Competition Ends 1st March 2020 2:06pm

Alone In The Woods

Tyrant of Words
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Poetry Contest

The Classic Corner: Stevie Smith

Co-Hosts - Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze ( the wonderful artist who renders these classic portraits )  

Welcome back to the Classic Corner Competitions, Part XXV, in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most famous classical and modern poets of our time.

Born Florence Margaret Smith in Hull, Yorkshire in 1902, Stevie Smith moved with her family to the North London suburbs when three, then lived in the same house the rest of her life. She graduated from the North London Collegiate School and went on to work as a secretary. She published several collections of short prose and letters as well as nearly a dozen volumes of verse. Although the nursery-rhyme-like cadences of her poems and the whimsical drawings with which she illustrated them suggest a child’s innocence, Stevie Smith was a sophisticated poet, whose work was much concerned with suffering and mortality. Her macabre sense of humor can shock, as in her most famous poem, “Not Waving But Drowning.”

Smith was awarded the Cholmondeley Award for Poets in 1966 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1969. She died of a brain tumor in 1971.

For more information regarding Smith, please visit the Poetry Foundation:


Write a new poem honoring Smith inspired by any one of her poems.

Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition, it must be linked to your page with the below information.

Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Smith. The more we feel you "capturing her essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience, ambiguity - a wide range of factors.    

The Rules  

1. Two entries per DUP persona.    

2. No erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW ( Extreme Content Warning ).    

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300.    

4. Any form is acceptable ( but studying the poet is advised ).    

5. Webmiss will be creating #StevieSmith in the theme list.  The page will automatically generate as soon as eight entrants hashtag the theme.  In the interim, #hashtag #StevieSmith in your notes as well.

6. In your poem's notes, provide links to the poem by Smith that inspired yours. Without this, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Smith, or simply swapped fresh words into her existing poetry and form, which could be considered plagiarism.

Comp will be judged by Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze. As in the past and in the event there is a tie, we will call in third ( and possibly fourth ) judge.

LASTLY**** ALL NON-ELIGIBLE ENTRIES WILL BE REMOVED. This is not a competition to deliberately ignore guidelines so as to advertise your work.

You have one month; best of luck to all entrants!

Tyrant of Words
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This Chapped Ass Of Mine

I would not bet on my horse in this race if I were you -    
will get you nowhere in particular, which is my goal    
Destination within reach, filling the world around me      
with desired scenery - though life currently is far from foal    
Perhaps upon arrival, I'll be too weathered from journeying -    
no longer care for liberating madness of youth's daydreams      
Discouraged? No, as I have nowhere else in particular to go    
minding not as long as you matter in my conscious streams    
Written by JohnnyBlaze
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non entry

Tyrant of Words
United States
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March's CC poll is live and awaiting your vote!

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
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The Old Dog

( After Stevie Smith )

The sun-warmed porch,    
 its faded wood absorbing heat  
under this arthritic skeleton—  
once a conqueror of meadows    
 and dawn hunting parties.    
I listen to my mistress    
praise cardinals in winter  
  with a neighbor, again;    
  O! how pretty in snow!    
   You know—    
it’s a deceased loved one,    
    visiting us now!
I curl up, unseen,    
  forgotten in age, think. . .    
Ah! to be admired again—  
  a conquistador of duck    
  fox, and downed pheasant.
Trekking the bank    
  behind my Master,    
retrieving his claim    
  of direct aim—splendid shot!  
Tonight we’ll celebrate!
Those were the days,  
  before he died—    
then children, all grown  
  up and moved away,  
without so much a goodbye.        
Did you know, Mistress crooned  
  to the visiting neighbor,    
Cardinals are faithful!    
Never abandoning you    
   in the cold of winter!
I stretch, yawn invisibly    
while awaiting Death—  
despite having it made:  
  eat, sleep, romp, and shit    
is all that’s expected of me.    
A daily brush, weekly bath    
and plenty of treats.    
  Still, I can’t believe  
  it’s the best it can be—  
not when Death promises    
a new form, red with wings.    
So I wait, impatiently  
  for admiration and love  
  to accompany the change,  
especially when I return to visit!      
Nope, I wait impatiently  
  for just how good Life can be.    
Written by Ahavati
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Dangerous Mind
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Tyrant of Words
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Dancing Queen

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The queen, so happy, had fourteen children
seven sons and daughters had she
she looked at them all, said “let’s have a ball
I wonder how best that can be?”

