The POTW: Verse Til It Hurts


POTW #854
(Week of 3 November, 2013)

I spent some quality time yesterday with the three-year-old daughter of a friend. She had me "reading books," which in this case did not mean what it usually does, and did not involve actual books or reading, but rather, holding a single-fold greeting card and pretending to read while making something up out of thin air. We did this for rather a long time, and I began to feel like Scheherazade spinning stories for a thousand and one nights. I suspected that Piper really just wanted to see how long I could keep it up. And if there had been a requirement that these "stories," usually less than a minute long, had to hold up as such in any way, I would have been in big trouble, but the three-year-old audience is very, very forgiving about such things, and seems to take great pleasure in the magical act of storytelling itself, regardless of the details of the story being told. Success is dependent on an entirely different factor:

Once-and-Never Tales

The characters were moot
An acrobat, a talking boot
A giant jealous piece of fruit
Whatever madness came to mind

Plot and drama didn't matter
To the sun on magic ladders
To prevent it getting flatter
Pieces randomly combined

No weighty relevance or theme
Just cricket pies and whipping cream
And what the kitchen faucet dreams
While it's filling up a pail

Unperfected, uncontrolled
No gracefully becoming old
Forgot as soon as they were told
These were once-and-never tales

There were marshmallow pajamas
And aristocratic llamas
Even President Obama
Made a comical appearance

Flying pizzas, plants of glass
Special parks with tickle grass
Sharks in kindergarten class
Clad in vivid incoherence

Never matter whence inspired
Making sense is not required
Maybe not even desired
When the audience is three

Extemporaneous and free
A rampant storytelling spree
Where creativity is nice
But it's endurance that's the key

Copyright © 2013 by Dave Grossman

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