Friday Poetry Blogging — How to Survive a Fairy Tale

Fairy-tale Logic

~ A.E. Stallings

Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:
Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,
Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
Select the prince from a row of identical masks,
Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks
And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote,
Or learn the phone directory by rote.
Always it’s impossible what someone asks—

You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe
That you have something impossible up your sleeve,
The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak,
An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke,
The will to do whatever must be done:
Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son.

Picture found here.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve blogged this poem before, but it’s a good reminder, here at the beginning of the secular new year.

5 responses to “Friday Poetry Blogging — How to Survive a Fairy Tale

  1. i like that the dragon and the boy are in conversation instead of the boy being in the act of trying to kill the dragon. I greatly favor dragons.

  2. Tammy, me, too. I love dragons and find that they’re usually quite protective when approached respectfully.

  3. What a great poem!! I always love when you post poems that I’ve never read before and I love learning about the poets, too. Thank you!

  4. Delphyne, Glad you like it. She’s quite good, isn’t she?

  5. Two of mine, sort-of on-topic. (If the formatting doesn’t survive being posted, the rhyme schemes determine the line breaks pretty well.)

    There was a youngest brother, and he had a task:
    to sort a pound of peas by likeness (he could ask
    nobody’s help), then put them in their pods.

    None of the Fair Folk lived nearby; no gods
    came hiking through in mufti, seeking out men’s kindness;
    no one even knew he was His Royal Highness.


    Intimate with her bête noire
    at last (no mastery; no mask),
    what can she do but ask?
    “Beast, show who you are.”

    He’d thought he was bare.
    “No, silly, that’s skin.
    I want to see in,
    where the bones are.”

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