Rhyming Stories

Narrative Poetry is making a comeback with the use of the term ‘Rhyming Stories’ and, being a big fan, I am cheering. Recently an internet based writing support group , NYCMidnight, held an international competition with some very specific rules:

  • Participants were divided into groups of 36 or so, with each group given a different genre, theme and emotion.
  • The work was to be less than 600 words and completed in less than 8 days.
  • Full details of the competition are available here NYCMidnight
  • Successful competitors will progress to Round 2 in December which is 500 words and 3 days and then to Round 3 in February which is 300 words and 2 days.

The details were released at midnight (NY time) on Friday 23rd September and work began. My genre was FairyTale/Fantasy, my theme was Recklessness and my emotion was Amazement.

There were over 3,000 participants, so I don’t expect to progress to the next level, but it was fun to do and the challenge certainly had my creative juices flowing. It has also given me the incentive to revisit other narrative poetry I have written in the past, so look out for more as I will publish them here.

So, here’s my Rhyming Story – hope you enjoy it!


Once upon a time
There was a forest, far away,
The vines grew thick, the light was dim,
No bird or beast was seen within,
A haunting silence ushered in
The dark, at end of day.

For there, inside the forest’s might
A dome concealed a place of light,
Of food and joy and all delight
Old Rhyn, the witch, created.
One last thing that she desired,
A girl to share what she acquired,
She tricked an artist who had sired
A child called Angelique.

The forest kept its secret well
For ten long years they would dwell
And there Rhyn taught her every spell,
Every curse and potion.
The forest creatures had all fled,
The birds had heard what had been said,
And as the artist lay abed,
They told him what had happened.

He dreamed the words ‘go and seek
A forest, haunted, dark and bleak
And there you’ll find your Angelique
Your child so wrongly taken.’
And so, one night the artist came
His eyes were dull, one leg was lame
He hobbled on an ancient cane
And told his tale of woe.

‘I gambled recklessly and lost
I wanted fame, but what the cost?
I tried, too late, to double cross
The price was Angelique.
He drew for them her lovely face
Described her gentleness and grace
‘She disappeared without a trace,
Now I’m too old to find her.’

And all who saw were mesmerised,
The easel’s message undisguised,
The portrait’s spell had energised,
The crowd to set her free.
‘Look for a dome,’ the artist cried,
And there you’ll find her safe inside,
And bring her to my dying side,
I’ve no more strength to live.’

The old folks slowed and fell behind,
Their path was blocked as vines entwined,
The girls and womenfolk confined,
Imprisoned in a maze.
But still the reckless, wild young men,
Began to race and chase and then
They halted, still - then crept again
Towards a wide abyss.

Their faces showed their dumbstruck awe
Dismayed with shocked surprise and more,
Amazed to see the forest floor
Disappear before them.
‘What trick is this?’ the lads exclaimed
‘What magic lurks? What force untamed?’
And suddenly they were ashamed
Of heedless, careless action.

Young Will spoke up, his voice was clear
‘I feel there is a presence here
Of some great beauty, very near,
And, yes! I see the dome!’
They crawled away from certain death
And climbed the dome until their breath
Was laboured and they’d lost their strength
They couldn’t find the door.

They lay exhausted on the dome
So close, so far and so alone
And weary, turned their thoughts to home
Defeated in their mission.
But Will stayed on, his heart aflame
As days made weeks and all the same,
He never faltered in his aim,
And then he saw the door!

He slipped inside, the world was bright
A paradise of all delight
The girl among the flowers a sight
That stole his heart away.
She saw him too, her heart did soar
They scrambled quickly through the door
Their love was sealed forever more
In that first brief encounter.

‘But wait,’ she said, ‘I have a spell
Forever here the witch will dwell
I waited, knew you’d come, please tell
Me that my father lives.’
‘Yes, hurry now, we must away,’
And on the evening of that day
Will brought her home and there to stay
With happy ever afters.


Well, I didn’t expect to progress to Round 2 but ANGELIQUE was chosen in the top 8 poems of my group. There are 704 people in Round 2 and again they are divided into groups of 35 or so. Round 2 kicked off on December 2, 2022 at 3pm and we had 3 days to write our new poems. This time we had these parameters Genre Drama, Theme Independence, Emotion Regretfulness. Our poems had to be less than 500 words and written in three days. Again, writers within the group will be competing against each other to move to the next (final) round.

Round 2 winners will be announced at the end of January and Round 3 takes place Feb 2-4, 2023. So here is my Round 2 entry…


She left the highway lights behind,
A big decision on her mind,
I should retire, life’s too confined
To work these nursing shifts.
No man, no kids, just my own calm,
I’ll buy a dog, enjoy the farm,
At sixty it would do no harm
To be more independent.

Her thoughts and mind were occupied
She pushed the farmhouse door in wide
Then shuddered as she stepped inside
Frozen to the core.
The bacon smell, the greasy fear
The stench of desperation here
The force of metal to her ear
He threw her to the floor.

Facedown, his knee upon her back,
He tied her hands, took up the slack
Her shotgun used in this attack
She should have locked it up.
She shouted, struggled, tried to fight
The rope around her ankles tight
She blinked as he turned on the light
His laugh was unexpected.

‘I thought you were a man,’ he jeered
‘The size of you’, his small eyes peered,
‘You must be six foot,’ then he sneered,
‘You’re just a tall old lady.’
He wore her workpants and her shoes,
Strong, young arms with two tattoos,
Her mind replayed the morning news
An escapee from prison.

‘Drive south’, he said, picked up the gun,
‘Perfect mother, perfect son,
Together we’ll fool everyone,
I couldn’t ask for more.
No trouble, right? I’ll put you here’,
He tapped the trunk and saw her fear,
Her panic made it very clear,
The trunk was her Achilles.

The highway stretched for miles complete, 
Her captor sprawled across the seat,
The gun was pointed at her feet,
‘In case I have to use it.’
He dozed, she drove, the gun a threat,
Her mind was flooded with regret 
Of love that she could not forget,
Of chances never taken.

And though he seemed to be asleep
He conjured memories from the deep,
And in his silence, he could weep
For choices poorly taken.	
This is my chance he softly calls, 
To live outside of prison walls
And grab for life before it stalls, 
To live in independence.

Two hours passed and then she saw
The petrol gauge showed nothing more,
‘We’ll have to stop,’ she said, ‘I’m sure,’
We’re running out of gas.’
And soon they saw the welcome light,
The lonely depot lit the night,
The lone attendant heard their plight 
And filled their tank and chatted.

‘We’ve been up country, Mum and me
My sister’s children there to see,’ 
And as he talked, she worked to free
The gun… and then she sprang.
Her scream was loud, the pump boy fled
She aimed the gun and then she said.
‘Raise your hands, or else you’re dead,
It’s MY gun and I’ll use it!’

She had the key, the trunk was wide
She pointed and he climbed inside,
She slammed the lid and then she cried
‘You picked the wrong old lady!’

You might notice that I used the same rhyming scheme as ANGELIQUE. That is because I found the rhyming pattern added some urgency to the reading. You will also notice that the characters are just ‘he’ and ‘she’ -with only 482 words here, every word counts! What you probably don’t know is that this story is based in fact. Ian’s cousin Judith was abducted by an escapee from Goulburn Gaol in 1981 and forced to drive him to Melbourne. It was certainly dramatic, though I changed the ending in the interests of good story telling (and brevity). This newspaper clipping has the facts. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/127065911