ROUND ONE: 4-whatever vs. 13-auxiliary

r1f1 4-whatever vs 13-auxiliary

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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:

One More Time, Kid
by David L. Harrison

Okay, first you roll your eyes.
Raise those eyebrows toward the ceiling.
Perfect. Lift your shoulders – slowly.
Your sigh could use a bit more feeling.
Show your palms like, “What? What?”
Shake your head as though you’ve never
Been so pained and bored before.
You are ready! Groan, “Whatever.”


The Trouble with Hooved Animals
by Bonnie Bailey

When they wrote NO PETS ALLOWED –
They should have said no ungulates.
An auxiliary footnote could clarify –

The herd just arrived from soccer practice –
Sweatily anticipating sweets.
But the baker at the cake shop yelled –


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Final Results:
4-whatever vs. 13-auxiliary

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Final Results:
4-whatever vs. 13-auxiliary
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Final Results:
4-whatever vs. 13-auxiliary

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  • Linda Baie

    Both poems give so much to ponder, an actor’s challenge and a that of a baker’s too! The poems are clever!

  • Dave Crawley

    Auxiliary’s a tough enough word…then you had to add “ungulates!” Very clever. And I love David’s instructions on how to prep for that ultimate word of apathy…

    • Bonnie Bailey

      Thanks Dave! Not quite “sesquipedalian” clever though :)

      • Dave Crawley

        Both of those words have a sesquipedalian style about them…

  • Debbie B. LaCroix

    Good luck to the both of you! I have to admit, the image of Goats on Roller Skates is awesome!
    David: It was nice to see a break of the traditional pattern.

  • deborahhwilliams

    Congrats to Bonnie for using the word “ungulates!”

    • Bonnie Bailey

      Thanks! I CAN’T WAIT to see what you are doing with “junto”! Wowzas!

      • deborahhwilliams

        HA! It was a headscratcher, but it helped to learn that Ben Franklin started a discussion club in 1727 called The Junto.

  • Donna Smith

    You know, I have always hated trying to say “auxiliary”…but “whatever” comes pretty naturally!

    • Bonnie Bailey

      Just read your post about writing “Perpetual Motion”. Ha! I hope he finds some time for naps!

  • Quinette Cook

    “Whatever” appeals to the teen in me. The illustrator in me says hooved animals!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Ha! David, love your instructions to a teen and your angle on that word – clever as always! Your teen has some tough company with Bonnie’s athletic animals. A great matchup!

  • Damon Dean

    Bonnie, I always sweatily anticipate sweets…some people call it drooling! Ha! Love those ungulates. And David, you make the perfect apathy coach. Loved both these poems.

    • Bonnie Bailey

      I rather enjoyed your poem Damon :)

  • Mother Streusel

    These are great and both so clever and creative!! And I learned what an ungulate is! Good luck to both of you!

  • Marileta Robinson

    David, your poem made me grin, and it gently helps kids laugh at themselves.

    • David Harrison

      Thank you, Marileta. It’s one of those universal gestures that kids pick up early.

  • David Harrison

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Bonnie, I love your poem.

    • Bonnie Bailey

      Thanks! Yours is wonderful!

  • Jeanne Poland

    Portrait of ennui…cool!
    the rhymes are scintillating
    Jeanne Poland!

  • Buffy Silverman

    I read your poem aloud, David, and my daughter (who is slightly past the eye-rolling age) immediately started to act it out. Great fun! And Bonnie, I could imagine your hoofed friends marching into that bakery!

  • Catherine

    Both super poems!

  • David Harrison

    That mean old Bonnie Bailey
    Is whippin’ up on me.
    She looks all sweet and mom-ish
    But she’s not fooling me,
    She’s nothing but a bully
    Who beats up kids like me.
    If you see Bonnie Bailey,
    You’d better let her be!

    • rjschechter


    • Samuel Kent

      You both write stellar poems
      with diverse, distinguished skills.
      With love and open kindness
      is how Bonnie Bailey kills.
      I know our bonny Bonnie,
      and she’s nothing like you say.
      So don’t harass her, Harrison;
      she clearly came to play.

      • David Harrison

        And I quite agree, Samuel. Thanks for coming to Bonnie’s rescue!

        • Renee LaTulippe

          The trash talkin’ begins! Now it gets fun! (Seriously – love those two poems, David and Samuel!)

          • David Harrison

            I thought Samuel was quite gallant. And I am in awe of my sweet opponent.

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    David, it’s so spot on that I’m banning my 4th grader from reading your poem (though I think her teacher read it with her. Bummer!) since she’s already on her way to perfecting this!. It so perfectly describes the eye-roll! Bonnie–so great! I can totally see a herd of goats, in their soccer uniforms, jostling each other in front of the glass case of the bakery, making a mess and causing problems!

  • David Harrison

    Hi, Bonnie,
    Some race, huh? I haven’t gotten a thing done all day.

    • Renee LaTulippe

      Yup, that’s what March Madness is — a MADNESS. Impossible to do anything else!

      • David Harrison

        Swell. NOW you tell me, Renee!

  • Kathy Ellen Davis

    Great poems! Getting ready for whatever was a great idea! And Goats in cleats is cracking me up!

  • David Harrison

    Way to go, Bonnie! It was a good race and a very nice day. I look forward to becoming better acquainted. Congratulations!

  • Mother Streusel

    SOOOO close!!! This competition is nerve-wracking! Congratulations Bonnie!