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!
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.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'The Forest of Mannequins'
'Five Kinds of Music'
'Once Was Beautiful'