Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 2016 Poetry Challenge - A Passion

These China cups belonged to my husband's grandmother.

I read part of the following poem on for January 31, 2016. It is a website I recommend.

To a Lady on Her Passion for Old China (excerpt)

What ecstasies her bosom fire!
How her eyes languish with desire!
How blest, how happy should I be,
Were that fond glance bestow'd on me!
New doubts and fears within me war:
What rival's near? A china jar.

   China's the passion of her soul;
A cup, a plate, a dish, a bowl,
Can kindle wishes in her breast,
Inflame with joy, or break her rest.

   Some gems collect; some medals prize,
And view the rust with lover's eyes;
Some court the stars at midnight hours;
Some dote on Nature's charms in flowers!
But ev'ry beauty I can trace
In Laura's mind, in Laura's face;
My stars are in this brighter sphere,
My lily and my rose is here.

   Philosophers more grave than wise
Hunt science down in Butterflies;
Or fondly poring on a Spider
Stretch human contemplation wider;
Fossiles give joy to Galen's soul,
He digs for knowledge, like a mole;
In shells so learn'd that all agree
No fish that swims knows more than he!
In such pursuits if wisdom lies,
Who, Laura, shall thy taste despise?

~ John Gay

This poem is in the public domain. You may read the rest of it at

John Gay (1685-1732) was best known for The Beggar’s Opera, in which he satirized the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. Gay was a was a poet as well as a dramatist, and a friend of Alexander Pope. Despite his difficulties with the government (including attempted suppression of the Polly, the sequel to The Beggar’s Opera), he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

A passion for China cups or Star Wars? For railroad trains or ancient coins? For penguins or pandas? For butterflies or bread-baking? Knitting or newspapers? What is your passion? What are the passions of your friends, kinfolk, acquaintances?

The February 2016 Poetry Challenge

Write about your passion for something or the passion of someone else. Gay’s poem turns out to be a more about his passion for Laura, if I read it correctly, but for this challenge, no poems about physical passion.  

Your poem may be formal or free verse. If you use a form, please specify the form. Unless your poem is haiku (which probably would not work very well for this challenge), it should be titled.

Poems already published in books, or published 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. Only one poem per poet, please.

The deadline is February 19 [Since the challenge was not posted until February 4, the deadline is later in the month than usual]. Poems submitted after the February 19 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.

Copyright on each poem is retained by the poet. If a winning poem is published elsewhere later, please give credit to this blog.

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 (no pdf files, please). 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.

Poems shorter than 40 lines are generally preferred. 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