THE MADNESS! 2012 FINALS: *bovine vs. *impecunious

[click image to view matchup in full screen in a new window.]

The Poets’ Challenge: Each poet is assigned a single word based on their bracket seed, ranging from 1 (intuitive) to 16 (seemingly impossible). Poets must write a kid-appropriate poem using the prompted word in under 36 hours. Once both final poems have been received, they will be pasted into the body of this post, and then the reader poll will be open for voting.

Voter Instructions: Read each poem as many times as you’d like. Then use the poll to express your preference. Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered. As a guideline for voting, consider the criteria on which the contestants on the cooking show “Chopped” are evaluated: presentation, taste, and creativity. Translated roughly into poetry terms, presentation might include technical aspects such as meter, rhyme, form/shape, etc.; taste might be the net effect — did the poem move you to laugh, cry, think, kill, etc.; and creativity might include the poet’s approach toward a certain subject, image evocation, clever wordplay, etc.

“This is awesome, where can I find more?”: All 124 previous Madness! 2012 poems and voting results are visible from the Live Scoreboard page.

Here are the poems:

by Stephen W. Cahill

Bovine balloons were lined up in platoons
Defending Inflatable Land.
They made up an army, a little bit barmy,
With battles appallingly planned.

Their number one foe were giraffes made of snow,
All equally lacking in sense.
They climbed to the top of a hill where they stopped,
Declaring “Let battle commence!”

With hair dryer Uzis and mini Jacuzzis
The cows tried to melt their tall foe.
But soon they were faced, from all over the place,
With a porcupine catapult show!

The cows started popping, giraffes started flopping,
The make-believe armies near dead,
When a hand from above, in a little blue glove,
Picked up a balloon and he said,

“Moo-cow, you’re the winner! But now, it’s my dinner.”
And so, the balloon must depart.
Its tail is undone and it sails to the sun,
Straight up in the air with a fart!


Tale of a Not Overly Dramatic Broke Kid
by Debbie LaCroix

To be without a penny,
Is to be without a dime.
To be without a quarter,
Is the most horriblest cruel crime.

Impecunious as a pauper.
Broke as a street bound bum.
All I want is a dollar
To go and have some fun.

The video game isn’t that expensive
I’m not exaggerating at all.
But if I can’t find me some money
I think I’m gonna bawl!

Fine, what can I do to earn it?
What if I clean my room?
Then will you give me some money?
OK, where is that broom?

Better than a penny,
And better than a dime,
Better than a quarter
Is money that is mine.



*bovine vs. *impecunious: Which Poem Did You Prefer?

  • *bovine (Stephen W. Cahill) (53%, 360 Votes)
  • *impecunious (Debbie LaCroix) (47%, 315 Votes)

Total Voters: 675

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The average pairing in Round 1 generated 154 votes.
The average pairing in Round 2 generated 178 votes.
The average pairing in Round 3 generated 224 votes.
The average pairing in Round 4 generated 354 votes.
The average pairing in Round 5 generated 605 votes.

Don’t break the trend now!

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  • Kathryn Apel

    Oh. Bovine is the perfect word for Stephen. I can just imaging the fun he’ll have with that! (Suz, funnily enough, bovine was actually one of my three for you on account of my grazier husband. But you scored my first preference, the lovely pusillanimous – and look what a wonderful thing you did with it! :P)

    Hmmm… Wondering if your aunt (or the lemons… or the lemonade!) will feature in your impecunious poem, Debbie…

    I’ll be back and voting! Go on. You’d both better get ‘Thinkier’ing!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Hi Kathryn, you were right I had a ton of fun with it. Had myself in stitches! :-)

  • Mrs. Harvey’s Class

    Impecunious….oh my! Debbie, good luck with that word. We are indeed UNimpecunious because of your, and everyone else’s work here at thinkkidthink! Stephen, we look forward to seeing you work magic with bovine! You both have really hard words this time. You deserve to be in the final round. Good job getting there. This will be a great competition. We can’t wait…hurry up! We wish you both luck.

