Thursday, 19 August 2010

Briar Rose

Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)
Anne Sexton




Requesitei o livro de não-ficção “Don’t Bet on The Prince” de Jack Zipes apenas como fonte de pesquisa para o conto que está em produção. Como tive o privilégio de estudar Angela Carter e apaixonei-me pelos contos de fadas feministas, decidi requisitar o livro e proceder com mais algum estudo. Acontece que “Slepping Beauty” é o meu conto favorito e não ia deixar de ler esta adaptação breve de Anne Sexton.


Consider
a girl who keeps slipping off,
arms limp as old carrots,
into the hypnotist's trance,
into a spirit world
speaking with the gift of tongues.
She is stuck in the time machine,
suddenly two years old sucking her thumb,
as inward as a snail,
learning to talk again.
She's on a voyage.
She is swimming further and further back,
up like a salmon,
struggling into her mother's pocketbook.
Little doll child,
come here to Papa.
Sit on my knee.
I have kisses for the back of your neck.
A penny for your thoughts, Princess.
I will hunt them like an emerald.

Come be my snooky
and I will give you a root.
That kind of voyage,
rank as a honeysuckle.
Once
a king had a christening
for his daughter Briar Rose
and because he had only twelve gold plates
he asked only twelve fairies
to the grand event.
The thirteenth fairy,
her fingers as long and thing as straws,
her eyes burnt by cigarettes,
her uterus an empty teacup,
arrived with an evil gift.
She made this prophecy:
The princess shall prick herself
on a spinning wheel in her fifteenth year
and then fall down dead.
Kaputt!
The court fell silent.
The king looked like Munch's Scream
Fairies' prophecies,
in times like those,
held water.
However the twelfth fairy
had a certain kind of eraser
and thus she mitigated the curse
changing that death
into a hundred-year sleep.

The king ordered every spinning wheel
exterminated and exorcised.
Briar Rose grew to be a goddess
and each night the king
bit the hem of her gown
to keep her safe.
He fastened the moon up
with a safety pin
to give her perpetual light
He forced every male in the court
to scour his tongue with Bab-o
lest they poison the air she dwelt in.
Thus she dwelt in his odor.
Rank as honeysuckle.

On her fifteenth birthday
she pricked her finger
on a charred spinning wheel
and the clocks stopped.
Yes indeed. She went to sleep.
The king and queen went to sleep,
the courtiers, the flies on the wall.
The fire in the hearth grew still
and the roast meat stopped crackling.
The trees turned into metal
and the dog became china.
They all lay in a trance,
each a catatonic
stuck in a time machine.
Even the frogs were zombies.
Only a bunch of briar roses grew
forming a great wall of tacks
around the castle.
Many princes
tried to get through the brambles
for they had heard much of Briar Rose
but they had not scoured their tongues
so they were held by the thorns
and thus were crucified.
In due time
a hundred years passed
and a prince got through.
The briars parted as if for Moses
and the prince found the tableau intact.
He kissed Briar Rose
and she woke up crying:
Daddy! Daddy!
Presto! She's out of prison!
She married the prince
and all went well
except for the fear -
the fear of sleep.

Briar Rose
was an insomniac...
She could not nap
or lie in sleep
without the court chemist
mixing her some knock-out drops
and never in the prince's presence.
If if is to come, she said,
sleep must take me unawares
while I am laughing or dancing
so that I do not know that brutal place
where I lie down with cattle prods,
the hole in my cheek open.
Further, I must not dream
for when I do I see the table set
and a faltering crone at my place,
her eyes burnt by cigarettes
as she eats betrayal like a slice of meat.

I must not sleep
for while I'm asleep I'm ninety
and think I'm dying.
Death rattles in my throat
like a marble.
I wear tubes like earrings.
I lie as still as a bar of iron.
You can stick a needle
through my kneecap and I won't flinch.
I'm all shot up with Novocain.
This trance girl
is yours to do with.
You could lay her in a grave,
an awful package,
and shovel dirt on her face
and she'd never call back: Hello there!
But if you kissed her on the mouth
her eyes would spring open
and she'd call out: Daddy! Daddy!
Presto!
She's out of prison.

There was a theft.
That much I am told.
I was abandoned.
That much I know.
I was forced backward.
I was forced forward.
I was passed hand to hand
like a bowl of fruit.
Each night I am nailed into place
and forget who I am.
Daddy?
That's another kind of prison.
It's not the prince at all,
but my father
drunkeningly bends over my bed,
circling the abyss like a shark,
my father thick upon me
like some sleeping jellyfish.
What voyage is this, little girl?
This coming out of prison?
God help -
this life after death?


O poema e toda a sua complexidade reside na dualidade das situações, nomeadamente a primeira parte dedicada a contar a história tradicional da Bela Adormecida e na segunda a história de uma menina abusada sexualmente pelo pai. “Don’t bet on the prince” dedica-se a isso mesmo, na descrença por parte das princesas num príncipe que é tudo menos encantado. Numa perspectiva feminista o conto de Briar Rose (outro nome para “Sleeping Beauty”) não é nada mais do que uma manifestação do estado vegetativo da mulher, obrigada a um estado dormente por parte da sociedade. A mulher dorme profundamente à espera que um homem a beije para acordar e aceitar o seu lugar como esposa na sociedade. A mulher só poderá servir um propósito: casar. Assim sendo a mulher tem de esperar muda para conhecer o homem que muito provavelmente não será um príncipe encantado.

Convém também acrescentar que Briar Rose consegue embutir em si três versões: sendo a primeira uma referência Prünhilt de “Das Nibelungenlied”, uma Valquíria encerrada numa torre adormecida à espera que o grande guerreiro Siegfrid a acorde do seu castigo.

A esta história mais tarde aproveitam o essencial para construir o conto da Bela Adormecida, uma princesa amaldiçoada por uma bruxa, condenando-a à morte. A princesa é salva por uma fada, que com os seus poderes revela que a princesa não morrerá, mas cairá num sono profundo e somente o verdadeiro amor a salvará. Quando a princesa toca no fuso todos no castelo caem num sono profundo durante cem anos. Se o beijo do seu príncipe a acorda do feitiço lançado pela bruxa, a princesa terá de enfrentar a sogra, uma terrível ogre que quer comer a princesa e os seus netos.

A terceira versão é a do poema, contada por Anne Sexton, de uma criança abusada pelo pai bêbado “I was forced backward. I was forced forward.” A rapariga não quer dormir, tal como a Bela Adormecida que desenvolve insónias após ser liberta da maldição. Dormir implica não estar alerta, estar indefesa e propícia a ser abusada mais uma vez, por outro lado estar acordada implica libertar-se dos sonhos dos príncipes encantados e enfrentar a realidade onde o príncipe não existe.

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