The SDMB Poetry Sweatshop, Jan. 2010 - Anthology thread.

The January 2010 edition of the SDMB Poetry Sweatshop is drawing to a close, and once again, I am very impressed with the talents of the participants.

As of the posting of this thread, any new interested poets will have one hour to submit a poem.
Le Ministre de l’au-delà,
In Winnipeg,
Elendil’s Heir,
Half Man Half Wit,
The Hamster King
- I have already received your poems.

At the end of the hour, I will establish a poll in which members will have 48 hours to vote for their favourite poem.

Now that there is only one hour until the end of the Sweatshop, I can reveal the three words, which are -

(from the Random Word Generator (Plus))

(from Roget’s Thesaurus, 574.5 from a 12-sided die)

(from The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, p. 276, tenth word, also derived with a 12-sided die. One of these days, I have to find my 20-sided die…)

I will start to cut and paste the poems I have already received via e-mail. Any new entries can be posted here, or e-mailed to me. Best of luck to everyone!

That painting
above the bar - that’s

my old crony Graeme;

a shout,
after last call,
conquering death.

  • Le Ministre de l’au-delà

Before the war, he tried
his hand at painting –
a great artist, he thought
he was, with landscapes
and buildings
and flowers, a rose here,
a cathedral there,
an occasional mountain lake in
watercolors and oils…
even a Madonna and Child.

Did he paint to forget?
Did he paint to soothe
the resentment of having
a cruel father
now dead, and
the loss of a saintly mother?

“Amateurish”, they sniffed, but
he painted on
for himself, for the tourists,
to create beauty
to make a living
to earn his keep
to find acceptance.

And then the war intervened
and he learned about
the obscenity of destruction
of landscapes
and buildings
and flowers, a rose here,
a cathedral there,
an occasional mountain lake in
blood and rubble…
even a Madonna and Child.

Gassed in the trenches
and wounded
at the Somme
he became resolute and bitter,
withdrawn with only a crony or two
and took the ultimate defeat
feeling stabbed in the back, and
now thriving on the need
for revenge.

He would think on this
and brood
long hours about it
before heading out
and conquering Europe…

  • In Winnipeg

The sound of the sea through the window,
And the high rectangle of sunlight, are all that remain:
The bright piece of the sky he eagerly clings to
As his sight fails, his fingers agitating against the coverlet.

The bells in the Catalan town below begin to sound slowly.
Someone’s baptism or funeral has started,
Or perhaps just a counting of the conquering
And dwindling hours left to him.

His eyes fall to the painting of the calm woman
In the blue mantle, crony child at her breast.
Salve regina, Mater misericordiae, he whispers fiercely.
The woman nods once, slowly, but the bells do not stop.

  • maserschmidt

I’m ready to take the first step.

Conquering all the old fears

Doesn’t really seem possible

As I am surrounded by reminders.

Conquering all the old fears

Though fear has been my constant crony?

As I am surrounded by reminders,

So am I lulled by the familiar.

Though fear has been my constant crony,

It is time for painting a new path.

So am I lulled by the familiar?

The new path painted obscures the old.

It is time for painting a new path.

Washing the old fears with soft brushes,

The new path painted obscures the old.

A pentimento remains as guide and trap.
Washing the old fears with soft brushes

Doesn’t really seem possible.

A pentimento remains as guide and trap.

I’m ready to take the next step.

  • freckafree

Cortes was not a humble lord

and, though his men were few,

he brought low a mighty empire,

conquering with sword and cross.

He swept across their ancient city,

painting the stones crimson with blood,

no crony but damnation at his side.

Smiling, his eyes wild in the heat, he

taught the Aztecs a new form of sacrifice.

  • Elendil’s Heir

I will confess in MPSIMS one day
that I formulated a pragmatic strategy
to win a poetry contest.

It’s not an all out conquering
like Alexander the Great,
but I Scotch Taped word bubbles
while painting the score
on the dry erase board.

When this timer finally expires
I’ll be glad to step back momentarily,
and no longer be a crony.

  • mauxlicious

Ever the erstwhile, conquering hero
Shedding tears and hair in equal measure;
Ambition tossed aside, plans rent asunder,
Defeat frozen in place, his face a painting of a thousand unsaid words,
And still they look to him, from King to crony,
To lead and settle, to rule and follow.
Such is his gift, such is his fate;
A birthright and heirloom in spite of his history,
In spite of his soul and body and place.

