Face it, Little Red!

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– Wolf Girl ( image by Anne Siems : http://www.annesiems.com )

 

In the company of wolves

Life goes on.

Some wolves beat us up,

Some others help us grow.

There´s no way to escape them

Not even if we wanted to.

Some wolves live so close,

They live inside of you.

You shouldn´t be afraid of wolves,

Come on, be wise.

The image you see in the mirror

Is actually a wolf, in disguise.

 

 

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Since Polonius only cared to advise Laertes…

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To Ophelia,

Dear girl, I am writing to tell you about things. Things that are, and things that have not been yet, but could be one day. To tell you that it is not your fault that something is rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark , and that men´s politics are made for their own sake, not yours. You will grow to make your own rules.

I am writing to tell you that your body is yours and so is your mind. Treat them well. They are your property, just like the smile you choose to cast upon people. Your hair is beautiful the way it is and your eyes are the windows of your beautiful soul.  

I wanted you to know that there are many mistakes at court. Not all the ladies want to marry the prince. Or to be mothers. Or even wives. However, whatever you choose to be, be it with all your heart. Only then you will fell the value of your life.

Look after the people who come to you and look you in the eye, but pass the ones who put a price to your care. Keep far away from those who want to cut your wings. Flying is non-negotiable.

Sing, dance, laugh a lot, but do not use your voice or your body to create an image that is not true to you.

Keep in mind that you are not the center of the universe: you are dust. You share this planet with other beings and you are not better or worse than anything or anyone. You just are. And that should be enough.

Love, love very much, Ophelia. Do not be afraid to love, ever. Love is the main reason of our existence.  But if not loved in return, move on. Who knows what good things might be waiting for you down the road? Give life a chance to show itself.

I hope this letter reaches you in time. They stole you from me, but could not erase my love for you. Search for me inside yourself, my angel, and I will be there to save you from madness.

And Ophelia, be careful, be very careful when you go near the river.

Love,

Your mother.

(For all women, on International Women´s Day)

Two Ways

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“Two Ways” is my most recent Storybird for ages 4-6

http://storybird.com/books/two-ways/

Hope you enjoy it!

Coins

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Charon and Psyche

Charon and Psyche, by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1883)

What kind of coins are those

that take us to the other side,

where suffering is no more?

 

In a hidden box inside our soul

we find the obol for the ferryman,

the demanding Charon.

 

Crossing the River of Death every day,

Rowing back and forth.

He´s the hooded, bent figure

we don´t wish to meet.

 

Gold, silver, ivory, diamond, no matter.

Moments of glory, splendor and success.

Thoughts of immortality and invincibility.

All left behind. No use to carry them.

 

More than any test we had to endure during our lives.

More than any moment of loneliness and desperation,

It´s the meeting with Charon we fear the most.

It´s the moment of final truth .

It´s the handing of coins,

When we´ll deposit them in his hand and dare look into his eyes

only to see

our own, distorted, face.

An Open Letter to Mr. H.C. Andersen, Author

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The first time I wore my red shoes

A beautiful forest grew inside of me.

I had to close my eyes to see it:

Mysterious, inviting, and free.

I was very young, and I´ve been visiting the place ever since

Countless times through the years.

It has fed me with leaves, roots , and herbs

Its streams have washed my tears.

I wear red shoes to walk into the forest.

They always show me where to go.

They take me where my heart tells them to

Those are magic shoes , you know.

Mr. Andersen, I´m really sorry

You didn´t have your dreams come true.

I don´t think you understood women.

Judging by your stories, you never had a clue.

To cut a girl´s feet

Because she likes to dance…

Now,  that´s cruelty beyond measure.

That´s absolute nonsense.

Girls need their red shoes.

They have to find a path into the woods.

Let us be happy and joyful, Mr. Andersen,

Let us be creatures of nature, with all our moods.

Too bad our red shoes are offensive.

There´s nothing we can do,

My mothers, my daughters, and I,

We´re meant to dance among the trees.

We´re not here to serve you.

There´ll be a day

I won´t need red shoes anymore.

I´ll find the path by myself.

Just like my mothers did before.

And you, Mr. Andersen,

Whose life resembled a poor romance,

Do not lay the blame on women.

It´s not our fault you didn´t get a chance.

(this poem was inspired by the fairy tale Red Shoes, by Hans Christian Andersen, and by the author´s biography)

Snow White Man and The Seven Princesses

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The seven princesses showed up one day.

Seven little spoiled things.

“Where´s my dinner? Hurry up, you stupid little man! Hey, that bracelet is mine! I hate this velvet: it makes me fat! That´s not fair: you have more tiaras than I do! ”

On, and on, and on they went.

 

 

“Please take them for a little while. For the Summer, maybe.”

Their stepmother begged me.

The seven little sharp-toothed monsters she had raised now wanted to eat her eyes.

 

 

I could not say no. I didn´t know how to.

So they came with that deceitful mirror of theirs,

That would say, to each and every one of them, separately:

“Thou art the fairest of them all”.

 

 

I was their slave, doing all they demanded.

I, the solitary miner, with my hair and beard iced from age,

Serving seven hard to please vampires night and day.

 

 

That´s why, one day, the apple idea came to me.

The stepmother had some witchcraft knowledge,

And I had the courage and desperation to put an end on it all.

 

 

Oh, how I savored the moment when I saw them fall,

One by one,

And all was silent and peaceful again.

 

The idea for this poem came from Neil Gaiman´s own take on Snow White, entitled “Snow, Glass, Apples” (you can read a review on this very interesting blog)  and from Terri Windling´s essay on the many versions of Snow White.

The Other Princess

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A pea? A pea?

“If you feel it, a princess you may be”

Twenty mattresses I slept on. Twenty layers to climb upon.

They asked me what was my night like:

“Did you sleep well, my dear? ”

“Well, yes, I did.”

I’ve faced hunger, and storms, and the flames of bonfires.

I’ve felt the pain of childbirth and that of isolation.

I’ve seen children come and go.

I’ve been daughter, mother, wife, and sister.

But a pea, a single pea is to decide

What sort of person I might be.

Yes, I felt it under the mattresses,

but I took it out and went to sleep.

No, sir, I won’t play the game of being the little woman.

A pea, a stupid, tiny, little pea

Will never decide what kind of woman I shall be.

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