Winter Poetry Challenge: Day 1
Winter Poetry Challenge: Day 3

Winter Poetry Challenge: Day 2

Snow White by Charles Santore

Snow White by Angela Barrett

Welcome to Day 2 of the Poetry Challenge. Our theme today is the fairy tale Snow White.

The rules of the Challenge are listed in the yesterday's post. They're simple, but if you're new to this, please read them before you join in.  Many thanks to everyone who has contributed poetry so far, as well as to all you lovely readers who have been responding to the poems. The goal is to give feedback to every poem, and this wouldn't work without you. Bless you for taking the time.

Also: Please note, everyone, that there are still wonderful bear poems appearing in yesterday's Comments thread, so be sure to go back and read them too! The Challenge closes on midnight Saturday (whatever your local time is), but up until then you can continue to contribute poems to any of the Challenge posts.

We begin today with a heart-breaking and absolutely gorgeous Snow White poem by Delia Sherman. Delia is the author of many fine books and stories for teenagers and adults, including the fairy tale novel A Porcelain Dove, and the multi-award winning novel The Freedom Maze, which has just come out in paperback.

Snow White to the Prince

Snow White by Yvonne GilbertI am beautiful you say, sublime,
Black and crystal as a winter's night,
With lips like rubies, cabochon,
My eyes deep blue as sapphires.
I cannot blame you for your praise:
You took me for my beauty, after all;
A jewel in a casket, still as death,
A lovely effigy, a prince's prize,
The fairest in the land.

But you woke me, or your horses did,
Stumbling as they bore me down the path,
Shaking the poisoned apple from my throat.
And now you say you love me, and would wed me
For my beauty's sake. My cursed beauty.
Will you hear now why I curse it?
It should have been my mother's — it had been,
Snow White by Jennie HarbourUntil I took it from her.

I was fourteen, a flower newly blown,
My mother's faithful shadow and her joy.
I remember combing her hair one day,
Playing for love her tire-woman's part,
Folding her thick hair strand over strand
Into an ebon braid, thick as my wrist,
And pinned it round and round her head
Into a living crown.
I looked up from my handiwork and saw
Our faces, hers and mine, caught in the mirror's eye.
Twin white ovals like repeated moons
Bright amid our midnight hair. Our eyes
Snow White by Trina Schart HymanLike heaven's bowl; our lips like autumn berries.
She frowned a little, lifted hand to throat.
Turned her head this way and then the other.
Our eyes met in the glass.

I saw what she had seen: her hair white-threaded,
Her face and throat fine-lined, her eyes softened
Like a mirror that clouds and cracks with age;
While I was newly silvered, sharp and clear.
I hid my eyes, but could not hide my knowledge.
Forty may be fair; fourteen is fairer still.
She smiled at my reflection, cold as glass,
Snow White by Nancy Ekholm BurkertAnd then dismissed me thankless.

Not long after the huntsman came, bearing
A knife, a gun, a little box, to tell me
My mother no longer loved me. He spared me, though,
Unasked, because I was too beautiful to kill.
And the seven little men whose house
I kept that winter and the following year,
They loved me for my beauty's sake, my beauty
That cost me my mother's love.

Do you think I did not know her,
Ragged and gnarled and stooped like a wind-bent tree,
Her basket full of combs and pins and laces?
Of course I took her poisoned gifts. I wanted
Snow White by Trina Schart HymanTo feel her hands combing out my hair,
To let her lace me up, to take an apple
From her hand, a smile from her lips,
As when I was a child.


      Snow White by Jennie Harbour

Snow White by Charles Santore

Soon after Delia published her poem, Polly Peterson wrote a poignant response:"From the Prince to Snow White." You can read it here.

To re-read the fairy tale itself, go here; and to learn about its history, go here.

Snow White by Trina Schart Hyman

The art above is: "Snow White's Mother" by Charles Santore, "Snow White's Mother" by Angela Barrett, "Snow White in the Woods" by Yvonne Gilvert, "Mirror, Mirror" by Jennie Harbour, "Mirror, Mirror" by Trina Schart Hyman (1939-2004), "The Poisoned Apple" by Nancy Ekholm Burkert, "The Poisoned Laces" by Trina Schart Hyman, "She fell down dead" (drawing) by Jennie Harbour, "Snow White's Glass Coffin" by Charles Santore, "Snow White and the Prince" by Trina Schart Hyman.

