ROUND ONE: 3-rash vs. 14-innuendo

[click image to view matchup in full screen in a new window.]

The Poets’ Challenge: Each poet is assigned a single word based on their bracket seed, ranging from 1 (intuitive) to 16 (seemingly impossible). Poets must write a kid-appropriate poem using the prompted word in under 36 hours. Once both final poems have been received, they will be pasted into the body of this post, and then the reader poll will be open for voting.

Voter Instructions: Read each poem as many times as you’d like. Then use the poll to express your preference. Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered. As a guideline for voting, consider the criteria on which the contestants on the cooking show “Chopped” are evaluated: presentation, taste, and creativity. Translated roughly into poetry terms, presentation might include technical aspects such as meter, rhyme, form/shape, etc.; taste might be the net effect — did the poem move you to laugh, cry, think, kill, etc.; and creativity might include the poet’s approach toward a certain subject, image evocation, clever wordplay, etc.

“This is awesome, where can I find more?”: All results and scheduled matchups, including a glance at the round-by-round writing windows and voting windows, are visible from the Live Scoreboard page. In addition, results will be tweeted from @edecaria as they become final.

Here are the poems:

A Royal Cover-up
by Nessa Morris

A sneeze was sneezed into the air, and caught a princess unaware.
Oh, no! The snot makes quite a splash. Beneath the snot, she gets a rash.
The rash is bright and painful, too. Oh, no! What should the princess do?
She grabs a hankie, wipes a lot. The snot removes, the rash does not.
An ugly face, a princess fail. Until the princess finds a veil.
The silky veil’s a pretty sight, and makes her royal world alright.
A princess never gets distraught, not even when she’s crowned by snot.


Magic Lives Forever
by Stephen W Cahill

Endo, apprentice to Mondo the Great,
Was crying because she had got there too late.
Her master was fading, approaching his death,
Just able to whisper his last ever breath.
She leaned in to hear his last magical word.
The word innuendo was all that she heard.
For days she was puzzled but soon she could see
“My master has given his magic to me!”



3-rash vs. 14-innuendo: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 3-rash (Nessa Morris) (46%, 67 Votes)
  • 14-innuendo (Stephen W. Cahill) (54%, 80 Votes)

Total Voters: 147

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  • Pam

    This was a Majorly hard one. They BOTH were so good. Best of luck to both of you!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thanks Pam!

  • Pam

    I’m gonna post these btw!

  • Dana

    These were both great!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Cheers Dana!

  • Nessa

    Thanks! This is such a fun contest.

  • Amy LV

    Wow! Tough vote! I really enjoyed reading both of these aloud, a couple of times each!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      So glad you enjoyed it Amy. Thank you!

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    I can’t vote. Unlike in “real” elections, where you have no opportunity to explain why you might abstain, here I can excuse myself by saying:

    Nessa gave a great treatment to, yes, a sympathetic word with several possible applications. It’s more accessible to kids and any poem about snot and princesses will make the whole class laugh. Technically good, too.

    But Stephen had a much harder word and found a way to bypass the tricky definition entirely through sheer cleverness and sidelong approach using a scenario attractive to kids. Masterfully structured for maximum impact and an additive title.

    So you see, it would be dishonest of me to click one or the other. In my book it’s not a tie, but you both win. Thanks for the fun!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thanks a million Heidi. Great reviewing!!

  • Joy Acey

    Personally Nessa, I LOVE any poem about a princess.
    Thank you both for sharing your talent,skill and great love of poetry.
    Write on! (go find yourselves some better words–I’d like to seem ore of your work.)

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thanks Joy!

  • Jimmy

    Stephen’s entry hits the right spot and is much more subtle than the other effort. Good luck Stephen!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thank you Jimmy!

  • Channing Harris

    I assume it was a princess frail?

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Wow! thanks for great comments everyone! Looks like a draw is the fair result. At least if I don’t win I’ll have another Nessa rhyme to look forward to. Night nigh y’all, it’s way past bedtime in Ireland!

  • Nessa

    Just checked the score, and it looks like I will not make it to the next round. Congrats, Stephen!

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Thanks Nessa. Hard luck, it was a close call

  • Stephanie Parsley

    Nessa, I love Rash and kept checking on it with my fingers crossed. That was a close match. Great poem!