Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jeannine Hall Gailey: I Like the Quiet

Jeannine Hall Gailey gives us a princess who doesn't sit around longing to be rescued.
Emma Florence Harrison

Rapunzel: I Like the Quiet

"Solitude my solace, wrapped around me
like layers of golden hair. Stacks of books
and I can sing as loud as I please all day
   and night.
In sleep I kick and snore, during the day,
in eating nothing but radishes and lime leaf tea.
Who says I need a partner to dance? Here
in this tower I am mistress of all; the reindeer,
the knight’s armor teetering in the corner,
various discarded disguises, crowns,
crumbs and bones. Will you rescue me?
What kingdom will replace my bounty
of leisure, what tether of care and nurture
do you wish to rope my neck with?"
 - Jeannine Hall Gailey

*As a sidenote, and to perhaps indicate that this concept of a happy, single woman is hard for illustrators at least to imagine-it's difficult to find images of Rapunzel alone and content. She is generally with the prince or witch, or letting down her hair and/or looking longingly out the window. There's also this one by Frank Cadogan Cowper, but it's, um, not the most flattering face?


  1. That's interesting! I wonder what would have happened if that version of Rapunzel /was/ rescued.

  2. Hmm...I can only imagine if a Prince showed up claiming he'd come to save her, she'd only shrug, say "no, thanks," and go back to her books and tea. Although, I have to say that personally as an extreme introvert, it's possible to have close friends and even a husband and still enjoy necessary alone time. (And no human, no matter how introverted, could be truly happy with absolute solitude...I imagine getting too literal misses the point of the poem though). Because I do understand the frustration with the idea that any single person isn't "complete" without a partner, especially how that tends to come across as the message of many fairy tales, so I love this independent Rapunzel who knows what she likes and doesn't mind defying convention

  3. The face of that Cowper Rapunzel reminds me of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies.