Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jack’s Mother is Very Pleased Again

“Delightful!” Jack’s mother said,
Patting the hen’s head
As she held a golden egg.

“We shall have to build
A snug coop for her,
But we can afford that now,
Thanks to you, my smart,
My beautiful, my darling son!”

Jack scratched
His Considering Cap,
Thinking of the wonders
Of owning a harp
That plays beautiful music
And all by itself.

As sweet as honey,
As dark as molasses,

As mysterious as
The darkest night.

A Third Trip Up the Beanstalk

Jack awoke just after midnight,
Though he had slept warm
In the new feather bed
His mother had bought for him.

Jack got up, put on his Considering Cap,
And considered what to do.

The giant, though not so very bright,
Might by now have figured
Just how it was Jack got to his castle
And why he was coming there.

The giant, though not so very bright,
Might be waiting for him.

And as for his wife?
Dear woman, she had not seemed at all pleased
To see him when last they met.

And what was it about this
“Blood of an Englishman”?

Jack scratched his cap and considered.
It would appear, considered Jack,
That the giant knew the difference
Between one blood and another. . .

A connoisseur of blood?
Not the sort of person to visit!

And what of the child
Jack had heard screaming?

Jack didn’t even have to consider
In order to know he did not want. . .


Jack went out into the garden
And looked at the tall beanstalk
That stretched to the clouds.

And beyond.

Should he, one more time,
Climb it? For that beautiful,
Rare, Self-playing harp?

Such a beautiful sound!

As sweet as honey,
As dark as molasses,
As mysterious as
The darkest night.

And the face of a goddess
Carved into its wood

And all covered with gold!

Jack considered, scratching
At his cap. Jack listened to
The beanstalk’s leaves
Rustling gently in the breeze.

Jack looked at the new coop
His mother had ordered built
Right away for the hen who
Laid the golden eggs.

They were well off now,
Right enough. Enough
Is what they had now,
With heaps of gold and a hen
Who could lay more.

Go up again?
Enough is enough,
Jack considered.

Then he considered
The beautiful harp
And her music,

As sweet as honey,
As dark as molasses,
As mysterious as
The darkest night.

Then Jack filled his water gourd
And up he climbed.

A Lovely Climb

And so Jack climbed,
And he climbed,
And climbed;
And climbed some more.

Then he had a bit of water
And climbed some more.

And he climbed,
And climbed;
And climbed some more.

And all the while
The little cottage got smaller,
And the clouds loomed larger,
And the stars twinkled
And twinkled,
And the dark faded
Until a faint light
Filled the east.

And then. . .
And then. . .
Jack touched the cloud!

And without a moment’s
Considering, off the
Beanstalk he jumped,
Off onto the cloud.

Jack knew the path well.

But would, Jack scratched
His cap and considered,
The giant wife let him in?

But how else, Jack considered,
Might he ever open the door?
And, being a castle, there
Was not another way in!

Thus it was that Jack lifted
The heavy knocker
As best he could
One last time,


The Giant Wife is not Pleased

“You again,” said the giant wife.
“How ever could you come here again?
My husband is in the banquet hall,
Just waiting for you to come. And
Though he is asleep just now,
He will surely awaken soon and eat you!”

Jack gave his cap a scratch,
Considering what the wife had said.

Then he gave her a look,
And though she stood as tall
As the tallest houses in the village,
Perhaps even as tall as the chimneys,
Jack could see black and blue on her face.

“Your husband beat you, because of me?”
Jack asked, quite aghast at what he saw.

“Really, you mustn’t have come back!”
The giant wife said, with fear in her voice.
“My husband is angry, so angry about his gold.
And about his hen who lays golden eggs
Don’t you understand? He eats children like you!
For breakfast, lunch, and supper!
And now I fear he will eat you too!”

“But you,” Jack said, giving his cap
A scratch. “Not you. You eat
Hasty pudding, don’t you?”

“It is a favorite of mine,”
Said the giant wife.

“And not children?”
Jack asked, considering.

“Oh, no! Never children!
The giant wife said.

“Well, then,” said Jack.
“You have been so,
So kind to me. Do this:
Go along this cloud
Over there to the west.
And you will find a beanstalk.
Climb down it
And you will find a cottage.
There is my mother.
Go, tell her what has happened
And she will help you.
We can always use
More hands on the farm.
Leave this terrible giant!”

The giant wife
Considered a moment.
Considered all the pain
She had struggled through,
The taunts and smacks.
The terrible beatings.

The giant wife
Considered. . .and then said,
“Very well, then. I will!”

And off she ran toward the beanstalk,
So happy for a chance of freedom
That never did she think twice about Jack
Or what might happen next. . .

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