Short story: Before we fall in love



If I could, I would turn our love on its head: the disappointment, work-a-day and humdrum would be over and done with first.

At the river the tide would go out, and the stinking mud would make plain its dirty treasure; it would rain, you would catch a chill and I would be unsympathetic,

Before we fell in love.

I would try, and fail, to mend that hole in the roof and you would refuse to hold the ladder, because you had better things to do,

Before we fell in love

Before we fall in love.


Does this count as a poem? If so, it might be my first ever.

For those who don’t know how Friday Fictioneers works, this picture (this time supplied by B.W. Beacham) is our inspiration for our weekly online writing group hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Each story is only about 100 words long, so why not read a few others: click here to read some more or to join in.

And please comment below with any suggestions on mine, or just to show you’ve visited.

49 thoughts on “Short story: Before we fall in love

  1. Yes of course it counts as a poem.. many prose count as poem, but using techniques as repetitions make it excellent.. I always try to read it aloud to check the scansion. The woulds make it intriguing,., and the metaphors of the hole in the roof and the ladder… so in all I count it as poem, and as prose…


  2. HA! I promise I didn’t read yours before I wrote, but I, too, tried my hand at something between prose & poetry, and asked the same question — is this poetry?
    I like the new look of your blog, by the way. And your poem/prose was very effective. I enjoyed it.


  3. Not what I expected from you, Claire: a lack of Rex is always a disappointment! On a more serious note, full marks for having the bravado to try your hand at proetry/prosetry (whatever it’s called). I also like repetition in this sort of piece. Good job.

    ps. Bring back Rex!


  4. Claire, this is beautiful, no matter what form the reader thinks it is. It’s very poetic and the sentiment is something I imagine many people have thought before, albeit not so wonderfully expressed. Kudos.



      • True. I think that too often we don’t think about what will happen when we just love and aren’t ‘in love.” The mundane and everyday tend to be with us always; the intense emotions tend to fade. What we do after that is what determines what happens to our relationships.



  5. Claire,
    I don’t know that I would term it poetry just yet, although there is always that question. Short prose can often morph into poetic prose. Then again, some Jim Crace novels are more poetic than anything I’ve every read on an online poetry board.

    I love the sentiment here. The form you use reminds me to some extent of a haibun, traditionally an Asian form of travel log. I think you could hone this into a beautiful haibun with very little effort. It seems to me that falling in love and the road that follows is a journey.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  6. I think it’s a poem in its metaphor of the flowing river like the flowing of a relationship and of love. We wish the river would flow backwards instead of forwards, back to the happy innocent times at the beginning. Well, even if it’s not a poem, it’s poetic!


  7. Claire, Good piece. I’m not an expert on poetry by any means, but I liked this It had a flow to it. Only in imagination and/or dreams can we go back and it’s probably for the best. Well written. 🙂



  8. Yes, I think you could categorize this as a prose poem. But regardless of any categorization, it’s a poignant and brilliant observation of love’s stages. Well done!


  9. Dear Claire,

    I judge a work by how it feels when I read it and this is definitely a poem and a work of art. You will look back on this years from now and count it among your friends. It is, like most beautiful things, simple and elegant and powerful. I love the way it flows off the tongue and make the reader think and reread and wonder. Well done, well done, well done.




  10. It’s poetic prose and beautifully done. It’s also poetry and prose and reads equally well. I liked the last two lines – and those contrasting words ‘fell’/’fall’ that can change the path of a relationship.


  11. Dear Claire,

    I love the idea of addressing those mundane things we don’t think about when we fall in love. It’s so easy to be disillusioned later and grow apart. Tenderly and beautifully written. One of my favorites so far.




  12. Hi! I don’t know if it would count as a poem. Poetry and I don’t get on very well, never seemed to grasp it. Go by what others in the know say, they will know a ot more than me. I’m prose all the way! Sorry, I nearly forgot – I enjoyed your storetry (a cross between a story and poetry – I just made the word up 😉 )


  13. Yes, it’s a poem. There is that 3D quality when thoughts are more complex and compacted than in prose and where the sounds of the words have a greater proportion of importance than in prose. Sorry, that’s not very clear, but it’s poetry.


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