The seven daughters stood in a circle
and round and round and round they danced
the queen thought “fair, but they’re getting nowhere
repeating they cannot advance”.

The seven sons stood straight in a line
they marched up and down, up and down
the queen thought “O.K, but where is the play
the fun of a night on the town?

The queen considered, and placed them in couples
they waltzed one-two-three, one-two-three
the queen thought “that’s better, but strict to the letter
is killing their freedom to be;

though circles and lines and couples are fine
they’re limited what they can do
they must be improved in a new kind of groove
that’s soulful and gleeful and true”.

She said to her children “it’s over to you
just move how you feel more alive …”
so they lindy-hopped, boogied and discoed and rocked,
they street-danced and clog-danced and jived.


Inspired by the poem “The Queen and the Young Princess” which can be found here:

Paul S...
Tyrant of Words
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I've no wish to attempt to emulate stevie
was sadly funny ..

Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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Mixed signals

I found my stated point of view    
not a floating premise far away  
solid in the facts I knew  
that horizon ever clear    
Did I consider empathy    
discontent to rend and be concealed    
for the tormented lives of those in need    
floundering in troubles depth    
Will they smile and say, I'm OK    
 clothes left on the beach, neat laid    
the final dip, as out they wade    
and say goodby in signs denied    
 Titanic toward the iceberg churned    
such merriment, the danger spurned    
 signs to wave or drown, questions unconfirmed    
each signal fits it own background    
Stevie Smith's poem - Not waving but drowning
Written by slipalong
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Fire of Insight
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Lost God

( after Stevie Smith )
I find my desire to go
Is lesser since I have lost God
Which happened a fortnight ago,
The air raids did not spare the rod.
My will is no longer as strong
Unless he still loves me perhaps,
To ponder about what is wrong
I keep how I feel under wraps.
I learned not to bother or pray
These times make a worry look small,
I am not as proud what to say
And so I say nothing at all.
He knows I cared of what I had
Expecting how I used to try,
I am now sterner stuff and sad,
I do not speak but I still cry.
Written by Heaven_sent_Kathy
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jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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( after Stevie Smith )
I was taught    
he is the weightless son    
from eternal death.    
But then   
out from under    
brick and mortar dogma,    
that says    
what they claim    
are Christ’s words.    
Hear him—    
not only on the wing,    
but everywhere air is lifted,    
for wind of storm is breath,    
and rushing water from a stream.    
Is this the way—    
where he is distant,    
all in the mind, remote,    
no longer physical?    
So he is risen above—    
passing through,    
watching me    
down below    
hearing, uplifted?    
The Christ I hear is the one    
who has his hands open,    
showing where a nail    
has not pierced his flesh.    
Those who know    
how others made it up—    
that in the air he is not dead    
still as he died for us.    
And even how, with every    
commercial gift shop    
figurine of Jesus    
(which still sells cheap),   
shows on each face   
that even the plaster one    
wistfully hopes    
simply to be heard.    
Written by Jade-Pandora (jade tiger)
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Dangerous Mind
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Free Spirit

He only called his mother and father by their names,
His hoarse little voice only added mystery to his story,
His mother would tell tales of how at mass he’d claim
The statue of Jesus was “my papa” praising him in glory.
He was a free spirit, curious about others coming and going,
Wandering the earth as if he was some kind of ancient soul,
And the day before he died he went around collecting coins,
We’ll never know what dreamt when he was only two years old.
May 1948 - January 1951
Written by wallyroo92
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Dangerous Mind
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Not Waving But Drowning (Sandbar)

What would it be if I went about,
pining, whining, given to shout,
would anyone know I was caught in a daze,
gone to a mind spell, lost in a maze?

Would, in a flurry I come rushing out,
a river of mud so careless without
a waving spectacle so bemused.
Who, in a moment could refuse
to look, and look upon with doubt.

'What is she doing out there, has she gone mad?'
With happiness, at least, it can't be that bad.

'But she is on a sandbar and the tide is coming in.
Doesn't she know her future looks grim?
Heaven forbid, I hope she can swim!'

Written by PoetsRevenge
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Tyrant of Words
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dartford said:I've no wish to attempt to emulate stevie
was sadly funny ..

I'm wondering if true greatness can be achieved by any other means than pain -- if not, then true -  why choose to go there?

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