ROUND ONE: 1-spite vs. 16-milquetoast

r1f1 1-spite vs 16-milquetoast

Click here for authlete instructions.

Voter Instructions:

  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
    • When voting closes, timer will disappear.
  • Read both poems as many times as you like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
  • Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
  • Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
  • Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
  • Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.

Here are the poems:

The Sprite Bully
by Gloson Teh

At break time, as I tried to buy the final can of Sprite,
A burly bully came and roared, “That Sprite is MINE, ALRIGHT!!!”

These selfish words provoked me, choking me with rage and spite.
So with my fist I punched his nose with quite a lot of might.

Ensued a fight. He kicked me tight; I gave his arm a bite…
And then the counselor walked by, which gave us both a fright!

We got sent to his office; he then shed us some light,
on ” Why You Shouldn’t Argue Over Petty Things Like Sprite”.


Caspar’s Lament
by Margo Lemieux

The silky ghost with
a silver chain
haunts helplessly
Alas! In vain

This milquetoast ghost
ignored again
leaves meekly
through the window pane


Public Vote
Final Results:
1-spite vs. 16-milquetoast

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
1-spite vs. 16-milquetoast
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
1-spite vs. 16-milquetoast

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  • Gloson

    Wow, nice poem, Margo. I can imagine the sad face of the milquetoast ghost as it leaves meekly (perhaps to eat some *ahem ahem* milk toast?). Poor ghost. :P Your poem’s swell; you’ve won my vote!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Well done to both. Gloson, your meter is always so good. Margo, your “milquetoast ghost” is so inventive and charming! Poor guy. :)

  • Buffy Silverman

    You’ve got great rhyme and meter, Gloson, and a topic that your audience will certainly relate to. Love the mood of your ghost’s lament, Margo–and now the theme from Casper the friendly ghost is haunting my brain! Enjoyed both of your poems.

  • Nessa Morris

    Great poems, Margo & Gloson! Ed, is there a way to see results of the public poll without voting? I already put in my authlete vote.

    • Ed DeCaria

      No, there isn’t. Authletes and classrooms can vote in the Public poll, too. Then you can see the results. Also, results of the Authlete Vote and the Classroom vote won’t be revealed until the very end. I am open to changing that in subsequent rounds, but for Round One this is the way it will be.

      • Renee LaTulippe

        Ed, do you mean authletes and classrooms can vote more than once – once in the public poll and once in the authlete or classroom poll?

        • Damon Dean

          If so, it will sure ease my angst when it is so difficult to choose between two great poems…which seems to be the pattern today! :)

      • Donna Smith

        Oh, I thought you said not to vote in the public poll, even though it was possible.

        • Damon Dean

          I think, Donna (Ed correct me if I’m wrong) that he didn’t want authletes to vote in the ‘practice’ vote with the public vote, as he was still checking things out on how the polling would work. Maybe.

  • Linda Baie

    I love seeing the “first” poems, setting the bar high Gloson & Margo!

  • Quinette Cook

    How exciting to see what each authlete has done with their word. I love that both poems were little self-contained stories.

  • Dave Crawley

    The miquetoast ghost might be too much for the bully in “sprite” of himself. Poems are opposite in content and style, but both wonderful…

  • Debbie B. LaCroix

    Wow! Raise the bar high. They are so different….. Margo, your language is beautiful. Gloson, you made me laugh.

  • Vikram Madan

    Well done – great poems (and wow, milquetoast is a tough word. glad I’m not the number 16 seed) :)

  • Gloson

    By the way, I love how both our poems stick to just ONE rhyme throughout. Haha.

  • Damon Dean

    Tough decisions! Your milquetoast ghost sadly suffers from paranormal apathy, Margo! And despite the good counsel, Glosen, your Sprite fight still fizzes. Fun, both choices. I don’t know how to vote.

  • Mother Streusel

    These are both great and both so different, definitely one of my favorite match ups!!! Thanks Gloson for making this contest so fun!

  • Catherine

    Both delightful!

  • Holly Jahangiri

    “The Sprite Bully” got my vote because of the stonger, more visually evocative language and the fact that it deals with a topic that hits all too close to home (unfortunately) for most kids. It conveys a moral without being “preachy.” Such simple, happy endings are unfortunately rare when it comes to bullying. But I think it’s age-appropriate and makes its point.

    Naturally, I liked “Caspars Lament,” too, being of an age to remember the friendly ghost (from before he became a movie star!) Milquetoast is a much harder word to work with, poetically, too – so kudos for rising to that challenge! ;) The meaning of “milquetoast” came through in the poem without being “defined,” but unfortunately it’s just not a word that packs any emotional punch – and I think poems should do just that.

  • Holly Jahangiri

    Gloson’s poem inspired me to write this little poem in response:

    “Do tell me,” said the counselor, “why would you start a fight,
    over anything as stupid as an icy can of Sprite?”

    We looked at him, and soon regretted playing childish games
    And letting petty squabbling ruin our good names.

    The counselor, he held out his hand, while wiggling his fingers
    “Give it here, boys,” he admonished – how the shame still lingers!

    And as we slunk out of his office, shuffling back to class
    We heard him pop the tab and pour our Sprite into his glass!

    We turned as one – that burly bully, Sprite Monster and me
    A common enemy, now, we had – that much we both could see!

    We charged back to the counselor’s office, a righteous angry pair
    He handed us TWO glasses and reminded us to share.

    • Gloson

      Hahahaha. Your continuation is genius! It could be an MMPoetry winner if entered in the final round! Love the much needed moral and the quick alliance!

      • Holly Jahangiri

        YOUR poem inspired me to write it! :) I had fun with it – and thanks for tipping me off to the fun “Everyone Else” round, too. Maybe next year, I’ll sign up in time for the real deal. (You’d cheer me on, too, I hope – even if we were competing against each other?)

        • Gloson

          Hahaha. Of course! May the best poem win!

    • Quinette Cook

      Fantastic. I love how inspiring this competition can be.

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Gloson: lots of “ights” and “ites!”
    It’s awesome you packed so many in there!
    And Margo, great use of your word and such simplicity!
    Great job to both authletes :)

  • Mother Streusel

    Congrats Margo! Great job, Gloson, yours was also great. Too bad there can’t be one more winner. :(

  • Mother Streusel

    Great job completely dominating the student vote, Gloson…goes to show that even though you didn’t win, you are clearly a great children’s poetry poet! Maybe you’ll win in the book sales. :)

    • Gloson

      Hahaha thank you soo much Karyn! It was a pleasant surprise to be classroom-vote dominant. It is to me now an encouragement prominent. Thank you, y’all schoolkids! :))

  • Gloson

    Congratulations Margo!
    Onward, may you far go!
    Your poems are good cargo,

    no limit, no embargo!

    • Catherine


  • Stephanie Farrow

    A delightful pairing of poems. Well done! And Gloson, may I borrow your tie?

    • Gloson

      Sure, Stephanie, poet who beat Kenn Nesbitt two years ago with her desert knuckles! :)

      • Stephanie Farrow