Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 2015 Poetry Challenge - A Poem Involving Makeup

Photo by Kathy Marie Penrod    

According to Wikipedia, “The history of cosmetics spans at least 6000 years and is present in almost every society on earth.” Some archaeological evidence suggests that the use of makeup dates back 10,000 years. There is no doubt that it was used in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece.

Matthew Prior (1664-1721), an English diplomat and poet noted for his wit, wrote this poem.

Phyllis’s Age
How old may Phyllis be, you ask,
Whose beauty thus all hearts engages?
To answer is no easy task;
For she has really two ages.

Stiff in brocard, and pinch'd in stays,
Her patches, paint, and jewels on;
All day let envy view her face;
And Phyllis is but twenty-one.

Paint, patches, jewels laid aside,
At night astronomers agree,
The evening has the day belied;
And Phyllis is some forty-three.
~ Matthew Prior (1664 – 1721)

This poem is in the public domain.

My makeup poem, published in Free Verse, 92 (2007) took a different turn:


The cop had to admit
the corpse
had a beautiful face

eye liner
shimmering lipstick
cheeks red with rouge

all applied
as she drove
seventy miles per hour

~ Wilda Morris

The title poem of William Marr’s book, Autumn Window, is somewhat more subtle regarding the use of cosmetics.

Autumn Window

Now that she is middle-aged, my wife
likes to stand before the window
and comb her hair

Her only makeup is a trace of cloud
the landscape of a graceful
poised maturity

~ William Marr

From Autumn Window (Arbor Hill Press, 199 6), p. 109. This poem is published in Chinese, French and English in Marr’s book, Sérénade de Chicago (Ėditions Instutitut Culturel de Solenzara, 2015).

A Couple of Relevant Poems Online:

Rabaya, “Ode to Makeup” (poem by a teenager), http://www.teenink.com/poetry/all/article/123538/Ode-to-Makeup/.

September Challenge – A Makeup/Cosmetic Poem

The Challenge for September is to write a poem in which makeup (cosmetics) plays a role. No tattoo poems this month, please.

The deadline is September 15. Poems submitted after the September 15 deadline will not be considered. There is no charge to enter, so there are no monetary rewards; however winners are published on this blog. Please don’t stray too far from “family-friendly” language. No simultaneous submissions, please. You will know by the end of the month whether or not your poem will be published on this blog. Your poem may be free or formal verse. If you use a form, please specify the form when you submit. Decision of the judge or judges is final.

Poems published in books or on the Internet (including Facebook and other on-line social networks) are not eligible. If your poem has been published in a print periodical, you may submit it if you retain copyright, but please include publication data.

Copyright on each poem is retained by the poet. Winning poems remain on the Internet on this blog, but you can offer reprint rights to other publishers a month after your poem has been posted here.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send one poem only to wildamorris[at]ameritech[dot]net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for “dot”) . Include a brief bio which can be printed with your poem, if you are a winner this month.

Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog if it is a winner, so be sure that you put your name (exactly as you would like it to appear if you do win) at the end of the poem. Poems may be pasted into an email or sent as an attachment. Please do not indent the poem or center it on the page. It helps if you submit the poem in the format used on the blog (Title and poem left-justified; title in bold (not all in capital letters); your name at the bottom of the poem). Also, please do not use spaces instead of commas in the middle of lines. I have no problem with poets using that technique; I sometimes do it myself. However I have difficulty getting the blog to accept and maintain extra spaces.

I prefer receiving poems in the body of your email. If I have questions about format of the winning poem or poems, I will contact the poet.

Poems shorter than 40 lines are generally preferred, though longer poems will be considered. Also, if lines are too long, they don’t fit in the blog format and have to be split, so you might be wise to use shorter lines.

© Wilda Morris