Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Princess Who Ate the Pea

[image from - original source unknown]

She'd been told, of course,
about the princess and the pea,
the girl with such delicate sensitivities
she could feel a pea under 
fourteen layers of mattresses.

What does it mean, then,
when her bed has rocks in it
and the message is
"you made your bed,  now lie in it.
What doesnt kill you makes you stronger"?
How strong does a woman
have to be?
(Damn strong!
Strong as steeped tea.)

In her world, the prince did not come.
There were no glass slippers,
no magic pumpkin.
She got stuck in chapter one
of Cinderella,
never met a princely fella.
The Good Fairy got the address wrong,
so she has been cleaning chimneys
and other peoples' messes
for way too long.

Not Sleeping Beauty,
(and she envies her all that rest!),
she was, for years,
the aging woman in the Dickens parlour,
draped in spiderwebs,
waiting for her suitor
for decades.
She was always brushing
those damned cobwebs off her face.

Un-fairytales are her medium.
She has got un-fairy tales down.

She learned to hack her own way
through the thornbushes,
free herself from her own stone garret.
She galloped alone at a high lope
across the fields
on the great adventure of life,
with a brave heart for the journey,
no need to be rescued by a knight 
on a white horse,
with a back to cling to as he led the way
forward into Tomorrow.

Un-fairy tales can get repetitive,
the same old Rescuing of Others,
page after page.
Or, one may feel like she is beginning
a new chapter every other week.
It gets exhausting.

And delicate sensitivities?
One needs to toss those overboard
right from the start,
develop a hearty cackle
and a Can-Do attitude.
"Eat the pea, young women,"
is her best advice.
"You will need the nourishment."

for my prompt at Real Toads: Un-fairy Tales. This is an old one, that I re-worked considerably.  I didn't think I could say it any better. But, for all that, I still do believe in fairy tales. For other people, lol.


  1. Oh wow oh oh oh! This is totally awesome Sherry!

    Great prompt idea and the magic you've used to word spin this to brilliance and yet share such an important message!

    I'd start pulling fave phrases out, but damn, woman, it would more or less be copying the whole poem!

    This is totally awesome, for the details, the images you've crafted and conjured, and for the truth in the message .... this is just delicious .... you had me hooked at the lines right at the beginning when you used "rocks" ... ha! this is brilliant! and empowering ...

  2. Oh I love this especially the part about Sleeping Beauty "She was always brushing
    those damned cobwebs off her face" 😅💖

  3. Ah, now that is an idyllic fairy-tale — to rise from the deprivation through the force of one's own willpower and desire for freedom is the kind of telling we need more often. It reads so wonderfully, with its wisecracks and a strong voice.

  4. A brilliant shining piece of truth in print. I needed to read this. Thank you.

  5. Fairy tales I think are like coins, they pay off from the front and back sides. Un-fairy tales have as much to teach us, I'm sure, if we pay attention to what they are saying as you do here. Fantasies strum with gold but too often the lead to an Oven under the Prince's throne ...

  6. She got stuck in chapter one...

    The fate of many, I fear. This was a lot of fun to read.

  7. Love love love those last lines, especially. THIS:
    "develop a hearty cackle
    and a Can-Do attitude."

    I'm gonna go practice my hearty cackle. :)

  8. I love this... and so much easier for every one when men don't have to be princes but can be comrades and friends instead... (and I can cook pea-soup for my friends)

  9. Oh please offer this poem to journals. Get it further out into the world!

  10. How right you are, however it is very important to accept that in life you will make mistakes and that is OK. You are meant to; to learn what life is like, get up, get over it and go forward with that experience always in your mind.

  11. A Sunday morning tonic, Sherry! I like the question'How strong does a woman have to be?' and the answer is just right (quoting Goldilocks!). The real world is tough, which is why we need fantasies and fairy tales, and you've woven magic through a serious message. I especially love:
    'She got stuck in chapter one
    of Cinderella'
    'she was, for years,
    the aging woman in the Dickens parlour,
    draped in spiderwebs,
    waiting for her suitor
    '''always brushing
    those damned cobwebs off her face'.
    And I'll never forget:
    "Eat the pea, young women"!

  12. Stuck in chapter one of Cinderella. Love that. This is a fabulous collage of un-fairytales. My father used to read The Princess and the Pea to me often. Just adore this, Sherry!


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!