Publication information: "Snow White to the Prince"  first appeared The Armless Maiden anthology, and was reprinted in the Journal of Mythic Arts. The poem is copyright c 1995 by Delia Sherman; all rights reserved by the author. All poems posted in the Comments thread are the property of their authors, who likewise reserve all rights.


Previously in Jabberwocky 3.

Reflecting Backward

I was her touchstone
before she was old enough
for long gowns and jewels,
before her blood came
and with it her prospects.
Through one marriage
I sustained her.
I gave her the courage
to search out a second union.
By then all her youthful promise
bloomed rich and full --
hair white as snow,
her body matured from waif to woman,
and her eyes, treasures
not because they resembled emeralds,
but unshuttered apertures
filled with wisdom and wit
and a life of learning.
A princely prize for any with
the mind to grasp it;
and yet she stood before me always,
those clever eyes pleading
confirm me.
Then I, her oldest friend, betrayed her,
whispered she is fairer still than thee,
set her on that hopeless wasted path --
and why?
Astute as she was, she had long since
been taught to trust me above all others
and no one thought to share with her
the unspoken secret of my kind:
all mirrors lie.

Just this minute finished, so it's complete with 'warts and all'.


Faberged to beauty
by pure genetic chance,
the world, as the saying goes,
fell at her dainty feet.

Even disaster, when it came,
had to have a sense of style:
No dysenteric flux for her;
no stinking wounds
or open sores,
oh no!

She had to swoon into perfect sleep
that perfectly preserved
her perfect poise
to the point of precise perfection!

But then, at last,
when the Prince arrived
some sense of justice
was regained.

He took one look and rode on by.
"How could anyone live with that?"
He asked.
"I want a woman of fulsome flesh
and bumptious blood,
not porcelain brows and skin like snow!
I want a woman who sees my pretty worth
and has the sense to tell me so!"

There's no perfect ending here
I'm glad to say.
Snow White slept on
In a perfect pose
and was made a conversation piece.

The dwarfs stuck bird-baths
in her hair
and planted pansies
in pocket, purse
and her pertly perfect pout.

As the wise man once wisely said:
"Excellence does not require perfection."

this sends a shiver (or should I say sliver of glass) down my spine! And as for mirrors lying; I hope so, judging by what I see in mine!

Here's my offering, written before breakfast this morning - still in the tinkering stages but nothing is jumping out at me right now, so I think perhaps it is time to release it into the wild...


After the War

After the war, she
showed mercy, after a fashion -
gave me a tower to dwell in, and
no mirrors to watch
time's inevitable decay on my face, I -
who was once fairest of all -
now little more than an afterthought,
physical beauty being seemingly
the only currency of worth here -
hair like spun gold, or rare woods,
skin smooth as silk,
lips like rubies, eyes
like jewels fairer, rarer than any in this world.
What of compassion? Tenderness? Kindness?
Wisdom? All beauteous qualities, indeed, yet
somehow lost in the dazzle and glitter of youth.
Beauty is all, I was told, as a girl -
use it to rule all. Rule your own heart.
And so beauty became
my weapon – the two edged sword that
cuts both ways. The endless hours spent
desperately fighting the ravages of time -
a shadow army that even I, with all my wiles,
could not defeat.
My lesson, learned too late – that joy and
kindness could sing the sun back into the sky,
bring a moon to light the darkest of nights.
Here she comes now, fairest child, clad
in the naïve assumption
that beauty lasts forever.
And for her, perhaps it might -
but I doubt it, time
being the one constant that awaits us all.
I hope the tower awaiting her
is fair, and lovely, a fit gift
for the graceful clarity age can bring.


He passes by the glass,
notes the silver
in his hair, more wealth
in his pocket, the offers
have flooded in for his hand.

His latest wife newly dead,
he seeks another,
a princess as silent,
but younger,
no argument that way.

©2014 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

I wrote this one some time ago. It's all true.

Girl in a Glass Coffin

"Someday you will be old enough to read fairytales again."
---C. S. Lewis

My first read, age six, as a New York City child.
Snow White opened the door to a stranger.
All I’d been warned about came true.
I didn’t weep.

