Valsa George


Once Upon a Time


There stood a castle on the summit of a hill
Now fallen to decay, hidden among bushes wild
It perched like an eagle’s nest among the hills
Once owned by a Lord, gentle and mild

Blessed with a daughter, cute and sweet
He brought her up with such punctilious care
Proficient in all branches of learning,
She was a miracle of accomplishments rare!

She could sing n’ dance and play on the harp
She knew how to sew and paint with wit so sharp

With dazzling beauty and all feminine charms
She was the cynosure of everyone’s eyes
Needless to say she was her Dad’s darling
And the craving of many young men’s lives

Like a rose bud blushing on a thorny stem
With years, she bloomed into a graceful dame

Her father was keen to find for her a royal suitor
After deliberate choice, with her open assent
To an eligible youngster, she was formally betrothed
For an abiding bond, they gave their consent

In a tumult of emotions, the young pair met
The groom, so charming, a man of noble breed
A gallant cavalier, with an arresting figure
He came riding, riding on a black steed

They stood gazing at each other as if entranced
Their sprouting romance, everyone noticed

Her moist blue eyes, coyly lifted up
She spied him with rising elation
Though she longed to utter honeyed words
They dried up in her throat in a surge of emotion

With a winsome smile playing upon her lips
And a sweet dimpling of her cheeks
Their love lit eyes conversed in sweet silence
Feeling as if standing on joy’s highest peaks

The royal marriage was to officiate
Exactly one month since their first meeting
Time slouched dragging along
Each day seemed like eons creeping!

Finally the auspicious occasion arrived
And everything was meticulously arranged!

The fair bride was decked in all finery
In her bridal gown, she looked a fairy
None could take their glance off
Everyone deemed her the ideal one to marry

To receive the gallant on horse back
The royal guards stood in eager wait
But Alas! Her prince didn’t turn up
Nor got any tiding why he was getting late

While the bride was seen so lost in reverie
The castle throbbed in wild revelry

The last rays of the sun had departed
And bats began to flit by in dim light
Night closed in, nothing stirred
The bridegroom didn’t arrive, yet!

Missive dreadful was received
That the cavalier on his way to the castle
Got killed by Highway bandits barbarous
Drowning in grief, the Lord and each of his vassal

Like a tree uprooted in a violent gale
The princess fell flat to the ground,
She never recovered from that shock
Months later she died in misery drowned!

The wretched Lord shut himself up in his chamber
Alas! Of a cardiac arrest, he too died in slumber

The castle still stands on the summit of the hill
Now fallen to decay, buried among trees
People say; they see a cavalier mounted on a black steed
Riding to the castle at midnight like blowing breeze

Many say; the ‘tlot’ ‘tlut’ sound of galloping
Mingled with the tinkling sound of anklets, loud
Is heard when the wind whistles among the trees
And the moon is veiled by the shrouding cloud!

Submitted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Inspired by Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman

Comments about this poem (Once Upon a Time by Valsa George )

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  • Ken E Hall (8/5/2014 4:57:00 AM)

    Unusual fairy tale with an unhappy ending pity the poets skill could have given the cavalier a bigger sword..very well composed with the best title of all time...regards (Report) Reply

  • Cleveland Gibson (1/16/2014 10:29:00 AM)

    Well, Madam I got past the @Once upon a time' and I was hooked to the very end. You have a ballad here, as in the olde days. That is good because you storytelling skills paint a rich canvas. I'm jealous. I want to get my hand on what I read. But then it is such good stuff/ Aside I saw your note on inspiration. Good for Alfred Noyes. He certainly got you going. I applaud your efforts in entertaining us.
    Thank you
    Cleveland (Report) Reply

  • Dee Corpolongo (12/22/2013 11:43:00 PM)

    Wow...an amazing fairy tale of true love gone tragically wrong....Excellent job done here.
    You gave amazing descriptions to each scene, leaving one to easily imagine it all. Thank you~ (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (12/18/2013 4:57:00 PM)

    ...pretty sure they must have chosen Friday the 13th for their wedding...I wish
    they would have planned a different date......Shakespeare and I are both
    in awe with this tragic love story....adding this one to my favourites... (Report) Reply

  • Kee Thampi (12/13/2013 11:19:00 AM)

    a old story in a pleasing style....
    The castle still stands on the summit of the hill
    Now fallen to decay, buried among trees
    People say; they see a cavalier mounted on a black steed
    Riding to the castle at midnight like blowing breeze
    I love it again (Report) Reply

  • Marie Shine (12/13/2013 8:00:00 AM)

    Wow! A very poignant love story, excellently crafted and beautifully narrated. Like a Fairy Story, I expected a 'Happy Ever After' ending, so the twist at the end of the poem took me totally unawares! Simile, alliteration, metaphor very well used and the imagery paints each scene for your reader in striking detail. Wonderful work, Valsa. Thank you for sharing. Blessings always... (Report) Reply

  • Geetha Jayakumar (12/12/2013 1:34:00 PM)

    Touching write with sad ending, I could picturise it very well, the way you wrote is captivating. Loved it. (Report) Reply

  • Hazel Durham (12/12/2013 6:44:00 AM)

    Captivating write with beautiful lines of a fairy tale with a sad ending, it reads so intense and real! (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (12/12/2013 5:56:00 AM)

    A really good fairy tale Val. Each line was depicted in such good details.
    A sad story of a prince and princess in the form of a bride and groom.
    At first I thought the bride was stood up until I read further along I found
    out that the groom was ambushed. A n excellent tale of loved and sorrow.
    An intense reading and I felt like I was there. (Report) Reply

  • Kavya . (12/12/2013 4:27:00 AM)

    what a fantastic write mam, ....each line carried me away to the distant hills, to the sound of the galloping horse...u have created such a wonderful poem seemed like i was watching a Flash movie.......an excellent write as always (Report) Reply

  • Shahzia Batool (12/12/2013 1:20:00 AM)

    the right paraphernalia...grim winter night, dim candle light, coals burning hot, story of this sort, apparent calm n relief, free of all chores, willing suspension of disbelief, enjoying increasing tensions, the pleasure suited to the story, listening to the voice inflections, looking at the changing complexions...feeling, what u made us feel, the aching pleasure...the lovely write coming from you, with all the units of a traditional fairy tale... (Report) Reply

  • Pradip Chattopadhyay (12/12/2013 12:58:00 AM)

    a mesmerizing poem spun around a fairytale of love and loss!
    the poem heightens the tragedy with superb imageries. (Report) Reply

  • Valerie Dohren (12/11/2013 5:28:00 AM)

    A lovely but very sad story, just like a fairy tale. Enjoyed very much Valsa - well done. (Report) Reply

Read all 17 comments »

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