Poetry Friday: Sail Away to Fairyland


Once again, I’m down to the wire meeting Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’s ditty challenge. This month, Jane Yolen challenged Michelle’s readers to “Write a poem in which reading and or writing is featured in the form of a septercet.”  How hard could that be?

As it turns out, I had a very hard time figuring out my way into this poem. How to narrow down a lifetime of reading and writing? Then, this line, from “Do-Re-Mi” and The Sound of Music came into my head: “Let’s start at the very beginning…” Suddenly, I was on my grandmother’s lap and she was reading Jack the Giant Killer, by Harold Lentz, to me. This book belonged to my uncle when he was little, and it was a favorite of mine and my cousins because of its fabulous pop-up scenes.


Here is a draft of the septercet inspired by this book.

“Sail Away to Fairyland”

Nestled on my grandma’s lap,
she opens a book and I’m
sailing off to fairyland.

A magic castle rises,
princess slumbering within,
the prince arrives to wake her.

Turn the page. Red Riding Hood
knocks on Grandma’s door. Beware!
A devious wolf awaits.

One story ends, another
begins. “Fee, fi, fo, fum,” hums
a hungry, fearsome giant.

Just in time, Jack saves the day,
rescues friends from a sad fate.
But Giant, enraged, gives chase,

lumbering down the beanstalk.
Will Jack get away? He grabs
an axe, chops with all his might.

Tales now told, the book is closed.
You know how this story ends.

Happily ever after.

© Catherine Flynn, 2016

My favorite pop-up, Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Thank you, Michelle and Jane, for sparking this trip down memory lane. Please be sure to visit Karen Edmisten at The Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Sail Away to Fairyland

  1. Isn’t it magical that “Happily ever after” is seven syllables. I found the septercet a pleasing form. Seven beats works for a poetic rhythm. Your poem is wonderful. It captures that special time with your grandmother as well as all those timeless stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You may come down to the wire, Catherine, but your poems always pull through beautifully! I love how this one is constructed, beginning and ending with happiness (what better place to find it than nestled on your grandmother’s lap with a book!), and rolling out the exciting adventure in between. I’ve added it to the wrap-up presentation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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