My second read, age forty-three, my daughter sixteen.
I only wanted to find a glass coffin to keep her in
till the right prince or college acceptance
came along.

My third read, age 70, and counting. I shuddered.
A prince buys a dead girl in a glass coffin
from a septet of stunted old men.
Very Grimm indeed.

©2014 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

I love these, Jane. You manage to say in a few words what many of us, I.E. me, struggle to say in many!

I love the universality of stories, but also how they weave themselves to a landscape. Grimm tales haunt German forests and then Norway is suddenly bright with clean stretched-out sagas of trolls and journeying bears.



When apple trees scrabbled to view,
Above a wall, boughs half-unleaved,
Heavy with portent and truth,
All bronze and pewter, I believed.
When garnet, pomegranate fruit,
Struck at my heart, I almost grieved.
(The castles only ever were
Sprung from some wild dream-aquifer).
Snow falling from the mirrored sky,
Softened the blow. But then when I
Saw winter forests spider-grey
All webbed and knotted out of view,
(So little space to struggle through),
I knew the stories all were true.

I love this. There are stories I have only just reread and found I was old enough to love them for the first time, and I wonder what I will think next time I visit them.

"Faberged to beauty" is such a wonderful, gilt-edged line.

The poisoned apple
poised on her rusty lips - falls
with the prince's kiss

By Janet Dowling

Watching a drop form
Falling to the floor
I watched her as she came through the woods
I warned my brothers.
And they laughed.
But showed the other side of their faces
When we arrived home.
She charmed them.
She wooed them.
Their hearts quite won over.
But I waited.
I hesitated.
I wanted to know
What nonsense she would bring
Our lives upside down
Is that all you are?
Where is the passion in your life?
The guts to be your own person.
Instead of hiding here.
But she took no notice
Allowed herself to be tricked
As she lay in her glass coffin
I watched over her
The bile in my liver rotting
He wanted to buy her.
And they let him.
She was carried away.
I longed for the smell of the black long hair.
The gentleness of her white skin
The laughter from those bright red lips.
Regretted all those times I was suspicious.
The bile rises
I watch a drop form
Falling to the empty floor
Where her coffin no longer stands
And I will never see her again.

Arctic Bride
by Theo J. van Joolen
[pondering the exile of Snow White and recent weather events...]

Why does the Polar Queen divert your train?
Sweet, arctic bride upon the season’s march
Outside the pews that usually contain
Your stride to your own hemispheric arch

What phenom amplifies your radiant light?
Unequalled strength and beauty mixed with grace
We’re dwarfed before your power, dear Snow White
So humbled, we respect your transient place

Ferocious tropos, welcome to our realm
You wander far from where your maidens thrive
O fairest one, please do not overwhelm
Instruct us in your dance, how to survive

Your voice is amplified with chilling song
We feel the kisses of your icy wind
We’ll fortify and try to sing along
Until your journey Mother does rescind

Your visit has the common folk ablaze
O, Winter Goddess, why did you assume
To claim your crown before bleak mirror’s gaze
Do you transfigure into Springtime’s bloom?

If your majestic waltz in Zephyr’s arms
Begins to slow and brings you to your rest
We'll muse on your cyclonic winter charms
And sigh when you retreat beyond the crest

The last line gave me shivers. I love it.


Dining alone on delicacies is an indulgence,
A decadent treat most women deny.
Perhaps they don’t know the trick to it;
The best seat in the house
Is at the center of the bar.

This seat is really a high throne,
Where I can watch others,
Watching me in wall-length mirrors,
Backed by rows of bottles filled with magical tonics
That will only enhance my own bottled beauty.

This is where I meet those men,
Carefully culled from online ads,
Selected from personal profiles
Promising the perfect mate;
As if such a thing exists.

In the mirror, I see him approach
Arms cradling roses red as blood,
Tiny white snowdrops pressed against hooked thorns,
Dark, waxy leaves and crooked limbs bound with black ribbon.
I hate roses, but I smile anyway.

He tells me I’m beautiful,
Like I don’t know that already.
Smile fixed, I reach for another martini,
Gin bruised, served ice cold, dry, with a twist,
A preservative against time, a tonic for first meetings.

This time the sword is swift.
As he switches from the recitation of his portfolio
To tells me of his teenage daughter,
Accomplished and beautiful,
But shy and in need of a woman’s guidance.

