2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 4

There’s no right or wrong way to attack the November challenge, but I have to admit that I like to take chances during this particular challenge. For instance, the poems I’ve been writing so far this month are a little more narrative and wordy than I typically write. But that’s okay! I’ll have December and beyond to play around with them. I hope you’re able to take some chances this month too!

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Once Upon a (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “Once Upon a Time,” “Once Upon a Pedestal,” or “Once Upon a Diet.” As usual, have fun with it.


Recreating_Poetry_Revise_PoemsRe-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Once Upon a Blank poem:

“Once Upon a Friendship”

After dinner, Marcus wandered out to the old clubhouse
in the back yard. When he was younger, this is where
he’d hang out all the time with his friends Walt and

Jesse. In fact, they were the three amigos, three
musketeers, and the holy trinity times three thousand
and three. Whatever happened to us, Marcus wondered,

how did we splinter? Of course, Walt was still a friend–
a best friend!–but Jesse slipped away with his clothes
that were better, his jokes that were meaner, and his age:

He was older than Marcus and Walt, and he made sure
they always knew it. Still, Marcus thought, he could be
fun and brave. That’s why the girls loved him…because

he wasn’t shy or afraid to take risks. Just then, Marcus
remembered something–something to change his life.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

This is his eighth year of hosting and participating in the November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. He can’t wait to see what everyone creates this month–not only on a day-by-day basis, but when the chapbooks start arriving in December and January. Fun, fun, fun.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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221 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 4

  1. charmuse

    Once Upon a Fool Moon

    A lover’s plight, a sorry night.
    Candle’s wicked flame will not wane
    for none of this can we explain.
    Except by a fool moon insight:
    a spell devised to fake the light,
    bedim the way, wedlock belie.
    Faltering, where rings unwind by
    sleight of hand, by wringing of heart.
    He steps aside…she’s in the dark,
    extinguished with a gust of sigh.

    ~ Charise Hoge

  2. MichelleMcEwen

    Once Upon a Summer

    Cherry Coke,
    cherry Popsicle

    ride me on the back
    of your dirt bicycle

    Show me off
    on the other side of town—

    take me
    to the lake

    & watch me

    Iced tea,
    ice cream

    & royal blue bikini

    Keep me out
    ’til sun down

    send me
    home with a hickey.

  3. James Von Hendy

    Once Upon the Rim of Continents

    when starlight kissed the shorelines
    and the sea in its dark bed made love
    to sand and craggy bluffs each night

    who we were becoming still clung
    to the rift of valley shadows
    and learned to walk. Who first smelled the sea,

    saw it glory beneath the sun
    and touched the moonlit glow of foam,
    climbed into the headlands under a sea

    of scattered stars. Who first brought fire
    to the hearth and beacons to the shore
    began the map of margins we call home.

    Who lit the incandescent coasts
    of continents pearled the edge of land
    and brought the stars of heaven down to earth.

  4. mapoet

    Once Upon a Sailboat

    I was once
    upon a sailboat
    when the weather
    turned so fast
    I had to face the fear
    that this sail
    might be my last.

    The river changed
    from glass to swells,
    the sky from blue to gray.
    The steady breeze
    became great gusts.
    The sun simply
    went away.

    We came about
    and headed back,
    our progress
    made in spurts.
    Forward, capsize,
    right the boat–
    we reached the dock,
    relieved, unhurt.

    I have always
    loved the water
    and I always will,
    but I never forget
    a storm may form
    when all seems
    bright and still.

  5. Ann M

    Once Upon a Glance

    Once you glanced at me
    across the street
    eyes like the sea
    and hands outstretched
    in a long gold robe
    panning for money or
    for my soul.

    i didn’t bite and
    the years passed;
    but now
    my streetwise soul
    would jump at the chance
    for your outstretched hands,
    gold robe,
    and sea-eyes glance.

  6. Jodie-Jo

    Once upon a moment
    of silence
    I heard my name
    turning my head
    to see myself
    found nothing.
    So I took the blank page
    and some words
    and some deeds
    and made myself real.

    1. Jodie-Jo

      Whoops wrong version. Maybe..

      Once upon a moment
      of silence
      I heard my name
      turning my head
      to see myself
      found nothing.
      So I took
      the blank page
      and some words
      and some deeds
      and made myself real.

