Once Upon a Time*


Last week while I was sifting through old papers, I found this piece of writing from decades ago. Thankfully, we have all made peace since then . . .

Once upon a time, there was a girl from St. John’s.
At the age of fourteen,
she moved around the bay with her family.
She hated her curly hair,
adored her Persian cat,
and loved to get lost inside stories and songs.

When she grew older,
she fell in love and got married.
She was happy.
She had a beautiful little daughter.
Not long after,
she gave birth to a handsome son.
She liked to tease him and call him
her little “curly boy”
because he so much reminded her of herself.

A few times,
when she and the husband had terrible fights,
she had to take her girl and boy
to her parents’ house.
But the husband would always tell her
how sorry he was,
and she would go back because she loved him,
and wanted to believe him.

Eventually, she stopped believing.
She moved back to St. John’s
and started a new job and a new life.
She still had her beautiful daughter,
but she lost her curly-boy
to his dad.

She found someone
who reminded her of her love
for stories and songs.
She loves her cats,
still hates her curly hair, and
misses her son
with an ache that never goes away
and leaves her pillow wet with tears
every night.
Still, she knows
she is doing the only thing she can.

She hopes someday he will understand
how, once upon a time,
there was a girl from St. John’s
who couldn’t fight anymore,
and only wished for
a happily ever after.

~ Jennifer Kelland, 1995

picnic table in a winter garden

*Evergreen post from 2014

27 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time*

  1. What I love most about poetry is that messages have the power to touch our souls and allow the connection of minds to flow as one. You reminded me that in the most difficult of circumstances, life brings us to the place of profound decisions, the outcome of which will evolve as the years pass. I am so glad that you wrote this poem and that you generously shared it with me. Sending hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hugs back, Rebecca! Thank you for appreciating the piece as it was intended when I first wrote it. The power of self-expression through writing, and as a way to vent the unbearable pain, can be somewhat healing, or at the very least give some relief, even if it is only for the moment. Sharing the pain with empathetic readers also gives some solace. Our lives are filled with difficult circumstances, and writing is one of the ways to cope and reflect. xo


  2. Jennifer, a powerful piece of writing which encapsulates so much of your life – I had to read the comments on the original post of it and so thankful you and your son are now close again. Those years apart from him must have been heartbreaking for you… enjoy the peace and harmony you have now. hugs xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Annika. As I mentioned in my last post, creativity is often born out of sadness and pain. You think these sorts of things only happen to other people—-until it happens to you. And yes, thankfully we have been happily reunited long since then. xo

      Liked by 2 people

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