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Warming Her Pearls

Tyrant of Words
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Poetry Contest

Classic Corner Tribute: Carol Ann Duffy


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

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

Carol Ann Duffy is an award-winning Scottish poet who, according to Danette DiMarco in Mosaic, is the poet of “post-post war England: Thatcher’s England.” Duffy is best known for writing love poems that often take the form of monologues.  Although she knew she was a lesbian since her days at St. Joseph’s convent school, her early love poems give no indication of her homosexuality; the object of love in her verses is someone whose gender is not specified. With her 1993 collection, Mean Time, and 1994’s Selected Poems, she would begin to also write about queer love.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Duffy is also the United Kingdom’s poet laureate, the first woman to be appointed the position in 400 years. She earned the National Lottery award of 75,000 pounds, a sum that far exceeded the stipend that poet laureates receive.  Duffy’s recent collections include her Collected Poems (2015), The Bees (2011), winner of the Costa Poetry Award and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize; and Rapture (2005), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Duffy is a professor of contemporary poetry and the creative director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. She lives in Manchester.

For more information regarding Duffy, please visit the Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/carol-ann-duffy


Write a new poem honoring Duffy 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 Duffy. 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 #CarolAnnDuffy in the theme list.  The page will automatically generate as soon as eight entrants hashtag the theme.  In the interim, #hashtag #CarolAnnDuffy at the bottom of your poem.

6. In your poem's notes, provide links to the poem by Duffy that inspired yours. Without this, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Duffy, 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, AS WELL AS THOSE WRITTEN BY A NON-DISCLOSED PROFILE. This is not a competition to deliberately ignore guidelines so as to advertise your work or sneak more entries in under a guise.

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

Tyrant of Words
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She Called Me "Super Girl"

Her coffee in my hand, I arrive with ten
minutes to spare, flown in so fast    
I had to rebrush my hair, before setting glasses    
upon my nose to disguise my face    
All she saw was a reliable cup of coffee    
and the paper with me on it, holding    
a plane, barely able to manage the first    
yet she declared me "Super Girl" without    
even looking up, as in, to really see me    
there, wondering at witnessing my own    
naming, unknown, yet present, familiar    
being now asked for my approbation    
Even though to her I am really nothing    
more than a cup of coffee, a snack run    
a green, ignorant, envious admirer    
if only she knew who I really was...  
(Based on "Warming her Pearls")
Written by EdibleWords
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jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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( after Carol Ann Duffy)
Morning drip-dries;    
shadows cast    
as you sleep in.    
The old ways are still best;    
fresh laundry hanging.    
Sounds of creaking    
and squeaking    
throughout the house;    
still I know which is you    
from that of a mouse.    
Weather reports;    
our two dogs    
at the screen door;    
it’s begun to rain birds    
from a candy store.    
They move outside,    
the back steps,    
to watch me kneel    
handpicking tomatoes,
a summer’s healing.
Making us lunch,
hearing you
humming a song;
I can tell by the scent
it’s here I belong.    
Written by Jade-Pandora (jade tiger)
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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[ Classic Corner ] Nude Female Drawing

Look — I get it. Like most women,    
you want to be valued for more      
than your body. Well, news-flash:    
I'm not a mind reader. Perhaps    
you should have considered this      
when posing for these photographs?    
Hey, don't judge me. I just want to    
unwind, relax and draw ... yanno?    
I actually prefer it this way --- easier    
to enjoy myself given you aren't really    
a few feet away in the room with me    
forcing yourself to be as still as a    
bowl of fruit for five hours or more    
( sorry, but I can't draw any faster ).    
And I can get away with wearing my      
comfy flannel pajama pants for reasons    
that are all too obvious this very moment    
( seriously, I have no control over what    
goes on south of Belly Button, Arkansas ).      
Anyhoo, I would like to think that such    
is a form of human torture prohibited by      
the Geneva Convention.  So, there.      
Also, you won't end up with stiff muscles.      
Right. Enough with the wisecracks already.    
Jeez. Now hold still while I blend graphite    
shading around your nipples with the tip    
of my index finger and try not to get too      
excited yourself.