  7. IrisD

    Once Upon a Memory

    Raking the leaves, I see you smiling
    You are hanging the laundry on line
    Autumn Saturdays spent outdoors
    I picture you picking the last of the tomatoes
    They say it will frost tonight
    I look up from the leaves as your presence fades
    Your grandchild is here climbing a tree
    she giggles like you though she never knew you.
    I throw the rake down and she jumps into my arms
    I swing her and sing the tunes you taught me
    She will pass them on someday when I am just a memory

  8. Jane Shlensky

    Once Upon a Raven

    She claims Poe ruined poetry that might have started “Once upon”,
    explaining even surgery can’t sever dreary midnights from
    his plots and settings, characters all dead and dying, sick and scared,
    his cataleptic carriers, his wretched souls completely bared.

    She has a softness for most birds and vows ravens and crows are smart,
    but Poe’s imagining in words confuses “corvus” from the start,
    for ravens live in wild expanse, eschewing cities, we all know;
    their smaller cousins like humans. Poe’s title should have been “The Crow.”

  9. Jane Shlensky

    Once Upon a

    She thought remotes were the devil’s doing,
    seeing how quickly her husband took
    to the fleeting nature of even
    superficial mindless change,
    flipping repeatedly over channels
    where he lingered two seconds,
    never long enough to learn anything
    useful, honing his fickleness, she said.

    “Onc’t you’re on a horse, you ride him,”
    she said, clipping her words in a snit.
    “You don’t get on and off
    ‘til you wear the hide off him!
    It’s like everything—
    the lesson’s in the staying!

    Onc’t upon a road, you walk it
    ‘til you know it in your sleep.
    Onc’t you have kids, you raise ‘em.
    Onc’t you build a house, you live in it.
    Onc’t you start a thing, you see it through.

    Like my mama said, Onc’t you make
    your bed, you lay in it. ‘Course she was
    talking mostly about me running off with …”
    (she juts her chin at Grandpa channel surfing).
    “Nothing good can come of flipping past
    choices without giving them a chance.
    Just makes people flighty, bored, and boring.
    Pick a place and stay.” He surfs on ignoring her.

    “I hope the last thing said of me is, she stayed
    and saw things through no matter what.
    It takes courage to stay put, believe me.
    Honey, onc’t you start a book, read it,
    the whole thing, even if it’s foolish.
    There’s plenty lessons to be learned
    from spending time with foolishness,”
    and then she smiled.

  10. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    Once upon a rainy day,
    I stumbled through the double doors
    When umbrellas were in short supply.
    Coat collar turned up against the wind.
    The rain still managed to blind my eyes
    Once upon a raindrop, shaken on the mat.

    One of a million combinations of words.
    That chose to blind my eyes,
    I blinked at the illustrious company
    Featured in the bright array.

    Then my imagination got underway
    I heard the scream, my inner ears working,
    I sensed a crash as the body fell.
    The temperature was mild but bright
    when the shot rang out with a silent bang.

    Once upon a rainy day,
    The deafening sirens, silently sounded
    I had mentally disposed of the gun.
    I was unable to see where I put it.
    Perhaps it was in the mystery section

    I stumbled into politics religion and science
    I came across a very learned conversation
    Clearly and cleverly argued, between,
    A scientist, a priest and a statesman
    To confound my mind and obscure my vision.

    The magical day was here at last
    As a lady smiled, holding a parasol.
    I had searched through the travel section
    To no avail. Cruising to exotic climes,
    Sailing along on a warm wet breeze

    Once upon a rainy day.
    Sheltering in the library.

    Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

  11. J.lynn Sheridan

    Once Upon an Olive Branch

    In the mural

    a peasant girl is tending the doves,
    pouring seed into cages, upon her bowed lips
    is a mourning song

    a boy with tattered hair and rutty cheeks
    hides in the knobby caverns of a sweet olive tree
    bare feet bleeding

    a sun

    The flood was over years ago
    yet you continue to stare as if
    we are still there, as if I never
    wove an olive branch for you
    to wear to the wedding feast

    perhaps I slipped through your prayers
    like fog in the heat of night

    in the very least I’ll paint peace
    upon our tombs
    and sing.

