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Sea Shell Game # 7
Judge: Francine Porad
8/2/97

ROUND ONE

1.

A crisp fall wind howls
Whistling in my soft red ears
Winter is coming

2.

Little naked bird
The fallen creamy petals
Of a wind-rocked plant

Unusual use of language in Poem #1. I imagine the cold and discomfort that

can come to "soft red ears" from exposure to the elements. Wind indeed does

"howl" and "whistle." Although I like the strong image of "fallen creamy

petals of a wind-rocked plant," the word "naked" in reference to a bird seems

inappropriate. Birds are neither dressed nor naked. "Little naked bird"

suggests a bid for the reader's sympathy. Poem #1 progresses to Round 2.

* * * *

3.

i found out today
what i love the most in life
he leaves tomorrow

4.

Spiralwind moving clouds
sunshine comes through - turningpoint
quiet centre within...

Poem #3 is very direct and clear, but is formed by two statements. To me, it

is a three-line tanka, not a haiku. Haiku are image-based. Therefore, Poem

#4 progresses to Round 2.

* * * *

5.

Stepping stones behind -
life's quest silently answered:
sun and moon are one...

6.

would god exist without men?
sunshine -
no matter melted separation...

Both poems are too intellectual for haiku, although I personally like the

concepts. Tough decision. Poem #5 progresses to Round 2.

* * * *

7.

Two cups of hot tea -
my open heart in silence
nearer your presence...

8.

Wallpaper pasting
Tired people
Sleepy dog suckles pups

"Two cups of hot tea" is a great haiku first line--so open. "my open heart

in silence nearer your presence" is a bit flowery for haiku. The language in

Poem #8 is ambiguous. Is the wallpaper pasting the people? A dash or some

punctuation would help. Are you stressing a connection between wallpaper

pasted to a wall and the pups "pasted" to their mother? If so, the word order

needs changing. Poem #7 progresses to Round 2.

* * * *

9.

Nightfall comes,
The sea roars on,
The salty waves wash up on shore.

10.

necessity breeds death
with a thirst for salty tears
you needed my cries

Poem #9 contains images of an ordered, natural world. Nightfall comes, and by

extension, the next day, the next season, too. Poem #10 is too intellectual

for a haiku. "Show, don't tell" are the operative words here. Poem #9

progresses to Round 2

* * * *

11.

a child's hand
taken with anxiety and impatience
a mother's pride

12.

HOSPITAL

They fed him their drugs
Against all regulation.
He didn't notice.

Poem #11 interests me because it reflects the mixed emotions we feel toward

our children. However, the poem seems to "tell" more than "show." Poem #12,

Hospital, also uses statements, in addition to setting the scene with a title

line. A toss-up, but I'll choose Poem #12 which has reverberations for me.

More about Poem #12 in the Round 2.

* * * *

13.

night creeps in at dawn
purple clouds turn into black
colorful dreams fade

14.

My mind tricks me
I hear you laughing
You sleep forever

Both poems deal with dreams (I surmise), though in Poem 14 the act of

dreaming is unstated. Personal bias causes me to be picky about Poem #13. I

don't think "purple," "black," and "colorful" should all be in one haiku.

Also I try to avoid personification, such as "night creeps in." In Poem #14,

my mind is engaged by what is left unsaid. I am allowed to interpret on my

own, to be a co-creator with the author. Poem #14 progresses to Round 2.

* * * *

15.

the grass becomes gray
the long winter settles in
sun melts it away

16.

Water flows down the narrow creek
a butterfly
on a nearby flower

Aside from being composed of observations, Poem #15 covers too long a

time-span. We speak of "the haiku moment." We want the happening to be

here-and-now. In Poem #16 two images are juxtaposed. The "water flows;" the

butterfly flows to the flower. Poem #16 progresses to Round 2

________________________________

ROUND TWO

1.

A crisp fall wind howls
Whistling in my soft red ears
Winter is coming

4.

Spiralwind moving clouds
sunshine comes through - turningpoint
quiet centre within...

