ROUND THREE: 9-litany vs. 4-vaunted


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’d 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.
  • In the Public Vote, anyone may vote, but only one vote is allowed per IP address.
  • 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.
  • In the Authlete Vote, you must be a 2015 authlete and logged in to vote.

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:


9-litany what does it mean?
Principal Kron’s Unusual Morning
By Darren Sardelli

I woke up late. My shower broke.
I couldn’t find my keys.
My daughter filled my briefcase
with a pound of melted cheese.

I walked to work. I slipped in mud.
A sprinkler sprayed my pants.
A squirrel stole my wallet
and I tripped on poison plants.

The lenses on my glasses cracked.
A goose attacked my tie.
A spider bit my elbow
and a hornet stung my thigh.

This litany of problems
was announced by Mr. Kron,
who fainted when he realized
that his microphone was on!



4-vaunted what does it mean?
Pen Pals
By Buffy Silverman

To Madam Owl, Resident of Rafter Four, The Barn on Raptor Lane:

Last night I spied your lofty flight, but did not scurry out of sight.
I froze and worried while you soared. My body stopped. My heartbeat roared.
Yet with your vaunted eyes and ears, you saw me not, heard not my fears.
Away you flew with muffled swings of fearsome feathered silent wings
allowing me to scramble off. I do not wish to scorn or scoff
or underestimate your skill. (And yet…. your talons hold no kill!)

Sincerely yours, a humble mouse

To Mr. Mouse, Occupant of Second Hole Beyond the Sewer Drain:

I will not call you lowly, mouse, despite your fetid sewer house
for you have wit and aptitude. I praise your plucky attitude.
How clever to avoid my ears! (A mouse magician disappears.)
Why should you ever flee or scurry? Stay right there! Don’t hide or hurry
from this hunter of the night. For you can freeze when I take flight–
until I see you, tiny treat. Then you’ll meet my deadly feet!

Sincerely yours, Almighty Owl


Public Vote (9-litany vs. 4-vaunted)
Final Results:
9-litany vs. 4-vaunted

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
9-litany vs. 4-vaunted
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
9-litany vs. 4-vaunted

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  • Josh Close

    Well done both of you! Gonna be another tight one I think!

    Darren – That would be a pretty rough day! Very humorous, and great kid-appeal.

    Buffy – I particularly enjoyed the internal rhyme, it disguises itself in your poem quite well unforced. The topic idea is very clever – fun idea!

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thanks, Josh–I appreciate it!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Love your kid-pleasing litany of woes–poor Principal Kron! Nicely done, Darren!

  • Darren Sardelli

    Very clever poem Buffy. Your rhythm is flawless. Never thought about making these 2 animals pen-pals. Nicely done!

    • Buffy Silverman

      The pen-pal idea was middle-of-the-night insomnia inspiration.

  • rjschechter

    Buffy, I need to read the sequel. You can’t leave us not knowing whether the owl will succeed in killing the mouse! I’m not sure who I’m rooting for. The mouse is cute, but an owl’s gotta eat, doesn’t it? Fine word, very creative approach. And Darren, tell Principal Kron that he got off pretty easy if those are the most embarrassing things he said in the open mike. Lucky for him the hornet only stung his thigh, if you know what I mean! Nice job.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thanks, Bob–I’ll leave the ending to your imagination (you can root for the owl, and others can celebrate the mouse!)

      • RJ Clarken

        Or both. :D

  • Lori Degman

    These are both so clever!! They both deserve to win!

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thank you, Lori!

      • Darren Sardelli

        Much appreciated Lori.

    • RJ Clarken

      Indeed they do!

  • Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    Darren- you always know how to make me laugh.
    Buffy- you’re a master with the ahh! factor.
    I predict this is going to be a close one!

    • Buffy Silverman

      I think you’re right, Michelle–kids are going to love Darren’s hapless principal!

  • Shanda Trent

    Two more fabulous entries! I really hope the students are having as much fun reading these as we grownups are!

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Buffy, love the way you show the mouse and the owl both feel superior to the other! Can see this being used in multiple subject areas!

    Darren–who can’t relate to having a bad day and making it worse by not being careful about the words spoken?!

  • lillpluta

    We almost lot a cat to an owl this fall, so this poem gave me both chills and thrills, Buffy. Exquisitely written. I also enjoyed Darren’s tale of the poor hapless accident prone principal.

  • Jackie

    Away you flew with muffled swings of fearsome feathered silent wings – love it!

    My daughter filled my briefcase

    with a pound of melted cheese. – :-)

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Kid appeal from Darren once again – nice job!
    And kid appeal from Buffy — love your language and imagery, Buffy, but the formal voices you’ve created for Mouse and Owl are perfect. I expect them to challenge each other to a duel or have a spot of tea after the hunt. Wonderful!

  • Tee

    WOW. These really sing. I love the idea of epistolary poetry.

  • Damon Dean

    Super cleverness on both counts. Darren has kid appeal from one standpoint and Buffy too from the story side. Love them both. A tough vote.

    • Darren Sardelli

      Thank you Damon. Glad you enjoyed.

  • Randi Sonenshine

    Such a tough choice, as the others have already said. Buffy, I love the letter format and so wish I had written the line, “Away you flew with muffled swings of fearsome feathered silent wings.” Darren, yours made me giggle. It reminded me of the principal from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off…too funny!

    • Darren Sardelli

      Thanks Randi. I love that movie. I could definitely see that – the principal encountered a string of mishaps. Ha.

  • Buffy Silverman

    Thanks all for the kind comments about Darren’s and my poems. I appreciate them!

    • Darren Sardelli

      : )

  • lillpluta

    Congratulations, Buffy! Both poems were magnificent. That’s what makes this whole thing so exciting … errrr … nervewracking.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thank you, Lill. And thanks Darren for a fun match–I’m not surprised that the classrooms chose your poem–melted cheese in principal’s briefcase = :)

  • Darren Sardelli

    Buffy – congrats on the win!!! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with for Round 4. You’re my new favorite in this competition.

    • Buffy Silverman

      Thanks, Darren! Nice to have a cheerleader!

      • RJ Clarken

        Congrats to you both! Wonderful poeming! Good luck in the next round, Buffy!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Congratulations, Buffy! :)

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Congratulations, fellow Michigander! I am looking forward to your next poem!
    Darren, you will be entering next year, right? !