ROUND TWO: 7-jostle vs. 15-euphemism

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:

At the Base of the Flaming Cliffs
By Susan Taylor Brown

Searching for things not alive anymore,
Roy Chapman Andrews went off to explore.

The great Gobi desert held secrets beneath,
some skulls and some bones and rhinoceros teeth.

“Don’t jostle that fossil, this find is stupendous!”
The eggs he discovered were truly tremendous.

But that leaves a question we just can’t ignore,
which really came first, the egg or dinosaur?


Say it like you mean it.
By J. J. Close

According to my mother, “I’m off to bake a chocolate cake.”
According to my brother, “I’m off to skip rocks in the lake.”
According to my father, “It’s time to lose some weight.”
According to my grandpa, “It’s time to drop wolf bait.”
According to my grandma, “Would you excuse me please?”
According to my baby sis, “I need to squeeze some cheese!”
But for me, you see, these euphemisms don’t make any sense,
So I just say, “IT’S TIME TO POOP!” but that’s just my two cents.


7-jostle vs. 15-euphemism: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • 7-jostle (Susan Taylor Brown) (49%, 194 Votes)
  • 15-euphemism (J. J. Close) (51%, 200 Votes)

Total Voters: 392

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  • Quinette Cook

    I really loved both of these poems. Such a clever ending to your poem Susan. And J.J. who doesn’t laugh at poop poetry. I did. Good luck to both of you.

  • Josh Close

    Ed didn’t give me much of a choice, giving me “Euphemism” ;)

    Good luck Susan, your poem is great!

  • Penny Klostermann

    Don’t jostle that fossil…great! And, then, J.J. did “euphemism” justice! Ha!

  • Bill

    Josh I feel your pain;) I have ‘deleterious’.

  • Josh Close

    That sounds like my first round word “Meretricious”

  • Janet F.

    Susan, I love your egg or dinosaur ending!
    J.J. a euphemism by any other name…maybe doesn’t smell as sweet in your poem.
    Funny, though.

  • laurasalas

    Um, is “jostle that fossil” a euphemism? Just sayin’ it sounds kinda…questionable:>) Just kidding! (Ducking and running)

  • Renee LaTulippe (@ReneeMLaTulippe)

    Fun concept for euphemism, but I’ve got to go with jostling the fossil! Well done, both of you.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Laura’s comment made me laugh almost as much as these stellar poems….

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Oh Laura, I read your comment several times and only just “got it” hahahaha

    I am already working on a longer version of my poem because Roy Chapman Andrews was such a fascinating character.

  • Laura Shovan

    “Don’t jostle that fossil” best rhyme ever, Susan.

    J.J. I must admit that both of my parents, today, send me their own poems rhyming my round 2 word “speculate” with “flatulate.” They were supremely proud of themselves. Good thing I didn’t have to vote.

    • Ed DeCaria

      Well, YOU don’t have to vote … but can we?

      I think that we should put Laura’s parents’ fart poems on the internet and then vote on them. Who’s with me?!?

  • Josh Close

    I think my potty humor needs more kid voters!

  • Paul

    Go Go Go JJ a poet they say
    Hang on now JJ you’ll make it some day
    Shalala JJ you’re doin fine
    You and your poems ahead of your time


  • Gloson Teh

    Oh man… the THIRD poop-related poem in MMPoetry! First was Kathy Ellen Davis’ “caulk” (which I lost to), second was Buffy Silverman’s “chagrin”.

    Now J.J. Close’s “euphemism”? Hmm… I wonder if there will be any more :D

    By the way, very impactful poem, Susan. Did you get the idea from the fact that “jostle” rhymes with “fossil”? Just curious :)


  • Josh Close

    I just thought I’d test the success of potty humor one more round, but I’m not sure it will work all the time :)

    I’m curious to know what others would have done with Euphemism, maybe I didn’t do enough research but potty humor seemed the best route this time!

  • Robyn Hood Black

    Susan, I’m loving that “jostle/fossil” line too, and the fact that you’ve shared some science and history in such a playful way. J.J. … I’m short on words. For your poem AND Laura’s comment. ;0)

  • Josh Close

    hahaha I assure you, this would be my only one if I advance :)

    Unless Ed gives me a word like Deficate, Fertilization, or Stercoration.

    Than I might have no choice. Again.

  • Ed DeCaria

    Impromptu Poll

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Oh I wish I had thought to title this something that would let people know that
    Roy Chapman Andrews was a real person. Hindsight. Hindsight. Always so crystal clear.

  • Josh Close

    I know what you’re saying, Susan! I hope people either know what “Wolf bait” refers to, understands it in context, or looks it up. :)

    Or put in a disclaimer at the top, “For best effect, read it twice!”

  • Gloson Teh

    Okay, Josh. I just looked up “wolf bait”. Ewwwww.

  • April Halprin Wayland

    Josh…Stercoration: ARCHAIC: “the act of dressing with manure”…HOW DID YOU FIND THIS WORD??? It’s wonderful to mean such erudite people here!

    Susan ~ when I first read the name, “Roy Chapman Andrews,” I thought, wow, she’s so original. What a great five syllable name to invent! When I read further and realized it was a true story, a real person, my brain was even more jazzed.

    Nonfiction poetry: a natural high.

  • April Halprin Wayland

    Oops…Josh…I meant…It’s wondeful to MEET such erudite people here.

  • Josh Close

    Well I figure by saying the word here, Ed would never give me that word in a future round :)

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    If only it were that easy!

