ROUND THREE: 8-embellished vs. 13-denouement


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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’d like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
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  • In the Classroom Vote, you must be registered and logged in to vote.
    • Official voting classrooms should read and discuss each poem and then submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.
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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:


8-embellished what does it mean?
By Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

In dewy morning hours, at daybreak’s early light,
the clouds, still cool and frosted and sleepy from the night,
awake with hopeful outlook – is today another day
the Weavers pay a visit? Is there magic on the way?

They raise their heads from feather beds, and look down from the sky.
A rooster crows, the sunlight glows, a red-tailed hawk flies by.
Then swiftly out of nowhere, with spools of golden thread,
the Weavers swoop in silently. The sky turns orange-red.

They work their spindles quickly; no time to dillydally.
Below, the earth awaits the show – the sunrise grand finale.
The clouds are stitched with golden sparks by skillful nimble fingers,
and when the Weavers slip away, their handiwork still lingers.

Dressed in lace and sparkling jewels, embellished by the sun,
the clouds await their encore when the day is nearly done.



13-denouement what does it mean?
Medusa’s Lament
By Randi Sonenshine

Oh, I’m just a lonely gorgon with a lot of love to share
But I’m destined for a solitary life.
How I curse that cruel Poseidon with his hypnotizing trident
and his selfish ploy to take me as a wife!

It’s so hard to find a husband when you’re living in a lair
where the Internet’s at best a weak transmission.
And when looking for a date, very few men seek a mate
with a pair of wings and scaly disposition.

When I think I’ve found a fellow not afraid to take a dare,
who might look at me and live another day –
one who fancies hugs and kisses, while the hair around him hisses,
then I grab my phone and text him right away!

So I put on darkened glasses and sedate my writhing hair,
but no matter how much care I take to plan it:
In the dismal denouement, he will end up on my lawn –
Yet another ornamental “hunk” of granite!


Public Vote (8-embellished vs. 13-denouement)
Final Results:
8-embellished vs. 13-denouement

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
8-embellished vs. 13-denouement
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
8-embellished vs. 13-denouement

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  • Darren Sardelli

    WOW!!! What a tough decision. I honestly wish I could vote for both of these poems. This is going to be close.

    • Randi

      Thanks, Darren.

  • Josh Close

    Michelle – It’s like a native american folk story, well written tale within 16 lines! Beautiful words and imagery!

    Randi – Very creative idea with modern ideas (texting, etc) – the ending made me laugh! Well done.

    • Randi

      Thanks! I had so much fun writing this one!

  • Matt Forrest

    Michelle, beautiful imagery and an imaginative conceit of “Weavers” creating the sunrise!

    Randi, very fun, esp. “who fancies hugs and kisses, while the hair around him hisses”!

    • Rebekah Hoeft

      Randi, love that line also!

      Did not know much about Medusa and this was a fun way to learn a little more!

      • Randi

        Thanks, Rebekah! I am a big mythology geek, and I have always thought Medusa got the raw end of the deal!

    • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

      Randi, I especially love this line as well. And, in general, your seamless incorporation of myth and modern. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the hilarious punchline!

      • Randi

        Thanks, Michelle! I love your poem, too. The imagery and language are so beautiful. My favorite lines are “the rooster crows…” and the last two lines of stanzas two and three. Just lovely.

  • missrumphius

    Wow! Congratulations to both of you on great topics and thoughtful uses of your words. Apples and oranges, my friends. Good luck to you both!

    • Randi

      Thanks, Tricia!

  • rjschechter

    Well done, both of you! Michelle, a lovely sonnet.

  • Beth Rayner

    So beautiful!–So clever! These 2 should duke out another round.

  • Lori Degman

    Such a tough one!! They’re both SO good and SO different! Great job!

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Michelle, I think this is beautiful. Love the last two lines especially!

  • Debra Shumaker

    Wow, how are we supposed to pick out of these two?! Incredible poems.

  • Shanda Trent

    Curses! Now I must meditate: Randi’s Amusing Medusa? Or Michelle’s Eloquent Elegance?

  • Buffy Silverman

    Wow–I adore the ethereal, magical world of your Weavers, Michelle. And so much fun to imagine your modern Medusa’s difficulties, Randi! Wonderful language and rhythm in both of these.

  • RJ Clarken

    Wow! Reading each of your poems is like taking a master class in the art form. I am in awe!

    • Randi

      Thanks, RJ; you’re not so bad yourself!!! ;)

  • Jackie

    These poems are both wonderful – very different though. Tough.

  • Tammy

    Great poem, Randi

    • Randi Sonenshine

      Thank you, Tammy!

  • Dave Crawley

    Two poems creating very different moods…yet both equally successful.

  • Randi

    Thanks for all the kind words, everyone! This was a really fun poem to write, and Michelle is a slam-dunk competitor!

    • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

      As are you, m’dear!

  • Tee

    An ornamental “hunk,” hah!
    Both of these are so much fun, and wonderful – the skill level is just kind of gobsmacking. Well done, both!

    • Randi Sonenshine

      Thanks, Tee. I had that last line in my head almost right away!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Randi, I love your subject matter and wordplay! Particularly: “one who fancies hugs and kisses, while the hair around him hisses” – HA!

    Michelle, this poem is so beautifully lyrical. You’ve created some gorgeous images, and I just love the concept of the Weavers. Good luck to both of you — I wish you weren’t matched up together!

  • Phillip Van Wagoner

    Both great poems! Michelle, your imagery is incredible. Randi, your last line is SO GOOD. Congrats to both of you!

  • BJ Lee

    Wonderful poems, both of you! Michelle – I particularly adore your magical sonnet!

  • Damon Dean

    I am finally getting to vote…my “Internet’s at best a weak transmission” also today.
    What a matchup…a story in color and light, and a stone cold love story. Great work, both! Difficult vote.

    • Randi Sonenshine

      Oh, Damon! Stone Cold Love Story is a much better title for my poem- very clever!

  • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    Congratulations, Randi! It was a great match.

    • RJ Clarken

      You both wrote mondo-awesome poems! Yay!

    • Randi

      Michelle, I’m thrilled to be moving on, but sad you won’t be beside me. :( Congrats on the authlete vote; that certainly says a lot about your wonderful poem. And yes, you must share it – I can picture it as a rhyming PB. You could even extend it and end with the weavers working their sunset magic. Just a thought. ;)

      • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

        I’ll consider that, Randi. Thanks.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    What a close one this was! Congratulations, Randi! And Michelle, congrats on the authlete vote and on your beautiful poem. You went out in style. :)

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Congratulations, Randi! I can’t wait to see your next poem!
    Well done, Michelle! I wish we could see more of yours!