Narrative and epic poems have been around for centuries.  These are usually book-length works that tell a tale.  I haven’t the fortitude to pen the next Iliad or Odyssey, but I do like to write STORY poems, a type of “bite-sized” memoir.  This one’s dedicated to all the underdogs, and my friend Lana, who introduced me to the story poem.  The jerk who tried to kill me with the kickball was named DONALD, by the way.  Go figure.


She is too klutzy for kickball, so
she spends recess
with a library book
But in gym class, participation is
Chosen dead last,
she takes her place in the outfield
With bases loaded,
the class jock steps
smugly to the plate to run them in
BOOM!  A pop-fly
speeds toward her,
a red missile trained on its target
The ball strikes with
a resounding smack;
she reels, but clutches it to her chest
He’s OUT!  Red-faced,
cursing, he snatches
his cap, slams it to the ground, and
stomps on it, leaving
a big, dusty footprint
Seething with incredulity and rage,
his odious eyes bore
full-force into hers
but it is her moment to be a hero
and she flaunts the
burning imprint on
her cheek like a badge of honor

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21 thoughts on “ONCE UPON A TIME…

  1. chevvy8 May 7, 2017 / 2:58 am

    I don’t know much about kickball Joan but I always admire your ability to try out new form with great success. Bravo on success in showing that the underdog can score sometimes even when it seems that the odds are stacked up against them. I know how sweet that victory can be.. Have a lovely Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 7, 2017 / 11:45 am

      Kickball is kind of like baseball, with a diamond and 4 bases, but instead of pitching a ball to the batter, the pitcher rolls a red rubber ball about the size of a basketball to the kicker, who can choose the direction and strength of the kick. I was a bunter, meaning I’d barely tap the ball with my foot, making the outfielders run up to retrieve it while I ran like hell toward first base. Pop flies were dicey unless (like Donald) you could kick it out of the ballpark, or so hard that the outfielders were afraid to catch it. I could have moved out of the way, but I was mad that he’d targeted me as an “easy mark” and stood my ground. Or maybe I hoped it would knock the wind out of me so I’d get to sit out rest of the game on the sidelines. However it happened, the end result was immensely satisfying. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 May 7, 2017 / 12:25 pm

        Ah! that’s a great story Joan. I feel with you and for you on the underdog position and getting your own back. Great work on the new form you’ve introduced to us and the story itself.😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joyce Robinson May 7, 2017 / 9:34 am

    Love it. Many of us have been in that position.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 7, 2017 / 11:28 am

      Karma in action is a beautiful thing to watch. I wonder if Donald still remembers that day as clearly as I do? 🙂


  3. Tippy Gnu May 7, 2017 / 10:40 am

    I can really relate to this poem, as I was always the one chosen last also. But one year, in baseball, I practised a long time at catching fly balls. Then in a real game I caught a fly ball and astounded everyone. It was one of those little life lessons that showed me what I could accomplish if I put my mind to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 7, 2017 / 11:22 am

      This was more like Karma crashing into me and me holding onto it for all I was worth. My dad would have said “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while” but I held that nut like the trophy it was. And let’s just say pop flies stopped flying into left field after that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Quirky Girl May 7, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    What a great little story! Serves that jerk Donald right. Hooray for a happy ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 9, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      Thanks, Quirky. I don’t have to ride a horse down a mountain to put my life in jeopardy! hee hee 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quirky Girl May 9, 2017 / 5:45 pm

        And for that, you should consider yourself very fortunate. 😝

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Peter Klopp May 7, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    I enjoyed reading your story poem, a lovely condensation of an event full of action and emotion. Well done, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 9, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Thanks, Peter. It was one of those rare childhood moments where fate threw me the ball and I didn’t drop it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 9, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      Oh no, you too? We writer types, always with our noses in a book instead of out on the field practicing our kickball skills! Don’t worry, Marissa, your day will come. You’ll be able to turn down invitation to your high school reunion saying you’ll be on tour then and far too busy making millions and living in luxury. 🙂


  6. Shannon Noel Brady May 8, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    “she flaunts the burning imprint on her cheek like a badge of honor” – Love that line! I dreaded gym too. Team sports were the bane of my existence. You getting Donald out was a victory for bookworms everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 9, 2017 / 5:45 pm

      Thanks, Noel. That was my favorite line, too. You could see the pattern of the rubber on my cheek for a week! Getting Donald out was like messing with Mafia though, I worried I might be headed for a swim with the fishes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. L. T. Garvin, Author May 10, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Oh my goodness, Joan. This was so vivid. It also took me back to gym class and playing dodge ball. The boys threw that ball so hard, and every now and then, I would catch one, and yes, the reeling, clutching it to the chest! This is truly a great snippet brought to life. Very well done, my friend, and thank you so much for the shout out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 10, 2017 / 9:07 pm

      Thanks, Lana. It was definitely a no-mercy game where the force of the ball could’ve knocked the wind out of me. Luckily, I lived to tell the tale. The shout-out is well-deserved, there is a lot of great stuff on your site! 🙂


  8. T. Wayne May 14, 2017 / 12:03 am

    Locally, we have an adult kickball league, and I’ve avoided playing like the plague. I have been asked, but have always declined. However, I did play quite a bit when I was younger, and I was always in the outfield too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 14, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      I don’t blame you, T Wayne. I had to have my arm twisted, even as a child, to get me to play. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. uapsnu July 4, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    I wrote my own narrative poem on the theme of a Hero; it begins…

    O what dreamers young boys often are:
    My son once thought he’d be a movie star:
    A notion that began on that fateful day
    His teacher said, “You’re starring in a play!”
    He was so excited to have the leading part
    In that silly school production, bless his heart,
    That he practised each line as hard as any pro!
    Perhaps it would be fine; he’d steal the show;
    And his goofy grin – what father could deny
    His son the chance to spread his wings and fly?
    “I play the hero!” He told each soul he knew,
    Convinced his shining dreams were coming true.

    His big day came; his mum and I were there;

    Liked by 1 person

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