  12. seingraham


    There we are in the field where we had those photos taken
    Only, in my dream, the sky is violet, the grass a dazzling chartreuse
    And I am sitting between you two, as I was that day –
    But I’m behind the photographer at the same time
    (which is okay, it’s a dream after all)
    At first I’m not sure why I’m with her, and then I realize I’m
    studying everyone carefully, searching for clues

    We were all so happy that day – I remember the emotion was
    a brilliant scarlet –
    And in the dream, I needed to find what went wrong
    In the light of day, I wouldn’t believe any of it – but in a dream?
    Looking for dark auras, a smudge of foreshadowing, anything
    at all that could tell me what was going to happen
    was fair game, and I dreamed on, a third perspective, I suppose
    Me watching me, studying all of us, laughing and hugging, as
    we had our photos taken.

    A gift from your mother for her father – your grandfather –
    Yes, that’s right, you do remember him – yes, yes –
    He’s the one with the white beard
    No, no, no – he has never stopped loving you!
    The air in the dream is turning black
    It’s as if a thundercloud has settled on the field
    And just like it is when I’m awake – I can’t see anyone
    I am stumbling around trying to find the boys,
    my daughter -anyone?

    A strike of lightning cracks the cloud, lets dawn in
    The dream is over; my pillow soaked, it’s time to get up.

  13. Shennon

    Once upon
    a sunny day
    I donned my hat
    I baled some hay.

    I stopped for lunch
    then wiped my brow.
    Work here was rough,
    but I’d made a vow

    to work this land
    for my father who’d passed,
    but provisions were scarce
    while the land was vast.

    Releasing a sigh,
    so far from done,
    I let loose a shiver.
    Clouds covered the sun.

    The temperature dropped.
    Wind began to sing.
    To a Kansas man
    this means only one thing.

    Tornado’s a comin’.
    Hold onto your hats.
    Take cover directly.
    Attest to the stats.

    I pray for my safety
    til clearing skies portend
    an arc or glowing light.
    The storm is at an end.


  14. G.Wood

    Once-upon-a-time You

    You think we’re dancing around this room again,
    but I’m going to once-upon-a-time you.

    I imagine you in a tux and tails
    blowing in like a wind through the sails
    of our drapery sheers.
    You appear backlit by the moon
    bearing wicked canines
    and hungry for my neckline.

    I once-upon-a-time you.
    My, what big eyes you have!
    My, what big teeth!
    And the rest, reckless-sweet and wolven.
    Worth the risk.
    You make me wretched for your kiss.

    In once-upon-a-time, you
    wake up lost in the rotten woods,
    desperate for a safe retreat.
    You run until a gumdrop house appears,
    smell spun sugar from a distance.

    And I make my entrance:
    snakes for hair and flapping cape and long nails streaming fire.
    Your feet are frozen, eyes addicted,
    afflicted by a spell that will never set you free.
    You grovel for mercy
    from this ever-after ecstasy,
    from this once-upon-a-time
    you and me.

  15. De Jackson

    Once, Upon These Things That Would Not Pass
    (the inconsistencies of indelibility)

    These old ghosts just won’t die,
    and I have grown tired of chasing
    their cold white sheets. The streets
    are overrun with cockroaches,
    apocalyptic rain, the scent of Spam.

    I am
    less than these, I think. Invisible
    ink and inelegant sway, searching for
    a quiet way to kill the last of the voices,
    the unvined fruit, the tired pursuit of
    things I cannot change.

    made so by sun and moon and broken
    open sky, battered wings. These mountains
    (so old, so wise, so wily)
    will not whisper me the things
    I need, nor heed my haunted heart.

    Start a poem,
    a list, a letter, a song, a gin-stained napkin
    sentence in permanent ink, sharp
    -ied onto your own skin, a tattooed promise.
    Break it. Into. Smaller. Pieces. Re
    -lease it to the wind.

    This whole damn world’s got a wayward way
                                   of coming ’round again.


  16. Marie Therese Knepper

    Once Upon A Hillside

    Once upon a hillside
    Overlooking turbulent waters
    Native clansmen strode a ride
    Staked out for their sons and daughters.

    Eagle eyes on treed horizons
    Spanning forest mossy lawns
    Not the place for breeding bisons
    Nor a time for sleepy yawns

    For greedy men come inconvenient
    Creeping, waiting, clandestine stealth,
    Careless for forefather’s covenant
    Wanting only prairie wealth.

    Who will first sense pending turmoil,
    Sun-scorched warriors or champion steads;
    Nostrils flared and flanks recoiled,
    Stealing scents of no-good deeds?

    Time passes quietly on the summit
    ‘Cept for the soothing bird-prey caw
    All the peaceful shadows plummet
    Keeping time with sundown’s awe

    Now upon that very hillside
    Trees and time bearing witness
    To a nation’s wanton apartheid
    Guilt induced pilgrim’s grand largesse.

