good & used to her isolation,
stopped daily expecting to be rescued,
had come to almost love her tower,
along comes This Prince
all the wrong answers.
Of course she had not been brought up to look for
originality or gingerbread
so at first she was quite undaunted
by his tendency to talk in strung-together cliché.
‘Just hang on and we’ll get you out of there’
when she confided her plight (the old
hag inside etc. & how trapped she was);
well, it was corny but
he did look sort of gorgeous
axe and all.
So there she was, humming & pulling,
all the pins out of her chignon,
throwing him all the usual lifelines
til, soon, he was shimmying in & out
every other day as though
he owned the place, bringing her
the sex manuals & skeins of silk
from which she was meant, eventually,
to weave the means of her own escape.
‘All very well & good’ she prompted,
‘but when exactly?’
She gave him til
well past the bell on the timeclock.
she was keener than a TV quizmaster
that he should get it right
‘I’ll do everything in my power’ he intoned, ‘but
the impossible (she groaned) might
take a little longer.’ He grinned.
She pulled her glasses off.
‘All the better to see you with my dear?’ he hazarded.
She screamed, cut off her hair.
‘Why, you’re beautiful?’ He guessed tentatively.
‘No, No, No!’ she
shrieked & stamped her foot so
hard it sank six cubits through the floorboards.
‘I love you?’ he came up with
as finally she tore herself in two.
By Liz Lochhead (The Grimm Sisters, 1981)