her words,
And then I knew how I would get her back,
Instead of hunting the rabbits and birds,
I headed out toward her granny's shack.
In certain hope my plan just couldn't fail
But alas you all know the fairy tale.


Lost and Found (Blues Sonnet)

She rushed away and left me here last night,
Upon the steps she left me here last night,
Because the clock was chiming she took flight.
I saw her gown disappear into rags,
The sequined silk was now scullery rags,
A servant's dress she made with veggie bags.
The Prince of charm was looking high and low,
He looked here and there, above and below,
But no one knew where the pretty girl go.
His quest to find the girl to be his bride,
The only girl that could e'er be his bride
But first on her foot I must gently glide.
Ev'ry girl tried and tried to make it be,
But Cinders is the one who'll step in me.


Mirror, Mirror

My looks are fading into age
Once young and fair, now it’s old age,
I sought wisdom from mirrored sage.

The words of glass cut like a knife,
In days before the surgeon’s knife,
I couldn’t accept this new life.

The glass said she was fair of face,
A girl with a beautiful face,
She put my looks in second place.

Enchantments cast for her to bite,
A poisoned fruit for her to bite,
To bring an end to that Snow White.

A magic curse within a spell,
She bit the fruits touched by a spell,
It all seemed to go rather well.

There was nothing that could go wrong,
With Snow White dead, what could go wrong?
But then that damned prince came along.

My looks are fading into age
Once young and fair, now it’s old age.

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Peter Willowdown

A Gnome about Town (Duet with Maryse)

Toph the Gnome sat on a twisted knoll
and contemplated a moth.
"Sure", he thought, "if I had a woolen hat
and a pair of winter socks
the colour of that fair moth's wings
the ladies would all flock to me...

So he stole the colour from the poor moth's wings
(though he would have said he merely borrowed it)
and made a wooly hat of dew-washed moss
and socks of fresh-spun gossamer,
the colour of sunsets just as the moon rises
or the reflection of rainbows
in the morning ocean's surf...

So decked out in his latest finery
Toph strode head in the air, filled with new pride
Completely sure that ere the day was done
He’d have a pretty damsel at his side
He tried to ensure everything was right
He’d brushed his teeth and shaved his grizzly chin
Had even bathed that morning to be sure
And then he’d creamed his scaly hairy skin.

Although he really was a sight to see
And doffed his hat at everyone he met
And flashed his socks at every given chance
A chuckle or a stare was all he’d get.
Depressed he stopped mid stride in front a shop
To check his image in the showcase there
And then he almost fainted when he saw
He had come out wearing his underwear!

Quickly he rushed into the store
and ordered a pair of respectable pants
but unfortunately it was only a florists
- still, he bought two potted plants...
and edging carefully down the street,
found a haberdashery. "My good man,"
he addressed the Manager, concealing his undress
behind a hyacinth and pink hydrangea

"What pray do you have for the gnome about town?"
But the manager merely smirked and suggested
that he try the Garden Centre two blocks down.
"I hear they do an excellent compost!"
Toph scowled evilly and thought to challenge
the impudent fellow there and then to a contest
but at that moment the shop-bell trilled
and in waltzed a lady, all sequins and frills...

Toph grabbed a pair of pants, a frilly shirt
A jacket and a silk kerchief no less;
He paid the man and quickly dressed himself
Approached the lady, sure he would impress:
“My Dear,” he said, charm oozing from each pore.
Your lovely perfume has left me quite weak
Surely the least you can do is to deign
To have a cup of tea so we can speak.

The lady smiled; a cup of tea was not
What she needed, she’d been at work all night;
She wanted breakfast and some black coffee
Because today’s schedule was rather tight.
She took Toph’s arm and whispered in his ear
“You are in charge dear man, just lead the way.”
Toph felt his luck had changed, he fairly danced
Across the street ‘til they reached a caf?.

Yet as he held the cafe door open for her
he could not help but notice an iron-shaped hole
in the seat of the ladies sumptious dress...
What a quandry! Should he ignore it or confess?
His fresh-scrubbed face reddening he spluttered
with a dainty air and pulled out a wicker chair for her.
"My, its draughty!" she declared, "I've been feeling it
all day. "Poor Toph did not know what to say...