    On the hillside I stand alone
    Listening, searching, inviting still
    Waters. Come back unknown
    Soldiers. We need you.

  17. Bushkill

    Once Upon a Moonlit Night

    While silver fire burned cold through
    Your auburn hair and lit
    A torch in your eyes that reflected the
    Endless brilliance of starlit skies,

    I stood in awe of your beauty
    And dedication to me
    To form a lasting bond that
    Transcends our different pasts.

    As futures beckon and we move on
    Toward that uncertain shore
    With hands entwined and
    Souls still more so,

    I know that a life spent
    In such throws of passion,
    Of mind and soul and body,
    Are gifts to be cherished.

    For it is on moon-graced nights such as this
    That I understand the meaning of forever;
    I see it in your moonlit eyes and
    Know my soul, too, shares such joy.

  18. Nancy Posey

    Once upon a Time in the Library

    I knew less than nothing then about escape,
    all those afternoons
    amid the stacks,
    hunting for stories, make believe,
    taking me away
    to other times
    to foreign lands.
    Pippi may have been sailing
    the seven seas
    searching for her papa
    and The Borrowers, set adrift,

    but I was dropped off and picked up
    at the library steps
    between the lamp posts
    by my mother in her station wagon,
    my younger sisters
    unbuckled in the back seat.

    I knew the ladies behind the desk
    for sight, if not by name.
    They knew to let me read
    whatever I chose, sitting akimbo
    in the vinyl bean bag chairs.

    Funny that I don’t remember a single face
    of other readers there, patrons
    like me, all ages, lost in a good book.

    Only now, decades later, do I see them,
    the ones who come here
    not for books, but escape
    of their own kind, from summer heat
    and winter’s freeze.
    Lost people, lonely, too loud
    sometimes, as if they’d never spent time
    in a library before. For them,
    it’s just a place to go before
    the doors open at the shelter, three-thirty
    on the dot if they want to be sure
    to find a bed for the night,
    a long, long way from happily ever after.

    1. elishevasmom

      When I got sick several years ago, I gave up driving. Now that I take the city bus, which brings all buses to the downtown central bus station, I have become involved with many homeless, and often by extension those with substance abuse issues. With public computer services, the library can offer these folks a digital address, giving them an opportunity to find work, and climb out of homelessness.

    2. seingraham

      This is vivid and well-told Nancy, and reflective of big cities everywhere (at east in North America) – I was thinking as I read it, it could just as easily have been the downtown library here in Edmonton … or Toronto, where I grew up (and my experience was much the same as yours, and is again now …) It’s alarming to me that there is so much wealth (apparently) yet still so many homeless.

  19. taylor graham


    Afraid of
    the view – one buzzard
    soaring on
    updraft of
    a mile of sky; cliff behind
    and nothing but space

    from tire-tread
    to river, ridges
    glinted by
    sun on wind-
    shield, haze of distance, and mist
    gathering in clefts

    of canyons –
    but now I take that
    snaking two-
    lane like the
    jump-off into a childhood
    book still tingling with

    overcome, treasure
    bright but
    changing with
    the weather, the seasons and
    years, the weathering.

  20. De Jackson

    Once Upon a Blank Page

    she spilled
    all willy-nilly whim
    and fancy

    she filled
    with words,
    shed her tatter-tired skin,


  21. Tracy Davidson

    Once Upon a Sunny Day
    (Sousse, 26 June 2015)

    The man dressed in black
    moves purposely down the beach
    hunting Westerners,
    his warped mind
    spouting hatred
    as his gun spouts bullets.

    We live in sad times
    when terror stalks our streets,
    our beaches,
    our museums,
    our public transport.

    Where brainwashed killers
    inflict their misguided beliefs
    on innocents
    who cannot fight back.

    Pulling that trigger,
    over and over,
    did he feel nothing at all?

    No pity, no mercy,
    no doubts?

    Or did he relish the bloodshed,
    the panic, the screams?

    Was the sacrifice worth it?

  22. Mariya Koleva

    Wonderful prompt. I know I’ve written on similar before, but I always stayed within the same area of ideas. I hope this time it’s different.
    Once upon a Writing class
    The autumn went in through the glass
    The warm sun spilled its orange softness
    All around the silent room, full of eager listeners.