Where is her mother, I ask,
But I already know the answer.
The girl’s mother ran away with a younger man,
Pursued her passions, reached for dreams,
Leaving husband and daughter in the past.

This tale is a familiar one,
One I’ve heard over and over and over again.
Innocent daughters driving away desperate mothers,
A charged generation of motherless girls,
Teenagers ruling their fathers with pure intentions.

Not a pretty story with a happy ending. It never is.
Before long, those pure white roses deepen
To a dusky pink tinged with the darkest red
To tempt men’s hearts with black desire.
Youth does that. Beauty banks on it.

The father next to me has that look on his face;
Unthinking adoration for his sweet, delightful daughter,
Paired with the bitter fear of losing her to another.
She is going to college, he says, downcast.
And it all clicks in place.

I should meet her, I say, even as my hand seduces.
The mirror reflects a red smile curved like a scimitar,
Raven hair cloaking a bare white shoulder.
The look he gives me mirrors a look I’ve known forever.
She won’t like you, he says, you are just like her mother.

I am nothing like her mother, I say,
But I know it’s a lie, a lie of the darkest type.
Not only am I just like the girl’s mother,
I am also like the girl. Been there, done, that.
And it’s time to have a heart to heart.

I will only do this once...replace second stanza...

What phenom exiles your sweet, radiant light?
Unequalled strength and beauty mixed with grace
We’re dwarfed before your power, dear Snow White
So humbled, we respect your transient place

The heart that leaps to me from this story is of soul's awakening. I choose to leave it spare, and drop the question that somewhere spreads its ripples within us.


cleaving finally
through all
the twisted gates of briar

thick as our
rooted dreams of sleep

who is it
who comes to give the kiss?

This one was tough for me. I know bears. Princesses of new snow are a mystery to me. They most likely will always be, even as my own young lady, grows into her womanhood. It is manhood I struggle with, and being as good as the princes:

How can I ever live up to your glass box perfection?
I am no good at royal decrees.
Charm is not laid in my grain.
Fairness lies on your cheeks and the petals of you lips.
My rough huntsman hands are stained with the dung,
I turned into the rose beds for you.
One touch and I would smudge the banks of your skin,
like piles of slush after the storm.
I should have avoided all the mirrors,
and gazed only into still ponds and rippled streams.
I should lived happily ever after, tangled leaves in my hair,
but poison apples are so sweet.


The forest knows the sacredness
of winter.

Silent stillness reigns here in the
cathedral of trees,
where footfalls of deer
and fox
are reverent prayers
carved in the frost.

Bereft of finery,
ash, alder, and birch are
skeletal sentinels
standing vigil among the drifts
as the maiden dreams beneath them
in the dark;
her bed an icebound altar
to beauty's curse.

Within, the young one dreams
of summer's warmth,
of the crisp sweetness of an apple,
of cruelties at the hands of those
who should have loved.

Sorrows ache far less when hearts are frozen.

© Lana Winter, 2014

This is a piece I started ages ago, and tinkered with today. It still needs serious tinkering, but since it fits today's theme here it is in its present form.


only one bite was taken of the apple
the rest of it,
the part that keeps the seeds,
was left forgotten where it fell in the dirt
by the side of the cottage.

in the years since,
it dried up,
drew into itself
like a pair of old lips.

the players in that drama
moved on to new lives
while the apple’s core
slowly gave up its seeds
to the hungry earth.

after a dance of many summers
a tree grew
and after many more
apples swelled on its branches
full and red as new blood

one day an old woman appeared at my window.
at first i thought it was deja vu,
then i thought i was seeing my reflection.
(i keep no mirrors in the house.)
with prickling thumbs, i pulled the window open.

i thought i caught her whisper
something about an old poison
worming its way deeper into my core,
when my husband left me for a younger, more beautiful wife,
but then, my ears aren’t what they used to be.

what i am certain of, is what she told me of the tree.
said she thought I might have use for its magic,
told me it would not be easy
i would have to want its gifts very, very badly.

how, i wondered, did the old Hexe know?

now, i make my slow and painful way to the old place.
it seems so different.
i peer through the overgrowth
the cottage should be in there somewhere
silent, empty, choked with weeds and webs.

i’ve brought a girl
she’s young and - of course - beautiful.
she believed the story i told her to make her come along.
who would question the words
of an old woman?

all i need to do, so said the hag,
is give her one apple to eat
then she’ll sleep an earth-deep sleep
while the roots of the tree
drink their way into her beauty.

and after one round of the moon
new apples will swell on the tree’s branches
and they will give me back
that which was so coveted, so hated, that which sent me into exile
that which ultimately i, too, have lost.

i will pluck one of these new apples
with skin as red as my lips,
pits as black as my hair,
flesh as white as my flesh
and i will eat it, this time core and all.

