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Once upon a time

Once I found myself
Upon an arched-boned bridge.

A bell rang.

Time ceased,

Incised through granite sundials,


Exactly midnight, paused.

Across the hours, space occurred
Between minutes, seconds vanished,
Shocked. Was I dreaming?

A bell rang.

I stumbled across a courtyard,
Seeking soup,
Sustenance, from the arms of robed men,
Eyeless men, faces covered in cloth.

A bell rang.

The prince screamed,
Hags, eyes set too close together,
Glared inquisitively through mirrors,
The princess fainted, fluttering to the ground,
Tarred in feathers.

Unnoticed, I

A bell rang.

Passed from sight,

A bell rang.


A bell rang.

No-one came

A bell rang.

Time ceased.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
Such fun. I love fairy stories, gothic stories, nightmares and dreams...
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


I see a nightmare here! I have my own interpretation of the thing, but I am impressed with your short, sometimes couple of word lines that took me on a trip, not sure where this one went, but I like where it took me. ~ Geez.

There is value to commenting and critique, tell us how you feel about our work.
This must be the place, 'cause there ain't no place like this place anywhere near this place.

I agree - but most fairy tales ARE nightmare-like, at least the old ones were, before being sanitised and cleaned up! I love these competitions - they take me out of my usual gloom and doom poems into a 'slightly' different head space.
Did you notice my spelled out lines for Once Upon A Time? Hope you did, because that was me being too clever by half!

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

I missed that part. Sorry... I was however, intrigued by the lines of

"Time ceased,
Incised through granite sundials,

I was wondering if they were like the sandals of the Statue of Liberty? That was my vision. But wait, she is bronze! Who's sandals are they?
~ Geezer.

There is value to commenting and critique, tell us how you feel about our work.
This must be the place, 'cause there ain't no place like this place anywhere near this place. the vast halls of imagination and spooky, squeaking doors... they can be the sandals of anyone you wish. I had quite a strong visioning of time standing utterly still for strange otherness to occur, like in the time of fairy tales, uncertain dreams, the un-ordinary. Like dreams - when you are woken up suddenly, and just for awhile you lie there in that other place, before the=arrival of coffee, toast and comfort.

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

Well thats me not getting to sleep tonight!

Great control of cadence and well formatted.


I always seek out your comments because, maybe, our poetry has some common threads of interest.
I must ask about mentoring on this site - I remember it was quite strong for awhile. it would be great to see that start up again.

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

Hello, Jenifer,
I truly noticed the Once Upon A Time sequence right away - very clever! This has both the feeling of traveling in slow motion and the sensation of watching something happen from a distance. Haunting - but instead of fearful, it is intriguing. The last line leaves me wondering if the narrator is asleep, or in another realm - but I don't really want to know. Mesmerizing.
Thank you!

I'm so glad you noticed!

I wasn't sure whether to spell it out - so just hoped it would seen there, hiding in plain sight... like the shadows of fairy tales and otherness!

Hasn't this been a fun subject? I would never have considered a theme like this without being prompted, but our fairy stories are an ingrained part of childhood, personal narratives, archetypes AND (in my case) the cause of childhood insomnia...

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment
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