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Mrs Harvey, finished! Well you did say hurry up! Your kids will get a right giggle out of this one – well, here’s hoping they do!

      • Mrs. Harvey’s Class

        Yahoo! We can’t wait to read your newest creation!

    • Debbie L.

      How is your class poetry coming? :-)

  • Suz Blackaby

    Wow! Livestock and chintz. Can’t get much more poetic than THAT.
    The whole world is watching!
    (No pressure!)
    Happy writing!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Suz, I was voting for you all the way. Well up until the semis! Hope you come back next year – you’re pretty damn amazing.

  • Debbie L.

    Not feeling any pressure. Nope, not at all, none, not so ever…. runs screaming from the room….

  • Greg Pincus

    Bovine vs. Impecunious, eh? A lovely match. Good luck, you two. Good luck indeed!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thanks for for the bon chance Greg! And may I say, sincerely, that this competition has been made great by the likes of your good self being involved.

    • Debbie L.

      Thanks Greg. I learned a new word!

  • Amy LV

    Ah, BOVINE was #2 on my list too. I love it. a.

    • Stephen W Cahill

      thanks Amy – had a lot of fun with it!

  • Dom D

    Now that the poets are off and running, completely ignorant to our comments, perhaps an informal poll: What poetic form will be used in the winning poem?

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Hi guys, I’ve just finished my bovine poem and really happy with it. It’s off to bed with me now :-)

  • Stephen W Cahill

    But I’ll probably change it completely when I wake up – that’s if I get to sleep! As Tiffany Strelitz would say – “Meter Meter, sleep depleter” :-)

  • Debbie L.

    As I still rework mine, frantic to get it right. I’m quickly running out of time. Oh, it’s such a fright!

  • Debbie L.

    Stephen, I look forward to the final match. Can’t wait to see what you do with Bovine!

  • Janet

    Impecunious. Bovine. Sleep well…..can’t wait to see what these final poems will bring.

  • Jim

    When can One read the poems?

  • John Urch

    Truly inspired Mr Cahill. I’m looking forward to your first book of kids poems, you clearly have the talent.

  • Jim

    Both great… Stephen u got my vote!

  • Joy Acey

    Too bad you can’t buy votes, but when one is impecunious it is hard to do. Good Luck.
    What a riot both poems are. Thanks for the fun.

    • Debbie L.

      Broke as a street bound bum….

  • Gabriel Traske

    I always enjoy the marketing copy in the American Science and Surplus catalog. They were once selling a bag of miniature plastic cows with the line “A must for all your bovine decorating needs.”

    Hair dryer Uzis and mini Jacuzzis. Hee, hee, hee.

  • Debbie L.

    Stephen, your Bovine’s are powerful. Great imagery. :-)

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Thanks Debbie :-) you put up some battle with that cruel word Greg gave you! ;-)

      • Ed DeCaria

        Ah yes, but every cruel word ASSIGNED was first SUGGESTED by another participant and then FILTERED by at least one other! It’s team cruelty! (And again, I assure you — impecunious isn’t that bad compared to some of the other words suggested!)

  • Quinette Cook

    What a matchup! It was such a difficult choice. Congratulations to both of you!

  • Julie Kreun

    Had to look up what Debbie’s word meant. :) Great poem.

    • Debbie L.

      I did too. :-D

  • Amy LV

    Congratulations to both of you! Now you can set your dictionaries aside and get some well-deserved rest! Thank you to everybody for the good fun and wordplay here, for kicking off National Poetry Month together! *Throws popcorn in air!*

  • Kathryn Apel

    Fantastic tournament and great match-up to close. Congratulations, Ed. You did it!! Infecting the world with your Madness. :P Congratulations Stephen – roistering rhythm and rhyme throughout! Congratulations Deb, finding fun in both serendipity AND impecunity. And congratulations to all who came and were absorbed in the poetry – and those who found new ways with words throughout.

