“One of the first things we have to say to a beginner who has brought us his [manuscript] is, ‘Avoid all epithets which are merely emotional. It is no use telling us that something was “mysterious” or “loathsome” or “awe-inspiring” or “voluptuous”. Do you think your readers will believe you just because you say so? You must go quite a different way to work.

“‘By direct description, by metaphor and simile, by secretly evoking powerful associations, by offering the right stimuli to our nerves (in the right degree and the right order), and by the very beat and vowel-melody and length and brevity of your sentences, you must bring it about that we, we readers, not you, exclaim “how mysterious!” or “loathsome” or whatever it is.

“‘Let me taste for myself, and you’ll have no need to tell me how I should react to the flavour.'”

-C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Another week, another round of great entries! You all free versed enough to set iridescent butterflies wafting round a blushing summertime rosebush.

Yet, there can only be one winner. And that is:

Untitled piece

by Deb Whittam

latitude and longitude, dormant darkness
of desserts concaved with sand. frosted
waves pounding cliff faces rugged
as gulls mournfully cry their solemn
lament. giants rustle leaves in hollow
reproach, as winter exhales. in a basement
a cheerless rodent sneezes, a whirlwind of
dust. below grim encrusted tunnels feet
scamper, fleeing the angry beast, who bellows
its angst in short blasts three. The umpire shouts TIME.

Congratulations, Deb! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

All the entries this week were fantastic! Deb’s poem won for how well she took traditional free verse and destroyed it. The icing on the cake was her “a cheerless rodent sneezes.” Well done!

If you thought hers was terrible, see if you can get through the rest:

Sugar cubed

by Bruce Goodman

You are the teaspoon that stirs sweet sugar in my cup of tea;
imagine how yucky the tea would be without you
to stir the saccharine cubes in the beverage for me to drink.

That is why you are my honey-bee hovering near my cup and saucer,
my stirring implement that is wild and free
and goeth round and around all syrupy with glee and delight.

My teaspoon! My teaspoon! from A to Z*!
(*pronounced ZED because we’re not allowed to rhyme this week)
Every time I come back from having a pee
there’s always a further five or six sugared hot cups of tea waiting to be imbibed.

Thank you for being my sugar cube agitator, adorable Constantia.
When I see you dissolve sugar I dissolve into a sticky mess.
Will you take time out from stirring my sugar cubes to marry me?

—–

Hola

by Peregrine Arc

Goldfish, mirrors of angelic happenings
Twittering ’round my pâté
and never I did I want to become a bat.
A florid, Florida bat with a floral dress
Flowery, shimmer, summery.
Striking Cover Girl poses at a laundromat recycling bin.
But alas here I am, at a restaurant poking a salad at a beach
80 years old, playing Bingo with Uncle Mingo
A flowery, fruity, in more ways than sooth
Ol’ bat.
Cha, Cha, cha. Ole!

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

In our darkest times you bring unbroken sunshine
With a bouquet unrivalled amongst the finest wine
Like a fragrant flower sat below the finest red pine
How can something so small be so life enriching
Your smell, your taste so utterly bewitching
Just one drop is so completely uplifting
You shine out on our world like the stars of the southern cross
You are as wondrous and spectacular as the wandering albatross
You paint the world with a sparking diamond jewel embossed gloss
In the kitchen you are the unrivalled boss
Riding across the sky like the ancient god Helios
You are our light oh Great Tabasco Sauce

—–

Ode to Doublemint

by Ruth Scribbles

Elixir of arousal
Enticing my buds to
Long for the burst of delightful
Flavor
My orifice masticates
Releasing angst and queasiness
You are fettered for my sustenance
My perseverance in chasing you
Is made worthwhile

—–

Untitled piece

by Trent McDonald

Ah, fast and furious
Flicking around
You scurry to and fro
Like a drunken apricot
Charlie Chaplin on speed
Multiplied by two
On your long thin legs
So gloriously gorgeous
That you have six
For how can but two do
Or even Charlie’s three
Including his cane
For his cane is part of him
Isn’t it
But you have six
Naturally
And you don’t have a mustache
But the mandibles
So roundly curvaceous
Sweeping, sexy mandibles
And antennas
Or is it antennae
Let me look closer
With this magnificent magnifying glass
Shape, clear crystal for seeing
Ooops
I didn’t mean to
Burn you up
Sorry ant

—–

Thanks to everyone for poeming! If he’s game, I’m thinking of having a guest judge. We’ll see how that goes. Regardless, come back at 10 a.m. tomorrow for next week’s prompt.

