It's a good day at the desk of the Kangaroo, Dear Readers. As many of you know, last week's draft was derailed by the common cold. However, I did get the title down last week and scribbled a few ideas. I've had that title, "Fairy Tale for Girls Fooled by the Sun," in the back of my head all week, and last night before bed, I scribbled down a few more lines. This morning I woke earlier than usual and I was so excited to get to the desk and my journal. I started off with my lines from last week:
Once there was a girl who lived
in a land where the sun rose
and set in long increments.
Here's the deal. In Iowa, I had a long-distance horizon, which meant great viewing of sunrises and sunsets. Almost everywhere else that I've lived since then my view of the horizon has been foreshortened and the sunrise/set obscured by either trees, trees, trees or mountains, mountains, mountains (and trees). There is a real difference between a slow sunrise/sunset and one that pops up out of nowhere, or at least that's how it feels to me.
In any case, back to the poem. I started off with the lines above (and they remain the opening lines with a few tweaks), and I went on my merry way. For some reason, the poem gravitated toward quatrains with lines of about 4 stresses, give or take. What I want to say is that I drafted a page and a half of quatrains, but after about a third of those it all felt forced and far too narrative for my taste. So, I took a deep breath and highlighted only the first three stanzas, copying them into a new document. While I'd spent time and energy on the stanzas I didn't keep, that wasn't wasted. I learned which way not to go. Also, when I started the poem, I didn't have a clear sense of how the girl was going to be fooled by the sun, of what her transformation was going to look like. That first attempt didn't work out, but it somehow sparked the answer.
Once I started over, I did so with a more focused intent on combining lyric and narrative. Also, without my really thinking about it, my reading of the Grimm tales seemed to work through the poem. (Ooooo, last night an evil stepmother got put in a vat of boiling oil and snakes...my question is did the snakes fry too?) While I'm uneasy about personifying natural things like the sun, I did so, a bit. So the sun takes an interest in the girl and sends a cardinal to her with a message. In the Grimm tales, it's usually a raven, but since my tales are set in the upper Midwest, and this one in winter, the cardinal seemed more natural I'm guessing, as I didn't once consider the raven.
In my past Fairy Tale/Cautionary Tale/Haunting Tale poems, the girl has been transformed by fire, water, blizzard, tornado, &etc. This time, she is consumed by the sun. While I'm feeling a bit uncertain about the whole poem, I think that will remain.
This is exactly the image I had in my head as I wrote. Honestly, if you remove the power lines, this could have been taken from my view of the sunset as a child. Check out this website for more awesome Iowa photos.
One last thing: somewhere this past week I added a new type of tale for my Midwest girl: The Legend of... Perhaps that will be next week, and oh, next week is Spring Break! Woo Hoo!