Cast your vote for your favourite poems in the Anthology of the SDMB Poetry Sweatshop - Sept. 2010

It is 8 AM, MDT - the September 2010 Poetry Sweatshop will close an hour from now. In the meantime, I will start posting the poems I’ve received thus far, and I’ll start the poll at 9 AM.

Past poets (and I) have greatly appreciated people’s comments and feedback on the works presented here. I have one simple request - please wait one hour until the Sweatshop officially ends at 9 AM before posting anything else. That way, the first replies are all just the poems. After 9 AM - yes, please, we welcome your input!

I just want to emphasize the importance of voting - the poets are depending for an outside opinion of their work. The poll is by secret ballot, so no one need ever know how you voted. As we did for the last few months, I will make this a multiple choice poll.

Please note that the poll is seeking your favourite poem - no special knowledge of poetry required. Whichever poems strike a chord with you, please give them your vote. And, though the choice will be difficult, please take the time to choose at least one poem.

I also want to mention that because of our current working method, all of the following poems will be posted under my user name, which may lead people to think that I am trying to claim authorship. Only one of the following poems is mine - the authors’ names may be found in the spoiler boxes at the bottom of each reply.

The three words this month are:


And so, allow me to present our poets’ work for this August…

Thirty-seven years ago,
I came into this world;
Thirty-seven years ago,
into this world was hurled.
My Mother, my Father, my sister, my brother
Strove as one, looking out for each other.

But times change, and hearts get broken;
And before long, less words were spoken;
Regardless of that, unseen and unknown,
Death waits for us all, to claim as his own.

Sixty-seven years ago,
My Grandmother gave birth;
Sixty-seven years ago,
My Father came to Earth.
He laughed and sometimes he cried,
And he chose my Mother to be his lovely bride.

But times change, and troubles arise;
And many times, we’d look to the skies;
Begging for hope, and change that would last,
And Death still converging, the die had been cast.

Fifty-one years ago,
My Father had his first pet.
Fifty-one years ago,
A pattern had been set.
The bark of the dog, the purr of the cat
The warm toasty glow where all of them sat.

The day that he died,
My Father gasped for breath and tried to speak;
He tried to tell me something that was meaningful
But his body turned out to be too weak.
They took the phone away from his ear,
But they swear the last words they could hear:

I love you
I love you
I love you

The funerary service was meager and small,
Not nearly the epic I hoped for at all.
But that was my Father, he liked to blend in;
The greatest memorial was hosted within.


The rented sedan rolls sleek and quiet; a purr of engine and a low crackle
As the wheels pass slowly over drying leaves.
We press among the pack of graceless shamblers plodding
Zombified as we approach the gate.
Converging as singularities randomly united by chance connection,
Emerging through the choke as constituents
Of some larger insensible thing.

We form a column and go stately forward,
As if ceremony was essential and important.
As if the crucial actions weren’t already spent,
Impossible to correct, unalterable and final.


Two funerary omens,
their paths converging,


He stoops to stroke
her arched back.


Boney hand on jet black fur
a yin and yang.


Caught, my heart freezes
breath stops at their glares.


Extend my hand for trust, approach.
I scratch Death between the shoulders.


A sound like hangers in an empty closet.
He stretches, walks on and turns.


Le Ministre de l’au-delà

He stood alone in the hush of the drawing room
he already knew, of course; for who did not?
the news already flashing around the world
the proud heraldic banner on the roof already at half-staff
so little time to mourn, to ponder, on this day long-awaited
with a lifetime of service, of patience, now to change forever.
The portraits on the walls seemed to look down at him
his ancestors illustrious and scandalous, bewigged and powdered
now the weight of history palpable, both a comfort and a curse;
almost - almost - could he hear the purr of an approaching limousine
the crunch of the gravel driveway, a white-gloved hand opening a black door
soon would come the converging of presidents, potentates and prime ministers
joined together in all the great funerary rites of state.

Now came the soft step of the courtier, now the firm knock at the door
he squared his shoulders, cleared his throat
and prepared to hear what he knew he must
a quiet official voice to announce his succession
then soon the masses to gather, declaring as one
“The King is dead; long live the King!”

Elendil’s Heir

And with the establishment of the poll, that closes the September 2010 Poetry Sweatshop. Enjoy the spontaneous work of some very talented people!

And then, please, cast a vote for one or more poems.

Interesting - nobody has voted for more than one poem.

That’s odd - I could have sworn that somewhere in the first two or three votes cast, somebody voted for two. I must have imagined it, though - 11 voters, 11 votes.

Speaking of which, we have just over 24 hours. Please, if you haven’t already done so, cast a vote for your favourite poem(s).

The poll has closed, bringing the September 2010 SDMB Poetry Sweatshop to an end. First, I’d like to give a warm thanks and congratulations to our poets. ** Cuckoorex, xenophon41, Le Ministre de l’au-delà** and Elendil’s Heir, take a well deserved bow.

The poem ‘Chance encounter’ was chosen as the favourite and so, I have the honour of presenting myself, Le Ministre de l’au-delá, as the Poet Laureate of the SDMB. Many thanks!

I’d like to once again thank the Mods for their ongoing support of these contests. Thank you, too, to all who read and voted.

Best wishes,

Le Ministre de l’au-delá

LOL. I wondered if that would be awkward to post. Congratulations Minister!

Nice poems, all, and especially congrats to you, Le Ministre. (Gracefully done announcement, per usual standards!)

Well, I confess, it does feel strange to have to congratulate yourself in public.
On a slightly different topic - I would like to try running the Poetry Sweatshops every other month, with the Short Story contest in the months in between. I promised in the NaNoWriMo thread a while back that I would run another Short Story contest in October. I’m therefore considering having the next Poetry Sweatshop in late November.

I’m thinking of this partly because of my own time constraints - it’s a rather busy year for me, career wise. I’m also thinking we might get more participants, readers and voters if the Sweatshops/Contests were a little less frequent.

What do the rest of you think? As always, I’m open to your suggestions.

I’d love to find a way to encourage participation and feedback. One thing I’ve noticed in this forum is that there’s lots of enthusiasm and a high level of creativity in the unstructured limerick and haiku threads, or in threads where poetry spontaneously erupts. (One of the features that keep me returning to the 'Dope.)

I wonder how it would work if you removed the time limit, gave the “seed” words in the OP and started a poll whenever we got to some arbitrary number n poems, whether that took a day or a week? It’d take some of the impartiality and structure out of the contest, but would still allow poets to “stretch” a little and I bet we’d see a lot more poems and much more commentary.

Cheers, jeers and sneers should all be welcome. I’ll take some level of snark over no comments at all combined with a week of polling and a dozen or so votes.

This format might make it less time consuming for you to manage also, Le Ministre. Not sure that it would work for short fiction contests, but I think it’s worth trying for the poetry.
*[sub]…that conform to Cafe Society forum rules, of course.[/sub]

Congrats, Ministre! I like the current format and have no changes to suggest - only sorry the vote rate was so low this time around.