Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Narrow Escape

As the giant snored, Jack heard the kettle lid lifted.

“Go now! Run for your life,” the giant wife whispered desperately.

And so Jack snuck toward the door.

But then he gave his Considering Cap a scratch.
And he looked about the room.
He spied on the table beside the giant husband
A bag spilling out coins of gold.

Stolen, it was, Jack considered.
From the poor people below.
Why shouldn’t Jack just steal it right back?
What was wrong with a good turn for himself
And his poor mother, starving at home?

“C’mon! C’mon!”
The giant wife whispered
As the giant husband snored
And the harp plucked out
As loud as she might,

“Yes, he’s here,
Yes he’s here.
Stealing a thing
That you hold dear.”

But the warmth and the meal conspired to keep the giant asleep. And thus Jack snuck past the sleeping giant, took the bag of gold, ran across the clouds, and found himself home by supper.

Nothing Hasty About It

Hasty pudding
Is just the reverse;

Must be cooked
Oh, so slowly;

The wheat flour mixed,
Oh, so slowly,

Into boiling water, then
Cooked, oh, so slowly.

Not hasty this pudding
At all.

Jack’s Mother Is Very Pleased

“Where have you been?”
Jack’s mother asked.
“I feared that perhaps
The giant had gotten you.”

“Oh, no,” said Jack
“Quite the opposite!
It was I who got the giant!”

So saying, Jack put the bag of gold down on the tiny table with a “thunk.”

Jack’s mother upended the bag
And gold spilled all across the tiny table.
“Our troubles are no more!” Jack’s mother said.

But that was not to be the case.

A Second Trip Up the Beanstalk

As his mother snored quietly,
Jack gave his Considering Cap a scratch
And considered climbing the beanstalk again.

Jack could hear,
However faintly,
A beautiful music,
As sweet as honey,
As dark as molasses,
As mysterious as
The darkest night.

Yet now;
Now Jack knew
From whence it came. . .

Why shouldn’t he climb again?
Jack considered.

The giant was not so very bright,
And his wife was so very kind.
And then there was the hen,
The hen who laid golden eggs.

Wouldn’t such a hen be
Just the thing for Jack and his mother?

Why should a thieving, murdering giant
Have such a thing to himself?

And so,
Without more considering,
Jack filled the gourd with water
And began the long and arduous climb.

Up, up, and up the beanstalk,
Up into the clouds once again.

The Hen Who Lays Golden Eggs

“Why ever have you come back?”
The giant wife exclaimed at the door.

“Really, you mustn’t have come back!
My husband is angry, so very angry about his gold.
Don’t you understand? He eats children like you!
For breakfast, lunch, and supper!
And now I fear he will eat you too!”

“You have been so,
So kind to me,” Jack
Said to the giant wife.
I ask only one thing more—
That you stand aside
As I take that chicken home!
Then, I will trouble you no more.”

“I fear for you life!”
The giant wife said.
“My husband will be back
At sunrise. Back with a child
That I will fry for breakfast!”

Jack considered for a moment,
Giving his cap a scratch,
But only for a moment,
Then he rushed toward the hall
To take the hen who lays golden eggs.

As he entered the room
The harp began to pluck out,

“Yes, he’s here,
Yes he’s here.
A thieving child
To take what’s dear.”

Jack did not listen to the harp’s song, however.
Rather, he dashed across the room and scooped up
The hen that lays the golden eggs.

At that moment Jack heard the stomp, stomp, stomp of giant steps and the chocked cry of a child in distress.

“You must, must run ever so fast and save yourself!” the giant wife cried.

The harp plucked out,
“Yes, he’s here,
Yes he’s here.
A sweet morsel
To bring you cheer.”

Outside, Jack heard a “thunk” and another “thunk,” and so the child’s cries stopped.

Jack considered not a moment
And jumped directly out the window
And ran and ran
The chicken clucking all the while
All the way across the clouds
And rushing, rushing down the beanstalk he went,

And so home again.

The Giant is Not Pleased

Walking into his banqueting hall,
The giant threw the dead child upon the floor
And began sniffing at the air.

He sniffed.
And walked about.
And sniffed again.

And then again.

“Fe, fi, fo, fum!”
The giant intoned.
“I smell the blood
Of an Englishman!”

“It’s only your imagination!” the giant wife said, but half-heartedly this time.

The giant sniffed the air
And clattered about the room,
Overturning boxes, opening doors.

“Be he alive
Or be he dead,”
The giant chanted as he searched;
“I’ll grind his bones
To make my bread!”

The harp plucked out,

“He was here;
He was here.
A dastardly boy
Who robbed your cheer.”

The giant grew angrier
And threw things around, saying,

“Fe, fi, fo, fum!
“I smell the blood
Of an Englishman!”

The harp sang,

“He was here;
He was here,
“But now he’s run
Away with what’s dear.”

Screaming madly, the giant
Shoved his sobbing wife
Nearly into the fire.

“Be he alive
Or be he dead,”
I’ll grind his bones
To make my bread!”

No comments: