. . .tiefere Bedeutung
Liegt in dem Märchen miener Kinderjahre
Als in der Wahrheit, die das Leben lehrt.
. . .deeper meaning
lies in the fairy tales of my childhood
than in the truth life teaches.
Saint Nikolaus had a giant gunny sack
to put the children in if they were bad.
It was a hole so deep you'd never come back.
A porch swing full of stories, where the smoke
went up in hot, concentric, perfect rings
and filled our heads with unbelievable things.
A nursery heavy with a history
where nothing was whatever it had seemed,
where Aschenputtel's sisters cut their feet
half off — so desperate they were to fit.
And in the end, they also lost their eyes
when steel–grey birds descended from the skies.
Rotkäppchen's wolf was someone that she knew,
who wooed her with a man's words in the woods.
But she escaped. It always struck me most
how Grandmother, whose world was swallowed whole,
leapt fully formed out of the wolf alive.
Her will came down the decades to survive
in mine — my heart still desperately believes
the stories where somebody re–conceives
herself, emerges from the hidden belly,
the warring home dug deep inside the city.
We live today those stories we were told.
Es war einmal im tiefen tiefen Wald.
About the Author: Diane Thiel is the author of six books of poetry, nonfiction and creative writing pedagogy: Echolocations (Nicholas Roerich Prize, 2000), Writing Your Rhythm (2001), The White Horse: A Colombian Journey (2004), Resistance Fantasies (2004), Crossroads: Creative Writing Exercises in Four Genres (2005) and Open Roads: Exercises in Writing Poetry (2005). Her work appears in Poetry, Best American Poetry 1999 and is re–printed in over 25 major anthologies. She received her BA and MFA from Brown University, and has traveled and lived in various countries in Europe and South America. A recent Fulbright Scholar, she is Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico. For more information, you can visit her website.
Notes: Kinder– und Hausmärchen is the original title of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Es war einmal im tiefen tiefen Wald: Once upon a time in the deep deep woods.
"Kinder– und Hausmärchen" is copyright © 1999 by Diane Thiel. The poem first appeared in Poetry Magazine (December 1999), and in Diane Thiel's poetry collection Echolocations (2000). It may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.