Once Upon A Time

Today, Grace at dVerse asks us to “Meet the Bar” with regards to setting. So I began with that age old phrase, “once upon a time” and discovered that it seemed to be a setting unto itself, one that the speaker and the listener partake of evocatively, symbiotically. Or so I indulge myself in believing.


Photo by mirsad mujanovic from Pexels

Once, the old woman/man/animal/tree/rock began,
in the ages when spring set in for a millennium
water gushed from every nook and cranny
of underground wells and the vaulted heavens opened
she/he/it paused
there was an orchard where a blind child played
the rains dancing like fingertips, skimming her face
leaving braille-like tales of love and longing
the old woman/man/animal/tree/rock sighed,
upon the upturned eyes that could not see, the nose, the chin
the water savoring their quill-like strokes
the papyrus face now a harbinger of things to come
so that the blank eyes took on diamond sharpness –
here a tear fell, or was it a leaf, or a stir of dust –
her breath like the sifting wind among the chaff
her words a beat out of time so that the foolish laughed
but the earth claimed her as a shepherd’s star one still night
in the ages when spring set in for a time.

Author: Dora

The unearned splendor of being means we can always meet on a common plane of gratitude, aiming in conversation, art, or writing towards “something understood.”

32 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time”

  1. This poem encourages you to read it more than once to feel its push and pull. The weight of it is sobering to realize. Innocence in being figuratively blind throughout creation, it makes me wonder the true reality of things as they are and what we ourselves then choose to believe, like the child.

    This is my subjective interpretation of your stunning, stirring, and mesmerizing piece. I could be very wrong, you know! 😁 It’s just the themes I saw when reading. And boy, that was an experience itself.

    A tale seemingly as old as time, you told it well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your interpretation, Lucy, and thank you for the wonderful analysis. I was playing with archetypes throughout, the time/dreamscape of the preternatural, all of which you give voice to in your comments. Thank you for your generous reading – You made my day! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your poem makes me feel like a witness to the origin story of human awareness. The rain falling on the blind featureless face that takes on sentience. I like the gender neutrality of the coming-into-being as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the dreamscape of “once upon a time” tales, seems to me there is an awakening element that seems implicit and I did want to bring that out. I love your perceptive reading that adds so much more. Thanks, Lisa.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a creative response, like a garden from heaven. I am specially moved by your ending lines:

    but the earth claimed her as a shepherd’s star one still night
    in the ages when spring set in for a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I felt like a time traveller while reading your poem, Dora, transported to the origins of life itself. I love the use of sound to emphasise the abundance of water, and the nugget of a scene in:
    ‘there was an orchard where a blind child played
    the rains dancing like fingertips, skimming her face
    leaving braille-like tales of love and longing’,
    which reminded me of a scene in Frankenstein,
    and
    ;the papyrus face now a harbinger of things to come
    so that the blank eyes took on diamond sharpness –
    here a tear fell, or was it a leaf, or a stir of dust’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this a and my first thought was about a myth of creation… or as others have commented, the birth of awareness… I sometimes believe that I remember the first night I became aware… it was a very strong emotion and I can almost feel that gender-neutral being coming down to grace me at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To have a memory of that first coming to awareness is precious, more so that you recall it’s profound grace. The poem as a birth of awareness is an interpretation I’m quite happy to join you in, perhaps as even mimicking a gestational memory of the earth itself.

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