DWT Poetry Competition: First Semi-Final


Welcome to the first semi-final of our poetry competition. If you like poetry, you’ll certainly have your share of it today, as the poems below won the qualifying rounds.

The two poems with the highest number of votes today will go to the final (along with two poems from the second semi-final).

The poll will remain open for 48 hours, so make sure to read all the poems and to cast a vote for your favorite one.

1. Shapes by Tanja Cilia

Ellipse, evolute, vertex and curve,
Humdrum circle or ricochet swerve
Astroids or cusps, arcs or sectors;
What have those got to do with vectors?
Curvature, cone, Cartesian plane…
Oval, deltoid… what’s in a name?
Geoid oscillation, pedal, radial, rose…
What on earth do I know of those?
Hypocycloid, cruciform, Sierpinski carpet…
Inverse tangent or Apollonian gasket?
Snowflake, hypercube, space-time dimension
Pressured, gauged, or under tension?
Trammel of Archimedes, planes, rotations –
Congruence, right angles, equivalence relation;
Conchoid curve, Orthoptic, Lemoine hexagon,
Triangle, star or good old pentagon.
Crescent, rhombus, magatama, square,
Caustic curves, salinon, ying-yang or sphere!
About whichever’s the shape that you talk,
Basically, it’s taking a line for a walk!

2. Status Quote by Paul Fraser

My friends, my dear friends, are so very well read
They start off their sentences with “Oscar once said…”

or “To paraphrase Shaw…and “Shakespeare said it best…”
They will quote whole books with which they were impressed

They recite morning, noon and night, their capacity is amazing
They can recall an epigram for every occasion

But for once, just once, be it collectively or alone,
I wish they’d have an original idea of their own

3. The Moon is My Cradle by Emily Comer

The moon is my cradle.
Through the long night;
The stars are my handmaids,
Lending their light.
The planets, my sisters, are dancing with joy,
To see the soft slumber
Of each girl and boy.
The earth is my slippers,
Heaven’s my crown;
And the air in between is
My shimmering gown.
The sky is the page
Where my portrait is drawn;
The sun is my mother,
And I am the Dawn!

4. Charybdis and Scylla by James Cosentino

This page of stars that flies at night
And sheets of wind on which I write
And all my small attempts to love
Aim sadly low with you above

The wind is warm that breezes by
Invites my gaze toward the sky
The night is calm, the stars are set
To bed, to sleep with dreams unmet

Among these stars, I see your face
Your eyes, your lips I long to trace
The subtle curve of countless smiles
Your cheek, your laugh that e’er beguiles

And on this night, I breathe your name
Unworthy, e’en, to mouth in shame
The hint of prayer, my vulgar voice
Arrested, gagged, denied of choice

Beyond this breath, I turn away
From you, my sky, this night my day
I turn in shame, to keep you bless’d
Untainted by my crass caress

But then, your word breathes by my ear
Your whispered plea enchants me near
And witness full your holy face
Behold the glory of your grace.

Humbled, slow, comes my reply
Without a thought of reasons why
One like you might call me near
Why me, with such a loathsome fear

“You can’t mean me in your appeal
You must mean one perhaps concealed
One, perhaps, more worthy than I
More worthy of you, with nobler eye.”

“No,” speak you with tend’rest breath
“Upon my life, until my death
‘Tis you, my love, I ever call
For only you my dance enthralls.”

And then, as if my heart’s delight
Could ne’er burst more before your light
My wand’ring step obeys your voice
My tongue now free, sings out rejoice

And from this night, for all my days
You are my church wherein I pray
The holy grail that guides my fire
That lights my path, that stokes desire

5. The Invisible Entertainer by S. Winter-Hudelson

An hour before nine strikes,
He paces floors, forehead in hand.
Finally, Pianoman’s feet drag his body
to the bar

He enters Rosie’s and pours a Pabst,
Slips five-ones in his bowl
And slides behind the spinet,
seen by none.

Fingers leap-frog ivories
And tunes fight smoke
Begging for claps
rarely heard.

He croons “Moon River”
Then a version in jazz to self-amuse
A lone fan cheers,
most are numb.

Wobbling, slobbering bejeweled old fools
Stuff ten spots in tip bowl
And request words and music
he knows not.

Breasts pressing his arm,
Two too red lips exhale stench to
Breathy beer strains of sexy songs
known to most.

A stupored couple staggers toward the stage
Holding more than dancing.
When beat and step don’t match,
neither cares.

The crowd, drowned in liquor downed long ago,
And four hours crawl to an end.
He covers the keys and rotely winds the cord
to his mic.

He exits stage left,
The bill-brimming bowl
Tucked under his arm,
his sole reward.

6. A Rueful Host by Ben Winter

Commuting through rich humus soil with little sound,
An earthworm toils to aerate his fertile ground;
But up above, alert to Red Worm slight mistake,
Red Robin hops in search for tender prey to take.

Safe down below the Red Worm dines on loamy feast,
But soon must rise and brave the world of savage beast.
And Robin waits while Red Worm dines through earthy night,
More suited to dark solitude than world of light.

But instinct soon abides to render creature fate,
And each would venture forth to meet with tragic date.
For bird and worm must each pursue his normal fare,
While unfair gain holds forth for this unlikely pair.

Strait way the worm comes vis a vis to feral eyes,
Too late, undone, Red Worm becomes Red Robin prize.
For lowly worm must serve when come to banquet fest;
At once a rueful host and also favored guest.

7. Untitled by Brandon Cooper

A print upon the sodden dirt,
Natures posture forlorn no more,
I’ve come with wonder to see what I may,
Absconded life’s lethargic bore.

Walk O’ walk and never stop,
Keep your head upon a disc,
Let the wind control where you may look,
Only fear that beauty you may miss.

It’s not the same, it never was,
Walk with zeal 10,000 times,
A myriad of shadows cover different days,
Every one through a different eye.

I’ve never seen the winters jeer;
The rain follows with auspicious beat,
I’ve never traversed through the fulgent moon,
Ground trembled beneath aged feet,

It wont be the same, it never will,
Not if walked 10,000,000 times,
A myriad of whispers expose false lies,
Every one told countless times,

So Walk O’ walk and never stop,
Keep your head upon a disc,
For the wind will control where you may look,
Only fear that beauty you may miss.

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5 thoughts on “DWT Poetry Competition: First Semi-Final”

  1. Fantastic reading! Great job, all ~

    The Moon is My Cradle is still my favorite. Emily, I hope you will look into submitting this as a picture book manuscript!

  2. amaT and others (from the previous round),
    Thank you all so much for your kind words. Even if I don’t make it any further, I have been encouraged beyond my wildest dreams.

    I would love to work on illustrating this poem, perhaps this summer or as part of a drawing or watercolour class when I go to college (I am a senior in high school right now). But I am unsure how to go about submitting the manuscript.

    Thanks once again!!

  3. #5 is in the lead? I’m speechless. Flabbergasted.

    Are you people actually reading the poems, or just voting for your friend’s submission?

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