    It felt just like one day in summer
    When the sun rays somehow squeezed between my eyelashes
    Like silvery sparks,
    The sun was brighter then,
    And I could see and feel the water glitches
    hopping up and down and
    Side to side before my very eyes

    The professor’s voice was dim and pleasant
    In its monotony of steady knowledge
    Made me wish I had the same steadiness in everything:
    beliefs, ideas, expression.
    You know, the overall impression one gives away.

    I listened to the voice, and saw the summer sun beams
    Still squeezing between the leaves of autumn
    Not with regret, or a feeling of incompleteness –
    Things were perfect then.

  23. deringer1


    I loved to sit in that big rocking chair,
    and as I rocked and stroked your silken head
    I knew there never could be anywhere
    that I would ever wish to be instead.

    Now you’re too big for Mama’s lap to hold
    and years have turned my memories into gold.
    Our dear old rocking chair is far from new
    but as I rock, it takes me back to you.

  24. hohlwein

    Once Upon

    my table
    was a book
    I have since forgotten

    and in that book
    some writing,
    a phrase without break or comma,
    that turned
    like on a lathe

    and carved
    into my mind
    – a shape, an echo, a landscape
    treasured into sympathetic sleep
    and into waking
    – not alone



    a phrase I recognized
    as not my own
    but from a soul

    I’d never meet

    the writer
    might be dead now
    might be heavy and drinking milk
    might be shopping or recovering
    or ash
    might be petting a loyal dog

    and wondering
    if her life of turning words
    – of punctuating
    her own way
    had meaning

  25. Jean Kay


    Once upon Mt Shasta,
    while on a spirit quest,
    as I sat to eat my lunch,
    I had uninvited guests.

    Drawn by powerful sensors,
    about two dozen wasps appeared—
    landing on me and my sandwich…
    this was an insect I feared.

    I told myself in that moment:
    “They’ve a right to be here too.”
    Getting over my fear of them
    was not what I’d planned to do.

    It was a hot, dry, sunny day.
    When I sat, I had bared my feet.
    Wasps were drinking sweat between my toes—
    remaining still was quite a feat.

    I broke off a piece of my sandwich
    and placed it nearby on a rock,
    to draw the wasps away from me,
    so I could put on my socks.

    Once my lunch was finished
    the wasps all flew away.
    I had counted eighteen on my body.
    I will never forget that day.

  26. Sally Jadlow

    Once Upon a Life


    A little girl was born
    during a time of war.
    Drafted, her daddy left
    for Germany,
    to return later.

    She matured, married,
    and became a mother of four,
    then a grandmother of fourteen.

    Today, she looks forward
    to the joys of great-grand motherhood
    while the years fly swift
    as a fleeting sunset.

  27. Al

    “Once Upon A Paradise”

    God said to the two in Eden
    if you eat the fruit forbidden,
    know that it comes with a great cost,
    out of paradise you’ll be tossed,

    to suffer evil till you die.
    Yet they chose to believe the lie,
    eat and like God you will become.
    Eden’s couple proved to be dumb.

  28. Nancy J

    Once Upon a Time

    there flew among the elm and hackberry, among
    cottonwood, ash, and sycamore of the Missouri
    River Valley a tropical spirit of riparian woods.

    A magical creature who rose with the dawn and
    screamed through the skies in remarkable numbers,
    searching for breakfast of seeds, fruits, and nuts,
    but fondest of cockleburs.

    It ate no one’s crop, threatened no one’s herd, devoured
    no one’s stores, abused no one’s hospitality. Eradicator
    of farm weeds, it should have been welcomed.

    Its ethereal luminence a sight to behold. A German
    pioneer wrote of flocks perched in winter branches
    calling them “Christmas Tree Birds.”

    But, beauty can get you killed. Eager hunters offered
    feathers, trinkets, delicate meats, and cabinet specimens
    until this bird of wonder that roamed the skies of a
    continent for thousands of years, fell to earth.

    I gaze up into the branches of a cottonwood by the river,
    try to imagine its branches filled with magical creatures.
    But, the Carolina Parakeet is no more, and the cottonwood
    stands silent by the water.

  29. anindeliblemark

    Once Upon a Wednesday at 2pm

    By chance I saw you,
    standing across from Union Square.
    I knew it was you from the nape of your neck,
    the one I memorized as it retreated from view
    all loose hairs and flush red.
    I wonder
    if it remembers the imprint of my lips,
    mistaking your warm for warmth.
    I wonder if you remember still,
    tracing constellations in the freckles on your cheeks,
    as if your face was somehow a road map to the stars.
    How silly was I to think
    I could make a holy place of a boy who forgets,
    to have and to own are not the same?