  • Cuckoorex

A girl from Lorraine on a pony
Confided her dreams to a crony–
“Inspiring a painting.
If not, then a sainting
But nobody’s conquering Joanie.”

  • AppallingGael

Like a map, your body lies
and my hands, conquering
charting, tracing lines and contours
getting lost

The moon shines her gentle light
less to lighten than to hide
lovers in intimate shadows
getting lost

A romance of streetlights
and the song of the city
rain pouring on hapless souls
getting lost

I am the night
embracing you
I am the rain
caressing you
I am the moon
watching you

Trembling fingers on cold stone façades
lonely, so lonely now, lonely
lonely on cold stone façades
searching you

I come to you through the streets
painting your picture onto the city
with silent footsteps
searching you

Knife, my old crony
in the back of my jeans
singing a Moonlight Serenade
searching you

I am the cold stone
holding you
I am the knife
kissing you
I am your lover
I have found you

  • Half Man Half Wit

Not a crone but crony,
Not a witch but wise,
She wanders in the willows
With sadness in her eyes.

She rides a ragged pony.
She wears a ragged gown.
She paints her face with coal dust,
And painting, paints a frown.

There is no child to hold her.
There is no child to hold.
He’s gone to down to the river
Where dreams are bought and sold.

They’ve bought and sold her sadness,
And conquered all her dreams
And, conquering, undone her,
Like a gown with ragged seams.

For nothing seems to matter
When your heart’s been blacked away,
Not a smudge of coal dust,
Nor the willows, nor the day.

Nor a crone but crony,
Nor a witch but wise,
For her heart has gone to tatters,
And her truths have turned to lies.

  • The Hamster King

When the conquering rush ebbs
and the last clash of battle drifts
loud and brash into the night air,
I hide the shaking hands of a coward.

No Ozymandias am I, nor Napoleon
triumphant in a museum’s painting
nor Stonewall Jackson cast in marble
on some southern battlefield.

I have never had a crony–only friends
made of soft flesh like pulp
spirits fragile as aluminum foil bayonets
held close and more dear than myself

and shivering, like me, until morning.

  • Angel of the Lord

Silence, though meager, has conquering might
For in its emptiness, creation blooms;
Bereft of cacophony, thoughts take flight
That greedy chaos would quickly consume.
But unmolested in quiet and peace
That dribble of color that stains the mind
Will burst forth, and seek there its sweet release
A masterpiece painting therein to find.
Ah, noiselessness, crony of dreams and thought
Its sweet embrace comforts, helps words to flow
Till poetry gathers and prose is wrought;
The writer relaxes amidst its glow.
But who has silence, when six children play?
Alas, not I, and thus my rhyme’s delay!

  • Woeg

And there, the poll is established.

One caution - because all of the poems were e-mailed to me, then cut and pasted into the anthology, they are all in threads posted by me. Please look carefully at the author’s name at the bottom of each poem - at first glance, it may appear that I am the author of all of these poems. I most certainly am not - I have neither the talent nor the versatility displayed in the Anthology.

Admittedly, it is difficult to choose between such excellent and varied works. However, please, do read them all, ponder and vote - I’ve deliberately phrased the question as ‘favourite’ so that, even if the reader feels they know nothing about poetry, the poem that ‘struck’ the reader the most can still be called ‘favourite’.

Best wishes and my congratulations to all our poets.

Excellent poems, everyone! A very tough choice!

[shameless plug] And any of you who haven’t submitted some of your work to teemings – I hope you will. teemings at gmail dot com. [/sp]

I must say I’m a bit surprised at the lack of responses and votes, considering the overall quality of the submissions; on the other hand, I haven’t yet been able to decide on a favourite, as well, so perhaps it’s just that tough a choice. Anyway, perhaps two days of voting is a bit excessively short?

Nevertheless, consider this a free bump – those poems certainly deserve to be read!

Yes I agree, these are fantastic and it’s very hard to pick just one to vote for!

Come on, people, cast votes!

I slaved for like MONTHS on that poem! :smiley:

Take five minute and vote!

I am seriously, seriously impressed with the quality of poets here - awesome work, everyone. I honestly feel my own attempt feels not quite up to par with what the rest of ya have put together. I am proud to be part of the company, though! :slight_smile:

I am also greatly impressed - this is quite a batch! If you can write these kinds of poems in an hour, what can you do in a lifetime…?