May 18, 2012

Mary Meriam, The Prince of Glass


Editor's note: Below is Mary Meriam's "The Prince of Glass," one of the April winners of the EC monthly contest. It's a lovely poem that uses images of glass in unexpected ways.

He is the prince of shards of glass,
glass bowls with Chinese stamps,
glass crystal balls with legs of brass,
and Tiffany glass lamps.

The prince has chosen to amass
glass window and glass door,
glass shelf and goblet, to surpass
his foes, who might have more.

So when he sees the lovely lass
in glass, he falls in love.
He plinks her coffin on the grass
with his glass-fingered glove.

He hates the forest’s green morass
of trees and shrieking creatures;
with her in glass, they can’t harass
her quintessential features.

The prince pulls out his looking glass
to check his golden locks.
The other things he does,alas,
are unseen from her box.

Mary Meriam's poems are published in Literary Imagination, The New York Times, American Life in Poetry, Measure, Sentence, Think, Light, many other journals, and several anthologies. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Countess of Flatbroke and The Poet's Zodiac, and the editor of Lavender Review

Altered image by Carravagio.

6 comments

  1. I'm not usually a poetry fan (except for just a handful of poets, like Frost and Poe and Pope), but I really love this poem. The rhythm and rhyme work well, as does the theme of glass. Very clever writing. Kudos to Ms. Meriam!

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  2. Thanks, Teresa!

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  3. This poem seems to be related to “Snow White.” The girl he falls in love with is in a glass coffin like Snow White was in some versions of the story. The rest of the poem is interesting as well, the prince of glass is an odd yet interesting character, being in love with glass. He seems also high in himself, especially when he checks himself out in the mirror. The prince likes to be better than others as well. I wonder, in the end of the poem, when the prince does other things that the girl cannot see from her coffin, what exactly those things are. I assume they aren’t very good things, but I’m interested in knowing what the prince does when his girl in the coffin cannot see him. Does the girl continue to be in the coffin? Or does she eventually wake up like Snow White does? I’m curious as to what happens after the end of this poem.

    Haley Baker

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  4. I really like this poem. It presents a picture of a very off-kilter prince who’s more obsessed with the coffin than Snow White herself. Which in some ways is a little less disturbing, since it’s more like Snow White simply fits in with his peculiar love of glass than the idea that he’s in love with a dead girl. Then again, being more interested in Snow White’s coffin than the girl inside is also a little sociopathic, since it reduces Snow White from a girl to a curio display. The more I read this poem, the creepier and more interesting it becomes. How did the prince get this way? Do all of the pieces in his collection have a story like Snow White? Is he even a real prince? The last two lines are downright chilling, implying that Snow White is alive and aware of what’s going on, unable to save herself from gathering dust in this “prince’s” collection.
    Really well done.

    Danielle L.

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  5. I was reading this poem and simply thought Snow White because the Prince picks her up from her glass coffin. Is this what the author was going for though is my question or was it to simply be a relatable piece but not with Snow White in mind? I enjoyed the different ways of bringing up the glass it seemed to go very well with the story. If this was to be about the prince from Snow White then this is a very interesting and original way to depict the character. I also ask would the girl wake up and would the glass prince still be in love with her? The ending to the poem kind of leaves you wanting more. It leaves you begging to learn of how this tale unfolds. Then again any good poem or story will always leave you wanting more and wondering what the author was going for.

    Brandon Dell

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  6. When I was reading this story all I could really think about was King Midas. King Midas is the man who was so obsessed with having gold that he was cursed with the touch of gold; meaning that everything he touched would turn to gold and eventually it led to his downfall. When I read this I felt like that this prince had the same problem as Midas. I am glad that this story ended differently then the story of Midas. I was also pretty amazed at all the words this author was able to use that rhymed with the word glass. There is one word however that I do not understand in this story and that word is “plinks”. Based on the definition that I found plinks is a word for a metallic sound or ringing and I did not understand how that fell in to context here. TG

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