August 24, 2012

July Honorable Mention: Snow White, By Lillian Crowe

Editor's note: The dark magic at the heart of "Snow White" is captured perfectly in Lilian Crowe's poem of the same name. The poem brings questions: Is the queen Snow White's stepmother? Is it Snow White? Intriguing.
There was something too red about her heart.
She carried a black magic in her throat
that sang the birds to silence.
Everything stopped growing in the forest
except apple trees and shadows
and even the rumors grew
more poisonous.
She was enchanted by mirrors.
They lined the walls of her castle
and whispered, the ghosts
of pretty things trapped inside.
She stood in front of them sometimes,
too dark and too terrible
to see her own reflection.
She had to go.  The forest bloomed with bonfires
and we marched, an army
through skeletons that broke apart
like dry leaves underfoot.
We fell upon her and cut until we found her heart
and pulled it, fluttering and childlike,
from her still-fearful chest,
too dark and too terrible
to see our own reflections.

Lillian Crowe currently resides in Copenhagen, where she tries to make a little money through writing. Sometimes she updates her blog,, and can be found on twitter @lillian_crowe.


  1. To me, this poem is so sad and dark - I really enjoyed it! After reading it, I was reminded of my love for fairy tale poems - To me, they have their own feel and rhythm because they are so familiar, but we get to revisit the fairy tale through someone else's imagination. Awesome!

  2. I love the mystery in this poem and how it pulls me along.

  3. Oh, this is so beautiful. The imagery is engrossing, and the final two lines really stay with ne.

  4. That was a very dark, yet lovely, poem. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. What a beautiful haunting poem - I loved it. Thank you for posting (and I must go and check out Lillian's blog too)

  6. Creepy and eerie--and I mean that in the best possible way. I love the twist in the ending lines. Thank you for sharing!

  7. This is a beautiful poem- eerie and evocative. I personally like to think that it’s describing Snow White, all grown up and the new Queen in Prince Charming’s kingdom.

    It almost seems to be a deconstruction of Snow White’s happily ever after, where she’s traumatized by the Evil Queen’s assassination attempt and becomes obsessed with her own beauty and objects tied to the Queen.

    The second stanza seems like she’s almost reliving it, watching her story play out in the mirrors lining the halls.

    I like the idea of the poison apple- even though the sleeping death curse was lifted with Prince Charming’s kiss- still having some power over Snow White, with the “black magic in her throat” line.

    I like the implication, then (if Snow White is the new Queen), Of the “we” being citizens of the Prince’s kingdom, and them seeing her as poisonous instead of beautiful.

    I like that this poem focuses almost entirely on “her” actions, and how disconcerting they are, while the text we read focuses almost exclusively on Snow White’s beauty.

    I love the “Too dark and too terrible / to see __ own reflection(s)” line being repeated-- it suggests that by killing her, they’re taking on her curse.

    Everything about this poem has a sense of fatality and tragedy, as if it couldn’t have ended any other way.

    ~Danielle Lyons

  8. Definitely an amazing poem, but as I read it, it felt disquieting and isolated. Yet the mystery behind it leaves the reader asking questions and analyzing the poem to get a better understanding of what the real message behind it is. This is why I took the class; because no answer is necessarily wrong. Anyone can put in their own ideas and have their own outcomes on a conclusion, as long as they have a way to back it up. Nevertheless, it definitely feels like Snow White could be this person, that perhaps this is a never ending cycle of obsession over their own beauty, falling into a deep dark place where they see nobody else but them. Maybe no Snow White has grown up into an adult and weather it was her real mother or not, she has grown up to be just like them; making sure that they are the only ones who are the fairest of all.

    Diana Hernandez

  9. Jake Crawford

    I found this poem to be quite dark and powerful. I see this taking place in the future after Snow White has ascended to the throne and become a powerful queen and she now is in the same position as her stepmother. As her beauty is beginning to fade she dabbles in the dark arts to cling to her youth and appearance which has been her most coveted feature. With everyone making her beauty such an important factor to her character it would be easy for her to feel threatened and jealous as other young women begin to blossom and compete with her appearance. The end of the poem suggests that the new queen has done terrible things to preserve her beauty by perhaps kidnaping young girls or worse. The surrounding villages and towns folk must now rise up and dethrone their once beautiful queen and find how deep and dark her desire for beauty really was.

