Once Upon a Time, by Gloria Sasha

The following poem was written as part of a poetry-writing event at Spurgeons Academy, to mark World Poetry Day

Once up a time, son

They used to laugh with their hearts

And laugh with their eyes

But now they only laugh with their teeth.

While their ice black cold eyes

Search behind my shadow

There was a time indeed

They used to shake hand with hearts

But that’s gone, son.

Now they shake hands without hearts

While their left hand search

My empty pockets.

‘Feel at home’, ‘Come again’

They say, and when I come again and feel

At home, once, twice

There will be on the thrice,

For then I find doors shut on me

So, I have learned many things, son

I have learned to wear many foreign-like dresses

Homefare, officefare, streetfare, hostfare, cock-tailfare,

With all their conforming smiles

Like a fixed portrait smile

And I have learned too

To laugh with only my teeth

And shake hands without my heart

I have also learned to say ‘Goodbye’.

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