Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Gretel: A Poem by Connye Griffin

I don't consider myself poetic although I'd like to think I render words poetically now and then. The poem below is one example.

The fable Hansel and Gretel inspired me to think about why Hansel earns top billing in the title. In the full, raw tale, unlike the ones Disney softens, Hansel saves no one, not even himself. It's little Gretel who has the big ideas. She's the one called upon to be bold, brave, and even cruel. She finds the steel in her spine without crushing all hope for a safer, happier life. She summons forgiveness and rescues both Hansel and the father who abandoned her. 

Here is a modern tribute to Gretel, to Girl Power in a fairy tale retold poetically.


Gretel, stop.
Breathe again.

You are powerless against her.
She is Penury.
She is Envy.
Your tears won’t plump her shriveled heart.

Just breathe, honey.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.

Your breath’s the rhythm of this world,
Senseless to you now.
But trust its power.
Forget Hansel’s crumbs and pebbles.
Breathe deeply. Relax.

Trust your wit.
Be brave.
Be resolved.

Ahead there be Sugared Monsters,
Temptations, False Hope.
Trust the you of you.
You’ve been tasked with the hero’s role.
You look good in Spandex.

Breathe steady, Gretel.
Bury fear. Quash doubt.
You can. You must.

Behind you stands cold betrayal.
Ahead lies deceit.
In this life you live
They will wrap you in chains, oppress you, end you—
If you let them. Don’t.

Manifest guile. Don’t hesitate.
Look the witch in the eye.
Push her in the oven.
Rescue Hansel; no crumbs required.
Fear nothing.

You now know:
You are golden,
Love abundant.

Go home. Forgive all or hold fast.
The choice is yours.
You’ll find your way.
You’ve pocketed your fortune.
It’s you. Now breathe.

Reading Challenge:

Read Grimm's tale, Hansel and Gretel.

Writing Challenge:

Identify the literary devices used in this original poem, including personification, allusion, syllable count or rhythm, and spondee