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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November challenge - deadline change

The deadline for the November challenge has been changed to November 23. That will give everyone a little more time to write a poem designed to meet the challenge. Read the rules in the previous post.


Friday, November 1, 2013

November 2013 Poetry Challenge

I recently participated in a poetry workshop in Door County, Wisconsin. During one of our free afternoons, there was a poetry reading featuring D.B. Appleton at the public library in Sister Bay. I enjoyed listening to his work. Much of it was light-hearted and witty. Mr. Appleton gave me permission to use his poem, “Roses,” on this blog.


I never understood roses—
exquisitely scented blossoms
of every shade and hue,
those vicious thorns on the stems . . .
so tell me,
who on earth would want to steal the stems?

~ D.B. Appleton

This poem is the property of DB (Dennis) Appleton. Please do not violate his copyright by republishing the poem or distributing copies without his permission.

D.B. Appleton splits his time between Madison and Sister Bay.  A transplanted NYC native, his editorial writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper's, The Economist and Newsweek, among other very accommodating publications. 

November Poetry Challenge:

No, the challenge for November is not to write about roses, though for those of us in cold weather climates, it might bring back happy memories of warmer days. The challenge for November comes from Appleton’s first line. What is it that you never understood? Your poem can be humorous or serious. Perhaps you don’t understand why your grandparents moved to (or from) Kansas, why members of the U.S. Congress have so much trouble  working together, or why so many people prefer the automobile to other more environmentally-friendly transportation. Perhaps you don’t understand why your husband snores more loudly on those nights when you need more sleep.

Submit only one poem. Your poem can be free or formal verse. If you submit a form poem, please specify the form. The deadline is November 23. Poems submitted after the November 23 deadline will not be considered. Copyright on each poem is retained by the poet.

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, you may submit it if you retain copyright, but 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”. Be sure to provide your e-mail address. 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. Also, please do not use spaces instead of commas in the middle of lines. I have no problem with using those techniques; I sometimes use them myself. However I have difficulty getting the blog to accept and maintain those features.

I look forward to reading your poem!

© 2013 Wilda Morris