Oh, wow! This is haunting. My favorite lines are "One touch and I would smudge the banks of your skin, like piles of slush after the storm." Absolutely stunning Shane. Thank you for this startling look at a familiar tale through an unfamiliar character.

I love the imagery. My favorite line is "skeletal sentinels
standing vigil among the drifts." Lovely!

Beautiful, Shane.

computer screens, restaurant mirrors, martini glasses, ice, another's eyes, another's face, one's own heart...all reflecting beauty in exile and and changing perceptions...I love this heartful poem!

Thank you. Very much. Hard going for me, posting my poetry. The challenge is good.

On that note, my daughter, aged ten, is writing for this now, and I thank you again for starting this. As I was showing her the images, it been a long while since I had read the story, she told me there, to my question, "It's Snow White's mother, pricking her finger out the widow", and she told me of the mahogany line. Most likely my girl, growing up immersed in fairy tale, a changeling child, a bunny girl, knows the stories better than I, and may go into the field.

Those were my favourite lines as well. :)

I love the fact that this is from the huntsman's perspective!

Thank you, Carina. <3

I -love- this piece. It's sultry and smoky, so full of the dark (and dangerous) beauty of elder womanhood.

I can relate! Well done, Shane!

a partly old poem that jumped out at me and begged to be part of this challenge. so I tinkered and added and here we are:

Passing by a mirror

Ah, beauty,
sorrow’s cape
blossom embroidered

Dark lights flicker
deep in her eyes
when she passes by the mirror

intangible melancholy
trembling knowledge
that all is nought
is fading away
fading to grey

cruel yearning
for timelessness
for uniqueness

But not herself did she serve
she gifted her, HER, with immortality
apples have their own wisdom, it seems

in a crystal casket
untouched like newly fallen snow
that tenderly cups HER dreams
HER beauty

Ah, beauty,
she sighs,
sorrow’s blossom embroidered cape
that will fall apart relentlessly
as time passes by
to a tattered grey shroud
and turn to dust
in the bitter wind of decay

since he broke YOUR slumber
is now like a rose in full bloom
a poet’s fleeting praise.
Maybe, in years to come
while you pass by a mirror
I might be even forgiven
when at last YOU understand

beauty, and the message of the mirror

I find the same so fascinating, Kathleen: how these tales deal with common human issues, uniquely within the landscape they evolve in. They can be so evocative of a specific place, with timeless universality.

Lovely poem once again. : )

a short one:

The prince’s orchard

Eating tart, pruney apples
on a clear winter's day
and thinking about tomorrow
without any fear

yeah. love that one, too. but the whole poem is lovely and captivating. made me shiver.

aaaah, goulish and great! love it. what a dark, sinister fairy tale - a worthy companion of the tale itself. And i just love the connection with the three colours at the end. it's so logical and so poetical. beautiful

ok, should have been:

I might be even forgiven
when at last.....

sorry, not a native speaker. mistakes do occur.

I ate an apple
And woke up feeling grumpy.
How unexpected!

Return to me, my dear Snow White!
Unshut thy lids and see the light.
Wipe the sleep from off thy eyes,
And to my waiting arms arise!
Tell me dreams that thou hast dreamt;
If I appeared, or was exempt
From fancies of thy wandering mind,
From vague and hopeful visions thine.
Awake, Snow White, for thou art kind!
No longer in Death’s cold embrace
Will he delay you in this place.
His claim on you I shall erase;
Awake, and see my waiting face!
I am told that Death is fair;
Then he’ll release you from his snare.
One soul alone the Fates shall spare,
And leave your coffin emptied bare.
For thou art far too good and true
To be buried down away from view,
So Death relents his hold on you,
And sends you back to life anew.
Some things are stronger still than Death;
Love returns to you your breath.
Goodness starts your beating heart,
And kindness makes your blood flow start.
No more shall Death keep us apart!
Awake, Snow White, and let’s depart!

this is stunning and beautiful and wholly unexpected regarding the narrator. really sucked me in.
great poem.

ah, why should the princess always awake sparkly and dapper. Great idea. had a very vivid picture in my mind afterwards.

