Walt Disney's fairy tale adaptations are known for their neat, happy endings. But in their original states, these tales were rife with darkness and despair.
Writer and poet Maureen Sherbondy embraces the gloom in her new book, "Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh" (Main Street Rag Publishing Company/2014). For example, Sherbondy's Rapunzel loses her hair to chemotherapy.
What the Prince Doesn't Know
By Maureen Sherbondy
Two months ago the mammogram revealed
a lump, and days since then have passed.
She can no longer throw her hair over the wall
for him to shimmy up beneath the star-scarred sky.
In a nauseous-chemo blur, clumps of golden thread
fell from her head to the tower's cold stone floor.
Still, the witch keeps her here, caged and ill, the left breast
completely gone. Her head a pale bald egg.
So when the Prince yells up to her, Rapunzel, throw down your golden hair, she hides beneath the sterile sheets.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Sherbondy about bringing familiar characters into the modern context with a darkly comedic spin.