03 August 2012

the our lost jungle poetry form challenge: challenge #5 results

Good morning, poets! With the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, we have seen a resurgence of the connection between the athletics of the world’s Olympians and the artistry of the world’s poets. In keeping with the ancient tradition of the Olympics, which often paired athletic feats with the praises of poets (and also often included the art of poetry and the other arts as Olympic events themselves, a tradition I would love to see us return to!), we’ve seen everything from athletes reading poetry to calm their nerves to coaches reading and writing their competitors verses in the locker rooms, and even a celebration of the arts from NPR in the form of the “Poetry Games” (for which you can vote right now)! Is it any wonder, then, that I’ve come to see this challenge as something of an “Olympiad” of its own?

Each week you have been presented with a task, and have striven to do and be your best within the rules presented to you. I’ve seen it happen. For me, it’s often even more amazing than watching the most popular of Olympians outdo even themselves, or the underdog competitors stun the world. You have been stunning, and this week was no different. I sing your praises, poetic Olympians. (For challenge guidelines and to get caught up, check out the links at the end of this post!)

This week’s challenge was to write sonnets; as promised, a traditional sonnet and a modern sonnet have been selected as the featured poems and poets this week. First, the traditional sonnet. From the pool of “competitors” in this week’s challenge, no one seemed to have felt more the underdog than Claudette Young, who nonetheless kept plugging away with beautiful sonnet attempts that proved her to be anything but underdog material. Her “final stab” at the sonnet form, which read as a (somewhat modified) Shakespearean sonnet, is an absolute beaut:

Human Endeavor

Upon this pillow of time’s long regret
Ride ships of intent for making man’s place
One to rival all that God could create,
To shine a beam across Heaven’s face.

Man’s self-praise arrives on servant’s bare backs,
Amid swelling stripes of work’s occasions,
Beneath wheels of time along rutted tracks,
Looking back to see man’s past persuasions.

Deep within life’s book of desire’s intent
Fires burn, banked by goals' high aspiration,
Willing to sacrifice for attainment,
Pride’s light to burst forth, shining salvation.

Beware cliff-side’s proximity always,
For fall’s tolls can usher in great malaise.

The featured modern sonnet comes from a poet whose submissions this week were also absolutely stunning. Janice Sheridan (writingonthesun) created her own set of sonnet rules to write her modern sonnet, which she shared on her website, Writing On The Sun. In keeping with my attempts to respect the authors who share links rather than posting their full poems here, I’m only posting the first two stanzas of Janice’s sonnet; the rest is available on her website:

Walking together

My feet, two feet from his two feet, most weeks
we greet then eat a meal at table without words,          
A nod will do for seconds. Two odd birds
playing house—a mouse and a bull that reeks

of work and dirt. Perk the coffee, slice the pie
into thirds, exchange a few words prior to
the news, a review of duties for the new
day and dusk turns into a bland alibi […]

To read the rest of Janice’s lovely sonnet, and to learn more about the rules she invented for her sonnet’s form (“the Sheridan Sonnet” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?), visit her blog, Writing On The Sun.

Congratulations to both Janice and Claudette, and thanks to all who submitted poems here, via their own sites, or through email for this week’s challenge! Rest up over the weekend … Even more poetry challenge fun is coming up next week!


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Get caught up with the Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge!


  1. Congrats Claudette and Janice. Another gold metal to add to your collections. Look out Michael Phelps.
    Thank you Khara for hosting.

  2. Thank you, Khara! And to Kris, also. And Wow, Claudette, so many great lines I loved, but I think this one is the best: "Man’s self-praise arrives on servant’s bare backs." That is a stunner. And great title!

  3. Thank you, everyone. I'm stunned. That much is certain. I'm so glad that my poem was enjoyed. And Janice, I rather liked that line myself. I slaved over this one, to be honest, and yet the slaving was in tweaks rather than content. I wonder what that means.

    Khara, you never cease to surprise me. Thank you for this honor. If this is stretching, I'm must be getting fit.

  4. You have such a great sonnet of your own, Janice. Congratulations on the new form. I'll have to try it, too, now.

  5. FInally getting over here after a long (but fun!) day with my granddaughter and great nephew. These little 17-month-old cousins are just so much fun to watch together. :)

    It pleases me to NO END to see your sonnets chosen, Clauds and Janice. There's also no end to your excellence! Bravo and congratulations!

  6. Well done, ladies! Two beautifully crafted poems.

  7. Thank you so much, Marie and Misky. I'm glad you liked my sonnet.


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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