Featured Poem II • May 2014

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Never Told

 

Jane Yolen

 
 

The story of it, the once upon a time knitting nettle shirts, fingers on spindles, climbing down a golden rope of hair, waking up in a coffin of glass— and you have to ask yourself is it worth stung and pricked fingers, broken teeth, shorn head, frothy cough of poisoned apple into your skirt? This is the part of the tale never told. The story of it, the happy ever after, when the ball is over, sleep is done, slipper fits, beast becomes man, witch is shoved in the oven, giant craters below the stalk— is it worth the pain when the prince cheats, the man is a beast, the foot grows fat, the witch’s children take you to court, the giant’s seed kudzus the farm. That is the other part of the tale never told.

 

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Jane YolenJane Yolen, often called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” is the author of over 350 published books, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?. The books range from rhymed picture books and baby board books, through middle grade fiction, poetry collections, nonfiction, and up to novels and story collections for young adults and adults. She has won two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Grand Master Award, and been named a Grand Master of sf/fantasy poetry by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates, and her Skylark Award—given by NESFA (the New England Science Fiction Association)—set her good coat on fire.

As with “Princess: A Life,” her other poem in this issue, “Never Told” is “part of a series of Sleeping Beauty poems called Hedge/Briar/Rose that I’m working on. Since I am still writing, adjusting, polishing and dusting, editing, leaving in and taking out, if the collection is ever published as a whole, there’s absolutely no guarantee this poem will be in there as I change my mind constantly.”
 

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