Once upon a time…in an ancient kingdom…

While the Courtiers were squabbling over what kind of wall should be constructed,

A herald entered and announced that the Emperor was grieving because

His eldest son was suffering from many ailments, but mostly from 

Gremlins and Trolls who had entered the Castle illegally 

Because the border was unprotected.

(The Emperor was also saddened because the Empress would not let him 

Touch her hand).

The Emperor ordered ThreePence, one of the Court Jesters, to construct a Wall of 

Emeralds and Rubies that would not only block the Trolls and Gremlins,

But blind them with brilliant shine (The Emperor loved shiny things).

ThreePence ordered the demonic Fata Morgana to come up with a scheme

To build and pay for The Wall.  Fata suggested (really hypnotized) the Emperor

To order that no one in the Kingdom be paid till The Wall was built. 

The Emperor, his son and ThreePence cheered…till they realized 

That if no one was paid, no one would work, no one would eat

(Except, of course, for The Emperor, The Empress, their son

And the Courtiers).  This saddened all.

Then Fata Morgana conjured a Mirage of The Wall that was reflected in the River

And the Sky, high above it.  The Courtiers rejoiced.  The son of The Emperor

Was no longer plagued by Gremlins and Trolls.  The son realized

That he could seek friends right here at home in the Castle

And not halfway around the world.

And to the amazement of all, the Demon, Fata Morgana, was transformed into

Princess Pellagrino, the most beautiful of Princesses.

(And The Empress even relented, and let The Emperor touch her hand).

By Bernard Block


  • Bernard Block was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and attended Cornell University and Brooklyn College. He hitch-hiked to California in 1965 and lived in the Haight-Ashbury through 1967 where he gave poetry readings at the I and Thou Coffee Shop, North Beach coffee houses and Golden Gate Park. He returned to NYC and studied with the poet Colette Inez in the mid '70's. He earned his living as a caseworker with the Bureau of Child Welfare in New York City (he is now retired). Bernard has read at all the major spoken-word venues in NYC. He has presented his poetry in venues in Philadelphia, Columbia, SC and Asheville, NC. In August, 2014 he was invited to feature in Laugharne, South Wales in celebration of the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. Bernard curates and hosts the Series “From Whitman to Ginsberg” at Cornelia St. Café. There have been 21 editions of this Series; the most recent was presented on September 28, 2018. All 21 editions were videotaped and can be accessed on his YouTube Channel. He has had 38 poems published in the prestigious European on-line literary journal Levure Littéraire #8, #9 and #12 (Editors: Rodica Draghincescu; Erika Dagnino). Five of Bernard's poems appear in the French/English literary journal Recours au Poème (Editor: Marilyne Bertoncini) with French translation by Elizabeth Brunazzi. In an article in this journal regarding the NYC poetry scene, Ms. Brunazzi devotes a significant discussion to Bernard's poetry and his organizing role on that scene. Bernard Block’s book of poetry "Am I My Brother’s Keeper?" has been released by Dark Light Publishing. This is a bilingual edition, English/Spanish, with evocative translations by the eminent Mexican poet, Roberto Mendoza Ayala. It is available on Amazon and from the author: [email protected]