Snow White‘s Visitation

The winter air
so clear and cold, it
covers the mountains
like a glass lid

and beneath -- darkness
tumbles along the snow.
The hair of a princess
falling into the folds
of her bridal gown.

She has already
lived her life
in the fairytale, awakening
to a prince
and prosperous fate, but this

is her specter
mounted on the dais
of the high desert terrain.
She looms before that bride
who sleepwalks through the day
dazed by the spell of routine
and deft fingers
indentured to cell or tablet

the same way her ancestors
were bonded to loom
and spindle. The woman
who chews an apple, slice after slice
inducing her mind
to forget the prince, the partner

who needs to perceive
his reflection
in her mirror. Her voice
at coloratura pitch
shattering the ceiling, the keen silence
with joy.

This one went someplace I was not expecting. Again, very fresh. Very raw. It needs to simmer a while, and be reconsidered with fresh eyes in the Spring.
Snow White

The snow tumbles down
Towards the earth
In waves of white
Like a princess wronged.

Seven old men sit in the pews
Beards curling round their toes
Remember winters much worse than this.
Or so they say.

We stumble through a frozen time
The world gone still and stark
Yet somehow pure and unreal
Like a childhood fantasy.

The chill wind grips our hearts
It wears us down
It whispers of our own mortality
The last breath of a cold hearted queen.

The carriages skate by in mourning
On a street of glass
So slick and sheen
They come to say goodbye

Some bring flowers
Some bring apples
Some bring nothing but tears
We toss them all away.

What will break break this fatal spell
The kiss of a prince?
Not likely
No prince will pass this way again.


“Dance,” red lips command,
skin no less pale nor voice less cold
as when thrice I saw her dead
by lacing, comb and fruit.
My shoes of iron hellfire glow, and all
pronounce her judgment fair—
a thousand times more fair than I.

Oh dear, this wasn't my Jabberwocky Snow White poem. Oh well. :)

Thank you for the responses!

Originally in "Mezzo Cammin"

Snow White in Wildwood

Certain things were given to me:
Such loveliness as swords possess,
Humility as hushed as snow,
Kindness branching red in my veins,
The love of wildwood animals.

I learned early I was a fool
And worthless. Still, I dare to lodge
Certain protests against brokenness,
Certain protests against heart's maiming,
Certain protests against death's hour.

The mirror made such promises!
Was it godly, was it devilish?
A scabbard waiting to be filled,
The seven little fairy men,
A face like snow that sleeps in glass.

Not one of them came true, and now
I kneel forsaken on the ground,
In turn reproaching Christ and men,
So close to perishing that I
Dream lanterns and my mother‘s face.

The Kingdom of God is next to me.
That‘s what the holy father said.
It is closer. Death is a seed
Gripped in my hand. I never thought
To know such wildwoods of despair.

What good has all my kindness done
That stood in the hall like a red branch?
What use was beauty‘s melting snow?
Must I forgive this naked life
Of thorns, the sweat kissing my brow?

Today's topic end up gelding a very different poem than I thought I would write. I'm really enjoying this challenge!

Sonnet: Snow White's Chamber

Of love and light they built for me a room
Where year-round for me does a garden grow.
A Summer space, though outside falls the snow,
And Winter's frost forms inches from the bloom,
The biting ice shall not the bud consume
Nor crying gale between these branches blow.
The glass is stronger than the ice. And so
Within these panes and frames lies Summer's tomb.
Yet this was not the first that they had built:
Small craftsmans' hands so delicately wrought
The glass, the iron, the carven ebon frame,
My beauty there to enshrine with their guilt
That once they left, and I an apple bought.
My coffin and this room are much the same.

Ooo. So much gorgeous imagery.

THIS is the poem that was in Jabberwocky 3. Still Snow White.

Prince Charming has always seemed pretty shady to me...


A glass coffin? Bah.
How the tales grow over the years.
As I recall it was a pallet,
poles and an old blanket.