But just as they were about to order
in flew the disgruntle moth with several of his chums.
Heading straight for the bemused Toph
they fluttered around his ankles and head
and would not let the diners rest.
"Give our friend his lovely colours" they chorussed
(although of course none could understand them)
or must we fetch our friends, the bumblebees?
Answer quickly if you please!

By now the lady had become quite mad,
She thought she’d got a chump to pay her meal
It seemed however now that she was stuck
With this clown, and she could barely conceal
Her anger, so she stood up speaking in
Strident tones, ”Goodbye, I refuse to put
Up with any more shenanigans from
You;” then she felt the first sting on her butt.

She grabbed her behind, turning now to Toph,
“It’s all you fault,” she wailed, in deep distress,
To make it worse, to her horror she felt
Her fingers as they tore right through her dress.
It seemed the bees were having a field day
Mesmerized by the perfume that she wore
And even as she fled into the street
They followed her en masse right through the door.

Poor Toph was left bewildered and alone
He could not understand what had gone wrong
But he was such an optimistic gnome
That nothing seemed to bother him for long.
“Oh well,” he thought, “can’t let food go to waste,
I might as well enjoy it, it’s paid for”
He’d barely said the words when he beheld
A dazzling belle, and felt his spirits soar !

Shovelling down the last of his chilli
he ran out after this heart-stopping vision
undmindful of his naked feet, his wooly hat forgotten
(and the lady with the red-hot bottom)
"Excuse, my dear," he breathlessly murmured
but your outline looks familar..."
"And so it should do, you lecherous old gnome!"
replied a voice he instantly recognised
"I'm your niece Alicia's Aunt Matilda...'

And brandishing her parasol
she beat the poor gnome black and blue
- which is not as bad as it sounds
as it complemented his new mauve shirt
but oh, his naked feet did surely hurt
as all the way he tramped back home
to his sad and lonely knoll
and there upon a mossy stump
sat a gorgeous butterfly...

but Toph just eyed the delicate creature sourly
and went straight to his bed...


Mother and Child

Fairyland is missing its Queen
and Heaven has lost an angel.
Hush, you hobs and silverfish
and keep you council to yourselves...

She is my treasure,
combing her long gold hair
in the cracked and ancient mirror,
a single candle filling our little room
with the light of a million suns.

She is Heaven's ransom,
asleep and breathing gently in her cot,
the friendly shadows of love
watching over her.

The King of Fairyland is a sad and dispirited fellow
but my heart is set against him.
Similarly, Jehovah must be racking his brains,
sending Dynamis and Seraphim hither and thither,
this way and that, searching high and low
- but I have hidden you behind a mortal name and face,
my little daughter, the apple of my simple larder,
the fruit of the union of Elfland and Earth,
a lovely thing of strong and muscular gossamer:
a wirey, mischievous girl,
with laughter full of sunshine
and miracles in her hair...

Mother and Child,
Fairy Queen and Heavenly Angel:
a ring of silver water flows around my house
protecting you from danger and the curious eyes
of overly inquisitive spirits.
Twice a day at twilight's nodes
we walk abroad in the grey world,
dancing and playing,
laughing gently and swaying in union with the trees
singing softly to the breeze
and our friend the Last Nightingale.
Quickly, quickly,
come in now and close the door...
light our lovely candle, my love
and I will sit here quietly
and watch you comb your golden hair.



The sirocco blows across the sands,
and underneath the crescent Moon
the ankle bells of some far magick
call me with their sighing tune.

On the distant Hill of Summer,
where a lovely maiden stands,
all my dreams have left to wander
through Her strong and perfect hands.

High a solitary hawk is flying
over all the golden world,
searching for the desert's secret
hidden in a buried pearl.

In the citadels of Silence,
ruled by solemn black-robed priests,
the Vultures of the Mirage gather
for the Lord of Time's last feast.

Seraphim and genii gather
inbetween the palms and pools,
as on the Throne of Ancient Evenings,
the Caliph listens to his Fool.

The ankle bells of love are chiming
like the song of Midnight's stars,
but in the Houses of Tradition
men and women close their doors.

The sirocco blows across the sands,
and underneath the crescent Moon
the mystery of some high magick
summons me to Love's true doom.

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