Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 2013 Poetry Challenge: I Don't Understand

Mike Bayles and his Cavalier Spaniel

D. B. Appleton, whose witty poem about roses provided the example for the November Poetry Challenge served as the judge this month. He selected two winners. About the first, “Cutting Circles,” Appleton said, “A lovely poem---the language flows, the line breaks are effective, a very poetic poem (if that makes any sense).”

Cutting Circles

I don’t understand this dog of mine,
how he chases his tail, huffing
and cutting circles in the floor.
He dances in front of me.

I don’t understand why he chases
squirrels when I take him for a walk.
They always go up trees, leaving him
while I hold his leash.

I don’t understand why he sits
in front of me eagerly
when I want to eat alone,
and his bowl is full.

When I go to my room to write
he follows me up the stairs
and lies behind me, watching while I work.

~ Mike Bayles

Mike Bayles, a lifelong Midwest resident, is the author of Threshold, a book of poetry. His poetry is widely published, and credits include The Rockford Review, Lyrical Iowa, Out Loud Anthology and Coffee-ground Breakfast. Since losing his apartment earlier this year, he has been living with a Cavalier Spaniel.

About the second winning poem, Mr. Appleton commented, “Much to like here.  The clever title with its multiple meanings; the numerically balanced syllabic structure that playfully belies the writer's contention of not getting arithmetic; the mathematical vocabulary that remains poetically legitimate.”


I can get it—
your fear of shame,
the way you count
the tiny slights
of friends, subtract
your value from
the humble per-
son that you are.
But what I can’t
divide from mind
is that you seem
to multiply
the hurts delib-
erately in
violent ways
to bring the sum
of punishment
down on yourself.
I do not get

~Julia Rice

Julia Rice is a retired English teacher and Chicago lawyer.  She is spending her retirement playing with poetry.

Congratulations to the two winners, and thanks to others who entered. There were other poems that came very close. Remember that poets whose work is posted on this blog own copyright to their poems. Please do not distribute copies without their consent.

The next challenge will be posted at the beginning of December.

© Wilda Morris