Cinderella di Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton by Elsa Dorfman

Cinderella fa parte delle diciassette favole dei Fratelli Grimm rielaborate dalla poetessa americana Anne Sexton (1928-1974) in Transformations pubblicato nel 1971. Dalla raccolta è stato tratto il libretto dell’omonima opera scritto dalla stessa Sexton e musicato da Conrad Susa.

You always read about it:
the plumber 1 with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes 2.
From toilets to riches.
That story.

Or the nursemaid 3,
some luscious sweet 4 from Denmark
who captures the oldest son’s heart.
from diapers 5 to Dior.
That story.

Or a milkman who serves the wealthy 6,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate 7
and makes a pile 8.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.

Or the charwoman 9
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance 10.
From mops 11 to Bonwit Teller 12 .
That story.

the wife of a rich man was on her deathbed
and she said to her daughter Cinderella:
Be devout. Be good. Then I will smile
down from heaven in the seam of a cloud 13.
The man took another wife who had
two daughters, pretty enough
but with hearts like blackjacks 14.
Cinderella was their maid.
She slept on the sooty 15 hearth each night
and walked around looking like Al Jolson 16 .
Her father brought presents home from town,
jewels and gowns 17 for the other women
but the twig 18 of a tree for Cinderella.
She planted that twig on her mother’s grave
and it grew to a tree where a white dove sat.
Whenever she wished for anything the dove
would drop it like an egg upon the ground.
The bird is important, my dears, so heed 19 him.

Next came the ball, as you all know.
It was a marriage market.
The prince was looking for a wife.
All but Cinderella were preparing
and gussying 20 up for the event.
Cinderella begged 21 to go too.
Her stepmother 22 threw a dish of lentils
into the cinders 23 and said: Pick them
up in an hour and you shall go.
The white dove brought all his friends;
all the warm wings of the fatherland came,
and picked up the lentils in a jiffy 24.
No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,
you have no clothes and cannot dance.
That’s the way with stepmothers.

Cinderella went to the tree at the grave
and cried forth like a gospel singer:
Mama! Mama! My turtledove 25,
send me to the prince’s ball!
The bird dropped down a golden dress
and delicate little slippers 26.
Rather a large package for a simple bird.
So she went. Which is no surprise.
Her stepmother and sisters didn’t
recognize her without her cinder face
and the prince took her hand on the spot 27
and danced with no other the whole day.

As nightfall came she thought she’d better
get home. The prince walked her home
and she disappeared into the pigeon 28 house
and although the prince took an axe 29 and broke
it open she was gone. Back to her cinders.
These events repeated themselves for three days.
However on the third day the prince
covered the palace steps with cobbler’s 30 wax
and Cinderella’s gold shoe stuck upon it.
Now he would find whom the shoe fit
and find his strange dancing girl for keeps 31.
He went to their house and the two sisters
were delighted because they had lovely feet.
The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on
but her big toe 32 got in the way so she simply
sliced it off and put on the slipper.
The prince rode away with her until the white dove
told him to look at the blood pouring forth 33.
That is the way with amputations.
They just don’t heal up 34 like a wish.
The other sister cut off her heel 35
but the blood told as blood will.
The prince was getting tired.
He began to feel like a shoe salesman.
But he gave it one last try.
This time Cinderella fit into the shoe
like a love letter into its envelope.

At the wedding ceremony
the two sisters came to curry favor 36
and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
Two hollow spots were left
like soup spoons.

Cinderella and the prince
lived, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust,
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread 37,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
Regular Bobbsey Twins 38.
That story.

Video: Cinderella adapted  from Cinderella by Anne Sexton


1 l’idraulico
2 lotteria
3 babysitter
4 deliziosa dolcezza
5 pannoloni
6 i ricchi
7 diventa agente immobiliare
8 e fa un mucchio di soldi
donna delle pulizie
10  assicurazione
11  mocio
12 grande magazzino di lusso a New York
13  la cucitura di una nuvola
14 gioco a carte (nome italiano: ventuno)
15 fuligginoso
16 cantante americano dei primi del Novecento famoso per le sue interpretazioni in black face makeup
17 abiti da ballo
18 rametto molto sottile
19 fate attenzione
20 agghindandosi
21 implorando
22 matrigna
23 cenere
24 in un momento
25 tortora
26 scarpette da ballo
27 subito
28 piccione
29 scure
30 ciabattino
31 per sempre
32 alluce
33 che sgorgava
34 si cicatrizzano
35 tallone
36 per ottenere favori
37 senza ingrassare
38 coppia di gemelli maschio e femmina protagonisti di una serie di racconti per bambini pubblicata dal 1904 al 1979

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