Echoes, Shadows, Whispers, and Dreams

Echoes are all that resound down these halls;
Echoes of voices still young, still young.
They’re laughing or talking or screaming –
Or still.
But only sometime, long ago.

Shadows are all that still walk ‘cross these floors;
Shadows of children come late, come late.
They’re flashing to catch up their friends, else
Catch up.
But only sometime, long ago.

Whispers are all that still push dangling swings;
Whispers of glee-songs in play, in play.
They’re jumping and pumping and flying
But only sometime, long ago.

Where are the echoes, the shadows, and whispers?
Only in dreams, long ago.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Wendelin Jacober on

Inspired by Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

March 13, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a place where children once played. It can be a field, a playground, or any place that attracted children to play. But now it is empty. Abandoned. Go where the prompt leads!

English Language Headaches

Hear, I sleep
And here, I dream

But their, I keep
O’er there, a dream

That, impart,
I might address

This, in part,
From mi(te) address:

The many wholes
Men(ny) know aren’t right

Too many holes
Two make left look right.

I speak, you sea,
Eye make a point;

I wake, you see,
Eye blame; I point.

To homonyms
To homophones

To homo-whims
To homo-moans.

©2023 Chel Owens

©Chel Owens. Created using MidJourney.

The Terrible Poetry Contest 3/4/2023

Welcome [Welcome! Welcome!] to the Terrible Poetry Contest for March, 2023.

This contest is simple: make fun of the serious poetry out there as much as you like. I’ve written some helpful guidance here or, as always, suggest copying the instructions for using a toothpick -but space out the lines so it looks intentionally poetic.

Now, onto the prompt! Ordinary Person won last month’s contest. Here’s what he suggested for this month:

  1. Theme and Form
    “[T]he form I’ve chosen is a triolet and the theme is …cultural appropriation.”
    Triolet is eight lines of poetry that follow a specific pattern -not just a rhyming pattern, but that of repeated lines as well. According to Wikipedia, “The rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB (capital letters represent lines repeated verbatim) and often in 19th century English triolets all lines are in iambic tetrameter, though in traditional French triolets, from the 17th century on, the second, sixth and eighth lines tend to be iambic trimeters followed by one amphibrachic foot each.” Here’s your chance to choose Anglophilia or Francophilia…
  2. Length
    I believe we’ve covered that. We’ve done just that. We’ve covered that. We’ve done just that.
  3. Rhyme?
    See the line(s), above.
  4. Terrible?
    Hey man, you go ahead and poem like somebody else. Dress in that lowercase existentialism. Talk like a bard. Jam as only a Rastafarian can. In the end, it’s individualism what brings cultural appropriation to life.
  5. Rating

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST on Thursday, March 30 to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous until I post the results. The form hasn’t saved what you submitted unless you see a message saying it has.

Or, for a more culturally-appropriate experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Please alert me if your pingback or poem does not show up within a day.

The winner gains bragging rights, a badge, and the pick of next contest’s theme and form.

Swiped from wikihow.

©Chel Owens. Created using MidJourney


©2023 Chel Owens

Tiny the Turtle, for the 8th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

Tiny, the turtle, had a not-so-tiny fear
That nobody would be his friend for Valentine’s, this year.
His teacher, Mrs. Elephant -with not-so-tiny ears-
Had said he would get lots of cards from someone very dear.

©Chel Owens

“It’s Valentine’s,” she’d trumpeted, as elephants will do,
“A holiday of fun and treats, and cards with hearts for you!”
But Tiny -in his tiny shell, and tiny heart- just knew
That, out of all the animals, he’d get but one or two.

“I’ll have a bunch!” barked Douglas Dog, as sure as he could be.
Chirped Betty, quite the happy bird, “You won’t get more than me!”
And Cora purred, as cats like to, “I want three-hundred-three,
“From all my friends -and candy, too! Oooh! Just you wait and see!”

©Chel Owens

Tiny made some cards with hearts, to sadly give away.
With not-so-tiny fear, he thought, No one will care; will say,
“Thank you, Tiny. How’d you know? Come be my friend; come play!”

Poor Tiny, in his tiny heart, feared Valentine’s that day.

But Tiny’s doubts and Tiny’s fears; his not-so-tiny cares
All flew away, like Betty Bird, when he got to his chair –
For, at his desk, and on the floor, and falling everywhere;
Were valentines and candy hearts, from everyone. They cared!

©2023 Chel Owens
211 words, according to

©Chel Owens

Written for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Contest. Entries are due soon! You can play along as well!

All images created using MidJourney

WINNER of the Terrible Poetry Contest 11/30/2022

Geoff, the winner of November’s Terrible Poetry Contest, presented us with a unique challenge. Based on his suggested parameters and the theme of climate change, here’s the winner for January:


by Ordinary Person

Oh oh
the climate
Is it changing yet?
Yes yes it is my friend yes
I don’t know if this is eleven syllables
Or twelve, the climate, climate, climate, climate, climate
Climate, climate, climate, climate, climate, climate, climate, cli-
mate (x whatever the next prime number is)
Climate climate…..


Congratulations, Ordinary Person! You are the most terrible poet this month! Let me know what theme and form we’re to use next time.

The entries this time around were fantastically terrible. You’ve all done an awful job and I couldn’t be more proud. O.P.’s efforts stood out for boldly breaking form into repeating the dumbest part of his verse. His is certainly not the cleverest (whoever said that was the name of this contest?) but is quite bad.

