May 16, 2012

In the Tower, By Kate Forsyth

Editor's note: Today we move on to April in the Mar(ch)(A)pril(M)ay catch-up process for EC's publication of winning entries. Kate Forsyth is an extensively-published book author as well as a poet. We will be featuring a special post on her work in the next few days.


Walled in my old stone tower
the bitter taste of tears
always in my throat
only a slit to put my eye to
yet how full of change is that sky
I watch the stars wheel past
seasons turning and turning
the one tree on that faraway hill
once more bursts into life
green in the shadows
golden in the light

Walled in my silent tower
how can I frame the words
to tell my story
my heart is a riddle
green sickness in my soul
loneliness the heaviest burden
how I long to slip free
of this empty shadowed tower
fly on muffled wings like the owl
white against the thorns
black against the moon

Walled in my cold stone tower
I conjure a steed from flame
An invisible cloak from ashes
A frail ladder from cobwebs
I make a dagger from ice
A key from bone and wishes
I spin a song from the silence
One day someone shall sing my refrain
Green in the shadows
Golden in the light

Free of my shadowy tower
We shall bind ourselves together
With tendrils of green
With tresses of gold
We shall build a castle of light and air
And banish silence with song
Together we’ll dance in the forest
White against the thorns
Black against the moon


Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of 25 books for children and adults, translated into a dozen languages.

Altered image originally by HJ Ford.

7 comments

  1. Beautiful - love the language choices. "the stars wheel past", "fly on muffled wings like the owl", "a frail ladder from cobwebs", "banish silence with song" -- such eloquence and beautiful imagery.

    I've read it several times and keep discovering new things!

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  2. This is lovely, Kate!I will send you my Rapunzel poem via Email!

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  3. A very pretty poem. I think what caught my eye the most in this story was the repetition of words at the beginning of each phrase. “Walled in my...” was an interesting phrase to repeat. It helped give me the vision of a person that really feels trapped and isolated from the rest of the world. The view she describes from her window is that of a very beautiful and appealing world. She is able to see so many marvelous and wonderful things that many people often do not appreciate being able to move freely in the world. The third section has a darker feel to is as she is plotting and crafting the tools for her escape. It was neat how the last part of the poem breaks the repetition as the woman escapes from her tower as. There are many words such as gold, light and song which implies a happy ending but the last words white against the thorns and black against the moon seems like a darker tone.

    Jake Crawford

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  4. This poem definitely seems to be a version of Rapunzel. The description of her tower really paints a good picture for readers. The tower seems to be a very gloomy and terrible place to be locked up. The description really touches me and makes me feel the girl’s sadness. I like the elements used to make the things she needs in order to escape, they really add to the stories already imaginative nature. Towards the end I almost wonder if it is referring to heaven, given the description of the castle the girl wishes to build. This poem is very mystical and really leaves me to my own imagination. The descriptions are fantastic and the words are beautiful. The poem pulled me in so I felt as if I was there myself. It leaves me wondering though, if the girl actually escapes the tower or if it is just her wishful thinking. I would love to see if what she envisioned really happens for her.

    Haley Baker

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  5. In the Tower, By Kate Forsyth

    I enjoyed this poem. As I read the poem, it had an elegant feeling to it. The detail and description of things is what I loved about this poem specifically the part describing the time spent in the tower. “yet how full of change is that sky I watch the stars wheel past seasons turning and turning.” I just love it; I could see it in my mind. I’m very much a visual person and for me, this poem has hit the mark on visual stimulation. I never felt like I was missing something. Also, the first line in each of the four stanza’s describe the tower; old, silent, cold, and shadowy. I believe this is letting us know how and what the tower was doing to her. The way, in which, the author was able to make reading it, feel whimsical and elegant yet at the same time make it feel dark and unpleasant, is a testament to the author’s skill as a writer. It is a beautiful piece of work. Loved it.

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  6. Immediately when I came across this poem I knew it was about Rapunzel. While reading I could imagine that is was Rapunzel herself who was writing this poem, trying to cope with the pain of loneliness through beautiful words. At first she seems depressed and as the poem goes on you know that she has hope of escaping the tower when she writes “free of my shadowy tower… we shall build a castle of light and air and banish silence with a song.“ The imagery in this poem is great and I can see everything as I read it. I like the repetition in this poem, it helps to better represent the time that is passing as she sits in the tower. Though the last two lines may seem dark I recognized the repetition “White against the thorns Black against the moon.” She used this line earlier in the poem when she is longing to “fly on muffled wings like the owl.” She is referring to freedom and flying away. When I read the last line about black against the moon I imagined the couple, silhouettes against the moon.
    Paige F.

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  7. This story to me sounds like a this woman is in a very unhappy relationship and is pining to be free; not only does she want to be free from this man but becoming free may mean that she will have to fight and attempt to escape because if not then she will not be able to gain her freedom. Towards the end the author says “One day someone shall sing my refrain”. This sounds to me like the woman who is trapped is hoping that someone will come and help her out of the situation before she has to do something she will ultimately regret. The ending to this story goes back around to the standard idea of prince charming saving the damsel in distress that we are all used to. I do not know if this interpretation is close to the author’s true intentions. TG

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