September 30, 2011

Her Dark Materials, By Amanda C. Davis

Editor's Note: Amanda C. Davis loves making a mess. Learn more about her and her work at

First you hoist a girl from the ashes,
Brush sooty tears from her face,
Tell her she's worthwhile.
Squelch through the garden.
Heave a pumpkin out of the mud,
Hack into it a door,
Grab its orange guts
Until it vomits seeds and strings.
Twist those prickly vines around your elbow
Into axles, hitches, wheels.
Catch mice barefisted.
Pluck a lizard from the wall.
For a coachman,
Lure out a mean, matted rat
And seize it by the tail
And shake free the fleas.
In the stories they'll sum it up with
Wands and incantations,
But real fairies know:
You have to get your hands dirty
To make real magic.
Image by VC Prinsep.


Melinda Brasher said...

Very nicely done. Vivid images.

Jazz said...

I was going to finish the entire issue before commenting on anything, but I had to stop here. I love how you represent the process of artistic creation in this piece. Reading it feels like looking at a piece of real magic.

Lissa said...

Nice descriptions!

Teresa Robeson said...

A terrific and concise poem that really captures the gist of the tale!

Anonymous said...

I love the complete disregard for fluffy fairytale magic! Each line is precise and the descriptions poignant. It all feels as dirty as the fairy’s tasks in order to get Cinderella ready for the ball. It is almost as if magic is more or less unimportant as compared to true, difficult, physical work. I also get the sense that this “fairy” who is telling the story has done this before (“First you hoist a girl from the ashes / Brush sooty tears from her face / Tell her she's worthwhile”). The poem is just as much a tale as it is a guide – instructions. Each line is quick to look at, like a bulleted list. Magic definitely takes the back seat. In this case, is magic even necessary? What with all of the soot-brushing, pumpkin-pulling, and rat-shaking, it seems like magic is not even needed to prepare Cinderella. What a fun piece.


Anonymous said...

This was cute! Not the way the majority of people picture the making of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage with all its accessories that Disney has cemented into our collective psyche! I like that the fairy godmother had to get her hands dirty.
- Freyja of Sessrumnir

Anonymous said...

This poem is awesome. I understand that it is talking about Cinderella and how the fairy godmother used all these items to make her into a beautiful princess so that she could go to the ball but I believe there is more to it then that. When I read this poem I hear all the hard work the fairy godmother had to do and maybe everything she did wasn’t on the up and up. I also read it that even though an event or outcome of an even may seem magical and that there was no hard work or effort that took place to achieve a goal seems to be there that someone put in the ground work and got busy to make this seemingly magical event to happen and people should be grateful to that and not take it fro granted. I think the author did an amazing job and this is by far one of my favorite poems I have read on this site. TG