Archive for November, 2011

Third Annual Eye On Life Poetry Contest

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Over at the magazine we are having our third annual poetry contest.  The entry fee is cheap:  an American buck, payable online by PayPal or through your favorite debit or credit card.  Last year we had forty-four entries I think.  I am expecting around a hundred this year, if growth continues proportionately to the past two years.

Since this is still a young contest, a poet’s odds are pretty good for winning the first prize, $100 American, second prize $50, or one of two third prizes, a book of poetry.  All winners of course are published at Eye On Life Online Magazine, along with honorable mentions.

In addition to poet entrants to the contest, I am interested in judges and prizes.  I need help judging.  You don’t have to know anything.  I’ll tell you what to do.  You’ll be anonymous.  It won’t be too, too much work, I promise.  Also if you happen to own a bookstore or other establishment that offers retail goods to the general publick, you might consider contributing a prize in exchange for shameless promotion.  It’s the Capitalist way.

By the way, Frank De Canio is Featured Poet this week, so whether you’re inclined to enter the poetry contest or not, please stop by and enjoy Frank’s latest poems.  They’re good stuff.

Thank you.

Categories: Poetry Tags: ,

Painted Season

November 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Ponderously graceful
Sun descends
Toward the southern horizon
Over days

Red and yellow
Bleeding into greens
So ends summer
Blends into fall

I Relinquish
With reluctance
Delicious summer
For a more complex flavor

Deep taste of autumn
Steeped in morning darkness
Tinged with frosty magic
Scented with evening firelight

Lined with knowing
At once too little and too much
In the moment ignoring
The coming absence of color

With shorter days
Chilled beneath reverently falling snow
Bleaching gradually invisible
The colors of this dream

My Contest Entries

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Here are links to some of the poems and articles I entered in an online contest this month:

Participating in the contest has been challenging and fun.  Usually I only write poetry when moved to do so, which is fairly often, but I usually aggressively avoid explaining my poetry if I can help it.  For this contest, each entry had to contain a mandatory explanation.  I handled that requirement as creatively as I could.  All in all I would say that although it has been a lot of work, I learned a lot and enjoyed the process.


Categories: Poetry Tags: ,

Closet Friend

November 12, 2011 Leave a comment

By far my most reliable companion,
Loyal, devoted lover, always there
To keep me from loneliness, never gone,
Always interested, with you I share
This life. I, the package behind this face,
Seemingly so easily overlooked, yet
You notice, you care in your silent way,
Warming my chill from within. I accept
Your infinite love for me and love you,
Too. True, you cannot watch my stuff for me
While I read poetry, misconstrue
My meanings, understand my fantasies
Or even tell a joke; no harmony
Will you create to match my melody.
Far more than anyone you value me,
And unlike anyone, with certainty
I know that with me you will always be.
I am quite often yours exclusively,
Though never are you jealous, my friend.
Solitude, our friendship will never end.

Categories: Poetry Tags: , , , , ,

Some Articles on Form

November 9, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Poetry Tags: ,

Three Short Poetic Forms: Triolet, Sestina and Epigram

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment



The triolet has eight lines with only two rhymes.  The first line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines; the second line reappears as the last line; and the end-words of the first two lines are re-emerge as the end words of the last two lines.  Writing within a form this tight can seem like a feat worthy of a Houdini– trying to swim in chains or a straight jacket.

The form maps out like this:

  • A1
  • B1
  • A
  • A1
  • A
  • B
  • A1
  • B1

The numbers with a numeral in tow denote repeated lines.

Let’s try it, shall we:

Comparing you to an autumn day

With such unpredictable weather 

During our coming fall weekend away  

Comparing you to an autumn day  

If you and it are sunny I might get more play 

Yet wet weather can be good in regions nether 

Comparing you to an autumn day

With such unpredictable weather 


Well, that was fun.  I’ll just take something for this headache now.   One question:  if it’s medicine for your head, shouldn’t they call it headpirin, not aspirin?

Why is it called the triolet?  I dunno.  It was invented by the French.  Ask them.