  10. This poem is something that we should all take a very good look at every time when our actions tend to speak louder than words. This poem got me to realize that within every good there is evil. For some the evil may not be visible for the world to see, but deep inside when we take a good look at ourselves, we tend to see things about ourselves that we fear the most. I believe that the mystery behind mirrors is to show us the true reflection of who we are as individuals. Mirrors may show you beautiful image of you, but when you look deeper, you may ask yourself, “Who am I really?” However this question is not very difficult to discover, the answer lies in our hearts. If you find yourself hurting everything around you, or find yourself blaming the world for the reason why you chose to hurt your surroundings, then you must know that your answer is your living proves. Even though we might tend to be strong, or try to not hurt others, still that won’t stop darkness from trying to take apart of us. Despite all that, we also have the power to control our dark side, the next time you take a look at yourself in the mirror, take a deeper look, and ask yourself, “who am I and how can I stop the darkness within me from raging?” Snow White was the perfect reflection of her step-mother, however apart of her refuses to allow the good to overtake, and that became her downfall. My heart truly connects to this poem, and the mysteries of life and sadness touch my heart. Thanks Lillian Crowe

  11. This poem really makes me wonder. Is it about the queen, or is it about Snow White? Most of it seems as though the poem is about the queen, but two lines suggest the poem is about Snow White. These two lines suggest that the heart is that of a scared young person, is it Snow White? Since most of the poem seems to be about the queen, one could also say the whole poem points towards her. The queen would probably be scared if someone was coming to kill her, as most people would be. The poem could also suggest that the queen’s heart acts young because she was so envious of youth. The queen was extremely jealous of Snow Whites youth and beauty. Either way the poem is read, it paints a great picture of an evil woman. It also makes for an interesting end to the actual story. The queen being murdered this way would be a good ending to a new version of Snow White.

    Haley Baker

  12. This poem leaves you questioning who it is about. Is it about Snow White’s step mother or is it about how Snow White turned out? The fact that it leaves you hanging like that is what I thoroughly enjoy. Its like a cliff hanger in a television show, it leaves you wanting more so that maybe you can know what’s going on. I personally think it is about how Snow White ended up turning evil. Maybe she became so enthralled in being the most beautiful in the land that she decided she needed to destroy it so that there was no chance of anyone else taking that away from her. The way this story is so open ended leaves it all to your imagination. For one there is no mention of the dwarves, did they die off? Were they killed when she burned down the forest? That question still lingers in my mind after reading this poem.

    Brandon Dell

  13. This poem was very interesting to me. I questioned why apples, trees and shadows were the only thing that continued to grow and everything else died. It made me wonder if all three of those things tied into each other. The apple I definitely knew was evil because that was the fruit the evil queen used to kill Snow White. The shadow and trees I am confused about and wish we would have discussed this in class. I have many questions about that. As far as the house being lined with mirrors was intriguing. It made me think that everywhere she went in her house, she sees herself. When she looked in the mirror, she had seen her beauty through outward appearance. However although her outer appearance was beautiful, her inner beauty was evil. This poem made me think about self and how outer appearance is always looked at first but it is the inner beauty that matters. The queen was so worried about being the most beautiful person but she was only worried about that. She was willing to do whatever she needed to do, to be the most beautiful person. This makes me think about people in today’s society and how they care about their appearance more than their characteristics.

  14. Though this poem is short and sweet (well it is actually sort of dark) there is a lot of information that can be read differently. I see this poem as being clearly about the step mother of snow white. In many of the tales, the queen strives to be the most beautiful person in the land...when she faces the mirror and asks who the fairest of them all is, we can assume that the mirror grows dark and a magical "ghost" appears, thus causing the mirror to darken. When we read the tale by Lilian Crowe, she writes "She stood in front of them sometimes, too dark too terrible to see her own reflection." Now, think about the movie, when the queen stands in front of the mirror, she can no longer see her own reflection. Does this symbolize the contrast between inner and outer beauty? I think it does and agree with Jasmine's argument on the symbolic meaning of beauty.

  15. This is a wonderful poem that goes into the darker depths of “Snow White”. In the original tale the main focus is about beauty and vanity. In this poem it focuses on how the obsession of beauty can be a terrible thing. I love how the author used the famous colors of red and black from the original story to paint a darker picture, while staying true to the original. Her heart being “too red” and the “black magic in her throat” paint a beautiful picture for the reader to enjoy. My favorite lines in the poem are the final two.

    [too dark and too terrible
    to see our own reflections]

    I think this is saying how sometimes people can be so caught up in vanity that they aren’t able to see who they truly are. Just like how Snow White’s mother was too caught up in vanity to see just how horrible of a person she was.

    -Thomas L