The Spinster, Subverted

rumpelstiltskin_1915_-_may_1_1915_rl
One of my favourite poems is a hybrid fairytale written by Liz Lochhead.
I’m sharing it here, because Dreaming Frankenstein is an amazing collection of reframed narratives; stories that need to be revisited. They reveal lessons that have application for this modern dystopian world.

> Rapunzstiltskin

& just when our maiden had got
good & used to her isolation,
stopped daily expecting to be rescued,
had come to almost love her tower,
along comes This Prince
with absolutely
all the wrong answers.
Or course she had not been brought up to look for
originality or gingerbread
so at first she was quite undaunted
by his tendency to talk in strung-together cliché.
‘Just hang on and we’ll get you out of there’
he hollered like a fireman in some soap opera
when she confided her plight (the old
hag inside, etc. & how trapped she was);
well, it was corny but
he did look sort of gorgeous
axe and all.
So there she was humming, and pulling
all the pins out of her chignon,
throwing him all the usual lifelines
till, soon, he was shimmying in & out
every other day as though
he owned the place, bringing her
the sex manuals and skeins of silk
from which she was meant, eventually,
to weave the means of her own escape.
‘All very well & good’, she prompted,
‘but when exactly?’
She gave him till
well past the bell on the timeclock.
She mouthed at him, hinted,
she was keener that a TV quizmaster
that he should get it right
‘I’ll do everything in my power’ he intoned, ‘but
the impossible (she groaned) might
take a little longer.’ He grinned.
She pulled her glasses off.
‘All the better
to see you with my dear?’
he hazarded.
She screamed, cut off her hair.
‘Why, you’re beautiful?’ he guessed tentatively.
‘No, No, No!’ she
shrieked & stamped her foot so
hard it sank six cubits through the floorboards.
‘I love you?’ he came up with
as finally she tore herself in two.

 

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