    I saw you,
    at least I think it was you.
    The remnants of a draft of a boy
    I used to know.

    –L.A. Brass

  30. annell

    Once Upon a _____________

    who knows where it took place     a historic sight      a common meadow

    a hospital bed &nbs;    death comes to us all     a final goodbye

    a good predictor      of where it will happen      where do i go

    what do i do each day      where do i do it      will i be aware

    will i hear the bell toll      will i know     when i grow cold

    my limbs become stiff      when life leaves my body      or

    when it is over      the day is done      i will no longer know

    November 4, 2015

  31. Earl Parsons

    Once Upon A Memory

    Once upon a memory of what seems yesterday
    I saw her for the first time from far across the room
    Her golden hair and mischievous smile caught me by surprise
    But most of all my memory goes straight to her shining eyes
    Beautifully blue like the summer skies
    Those mesmerizing eyes

    Once upon a memory that’s etched well in my mind
    Her radiance and joy as we both repeated our vows
    Locked in life and love with a renewed determination
    To make things work regardless of what we may pass by
    Together we would laugh and cry
    Until the day we die

    Once upon a memory the children made us a family
    Hers and mine and ours in the mix, all living life as one
    But they all grew up way too fast and before we even knew
    One by one they were moving out to make their own lives
    The girls took husbands and our son a wife
    To start brand new lives

    Once upon the memories of so many wonderful times
    The house full of noise and laughter, and occasionally some tears
    Now just the couple that started from that look from across a room
    Loving each other even more every day and satisfied with just two
    Calls, pictures, and visits will just have to do
    And the memories, too

    © 2015 Earl Parsons

  32. Janet Rice Carnahan

    Two Triolet Poems


    I asked to see life clearly
    Glean some real insight, understanding and truth
    If not day by day perhaps just yearly
    I asked to see life clearly
    A true quest not just questioning, merely
    Combing through the innocence of youth
    I asked to see life clearly
    Glean some real insight, understanding and truth


    I kicked a stone hard against the street
    Letting it be the brunt of my stress
    It must have been our destiny to meet
    I kicked a stone hard against the street
    A truly most satisfying feat
    It stayed rock solid, no scattered mess
    I kicked a stone hard against the street
    Letting it be the brunt of my stress

  33. Anthony94

    Once, Upon a Dare

    You took the triangle
    by the washtub at full speed,
    pretended the crumbling concrete
    could be sped through on your
    steel wheels, ballbearings singing,
    jeans whipping against your legs
    like canvas sails on a flying ship.

    In your defense, you did grab
    at the washtub’s upturned leg
    but it betrayed you, spinning off
    into the drainage ditch still blue
    from yesterday’s laundry water,
    but your body continued toward
    the toolshed, denim shredding first
    then skin, the leather straps twisted
    sideways, skates dragging after shoes.

    Laughter followed a few feeble
    inquiries into your general health but
    there would be no sympathy. After
    all, the gauntlet thrown was fair:
    you took the dare

  34. uvr

    Once Upon A Lie

    Once, upon a lie
    you told me,
    truth wrecked
    its hopes
    But you spun
    a gossamer web
    of promises
    around my
    trusting heart
    It kept me
    from leaving

    I tell myself
    I wanted to stay
    I lie, once every day

  35. Pattili

    once upon a misty morning…
    in the middle of an autumnal wonderland
    we find
    the foggy mist
    lending a dream-like quality to the landscape
    things that we normally see-
    hidden from our view
    Instead …
    fog shrouded trees-
    their bare branches
    beckoning us
    to come closer
    and revel in
    the further muted hued delights
    that Mother Nature loves to hide
    for just such
    misty morning moments…
    letting the harsh realities of the day
    be softened by the mist

  36. JanetRuth

    Once Upon a November Day

    Oh, once upon November’s day
    When Autumn’s color-show was weaned
    And orchard-fallow harvest gleaned
    To leaf-lyrics that fell away
    And earth succumbed to stiller hues
    Beneath a port of brooding blues
    And purple-misted avenues
    Or noon’s unyielding gray

    …oh, once upon November then
    We too felt time’s incumbent will
    Inept to push against the chill
    That stripped the moorland and the glen
    And heaped its deep with yester-leaf
    And stirred the mind with kindred grief
    As one more autumn slipped beneath
    A consummate Amen

    Yes, once upon November’s girth
    We sensed, where nature’s vale was rent
    And every laden limb unbent
    In a requiem that lulled the earth
    With filaments of somber gray
    And portraits of life’s dying way
    Here, once upon November’s day
    We watched the end of birth

  37. Misky

    Once Upon a Crescent Moon

    Once upon a crescent moon,
    set in those widely strolling stars,
    there hung a sea of fading sky,
    a dream dashed on the rocks.

