Our poetry challenge this week from L.L. Barkat exhorts us to “Write a poem that begins, middles, or ends with Once upon a time…or even just Once…Or, if you’d prefer, you could use some other common fairy tale language like happily ever after. Just try to tell a moment true and whole. . .”

L.L. encourages us, this week, to not “shrink from the darkness…”

Here is my offering.



upon a time

Love was

a craft store heart

bold and full

and brilliant red,

with voluptuously

rounded analogous curves


perfectly pointed tip.

White lace would surround

clean and bright



this partial carefully bedded

in crumpled tissue

and placed in box

to be

opened on special occasions and

exclaimed over

before packed away again.


upon a time

I never knew

the fleshy bleeding pulse

of real love

this messy mass of muscle

which strengthens with exertion

This wound in my chest

a holy ache

as hands reach


try to pull sinews

free this pounding

fear inside

This heart


outside of this body

where sorrow

and joy

walk hand in hand



by real love.

**friends, I will resume our online Bible study of Jennifer Rothschild’s book, Soul Talk Self Talk next week. Rather than posting on this week’s chapter, I am choosing to practice what the Psalmist encourages us to do: Look up.

Thank you for sticking with me.


  1. says

    Laura, this is absolutely amazing!!! I’m printing this off so I can look at it, meditate on it this week. As always, you have blessed my heart this day:)

  2. says

    I love the ending, Laura…

    “where sorrow

    and joy

    walk hand in hand”

    Beautiful… it is such a treat to read your writing and I’m so thankful to have found your blog, dear friend.

  3. says

    Your heart and hand are tied together so elegantly in your written expressions. Thank you for choosing to listen to the creative call of the Spirit and for expressing His artistry from the wellspring within you.

  4. says

    I love the contrast in your words between love as flimsy concrete ideal and love as pulsing, strenuous reality. Your poem is very lovely, and I am glad you shared it.

  5. says

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for visiting me at Paper Lanterns. I’m here in your “living room” now, and enjoying the conversation and fellowship you’re offering.

    These lines are particularly enjoyable to me:
    “analogous curves”
    “carefully bedded”
    “exclaimed over”
    “fleshy bleeding pulse”

    I was there. I saw it all in my mind’s eye.

  6. says

    Wow! I love this poem. It so clearly sings of the vulnerable nature of letting your heart truly love…the wearing your heart on the outside, where it risks breaking and yet grows stronger with every exertion. As opposed to the craft-store heart, which is so neat and clean and safe, but two dimensional. Yea! I’m so happy to find your blog!

  7. says

    the paradox of what strengthens with exertion … breaking down.

    the transformation of a life is what keeps me on the edge of my seat … in films, in stories, in these words here, Laura. and the bridge between the two is God! Happy Valentines Day.

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