    I’m obsessed by this guy now and am working on a longer piece about him. He’s fascinating.

  • Heidi Mordhorst

    For the record, I knew RC Andrews’ name though only the poem helped me remember who he was. Also, I’ll admit that although I found these poems to be neck and neck overall, my adult self would not let me vote for a poop poem. J.J. does need more kid voters(probably we all do). Good work, both of you!

  • Dave Crawley

    I read “All About Whales” by Roy Chapman Andrews as a kid, after being fascinated by the big fish in Disney’s Pinnochio. Speaking of which, this is a whale of a match (I’ll forgo the urge to equate the vote margin with JJ’s last name).

  • Dave Crawley

    Er, that’s Pinocchio…

  • Josh Close

    After being down 36 votes last night, I didn’t think it would ever get this… “close”

  • Chloe Rongholt

    Hey, Josh it’s me Chloe from 4th grade Mr.Nelson’s class your poem is really good that’s why I voted for you I think the whole grade voted for you because you are in the LEAD!!! :)

    • Ed DeCaria

      Aha! 4th graders! I knew there was a reason that poop was making a comeback …

      Plus Susan’s poem is grounded in non-fiction, so perhaps we are witnessing a bottom-up rejection of the Common Core.

      Not sure how it’ll end. Good luck to you both.

  • Josh Close

    haha awesome! Thank you Chloe! It’d be interesting to be able to see a graph of the age of voters… How many kids prefer poop over nonfiction and vice versa!

    • Ed DeCaria

      I’d love to be able to do that. Sadly do not have any demographic data. Maybe next year …

  • Josh Close

    All I can picture in my head right now is 150 on one side of the street yelling and screaming “NON FICTION!!” and 150 on the other side of the street yelling and screaming “POOP!!”

    It’s one hilarious picture – try to picture it.

  • Laura Shovan

    Susan — good for you! I’m looking forward to reading the longer piece you’re working on. Those fossils are fascinating!

  • joycemoyerhostetter

    Loved jostle – unexpected content. Good meter and rhyme.

  • Jeanne Walbrun

    In defense of Poop, it is a great children’s topic. As a first-grade teacher, I can guarantee that it cracks them up every time!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Thanks, Laura. Looks like I’ll have more time to work on it and my National Poetry Month project, whatever that is going to turn out to be. :)

  • Cristi

    For some reason the book “Everyone Poops” came to mind :)

    • Ed DeCaria

      Ah, a family favorite in our bathroom.

  • Shelby Hoch

    well Josh i hope you win!!!!!! you are really close!!!!!!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

  • Laura Shovan

    Both of you! I found the perfect job for dino-obsessed, poop-silly students: “Ewww: Scientists use poop from living animals to estimate the size of dung dropped by T. rex and other dinos”

  • Damon Dean

    I KNEW there’s some research out there on dinosaur poop…there is real science that appeals to kids!
    We need to merge these poems.
    So that one vote gets two.
    Coprolite fans, unite!

  • Josh Close

    I can’t watch this anymore, this is crazy!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    I have no fingernails left!

  • Ed DeCaria

    For Damon Dean, Who Asked For It
    By Ed DeCaria

    Searching for things not alive anymore,
    A bunch of fourth graders went off to explore.

    The second floor bathroom held secrets within,
    some brown ones, some green ones, some thick and some thin.

    “Don’t jostle that fossil, this find is stupendous!”
    The poop they discovered was truly tremendous.

    But that leaves a question we just can’t ignore:


  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Congratulations, J.J. Good luck in the next round!

    Now off to the next big poetic adventure.

  • Josh Close

    I cannot believe it! I am shaking right now! This is more like a basketball game than I ever would have thought! Well done Susan, I wish we both could go on!! That was crazy!

  • Ed DeCaria

    Susan — THANK YOU.

    Josh — you can open your eyes now!

  • Josh Close

    Hey Ed, just so you know – I would have voted for the poem that you just wrote above over both mine and Susans! That was hilarious!

  • Ed DeCaria

    A poetry mash-up! Maybe we should put that one in the book, too …

  • Josh Close

    I am all for it! Susan’s great meter with my poor subject choice :)

    I had a lot of 4th graders “EWWING” today! Laughter came after :)

  • Paul

    Go Go JJ you know what they say
    He wrote a poop poem they all liked that day
    Shalala JJ…a vote you got mine
    You and your brown poem remembered all time


  • Gloson Teh

    Wow, this has to be one of the most disgusting comment discussion in MMPoetry 2013! xD Speaking of poop, I’ve also written a MMPoetry-related poop poem called the Portaloo in Waterloo in my blog. Hope you like it! :)

  • Damon Dean

    Hahahahaha! Ed, that is fantastic. Fossilized teachers…welL, fossilized recycled teachers. You never know what a comment might excrete on this site.
    Susan you made it so close…if I was teaching still I would hire you for a poem per unit. AND pay you whatever a teacher’s salary would allow.
    Josh I am cheering you on!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Damon, thank you. You just made my day. Absolutely!

  • Janet F.

    And I am SOOO with Damon!!! I actually do still go to schools so will share this with some kids and let you know!! My husband knew R C Andrews, even though I had not……. he said his dinosaur book was THE book on dinosaurs and every kid read it in the ’50s….says we may even have that book in our collection… poems can be entrees to the topic or simply bring us in to see a snapshot, with a chance of remembering more. What a wonderful comment!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Janet, you might want to follow my blog which is where I’ll post a longer version of this poem that tells more of the RC Andrews story.