    Winners all round!

  • Debbie L.

    Congrats Stephen on a great game! I’m honored to have written against you. :-D You are an amazing poet and I look forward to reading more hopefully soon!

    • Stephen W Cahill

      Debbie, you’re very kind. What a big bunch fun that was :-) Great game!
      Congratulations on your new book and I trust you’ll have lots more success in the future. See you next year!

  • Debbie L.

    Thanks everyone for all your great comments! This was great. :-)

  • Michele Krueger

    Such fun reading, writing, sharing and commenting on eachother’s work! Thank you all, and especially our mastermind Ed! Such diverse talent on display!

  • Helena Potash

    I vote for Debbie

  • Bharath

    Bovine… Reminds me of the movie ‘Night at the Museum’ for some reason I am unable to explain.

  • Suz Blackaby

    Brilliant finish to a great tournament! Hats off to everyone who participated–pushing all of us to get on our game! And mostly thanks to Ed for so graciously and generously and enthusiastically masterminding March Madness. Total crazy fun.

    • April Halprin Wayland

      Total crazy is exactly right, Suz!

      THANK YOU, ED!

  • Jim

    Well done to all involved, enjoyable reading & great to see poetry getting this attention. Congratulations to all involved, thank you for sharing your talent & keep them coming Steven,Mighty!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    Congratulations, Stephan, and to all the poets who participated in both writing poems and in spreading the lovely of poetry across the world. Winners all around. Thanks again, Ed, for a rip-roaring good time.

    • Ed DeCaria

      Oh! I soooo wanted to use “riproaring” in Round 2 but had to take it out once I looked it up and realized that it needed to be hyphenated.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Congrats, Stephen! And to everyone who participated, read, voted, enjoyed…and ORGANIZED! Ed, this was just fantastic, and I can’t wait for the next one!

  • Catherine Johnson

    Congratulations, Stephen! And to everyone for a wonderful tournament, delighting us all with your fun poetry.

  • Greg Pincus

    Congratulations Stephen, Debbie, and Ed for a great capper to a tremendous Madness. I’m so happy to have been a part of it with you all. And Stephen… we look forward to photos of the The Thinkier overseas!

  • Melinda Harvey

    Is anyone else a little sad about all of this? I mean, it’s over…the wonderful run of wordplay, comraderie,and incredible poetry. Done, over, terminated. It has been an incredible run and I am sad to see it end. Dr. Suess once said,”Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Thank you to Ed and all of the wonderful poets who gave us so many rhyming reasons to smile! A special congrats to Stephen and Debbie who brought an amazing finale of fireworks to the tournament.

  • Jone

    Congratulations all, Ed, fabulous event!

  • Patricia Nozell

    A TERRIFIC experience! Congratulations to both finalists! Many, many thanks, Ed, to you and to the amazing poets who have shared their talents. Despite being a one-round wonder, I gained confidence, an even greater appreciation of children’s poetry (both its attributes & the talent of the poets), new blogs to follow & new Facebook friends. Looking forward to March Madness Poetry II!

  • Angela Lagrou

    Aww! It’s over? We all can’t wait until next year!

  • Janet

    Looking for a some more new poetry? Check out Mrs. Harvey’s new blog, debuted on April 1 at Melinda is writing a poem in a different form during the NaPoMo and she is not disappointing. She is including some background and appears to be handing out invitations to her children to join in and try their hand at some new poetry even over vacation.

  • Stephen W Cahill

    That was the most fun I’ve had in years! I gained so much from the experience, learning about myself, my writing and poetry in general. Some of the poems I read really blew me away.

    But Ed, if anyone should be getting a trophy it should be you. It’s been said many times already, but you really have been outstanding in every way. Thank you.

    Here’s to next year’s Madness!