It's true that I was hunting
when I found her in the forest
carried by a group of stunted little men...
inbred hillfolk.

My men dispatched them
while I attended to the girl.

It's true she was a rare beauty...
is still, of course, don't you agree?
All that black hair, that pale skin...
of course then she was just a slip of a thing
dressed in rags, and none too clean, either.

And her condition...warm as a sunny day
but still as death.

You'll never know, boys,
you'll never know the relief...
no tiresome wooing,
no silly tears, no contrived struggle
or protestations of virtue.

It was no chaste kiss that woke her,
but the vigor of my youth
that dislodged the poisoned morsel,
and when I would have left her to my men
suddenly she was all weepy talk...such a story!

When I found she was pedigreed
I thought, might as well keep her as not.

No question of bride-price, of course,
not with her father unsure of her worth
and his own family circumstance in disarray.
He paid handsomely to dispose of the issue.

She's been a good wife these thirty years,
well-behaved and a fine mother
and doesn't she still turn heads?
Yes, I've seen you looking. No fear.

I'll tell you a little secret, boys...
most nights before I visit her chambers,
I send up a draft of laudanum,
and on my honor, it's nearly as good
as that first time.

I love this! Please share it at the next Faeriecon! The point of view is a wonderful departure from what we are used to in the story of Snow White.

<3 this!

"thick as our
rooted dreams of sleep"

oh, just lovely.

"inbred hillfolk" laughing out loud at that one!

sad and beautiful, and wonderful rhythm, too.

this is utterly gorgeous, Wendy! I read it twice, loved it so much!

Grumpy, ha! <3 this


The small toes calcined first. Black as burned twigs
they cracked and crackled. Sweat poured down her face
and then steamed off, with salt tracks as its trace.
And then her eyes swelled, burst, like rotten figs.

Her daughter watched. Her heart as cold as ice
skin white as snow. Round her the little men
capered in glee. The prince kissed her again.
No mercy. There would be no dying twice.

Destroy your rival's beauty, then you win.
The apple poison did not gray black hair
burn skin or lips. Just left her lying there
asleep in glass forever. Murdered kin

damned both the women deep. The demon glass
laughed in its empty room at beauty's farce.

maybe i should have put 'feeling Grumpy'.... :-P

Thank you. I've always hated the Disney version of Snow White. Her shrill voice and annoying cheer would make anyone want to cut out her heart – even if only to get her to shut up. This all changed when I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman last year. Charlize Theron’s empathetic portrayal of the evil Queen captured my fascination. The Queen’s fear of aging and the subsequent loss of her power is definitely something I can relate to. Finally, this story made sense. I could feel her pain, her sorrow, and her all-encompassing fear. This was something I recognized and could write about.

I'm reading all these wonderful poems on the ipad, and cannot seem to cut and paste my poem, so here is the link to it instead. It's a few years old now, but it's a musing on whether perhaps the Woodsman might have become more than just a rustic rescuer to a terrified princess.

"Snow White to the Woodsman"

Something that just came to me and I wrote it right into this comment box. (Poetry isn't my forté, so I hope you don't mind me posting.)

“Mirrors should think longer before they reflect.”
— Jean Cocteau

"You are the Fairest," said the mirror.
But, behind me, she smiled.
"It is lying to you, my dear."
And I realized Mother was right.

"You are not the Fairest," said the mirror.
But, behind me, he smiled.
"It is lying to you, my dear."
And I realized, eventually...
he was right.

So much inspiring work. Thank you everyone for sharing such beautiful writing...
Below is a reworked version of a poem I wrote last year, mostly in response to the first time I experienced winter in the Northern Hemisphere

January's Glass

Let down the curtain, knotted up
To fall across the window
As hair, unbraided, falls
darkly across pale shoulders

Lace will shield her from the night
Impenetrable beyond that cold, cold glass
A small bright cell lighted and shining
like some enchanted castle

This soft threshold against the window
will no more bind night to the darkness
Than hair, unwound, could bind light to the mind's long dreams

You ARE the Fairy Poet! This is an excellent read and the artwork is just as lovely. I am going to share this with some friends.
Excellent job on this.

Sorry I couldn't finish this poem yesterday.

