March 24, 2011

He Tore Himself In Two, By Kurt Newton

He tore himself in two.
What was he to do?
She guessed his name,
the Devil he blamed,
there was no other way she knew.

If truth be told,
his youth was stolen
and his height divided by three,
by a witch in a dell
who had cast her spell
when he trespassed her property.

She kept him then
in a wooden pen,
his leg held by a golden chain.
Until one day he chewed
the chain straight through
and escaped the witch's domain.

But little did he dream,
as he sat by a stream,
that the gold was now in his blood.
He was a hideous runt
that no woman would want,
all he had was his golden touch.

And so his life was altered
when the Miller's daughter
became stuck in a horrible bind.
He spun straw into gold
to save her soul,
once, twice, three times.

On the third
he took her word,
a promise of her first born child.
But when he came to collect it,
she cried and objected,
so he gave her one more trial.

Guess my name
and I'll remove my claim,
he offered the young Queen mother.
When she guessed it right
it broke him inside,
so badly he couldn't recover.

His heart made of gold,
his bones brittle and old,
there was nothing left to do.
He stomped hard with his foot,
the King's castle shook,
and he tore himself in two.


Kurt Newton says, "My poetry has appeared in Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, Star*Line, Dreams and Nightmares, and Space and Time.  I hail from the tiny mythical state of Connecticut."

10 comments

  1. Very charming! I loved it!!! The title was neat, which caught my attention. I'm very glad it did!

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  2. This is a delightful poem. The stanzas are like a favorite tune that remains in memory. The setting,plot and ending are well expressed in this very creative rhyme. I especially loved the last stanza. The classic tale and this poem are a fit. Great entry! Alexis

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  3. I like the back-story. I've always wondered where about Rumpelstitlkin's origins.

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  4. The sing-song lyricism and the emphasis on the back story is fantastic.

    Really fires my imagination.....how much can we do simply by giving back story?

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  5. Excellent! My favorite line is about the gold being in his blood as if it is a poison that compels his behavior and drives him. I enjoyed reading this.

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  6. “He Tore Himself In Two”, is a very entertaining poem by Kurt Newton. It seems like many people are fascinated by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, and cannot help but put their own spin on the characters’ origins, and endings. In this particular telling we learn that a young Rumpelstiltskin was cursed by an evil witch for trespassing on her property. He once was a regular boy, tall, and still growing, but his carelessness left him at the mercy of a witch that cut his height “divided by three.” Cutting and stunting his growth was not all the witch had in mind for our poor Rumple, she also tethered him to a pen and made gold run through his blood, although the latter was unbeknownst to him. It seems that all he wanted after he escaped the witches’ clutch was to be a regular man, but of course no one would have him for the way he looked. When he happened to come across the Miller’s daughter all he wanted was a companion, poor Rumple took her word, albeit absurd, and helped her out of her pickle. Of course in the end it didn’t go well, and poor Rumple was at least relieved of his misery.
    Serena W. 9
    November 13, 2012

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  7. He Tore Himself In Two, By Kurt Newton

    This is a short poem retelling main parts from the famous fairy tale “Rumpelstiltskin.” What I realize about this poem is the fight for love from Rumpelstiltskin to the Miller’s daughter. By the end of the poem I realized that the girl broke his heart and it basically destroyed his life. This poem showed the suffering Rumpelstiltskin had to endure and the pain he had to face. He says, “his youth was stolen and his height divided by three.” This made him unlovable in his eyes and he even was referred to as a “hideous runt.” I begin to see a trend of how the first-born child plays a role in many of the famous fairy tales just like it is present in this one. Rumpelstiltskin was supposed to receive the girls first born child but when that did not happen it crushed his spirits and “he tore himself in two.”
    -Tiffany P.



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  8. In the poem “He Tore Himself in Two,” Rumple is bestowed with a gracious, kind and forgiving air. This version offers an explanation for the reasoning behind his ultimate request for the companionship of a child of his own. The misfortunes which befall him leave him quite disfigured and disheartened, the witch’s acts cause him to despair and believe that he is doomed to a life of empty loneliness, for who could love him now? I rather enjoy the backstory. Readers are very likely to feel sorry for Rumple. His last act can only be interpreted as a final desperate suicidal act which implies he is not very wise, being so willing to give up and be done with it all. His fate seems sad in this version and we are left to wonder why he would not first attempt to gain love and friendship rather than despair so profoundly. After his encounter with the witch he gained the power of a golden touch, a gift which would certainly earn him interest and recognition throughout the world. Then again perhaps this thought had occurred to him and he felt that attention would always remain a shallow echo of what he truly wished for, which is unconditional love.

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  9. The agony that Rumplestiltskin endures after the queen correctly guesses his name is very well portrayed in this version. Part of the reason this was done so well was that we were given a history of how he came to be the odd little creature. When the witch took away everything that he had to live for, it is only reasonable for him to want something as precious as a child. Many people crave to have children of their own and at least they often have several options to go about acquiring them. Rumple on the other hand has no other option than to request the first born of the miller’s daughter. He does sort of seem to not understand the bond that a mother and child have, and that she would go to any lengths to keep her child. So for him to tear himself in to two seems to be a gross overreaction on his part. Unlike the “The Other End of The Tale” version, where this was mere a trick here he gives up on life and on attaining the one thing he has always wanted. I think knowing a bit about how he came to be Rumplestiltskin helps us understand why he so desperately wants a child and why it crushes him so much when he realizes that he can’t.

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  10. This was a great summation of the story "Rumplestiltskin". I liked the background information telling how he became small and got the ability to spin straw into gold. Reading about Rumplestiltskin in this light makes me sympathize for him. It made me realize how lonely he might have been after being chained up and alone in a pen and losing his childhood. Since no woman would want him, and he would never have children of his own, there's a possibility that maybe he only wanted the firstborn so he might have someone to have an emotional relationship with. The child was probably better off not being raised by him. If Rumplestiltskin had the ability to tear himself in two, what other things can he do that could harm to the child? He must not know how to deal with his emotions, especially if he didn't have many interactions with people.

    ***Angella M.***

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