    The clouds raced as chariots,
    their horses spheres of light, and
    those dreams chased through forests,
    staggering with a quivered fright.

    That dream was a meanest worm,
    that fed on fears and fattened breath.
    To wake, to wake, we begged that dream,
    but it raced on throughout the night.

  38. ReathaThomasOakley

    Once upon a study

    of Clarke’s Commentary
    I look closely at the serpent
    seducer Eve’s entrancer
    surely not a snake at all,
    for if that were so, Clarke
    argues so well, what punishment
    would belly crawling be.

    Clarke’s Commentary
    draws me back to my childhood
    when words really mattered,
    when Sunday dinners around Granny’s
    table included theological discussions
    along with fried chicken and gravy,

    when later my cousins and I
    would preach sermons and sing
    Just a Little Talk with Jesus
    out by the old chicken coops…

    I should study Clarke’s
    Commentary more often.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        William, thanks for your comment, and since you seemed to wonder, I’m certain most relatives on both sides owned a Bible, KJV naturally, commentary or concordance. I inherited Strong’s Exhaustive from my mother, but used Clarke’s for the poem. After Day 1, I’ve sort of seen a theme developing.

  39. elishevasmom

    Once Upon a Migraine

    was my night’s sleep
    bits and snatches
    eyelid catches
    for just minutes
    at a time.

    was this migraine.
    As always, without a
    and little reprieve
    it trampled and rampled.

    once it arrives
    there’s no way to tell
    which way to turn
    to avoid the burn
    -ing in my brain.

    oh how I wish
    I could just erase
    the pain upon my face
    as readily as I could
    undo these words.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2015
    day 125 of 365
    day 4 of 11.15 PAD
    Once Upon a _______

  40. Walt Wojtanik


    You were a wish that came true.
    A heart makes good wishes.
    Many a lonely night ended
    when we befriended each other,
    all upon a wish; all upon a star.

    It doesn’t matter where you are,
    though I wonder time again.
    You, my jewel and treasure, shine.
    A true find, a savory dish.
    All because of that wish upon a star.

      1. Walt Wojtanik


        It feels I’ve gone ten-thousand miles,
        I’ve shaken hands, exchanged some smiles;
        I grow more tired, very slow,
        I long to rest here for a while.

        The wind, it blusters driving snow,
        the woods are deep and still they grow,
        I need to stop and find my base,
        or not much further can I go.

        The frozen lake reflects my face,
        so slippery, it slows my pace
        and I made promises to keep.
        but have no will to leave this place.

        At Wood’s they have a good barkeep,
        he pours me lagers, dark and deep,
        and no more miles until I sleep,
        and no more miles until I sleep.

  41. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    plucked from time,
    the world stood still
    as ideas and experiences
    crashed together
    in quantum commotion
    bouncing from neuron to neuron,
    until suddenly,
    amidst the matter gray –
    Fireworks exploded,
    bands played,
    and the proverbial
    light bulb
    changed night to day –
    in a single moment –
    once upon.

  42. Jezzie

    ONCE UPON A ….

    Once upon a few months ago
    when I was just a little pup
    I didn’t expect it would be
    so difficult to act grown up.

    Once upon a person I’d jump
    and they would gladly cuddle me
    but nowadays I am so big
    I cannot fit on my Mum’s knee.

    Once upon another puppy
    I would frolic out in the park.
    We would chase about and tumble
    and people would laugh at us bark.

    Now I’m a young adolescent
    I have to practise being good.
    and I have to lie down quietly
    or walk well to heel, like I should.

    Read more of my Doggie Ditties at <https://jezabelmyschka.wordpress.com/

  43. PressOn


    I went to bed
    quite full of dread;
    the room was red,

    with pink gulls squealing
    as they were wheeling
    upon the ceiling.

    I knew I’d had one too many.


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