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Deb: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

May I be the first sentence to welcome you to the 37th Terrible Poetry Contest? Excellent.

You may think writing horrendous verse is difficult. It’s not; people do it all the time! Just in case you’re nervous, however, I’ve written up a brief description here. Read it, or pick a random poem from the internet and alter it to fit the prompt.

-Which may be found in the specifics below:

  1. Our Topic is Anything. You choose.
    The catch? Whatever subject you select has to be way too flowery and/or descriptive. Adjectives and adverbs are your new best friends, closely followed by metaphor, simile, hyperbole, synecdoche, and personification.
    The other catch? The type of poem is free verse.
  2. Length? For the judge’s time and sanity, keep things under 250 words.
  3. For the first time, you may NOT Rhyme! What could be more poetic than free verse? Most people think that’s true and who are we to add rhyme to their meter?
  4. As always, make it terrible. Poets who take themselves way too seriously must applaud your efforts, worried to be the first to point out the emperor has no prose.
  5. Although a bawdy free verse poem is likely to exist somewhere, most stay around PG or cleaner; you can as well.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (August 9) to submit a poem.

Use the form below to be anonymous for a week.

For a more social experience, and to guarantee I see your entry, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Please enter and please have fun!

 

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Photo credit:
Unsplash

“Your blog is like lounging around the house and watching TV, maybe picking up some sticks in the yard. It’s you, and you have a casual vibe going on. A book is like going out for a big evening. You want your hair, nails, and makeup right. Maybe you spring for a new dress, which is like your cover art.

“You may not like the work that goes into it, but you’re going to like the reception when you finally get to the party.”

-C.S. Boyack, “So it begins

A Tree Falls in a Forest; Does the Reader Hear It?

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Once there was a small stream winding through the forest. It wasn’t too small a stream, of course. It ran all year, even in the dry seasons. And, at some points, it did grow smaller -say, when crossing between the narrowing walls of tree roots or over rough patches of mud. Meanwhile, farther along, the small stream widened out to what some geographers would classify as a river. This widening was due to a relief of pressures and an allowed broadening of its capabilities.

No, I do not intend to write you the rest of the story of the stream. There is no literal stream. Obviously, there is also no mud, tree roots, or even geographers.

I brought up waterworks in order to discuss an important literary element: metaphor. We’re hardly selective here, so I’ll include metaphor’s semi-cousin simile and his friend hyperbole, too. In case you ask, however; allegory, parable, and analogy are not invited. Sorry, guys.

I love metaphor. And, I hates it. *Golem!* *Golem!*

That is: when someone is giving a lecture, lesson, or speech and starts metaphoring, my mind goes wonderful places with their relationships. In fact, my mind goes very far afield of where they usually intended and somehow I’ve taken the examples to more interesting locales.

Also, I am very good at giving people on-the-spot comparisons in order to make my point. I told someone I had never met before that her English Cream Golden Retriever was “like when you put brand-new towels into the dryer and pull out a big, fluffy, warm ball of lint and you just want to hug it.”

Yeah… I did. And I wonder why I have few friends.

And, yes, that was simile. Sort-of. I told you they were cousins.

Back to metaphor: this good can also be evil. Besides very obvious over-the-top tropes like characters always speaking in clichés and a poet telling us that each flower in the garden is a dragon, horse, unicorn, etc. to the point that we don’t even know that he was speaking of gardens in the first place–

Too much can be a bad thing.

I also think that metaphor, simile, and hyperbole have a better place in making a conversational point, or in writing poetry, than they do in longer works of fiction.

What say ye? Agreed? Disagreed? Still winding through mud and you’ll get back with me once you hit the valley?

—–

While you’re pondering (or meandering), here’s what went down in the past week:
Wednesday, January 2: “Not Your Average Blogger’s New Year’s Post,” in which we discussed obscure unique talents.
Thursday, January 3: “Skinwalkers, XLVII.” This may have been back-posted. 😉
Friday, January 4: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Yay, again, Ruth!
Saturday, January 5: Announced the eighth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. ENTER IT.
Sunday, January 6: “When the Stakes Are High,” a flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch.
Monday, January 7: “Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Eight.”
Also, “Toddler Trouble” at my mothering blog.
Tuesday, January 8: Inspirational quote by Pablo Picasso. En español.
I may have had a difficult weekend, and thereafter wrote “Hello Depression, My Old Friend” at The Bipolar Writer Blog.
Wednesday, January 9: You made it to today!

Eric Muhr