ROUND TWO: 5-plainclothes vs. 4-sandwiched


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  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
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    • Official voting classrooms should read and discuss each poem and then submit one vote as a class.
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Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word, given its level of difficulty.
  • Whether or not the poem adheres to the poem requirements for the contest.
  • Precision: structure, meter, rhyme, syntax, etc.
  • Personality: creative imagery, language, metaphor, etc.
  • Power: makes you laugh, cry, want, sigh, think, dream, wince, scream, etc.
  • Plus One: it is a poem you feel drawn to share with another person for whatever reason.

Apply your own criteria as well! For more on the above concepts, check out POEMETRICS™.

Here are the poems:


5-plainclothes what does it mean?
By Lill Pluta

Lacy, drifting dragons, deft underwater spies,
dressed in fairy seaweed, a shrewd plainclothes disguise.

Through forests of kelp ribbons, past craggy slabs of stone,
these creatures, named for legends, discreetly glide alone.

They fade when danger threatens; their meals can’t swim away.
Fine leafy costumes cloak them from predator and prey.



4-sandwiched what does it mean?
Three Dog Night
By Buffy Silverman

A gusting windstorm slammed the door as snow swirled overhead.
The frosty breezes froze my toes and followed me to bed.
I lay there sandwiched by my pups: Bella, Bear, and Bree,
and snuggled in their furry warmth till sleep washed over me.

Someone bellowed! Someone cried! A squeak! A bleat! A moan….
Who was hooting, wailing, whooping? I blinked and heard a groan.
I found no owl, no fox or moose—no wild menagerie.
‘Twas just the roaring, snoring snorts of Bella, Bear, and Bree.


Public Vote (5-plainclothes vs. 4-sandwiched)
Final Results:
5-plainclothes vs. 4-sandwiched

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
5-plainclothes vs. 4-sandwiched
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
5-plainclothes vs. 4-sandwiched

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  • missrumphius

    Nicely done Lill and Buffy. Such a tough decision …

    • lillpluta

      Thank you. I had my heart set on writing something lyrical for this round, but “plainclothes” had me stumped for a bit until I made the link to one of my favorite sea creatures, the leafy sea dragon. I love Buffy’s Three Dog Night as well.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thanks, Tricia–and Lill, your use of “plainclothes” is inspired! Love your leafy sea dragons.

  • Donna Smith

    Both well done! Loved the leafy sea dragons AND those pup noises!

  • Jackie

    Love ‘em both – gawd!

  • Helen Kemp Zax

    Both poems are great! What a tough choice.

  • Barb

    This is a VERY tough decision. Congrats on two great poems!

  • Debra Shumaker

    Lill, I love your imagery! Well done. Buffy, perfect meter, it just rolls of your tongue. Tough choice! Well done, authletes, well done!

  • Diana Murray

    Nicely done, Buffy and Lill! Lill, I never would have thought to put “plainclothes” and “dragons” together. How imaginative! And Buffy, your poem made me feel warm and toasty!

  • Kevin Sardelli

    You both belong in the Elite 8, terrific job.
    Lill dressed up in a disguise,

    Buffy followed me with fright,
    but the winner I declare
    does not blink so late at night

  • lillpluta

    Thank you for all the kind comments. If any of you are unfamiliar with these critters, give them a google. They basically look like withered up root vegetables that sprouted. They can’t really swim or grasp anything with their tails. They can live an amazingly long time because they aren’t recognized as fish by both predators and prey. There are videos of other fish swimming right in between all the leaflike appendages of the sea dragon. And they’ve been featured on a couple different kids’ cartoons, including Octonauts.

  • Carol Samuelson-Woodson

    I can almost see the sea dragons–lovely imagery. As one who has slept with dogs (well, a dog) I can sure relate to Buffy’s as well. Hard choice.

  • Phillip Van Wagoner

    Lill, amazing imagery! Buffy, your rhythm is spot on and the sounds of those pups had me laugh out loud. Great job, you two. Another tough call.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Thanks, all, for the nice comments–I appreciate them!

  • Ann Magee

    Like both of these a lot. Sea dragons are my favorite, too, Lill :)

  • Shanda Trent

    So much fun, Buffy! And elegant, Lill.

  • Damon Dean

    LOVE science poems! This raggedy-finned sea dragon floats in my imagination with this poem Lila. Buffy, I have had many two dog nights but recently my two granddogs also stayed with me–four, so it was on the floor! This poem resonated with me.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Thanks for the great match, Lill. Using plainclothes to describe camouflage was a stroke of brilliance–I really enjoyed your poem (and getting to know you!)

    • lillpluta

      Thank you, Buffy! It was a great match. For a rookie, I accomplished all my goals in this competition. Would I have liked to have gone beyond that? Yeah, sure . . . but I’m content going out on this note. I’ll continue to vote and cheer from the sidelines. Thanks, Ed, for picking me this year. It was a good, albeit, brief run. :)

  • Darren Sardelli

    Way to go Buffy!!!

  • Donna Smith

    Nice showing for both! Congratulations, Buffy! I’ll be watching and reading for the next round! And congratulations, Lill! You were up against one tough cookie, rookie!

    • lillpluta

      I’m a rookie in this contest, but not to poetry. :) I’m just not part of the larger online poetry community.

      • Donna Smith

        No, I know what you mean! It wasn’t a rookie poem for sure!