My Snow White

When the gnarled witch cackles as she concocts
The poison, a ghastly green spilling on the apple
I see the developing scull and no longer
Can I watch. I duck down behind the seat
In front of me. I am four, almost five.
I am being introduced to Snow White
And the Seven Dwarves, the movie.

I cannot read or write but I can draw pictures.
I understand this movie is not like most,
Copies of real people. I learn this is
Art. Dazzling, colors, music, joy
And horror. The fairy tale. My
Mother is giving this to me,
A life knowing magic.

Snow White the movie is my introduction to
Castles, beauty of nature, love of myth.
I have kept her as an old friend with
Many faces, decades of having her
Like a kind wise sister, who
Taught me to be clever
And good. And of all
The fairy tale princesses,
She goes out to get
A job.

Three drops hit the snow,
and a wish was made.
But magic has a price
a life for a life,
and in the end, she left me.

Another mother comes,
fairer than the first.
Fair of face, foul of heart
she cast me out to die
all for the sake of beauty.

But beauty was my saving grace,
a caring heart, a lovely face.
And you sang me love songs
and took me as wife.

I tell you I love you.
But all I ever really wanted
was a mother's love.

Why thank you,Raquel! I was pleased with that stanza as well. Cheers!

So Glad you liked this one Raquel! I am very thankful you took the time to read and contemplate my poem. Again, many thanks for your kind words and endorsement.



No, mirror.
You are wrong.
I am not less lovely
Because she is less old.

That could also be a first stanza, I realize.

I chortled! Such a proof that fairy tales/teaching tales, and the observations they evince ARE ever timeless, no matter the century, date, or eon. Now I am going to have some tea and truffles, and chuckle. What a lovely lesson to those who think fairy tales and such have gone with childhood,from their lives. And how much lovelier to realize we and they, are still very much living in each other's pocket.
Thank you Jane!


I never liked Snow White. She was a little to good. I found her at an age when I had no real concept of beauty, (except that I didn't have it,) nor any idea that it could ever be an anathema for what ever reason, to one who did. I would have killed for her dress, though.
Though I dreamt of magic apples, mine were to be golden, and filled with wisdom. I would bite into the heart of the gods, and become one, elysian fields forever, I thought - should I find one. But then, my grandfather taught me about Mabon, and that made all apples ok. The only red apple given to me was thrown by the little boy across the street, who thought it funny because it had a worm in it. I suppose that it was a compliment, maybe?
And though I did have a nice husband for awhile, I wished often for a huntsman that would passionately care enough to either kill or save me - Not turn me into the huntsman, the ground breaker, the hand-patter, the safe haven-maker. He was very nice though, perhaps that was the problem. So Snow White and her worshippers didn't do much for me. It wasn't part of my destiny, sigh.
Now I have morphed into the older lady who lives in a shoe, who shares wassail, takes care of tenants for the time being, and steals time to myself late at night, to scribble words and commpose music, dreaming of pumpkins, much more practical than glass coffins or slippers.
And Snow White? Well, we all ave our crosses to bear, I suppose. There is the fact that 3 of my tenants are miners. And my fairy tales are not done by a long shot yet...maybe puss in boots, next?

Thank you, Sabine! At first I was a bit worried that it was too dark, but so many of the tales are disturbingly dark, and I find I have to let a poem be what it insists on being. (Of course, it's now my job to tidy it up somewhat.)

This wasn't actually written for Snow White, but I think it will serve. I wrote it in August 1997.

Household Cavalry

A round and gentlemanly ear
pressed whelk-like to a cypress box
you carried her, sleeping
on a pea and silken tissue
across the ancient tessellated pavement
to her last pedestal.

Did she whisper to you,
ask for whom the flowers
filled the hall,
or murmur, grateful
for the quiet and the
steady, inevitable pace.

You took her on your shoulder
the weight unbearable
and frail as fame.

You know she spoke to you.
She knew your name.

This is so lovely! The whole poem rings with copper and gold and tones of an ancient magic. Love it!

While running around frantically to see more poems - many I missed, before I will be
elsewhere, I found this, and I just love it. It's sort of a personal myth which I think we
all need to be aware of. I hope you write fiction, too.

Of course in my poem I was four and had no idea about beauty. I just knew there could be really awful people to avoid and, confession, I liked the woodsman better than the prince,

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