Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 2011 Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Kongyin, who won the May poetry challenge. This is the first time the same poet has won two months in a row. The consulting judge, Floridian David Roth, explained his decision, saying, “I suspect that it was the little bit of whimsy in the ending that appealed to my softer, gentler side.”

Marissa, Where Are You?

“Marissa! Marissa!
Where are you?”
Mom searched the bedroom.
“Ah, no, Marisa isn’t hiding in the wardrobe
as usual,
wearing my favorite white dress,
pretending to be the princess of the ball.”

“Marissa! Marissa!
Where are you?”
Mom examined the basement.
“Ah, no, Marisa isn’t riding her toy car
as usual,
hitting her dad's bookcase.”

“Marissa! Marissa!
Where are you?”
Mom rummaged around the bathroom.
Ah, no, Marisa isn’t hiding there as usual,
holding the glass jar, munching on candies stolen from the cupboard.”

“Marissa! Marissa!
Where on earth are you,
and where is my white dress
and your toy car
and the jar filled with chocolate almonds?”

Mom hurried into the playground
where children swing with excited screams.
Ah, what is this by the golden daffodils on the wet ground –
a dress no longer white,
a toy car stuck in the mud,
an empty candy jar?
And what else?
A little girl with messy braids
holding a slim daffodil,
“Hush, Mama,
I’m listening to the story told by the daffodils. ”

~ Kongyin

Poets retain copyright of their poems.

Thanks to the consulting judge, poet and author David (not Lee) Roth, Roth began his personal journey of words during a late night online chat sometime in the mid 1990’s. He has since gone on to complete Forcas III, the epic story of the Klingon Bet’leH tournament set in the Star Trek: the Next Generation universe; poetry collections Sometimes I Hear Voices and Alice’s Goldfinch; Christmas Eyes, a poetry chapbook with a Christmas theme; and The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven, a series of stories in tribute to his children and grandchildren. His current project is Legends of Greenbrook Park, a whimsical childhood autobiography.

David lives and writes and blogs from the relative obscurity of New Port Richey, Florida, with the love of his life, Linda, their two fur children: Ms. Skittle and the Jazzy Cat; and his mother-in-law and her pet (Kelsey the Stink-dog).


I have added some links, most recently a link to my poem, "Wild Roses," which appears in the current issue of A Prairie Journal, and a link to two Magnapoets anthologies in which my poetry appears.

The next poetry challenge will be posted on June 1.

© 2011 Wilda Morris

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Poetry Challenge

Spring has arrived and summer is on the way here in Illinois. Children don’t have to bundle up in boots, gloves and heavy coats to go outside with their friends. The playground beckons.

Sometimes we are nostalgic about playgrounds, as in the poem below:

The Playground

It happens every time.
I enter a playground
as if walking on hallowed ground.
Birds chirp, boys spring
from the jungle gym.
Little girls swing
like a fast spinning top.
Children go down
the slide in magnetic
attention, the joy
of the moment
their only thought.

If only I could
re-enter that world,
emerge anew
and let my past go.
I need to listen to the whispers
of yesterday’s ghosts,
let myself be tackled,
play freeze tag on the lawn.

With one big whoooosh
I could spring
into the frenzy of youth,
and remember how to dream

~ Caroline Johnson

From Where the Street Ends A Poetry Chaptbook, Poetry by Caroline Johnson, Paintings by Darlene Norton (Jupiter Publishing, 2010), p. 19. © Caroline Johnson. Used by permission of the author.

A less nostalgic look at a playground, more specifically at a boy on a swing, is “Playground” by Adrian Mitchell. The poem was written during the invasion of Iraq, so the boy may be a boy in a war zone. It is also possible to imagine that the child is a homeless boy in North America. The poem is posted at

Frank O’Hara looked back on the playground of his childhood in “Autobiographia Literaria,” another poem lacking in nostalgia. See

You can find two playground poems for children at Another children’s poem, “The Dragon on the Playground” has been posted at

May Challenge

The challenge for May is to write a playground poem. Your poem can be literal or metaphoric (or both). You may reflect your experience as a child on the playground or share observations/reflections as you watch children play. You may want to focus on just one piece of play equipment, such as the slide, swing or sandbox. Visit a playground—literally or in your imagination—and let a poem emerge.

You may write in free verse or in a form; if you write in a form, please specify the form used. Specify if your poem is primarily for children or for adults. The winning poem or poems will be published on this blog.

Poems published in books or on the Internet (including Facebook and other on-line social networks) are not eligible. If you poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Be sure provide your e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is January 15. Copyright on poems is retained by their authors.

© 2011 Wilda Morris