The poetic form, sestina, has seven stanzas.  The first six end-words of the first stanza repeat through the next five six-line stanzas.  These are followed by a three-line stanza called an envoi.

The form maps out like this:


1. abcdef
2. faebdc
3. cfdabe
4. ecbfad
5. deacfb
6. bdfeca
7. eca or ace

The envoi must also include the remaining three end-words, BDF, somewhere in the lines so that all six end-words also appear in the envoi.

Well, this looks like even more fun than the triolet.  That’s all right.  I have my bottle of headpirin handy.   Let’s give it a go.

I like to write the first stanza, and then make a list of last words for reference.  Here is the list in advance so you can see the poem without interruption :

  1. Moon
  2. Flow
  3. Flare
  4. Reappear
  5. Howl
  6. Tears


And here’s the poem:


Emotions seem to follow the moon  

Like the tide, their ebb and flow 

Flood may see the dragon’s bloodlust flare 

At ebb loving kindness may reappear 

At the full of the moon, the werewolf may howl 

The new moon may bring gentle hope or tears 


I cannot bear to see your glistening tears 

Reflecting the silvery shining of the moon 

As if in sympathy the next door baby howls

From the very earth, sadness seems to flow 

If only your pretty smile would reappear 

If only I could shed this mournful air 


My anger like an inferno flares 

My enemies will repay their crimes with tears 

Revenge will make my honor reappear 

I plan to attack after the setting of the moon 

Like fountains of vengeance their blood will flow 

As they beg for their lives I’ll make them howl 


Shaken silly by my laughter, I howl 

Rolling on the floor.  She has such a flare 

For comedy, delivered in such an easy flow

I’m laughing so hard that I’m in tears

She’s taken me right to the moon

I’ll be sure to see her when she again appears 


I’m waiting for my boss to reappear 

When he reads his email he will howl 

Soon he will transfer me to the moon 

I cringe to think how his temper will flare

In humiliation I will hide my tears 

And struggle to keep my profile low 


In my existence I am in the flow 

All my desires synergistically appear 

I cannot conceive of shedding tears 

Though winds of change around me howl 

Over bump in the road or through solar flare 

My heart remains as placid as the moon 


A panoply of emotion, from tears to howls 

Of laughter:  should sanity reappear, send up a flare  

Emotions flow like the cycles of the moon 


Notice I cheated.  Oh, well.  Sue me.  Anyway, despite the amount of work, it was pretty fun to write the sestina.  I’ll have to do it again sometime.


An epigram is a smart remark that rhymes.   In essence it is a couplet, or a pair or so of couplets.  Usually two to four lines, the epigram, paraphrasing the words of Coleridge, has a body of brevity and a soul of wit.  Often it is satirical.   I like it already.


One of my favorite epigrams is by Samuel Coleridge:

“Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.” 

That’s pretty hard to beat, but you know I’m going to try, don’t you?  Of course you do.

After our third, my wife said to me
Just one word:  vasectomy.  

That about covers the epigram, I think.  How about you?

Categories: Uncategorized

Cycling the Dawn City

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

At dawn most of the city is indoors, asleep or just beginning that morning routine.  I’ve already meditated if there was time after coffee (one must have their priorities) and I am on my bicycle, headed for the commuter train.  There is plenty of time as I ride these nearly deserted streets.  I stop momentarily at a stop light to check, but there is not even the remotest hint of a car coming, so I go.  Nearly deserted, I said, because as I pass there are people cutting the strings on bales of morning newspapers.  Some people are walking to work already and I do encounter a car or two.  There are also delivery trucks, and the workers are arriving at their construction sites, lunch box in hand.

But for the most part there is only me and the street lights and the sound of my tires as the sun’s first gentle light is absorbed by the sky.  Sounds and colors are muted as the city stretches and begins to wake.  It is like cycling through another world or dimension, sparsely populated, pensive and relaxed.  Dawn in the city is a thoughtful and gentle time of day, with a lot of room for a guy on a bicycle like me.