Written by JohnnyBlaze
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A non entry

Tyrant of Words
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Olde Faces

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All for this instant, literally—a glimpse    
of egress from poverty and disease  
riddling an ignored thread of being—  
 this haversack of bleeding womb    
  birthing a gestating soul    
     It is said your life regresses    
moments before death;  
but, I believe it’s our Spirit, retracting—  
  a rubber band, returning    
  to the bright point of its origin  
before expanding outward again    
     From our final moment of happiness    
to the first love we experienced  
  our esprit instantaneously revisits—  
  commending to history memories    
to be recalled instinctively upon necessity—  
     Actions we burgeon from, or mimic  
become future choices of the collective  
seeking past connections—olde faces  
  and places etched within the stories  
  of our double-helixed DNA  
I was beautiful and intelligent once, but  
It is finished—this prolonged life    
     Since I took my first breath  
I anticipated this second, leaving behind  
the degradation of an aging society—  
so come—come quickly—because  
     I have grown so cold lying in wait  


Joshua Bond
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Mrs Noah

Josh (Joshua Bond)
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“It was an old story that was no longer true ... Truth can go out of stories, you know. What was true becomes meaningless, even a lie, because the truth has gone into another story. The water of the spring rises in another place”. (Ursula K. Le Guin)

“He was never so happy as when he had a project:
but this — an ark? And a bloody big one too.
I mean, work-shops, wood-stores, animal shelters — fair enough
but a bloomin’ great ark?
Though I’ve got to hand it to him
at nearly 600 years old he’d lost none of his DIY skills.
Anyway, I’d learnt the hard way
if a man gets a bee in his bonnet about something
it’s best to let them get on with it, and say nought.

Then the animals — talk about confusing.
First it was two of each, then seven, plus two only of unclean animals.
I’m no good at maths, or cleaning, so I left the boys to sort it out.
But did they really have to bring on board rats as well - and, for Chrissakes, snakes!
Weren’t they the ones who started all this mess? But at least dinosaurs
had died out, irksome beasts.

Anyway, worst bit was fending off all those drowning people.
Shem, Ham & Japheth with their father, each poking long hard sticks
shouting “We’re the good guys, piss off you evil bastards”. Terrible affair.
But as a woman I had no say.
Had fun with my three daughters-in-law though.
We made a good foursome playing Bridge
to fill in the months.

I like to sift truth from the modern trend of embellished story-telling.
The dove that brought back the olive leaf, for example;
after nearly a year of the olive tree being submerged in water — I mean, come on. What’s more, Noah wasn’t the only doom-sayer boat-builder on the planet —
of course other people survived.
And rainbows, well, they’ve sure been around a long time,
way before the ark.

Anyway, after landing
it was quickly back to same-old same-old
and being a non-person, barely noticed,
I decided to bugger off and do my own thing.
Met a nice young woman too
only 100 years old
and we settled down comfortably together while I wrote my memoirs.
I heard the old goat Noah lived another 350 tedious years
and became a cantankerous drunkard
cursing his grandson Canaan.
I was glad to be out of it, you know. 200 years together puts quite a strain on a relationship.

I’ve got to say this though
I’ve lived through interesting times.
The Tower of Babel was the next big news
but that’s another story.

And by the way, I do have a name; it’s Na’amah.
It means ‘sweet and pleasant’.”


Inspired by Duffy’s poem “Mrs Aesop” from her 1999 book “The World’s Wife”. The poem can be found on-line here: https://genius.com/Carol-ann-duffy-mrs-aesop-annotated

Tyrant of Words
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We now have #CarolAnnDuffy thanks to Webmiss. Please edit your themes accordingly.  

