Hansel and Gretel Inspired Sestina

For #fairytaleTuesday I’m posting my Hansel and Gretel inspired sestina I wrote when I was experimenting with combining poems and fairy tales.  A sestina has six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet. Each stanzas has the same six words at the end of each line that follow a fixed pattern.  My words are: life, covered, candy, unpleasantness, bitter, and tasted. This was one of my favorite types of poems to write because it is such a creative challenge. It’s been awhile so I don’t remember how disciplined I was with all the rules, but it’s all in fun. 🙂

hansel and gretel2withwords.jpg

I’ve tasted the bitter unpleasantness of this candy-covered life.
At the break of dawn, we were taken when the grass was covered
with the dew from the morning and the smell of candy.
We thought we were leaving everything that we knew as unpleasantness.
Sometimes the reality of what is out there is the more bitter
but how would we know the flavor unless we tasted.

We would have never dropped breadcrumbs if we had tasted
anything that would have been meat or potato or even life.
All we knew was of mother and father, and that was bitter.
We probably would have eaten anything that was covered.
We were expected to give ourselves because their lives were full of unpleasantness.
So anything that was put before us would have seemed like candy.

We couldn’t believe when we saw the cottage made of candy.
If we had not been so hungry, we probably wouldn’t have tasted.
But how were we to know that who lived there was unpleasantness.
And that she took joy from draining girls and boys of life.
Our situation was bad no matter how you would have covered
it in sugary lies and twisted tales of parents who are so bitter.

When she came out of her house, the little old bitter
offered us the world with a side of candy.
We didn’t know that her words were severely covered
with poison and toxins but nothing we would have tasted.
We would have given gladly to her what she wanted, even our life
just to rid us of the feelings of sorrow and unpleasantness.

What we discovered was far worse than unpleasantness.
The hag was insane with detestation, ugliness, and chilling words of bitter
resentment against all creatures on this earth that were full of life.
No longer did she offer us lovable things like cake, honey, and candy.
Instead, she took pleasure in cages, terror, and effects that tasted
of hate. Nothing to protect us, and we so wished to be covered.

Test the fire, I was ordered to keep that covered.
But it wasn’t to see if it was prepared, but for much more unpleasantness.
She really wanted to cook me and see how I tasted.
But instead I did trick her but didn’t eat her in fear she’d be bitter.
I grabbed my brother and everything else I could, except for the candy.
For nothing tasted better or sweeter than life.

Instead of being covered in all that is bitter
I’ve learned the unpleasantness can soon change sweet as candy.
I know to take my time for I have tasted and love being every part of life.

Love, Laughter, and Fairy Tales,


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