In Poem #4 images are present, but as written, the poem is too wordy. This

can be a successful haiku using less syllables. A few suggestions are: a

change of word order; the omission of the word "turningpoint," perhaps to

start "sunshine through clouds." Still enjoy Poem #1 which progresses to

Round 3.

* * * *

5.

Stepping stones behind -
life's quest silently answered:
sun and moon are one...

7.

Two cups of hot tea -
my open heart in silence
nearer your presence...

Poem #5 is too abstract and intellectual (stated previously). Although I

would simplify lines 2 and 3 to "my silence/ in your presence," Poem #7

progresses to Round 3.

* * * *

9.

Nightfall comes,
The sea roars on,
The salty waves wash up on shore.

12.

HOSPITAL

They fed him their drugs
Against all regulation.
He didn't notice.

Regarding Poem #12 perhaps the title and first lines could be combined to

read: hospital drugs fed him (or) fed hospital drugs; then a shift to

present tense in the third line with: he doesn't notice. One suggestion for

Poem #9: to uphold a short line, long line, short line pattern (desirable in

a haiku) on the second line after "the sea roars on" change the comma to a

dash, a semi-colon or ellipsis, and add the words "salty waves" thus leaving

"wash up on shore" for the third line. Poem #9 with its implied cyclical

continuity will continue to Round 3.

* * * *

14.

My mind tricks me
I hear you laughing
You sleep forever

16.

Water flows down the narrow creek
a butterfly
on a nearby flower

I am drawn to Poem #14. I like the surprise, the a-ha! of the final line (we

are let in on the trick), but the "you sleep forever" is an abstract concept.

Image-based Poem #16 flows on to Round 3.

________________________________

ROUND THREE

1.

A crisp fall wind howls
Whistling in my soft red ears
Winter is coming

7.

Two cups of hot tea -
my open heart in silence
nearer your presence...

In Poem #7 the flowery wording of lines 2 and 3 jumps out at me. Haiku is

noted for simple language. Poem #1 takes this round because of the clear

images. Perhaps the word "fall" can be eliminated, since "winter is coming"

is stated; perhaps one of the verbs can be eliminated.

Do we need both "howls" and "whistling?"

* * * *

9.

Nightfall comes,
The sea roars on,
The salty waves wash up on shore.

16.

Water flows down the narrow creek
a butterfly
on a nearby flower

Poem #16 is largely observation. Not too much action going on, which is OK

for haiku.

It may be that the words 'largely observation' could describe Poem #9 as

well. Yet, there's a sense of mystery. No human intervention in this scene,

not even the presence of the writer.

Poem #9 roars on to Round Four.

________________________________

ROUND FOUR

1.

A crisp fall wind howls
Whistling in my soft red ears
Winter is coming

9.

Nightfall comes,
The sea roars on,
The salty waves wash up on shore.

Decisions! Decisions! Very tough to choose, because I enjoy both poems. Sea

Shell Commander, do you believe in ties?? No? Well, if I must select one, I

will.

During the previous rounds I made suggestions for both poems, which I believe

are valid considerations. When repeatedly reading the two poems aloud (as

poems should be read) I was struck by the musicality of Poem #9. As I grow

older and the earth seems to be a more violent place, the concept of a

continuing natural world has a tremendous appeal. For these reasons the

winner is: Poem #9.

Nightfall comes,
The sea roars on,
The salty waves wash up on shore.

Thank you for sharing your poems. Keep writing; take heart. Do remember that

judging is a very subjective process. No doubt another judge would have

selected differently.

Warm regards, Francine Porad

The winner is:

Nightfall comes,
The sea roars on,
The salty waves wash up on shore

......................Amanda Fixsen

Second Place goes to:

A crisp fall wind howls
Whistling in my soft red ears
Winter is coming

........................bubbles

Third Place:

Water flows down the narrow creek

a butterfly

on a nearby flower

..................................Chewy

Congratulations to the winners! and thanks to Francine Porad for doing such a great job with the judging. \o/ Jane

Poems remain the copyright © of the authors.
Judge's comments are copyright © by Francine Porad 1997.

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