All the rest were my second choice, losing only by a hair. Read, and enjoy:


by M

Really ?

This again

it never just rains
torrential downpours galore
FLOODS and MUDSLIDES and the sunken cars so deep

temperature pushes 70 in the North East
Snow, snow I get but it’s not snowing; it’s raining raining & raining
drip, drip, pitter, patter, whoosh whoosh whoosh, welcome to SPRINTER, not winter nor Spring
Is not normal people really, not normal: now I have to urinate really bad


Toast to the Newlyweds: Climate Change and the Flat Earth

by Frank Hubeny

One (1)
and two (2)
then comes three, (3)
but climate change we (5)
all can see rhymes much worse than (7)
flat earth memes promoting free verse poetry. (11)



by Richmond Road

Can you see?
The living tree. On fire
Me. Just a bird on a wire
Half asleep. Flying backwards and so dreaming of forests long ago
Looking below. At another time. Branches to climb. Cut down in their prime.



by Doug Jacquier

a legend
in Australia,
terrifying one and all.
A cross between emu and crocodile,
or a furry seal with terrible eyes and sharp teeth,
it preys on those unwary folk who stray near rivers and deep billabongs
venting its fury, like a giant platypus consuming an early lunch.

(Can’t post pics here unfortunately but you can see the products of some fervid imaginations if you search for ‘Bunyip pics’ in your browser.)



by Not Pam

Rain sleet floods pontoons
A burning inferno gloom
Where the hell is that air conditioned cold room?
TV on. Current affairs? Climate change? Dumb buffoons.


Escape Plan

by Greg Glazebrook

Earth ֍ Mother ֍ Stick ‘em up! ֍ Gim’me all you got! ֍ Take, take, take, without a thought. ֍ Hands off the entire lot, it’s bloody well mine! ֍ I don’t care, leave it scorched, barren and beyond repair. ֍ In my rocketship, I’ll climb, leaving Mother Earth behind — Ciao suckas!!!


True Story

by Jewish Young Professional

breaks off of
Antarctica like
a star that the sky couldn’t keep
for herself, too weighted with water and gas,
leaving a hole sized like Greater London, but, good news,
“Not climate change,” the scientists say. But there’s other reason for alarm.


Is it hot yet?

by Ruth Klein

Steamy land
Storms wild, childlike
Strength of nasty temps, up/down
Scientists mumble, stumble,
profess the doom
Stir up word muck throwing –
blankets piled or skin removed
Stay in the know, let the wind blow,
whatever rocks your boat, I
know right?


Photo by Markus Spiske on

Thank you, terrible poets. Head over here in March to see what the next prompt is!

Nitin: Here’s your slightly-inaccurate badge you can post as proof of your poetic mastery:


©2023 The poets, and their respective poems.

It’s Prime Time for Climate Changes

mate change
My soul cries
While my Tesla dies
And my reusable shop
ping bags blow away and I watch them all stran
gle a seagull, with a leg trapped in my organic
free range non-GMO hand-picked renewable-source cotton sweater
vest. and socks. But I still cry for those magnificent eagles of the garbage.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Vincent M.A. Janssen on

Written in response to the Terrible Poetry Contest for this month. I know you can do better! Results will post soon.

A Couple Ten Miles and Other Phrases What Gang Aft Agley

There’somm-un ’bout a colloqu’al phrase that sets my words to tryin’;
An’, somm-un ’bout how things are said
Thet sets my tongue a-tyin’.

Fer, much as I would like to lie an’ claim thet all I say is righ’,
It’s closer to an actule trufth
Tvat whut I say ain’t whut I wri’e.

See, down in Utah, ‘merica, we don’t’uve local sayings
So much as we ‘ave local fings
Whoseactule sound’s not staying:

Like, have you ever been down’ere and seen th’Rocky Moun’uns?
Or, said you fill the fillin’ of
A ‘the,’ an ‘a,’ a ‘fountain?’

There’somm-un ’bout a colloqu’al phrase that sets my words to tryin;’
An’, somm-un ’bout how things are said
Thet sets my tongue a’cryin’.

©2023 Chel Owens

Written in response to Doug’s Min Min Challenge: The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley (often go astray)

Photo by cottonbro studio on

The Terrible Poetry Contest 1/7/2023

Hello to the new year, and to a new Terrible Poetry Contest!

Terrible poetry isn’t that difficult; hand an iambic pentameter to an eight-year-old and it’s done! Or… read here for a little more assistance.

Ready? Let’s get rolling with this month’s prompt. Excepting Obbverse’s excellent Christmas win, Geoff of TanGental won the last time round. He’s declared:

  1. Theme and Form
    The theme is climate change.
    The form is a syllabic poem in praise of Prime Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11,13, etc. This means your first line with have one syllable; the second will have two; the third, three; the fourth, five; etc.
  2. Length
    I’m not sure how long you can keep priming your numbers, so that sounds like the length is up to your tenacity.
  3. Rhyme?
    Up to you!
  4. Terrible!
    Scientists predict an unusual rise in terribleness, followed by scattered storms of painful prose.
  5. Rating
    Is the perfect storm that risqué? I’m sure Geoff’s good with wherever the wind takes you on this one.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST on Thursday, January 26 to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous until I post the results. The form hasn’t saved what you submitted unless you see a message saying it has.

Or, for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Please alert me if your pingback or poem does not show up within a day.

The winner gains bragging rights, a badge, and the pick of next contest’s theme and form.


©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Markus Spiske on