Dangerous Mind
United States
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Queen Kong (Queen Of Hearts)

She slept in a deck of cards    
whilst all the world buzzed
and people seeked her and dreamed    
of stroking her; a magician.    
Yet she was plain and bare as    
a naked heart, and surrounded by suitors;    
spades, aces, jokers, clubs, diamonds,    
rough and ready to play her,    
stacking themselves up to her    
demeure flatness.    
The world already knew her tale,    
knew how to roll a coin, some dice    
to conjure her, a spin of a wheel;    
but no gamble was made on the queen,    
she was a sure shot, no shamble.    
But oh, her bleeding crimson heart    
loved to ramble red onto the table    
of her domain and the folk, they    
ate up her fortune, and those suitors,    
they longed to play at her game    
even if it were only to lose.    
The full deck was needed    
for her to win and take all.    
She sat, hinged upon the competitive    
circle with her chips down for all to see.    
And there, the queen became a prize    
in her own right as transience was key;    
the illusion of winning was a work of finesse    
and never so grand was she,
never a queen so free.    
Written by PoetsRevenge
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Photographs, Memories and Smiles

I heard back in the day you didn’t want to school
You wanted to work and make money
You had your own plans for a future
But most of all you wanted to have a family
You took risks and yet played it conservatively

Not sure how one does that, perhaps it was your upbringing
The generations of strong women in your blood
Who never depended on a man to provide for them
It was one of those lessons you’d pass down to your daughters
And to your boy

You used to dance, your siblings and cousins would say
You’d drink and laugh, it’s in still pictures of everyone’s minds
Memories never fade
They just hide in the corner
They suddenly come to light and show up in smiles

I heard stories from dad and uncle, from aunty and grandma
Telling me about your younger days, I’ve seen the photographs
Of that slender young woman with jet black hair
And sometimes when we browse through old family albums
I see you smile again
Written by wallyroo92
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Fire of Insight
United States
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my admiration is a secret
whispered only
to the page

a quiet infatuation
designed by the gods
as unrequited
and either a joke or offensive
and so unspoken
except in this old man's mind

but then an old man is just a young man
tempered and chastened by circumstance
and his eye is only a little cloudy

 #hashtag #CarolAnnDuffy
Written by javalini
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Dangerous Mind
United States
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Warming Her Pearls (A Pearl Moon))

Your love was a pearl
never to be found.
In its shell, the heart of everything
is never fully round.

The full moon was a pearl
of yours, of mine,
of worlds shared in sleep.
You were a secret I'd always keep:

Mistress, watching over me;
white wings, white shoulders,
still as solemn passions
running deep.

The world and I do
covet you, beautiful she;
milky and full, her love
burning away the aches I keep.

Slow and steady,
persistent and deep;
My longing for her
runs on in my sleep.

Written by PoetsRevenge
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Tyrant of Words
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Ahavati and I promise we will eventually award a trophy in this challenge as soon as we can get a free moment to beam ourselves down from the USS Stanza! LOL

Tyrant of Words
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Thank you all for your patience; we'll be announcing the winners today.

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 8311

Greetings, and again, thank you each for your patience. Now that NaPo is beginning to let us breathe a bit, we can get onto business requiring some heavy focus.

Thank you each for your amazing tributes to Duffy.  These competitions are never easy to judge, and sometimes it comes down the the tiniest thing.  In this case, however, that couldn't be further from the truth—it came directly down to something personal and believable.

That being said . . .

Wally, simply put, you made it personal and believable.  Many of these writes, while excellently composed poetry even capturing an essence, can lack that personal attribution the poet wrote from, in this case, her mother. Despite what we could suggest as edits, sometimes a piece exceeds beyond that aspect to something more.  This is one of those pieces.  I could feel the genuine connection to the past through this as I did Duffy's, on such a personal level that we couldn't help but award you first place. Congratulations.

Josh, yours was a wonderfully composed, hilarious tribute and perspective based on Duffy's wives poems, and we loved it. We could see the study and work that went into it. It was very close with Wally; however, the personal aspect of Wally's, particularly the ending, won out. Congratulations on placing Second!

EdibleWords, we enjoyed yours for the unique perspective in regards to mistress.  Many times we can feel like just a mistress of our taskmaster employers, who don't seem to see past us to our feelings vs responsibilities.  Being a mistress doesn't necessarily mean from a lover, and that's the aspect we gleaned and really enjoyed from yours. Congratulations on placing Third!

PoetsRevenge, we loved A Pearl Moon, which actually tied with EW's, but her unique perspective on defining mistress won out.

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Congratulations to winner Wally, 2nd place Josh, and 3rd place EW, (and PR, too)... for wonderful ink to an amazing poet!👏🏻


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