ROUND ONE: 4-mistaken vs. 13-diabolical

r1f1 4-mistaken vs 13-diabolical

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:

Grandma’s Aardvark.
by Jim Hayes

My Grandma’s aardvark was a pet,
one day she took it to the vet;
“It will be sick, I do suppose,
from sucking termites up its nose?”

“The vet replied; “You are mistaken,
it won’t be ill from bugs partaken”
But warned Gran in sombre tones-
“Provided it spits out the bones.”


The Pookas
by Samuel Kent

Beware that the Pookas are causing our woes:
those devilish, dark, diabolical foes.
They’ve pilfered our pencils, and when they were done
located our socks and abducted just one.
They’ve hidden our homework with odious ease.
And don’t be mistaken, they’ve taken our keys.
They want us to worry and panic and fuss.
The Pookas all secretly snicker at us.


Public Vote (4-mistaken vs. 13-diabolical)
Final Results:
4-mistaken vs. 13-diabolical

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
4-mistaken vs. 13-diabolical
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
4-mistaken vs. 13-diabolical

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  • Mother Streusel


  • Debra Shumaker

    Love these!

  • Quinette Cook

    Oh man, these are both so good. I think I’d like an aardvark as he might be able to snort all the Pookas in my house.

  • Marileta Robinson

    Samuel’s poem is practically perfect, but I had to vote for the silliness of Jim’s.

    • Samuel Kent

      I don’t take it personally, Marileta, though I did elect to vote for your poem.

  • Joe Mohr

    Both are great! I am leaving on a road trip in an hour and am missing my keys and a sock…darn Pookas!

  • Linda Baie

    Like a fantastical zoo-great imagination in your poems!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Two terrific poems–wish I could vote for both of these!

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Argh! The Pookas! That’s where all of my daughter’s socks went! I thought her bed ate them!

  • M. M. Socks

    Sammy! Great poem!

    • Samuel Kent

      Thanks, brother!

  • Samuel Kent

    As a boy, I thought Pookas were just something that my older sister made up. Turns out, Púcas show up in Celtic mythology!

  • Samuel Kent

    Thanks, everyone. This was a lot of fun to write. I had another one about dog farts that was (according to my sons) a lot funnier, but I thought it would alienate too much of the audience.

    • Damon Dean

      Did you mean “fumigate” too much of the audience?

    • Bonnie Bailey

      My daughter would certainly have loved the one about dog farts :) Great writing.

      • Samuel Kent

        I ended up using it as yesterday’s doodle poem for my oldest son. It should be up on my blog tomorrow (time permitting).

        • Bonnie Bailey

          Awesome. Can’t wait to see it.

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Love the Pookas and a poem about an aardvark? Both great ideas!

  • Catherine

    Awesome indeed!

  • Mother Streusel

    Congratulations Samuel! Great job! So happy for you! Jim, I loved your poem, and I love this quote of yours: “Throughout my life, while admiring all forms of poetry, I have always reserved my special affection for those forms of the art known collectively as Light Verse. Verse that is cheery and light. Light in the sense of cheerful, airy, light-footed and light-hearted. Verse, if you will, that requires little mental effort on the reader’s part, but which disguises the stringent demands it makes on the writer’s technique.” I can identify with and appreciate your thoughts. Loved your poem!

    • Samuel Kent

      Thank you! Looking forward to the next round, but I’m going to have to write my poem while on my vacation.

      • Mother Streusel

        I hope it comes to you easily so you have more time for fun!

    • immokalee

      My felicitations Mr Kent, well done, may I wish you every success in the coming rounds.

      Mother Struesel! What a wonderful, kind and surprising(!) comment. I am greatly beholden and curious,
      With many thanks to all who so greatly honored me with their vote.