Once Upon A Time…
An Anthology of Poems
Edited by Katie W

"Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…" Those words are still vivid in my mind. As I think back on my young childhood I remember “Cinderella”, “The Three Little Pigs”, and “Aesop’s Fables.” Why do these remain concrete in our memories? They remind us of the freedom of youth, fun, and creativity that we not so much lose, as shove way back in our heads, considering them useless. They could be funny ones, sad ones, and even influential ones that will have a lasting impact on you. This collection of stories within poems is designed to bring out memories and possibly make some new ones. Stories and all poetry release us and allow us to dream. They open our minds, freeing them from the real world. They open new doors resulting in thoughts of things that usually don’t enter the mind, and most of all they are fun and entertaining.

This anthology features a common theme of “story-telling”, but with a wide range of unique styles. All poems have themes that cause the impacts the reader gets from reading the poem. "In The Road Not Taken", for example, the speaker literally chose to travel down a road that looked as though fewer people had traveled down it. The discussion is then continued over the difference between the roads and so forth. So what? Well it becomes clear when you can start speculating that the speaker is really discussing a choice he had to make in life. Perhaps he chose a profession that was uncommon or not predictable, thus the "I took the [road] less traveled by." After deciding that maybe it was an "unusual" path, but the one he, the speaker concludes his thoughts: "I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence: / Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- / I took the one less traveled by, /And that has made all the difference." (16-20) This final stanza signifies the speaker’s conclusion that the decision to take the unique path was not necessarily directly beneficial, but it taught him a lot in the process. It is implied that there could have been drawbacks as well as rewards resulting from this decision. Sometimes being different and taking chances is a good thing. You have to try new things or you’ll miss out of so many amazing ones and you won’t be able to go back a change your mind.

Whether true or make-believe stories, these poems all have themes that can instruct or influence the reader, either stated at the end or just implied by the story. These are intended to impact the reader in some way, even just make them think. They can motivate and inspire, or drive the reader to search the story for even deeper meaning between the lines.

However, there are also poems that don’t appear to have complex themes. Looking at a famous poem, "Jabberwocky", we find an amusing, silly, creative and funny rhyming story of a hero who kills an imaginary monster, the Jabberwock. There are no metaphors incorporated in this story, and its author, Lewis Carroll, wrote many other ridiculous and funny stories. His wild story Alice In Wonderland actually started as a tale Carroll made up as he went along for a girl named Alice and she liked it so much he made him write it down. He eventually added and altered it and it was published.

Another somewhat silly poem, "Last Night I dreamed Of Chickens", by Jack Prelutsky is a simple story, except for a sudden twist at the end.

Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere…
They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,...
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see…
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me.
Here the speaker gets the reader to imagine a vivid, wild, and silly dream, where he wakes up, only with proof that this most impossible dream was real. The poem is mind-boggling, which is the real intent and fun of the whole thing.
All story-telling poems share one thing, among others: they satisfy us. The sole purpose of this poetry collection is to entertain and leave you feeling somewhat more complete. Our starving minds need to be fed, whether it’s through fairy tales or complex poetry and the intent of this anthology is to satisfy that hunger.

Table Of Contents

"First Memory"
Louise Gluck
"Last Night I Dreamed Of Chickens"
Jack Prelutsky
"maggie and millie and molly and may"
e. e. cummings
"The Chimney Sweeper"
William Blake
Thomas Hardy
Lewis Carroll
"The Legend Of Evil"
Rudyard Kipling
"The Opening of the Piano"
Oliver Wendell Holmes
"The Raven"
Edgar Allen Poe
"The Road Not Taken"
Robert Frost
"The White Horse"
D. H. Lawrence
"This Is Just To Say"
William Carlos Williams
"Those Winter Sundays"
Robert Hayden
"As I Walked Out One Evening"
W. H. Auden
"Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams"
Kenneth Koch