Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aesop's Fables

I recently began reading a collection of Aesop's Fables, and the idea of rendering the fables as short poems, styled similarly to my Childsongs, came so naturally that I couldn't help but sit down and immediately start a new series. Just as writing for paintings is a great way to give yourself a base to work from, rendering short stories, tales, or fables has its benefits. However, it's important to always stretch beyond the work of art you're basing your own piece on, so that it has some purpose other than mere narration (or, at the very least, provides a very apt and musical narration of its partner). Now, let's read a fable and follow up with a poem:


The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose which laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. Thus, they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth.

Much wants more and loses all.

(Translated by V.S. Vernon Jones)


The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

One a day did not suffice,
Though each great treasure shone.
With giddy haste and one brief slice,
They profited in flesh and bone.

The sick sensation must be bold
When two, once rich, recall
Their own folly and loss in gold:
Much wants more and loses all.


Both pieces stand alone, but they benefit from being presented together, especially since both are very concise. In fact, that's why I enjoy Aesop's Fables so much and consider them to be great didactic stories: they are extremely succinct. Rarely does one stretch beyond half a page. When writing is didactic, it has a tendency to be boring and preachy, but the Fables present brief stories with clear lessons, using different types of animals for immediate characterization to achieve further brevity (an obvious example: The Lion and the Mouse). They are also extremely accessible, making them fit for adults and children alike. Definitely a top choice for bedtime reading- Aesop's Fables are quality stories, and teach kids (and adults) morals, to boot!

Take Care,


Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

Excellent poem. That's a great idea for a series, I hope you keep up with it. I've read my share of those fables and thought about writing some poems in a series as that, but I moved onto something else. You've got the perfect quality in your style suited just for that.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

A very concise poetic 'reshaping' of the original material. Have you looked at some of Anne Sexton's "Transformations" poems? You might like some of them, she uses fairy tales as the substance for her poems. The one for Snow White was pretty good.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

Anne Sexton's Transformations. Good thinking. I think Neil would enjoy them.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

Jess: Thanks. I'm definitely going to keep up with this series (this and the Childsongs are the two that I'll be actively writing for, probably). Writing toward fables and fairy tales is very comfortable for me.

Anthony: Thank you for both the compliment and the Sexton poem (read it- interesting use of modern references, and enjoyable writing in general).

5:09 PM  
Blogger Jessica Schneider said...

You're registered to vote, right? TX voting registration has to be in by Oct. 6th.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

Yep- registered in August.

3:28 PM  

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