Once Upon A Time by Richard Tornello

Tell us what you thought of the September 2009 issue!

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 805

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post September 15, 2009, 03:51:00 PM

Once Upon A Time by Richard Tornello

Response to “Once Upon A Time”

Title: The title gives me a sense that this poem is a story, maybe a fairy tale or fable, which suggests to me that the poem is not to be taken literally, but that it has a moral lesson behind it.

Word choice: I think that word choice is good for the most part. There are a few abstractions though that I think could be whittled out of the poem to make it stronger. If you adhere to the idea that a well written poem will have more concrete elements and few abstractions, then a word like “commodity” could be worked out of the poem and replaced by more concrete descriptions to strengthen the poem.

Structure: Richard, I like the parallel structure of this poem. There are two stanzas that are similar, three lines each and of about the same length. The first stanza is about humanity in the distant past. The second stanza is about humanity in the present. The meaning of the poem comes from the similarities and the contrasts between these two stanzas and what are the similarities and differences between humanity in these two time periods. It is a concise and neat way to make a comparison. The power of the poem comes from the repetition in the structure.

User avatar

Senior Critic

Posts: 316

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Upstate New York

Post September 21, 2009, 11:07:07 PM

Yes, this poem gains great power from the repetition of the stanzas, almost a reflection as it were. However, I might just have dropped the repetition of leather. Maybe something like "leather coat clad" instead of "leather seats, leather coats". I think that would have better reflected the pattern from the first stanza. And I would have gone with "oceans" plural, instead of "ocean" singular, to better reflect "glaciers" plural.

Once Upon a Time is a strange choice for a title, but it probably works. I feel like I'm missing something, though, not because of something lacking in the title-poem link, but because of something lacking in my interpretation of it. However, I think it makes sense in light of davidsonhero's comment about the poem potentially being a moral message in the same vein as a fable.

This piece contains a powerful concept, and one fairly well executed. Many of my criticisms are merely opinions about how I might have rubbed even more sheen out of the final polish.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!"
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1188

Joined: October 06, 2008, 06:53:45 AM

Location: Chantilly VA

Post September 22, 2009, 08:11:12 AM

comment reply

Gentlemen, thank you for your comments. I've been busy at my day job, a change in my life, for good or bad. So I've been unable to return your thoughts.

I would like to do justice to your comments. Suffice to state that there is a direct link between this poem and a few others that I have posted here.

It's not a tale, as much as an observation, a guess, and a laugh at a continuum, albeit with some technological difference.

The future looking back with wiser vision, Once Upon A Time, the present looking back, looking forward, once upon a time.


Return to September 2009

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.