Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Process of the Process

by Sue Hardy-Dawson

When I was seven or eight I was friendly with a girl who lived a couple of houses down from ours. All of the gardens ended where the railway embankment began and so a few of us used to congregate there to play, build dens, things like that. It was rarer to actually be invited into a house to play back then or at least it seemed so to me. That’s why we dreaded the kind of rain that confined you to the house and the company, if you were unlucky enough to have them, of irritating younger brothers.

Anyway, on this occasion I’d been invited to the house of my friend and she had the thing I most coverted in the world - a dressing up box! What’s more it contained wonderful beaded shoes and silver and gold ball gowns. In the days of black and white TV I had never even seen such things outside of a fairytale book. However my friend would not let me even touch them, never mind try them on. I, of Course, just sat there meekly, turning darker shades of green in my envy.

Recently, whilst participating in one of Roger Stevens’ workshops this memory came back to me and with it a poem. Initially it was just as I’ve told the story above. But then I began to think - what if the clothes really had come from a fairytale? And so, as in fairytales, I got my revenge.

The poem I wrote I’m still tweaking - but this is where I’ve got to. It started out as “Dressing Up” and changed to “The Box” because I thought it would be more mysterious. See what you think:

The Box

She has a box full
of taffeta and ermine
shoes made from petals
those of a rose. Satin ones
worn to a husk dancing
under copper trees. A

princess’s quilt, a bag
of dry peas, precious
stones, a gift from the
trolls, a diamond tiara
and a giant’s cold gold.

The queen of Persia’s
red, purplish robes
scarves made of spider
silk, a witch’s warm
cloak. These things

she showed me. Her box
and the tales that she told.
Forbidden to touch them
one day I stole, it’s ebony key
and some beans which I sold

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