by Sue Ertl Ertl

I called her Princess Darla, my imaginary friend

The counterpane a kingdom when our playtime had no end

She thought that I was beautiful when braids made tangled crown

She was dressed in regal silk, I wore a simpler gown


Darla knew my secrets and what I dreamed to be

She never judged or criticized, she’d smile and she’d agree

Many afternoons we met for cookies and for fun

Though we hailed from different worlds, confiding made us one


Then as I grew I gradually put Darla on the shelf

I thought about our friendship less and more about myself

I didn’t take the time to share when thoughts were solely mine

And so the twinkle in her eyes began to lose their shine


And finally on a loathsome day when childish ways had fled

I thought my princess obsolete and swept her off the bed

I put her in a cardboard box and kept her there for years

Unaware that Darla’s cheeks were stained with silent tears


Dollies give their everything when children play pretend

So growing up is not a thing they clearly comprehend

And when I didn’t comb her hair or offer her a scone

Darla lost her dearest friend and she sat all alone…


Today I cleaned the attic and I found a tattered box

And there was Princess Darla sound asleep with matted locks

Memories came tumbling back of days when we shared tea

And now I wish that I had treated her more carefully


The little tot beside me peeked inside and gave a shout

She gazed upon the dusty doll and gently took her out

“Grandma, can I play with her and brush her hair a while?”

I may have just imagined it, but I saw Darla smile!   

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Writers Bio

Sue Ertl is a wife, mother and grandmother who says she writes in lieu of therapy.  She is an occasional inspirational speaker and a full time write-aholic.  She wrote her first poem at age 6 but serious poetry came much later.  She has written what she calls “Erma Bombeck” poetry for over 40 years and now children’s stories in verse flow from her pen.  Sue has published two books, "Mysterious Confetti and Other Poems for Children" and "Wit and Whimsy".   She was born and raised near the beaches of Southern California, but now calls Northern Arizona home.  

Inspirational ImageOnce Was Beautiful by SD Randby SD Rand

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'The Forest of Mannequins'
by Briana Forney

'Five Kinds of Music'
by Harmony Hodges

'Once Was Beautiful'
by Agnes Clarke

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