Once Upon A Time Poem Summary

1186 Words5 Pages
Reem Osama
English- Poetry Coursework

“Once Upon a Time” by Gabriel Okara is a free verse poem. The poem is written in a first person point of view and contains irregular stanzas; the speaker could be a father addressing the poem to his ‘son’. It also lacks rhyme to convey the writer’s struggles. “Once Upon a Time” expresses the wickedness of society and discovers the feelings of people. The poem illustrates how people change over the years and become false and unreliable. The last stanza is the shortest to highlight the honesty of the speaker’s desire to return to his childhood innocence; “once upon a time when I was like you” (line 43). The poem gives the readers the feeling of pity towards grown up people in the Western society.

In the same way, the form of “Prayer Before Birth” by Louis MacNeice is written in free verse however; it is displayed as a dramatic monologue using the voice of the unborn child to convey worries and expectations. “Prayer Before Birth” is similar to “If” where
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In “Once Upon a Time” the writer uses metaphor to make readers sympathize with him as he recognizes how he changed to the worst and wants to return to his child innocence, as follows: “they used to laugh with their hearts”, “but now they only laugh with their teeth” (lines 2,4). This example also confirms how closed-off people have become due to the influence of the Western society. “I have learned to wear many faces like dresses” (line 20,21) this example of simile makes emotions seem like they’re disposable and the displays society’s obsession with appearances. Okara uses compound words to make the poem more interesting, “homeface, officeface, stressface, hostface, cocktailface” (lines 21-23). There is a use of alliteration in the following line; “hands without hearts” (line 8). Repetition of ‘shake’ and ‘laugh’ demonstrates how actions remain the same but emotions
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