Poetry Contest About Choices

A new poetry contest about choices. Twenty lines maximum. Due June 30, 2014. One poem per person, please.

Scroll down and press Leave a reply to submit your poem. Winners will be published in my new anthology about choices. Published date around December 2014.

There may be a delay in the post since I have to approve it. I check the blog usually in the evenings.

Thanks to everyone who entered. The contest is now closed. Winners will be announced by August 1st, 2014


36 thoughts on “Poetry Contest About Choices”


    On my fiftieth birthday, I met my daughter for the first time since she was a few days old. At the park, at the appointed time, a woman walked toward me.



    I hugged her. She felt stiff, so I let go.

    She handed me a gift. Inside the gray box was a rose pin.

    Hot tears spilled. I handed her a small photograph. “Here’s the picture I asked the adoption agency to take.”

    She looked at herself as a newborn. Her eyes brimmed with tears.

    I hugged her again and this time she hugged me back.


  2. By My Choice

    I do not look before I leap, I do not think before I speak.
    I do not listen when I am warned, I do not learn from my mistakes, I’m scorned.
    I only know the way I feel, I only know my love is real.


  3. Mary Lou Haugh
    Submitted on 2014/03/13 at 3:26 pm

    Last Night

    Illusions are full of life. They feel like
    deep beliefs and ancient myths. They
    took the lead through dreams, the
    catastrophies that have come and gone
    through me.

    Freedom is my only resource now.
    No attachments, no excuses, no songs
    to sing, no need of that. I rid myself of lies
    and hope, everything but my truth & love.

    It’s time to live, to let go of comfortable ideas
    handed to me; instead, I make my work count
    with every word my pen now camly puts to ink.

    Last night, a place of revelation
    lead to a Private Refuge.

    Like a wildflower, full of deep magic
    and the lure of life, I seek my nature
    pure and clear, like clean water from
    the well of cosmic oceans that come
    from glass mountains on the other
    side of dark nights.

    By Mary Lou Haugh


  4. Vee Byram
    Submitted on 2014/03/13 at 10:54 am


    I stand on my side of the river.
    You stand on the opposite bank,
    our pain mirrored in the water.

    I cry out, “Come across.”
    You cringe, turn away.
    I don’t understand.

    Softly I say, “Please.”
    You hold your ears;
    my word falls short.

    I wade into the torrent,
    to meet you part way.
    Icy chill stops my breath.

    You put one foot in,
    pull it right out,
    tell me no, you can’t.

    I crawl back to shore.
    Legs frozen, my body
    shivers in the wind.

    The words of healing remain unsaid.
    The current of pain is too strong.



    We very seldom have choices really.

    Because choices are an illusion,

    From the minute we are conceived and born

    We move forward in states of confusion.

    Indoctrinated and conditioned

    We are individually structured and raised,

    And conforming is subtle but strong

    To follow our life/culture is valued and praised.

    It is hard to make changes from this norm

    Regardless of choices we see,

    Conformity is expected

    How can we break free and just be?

    Whatever the culture and expectation

    Of that time is the road we travel,

    To escape or live different it seems

    Would cause our families unravel.

    Conformity, conformity becomes our only option

    What else is out there, we don’t even know,

    How can we break free and be who we are

    From this conditioning and strong undertow?

    By: Kate Ann Scholz 3/14/2014


    1. Nighthawk, you are on the right page right here. Some poets posted on the general blog page and I moved them here.
      Please submit in the reply below this message or scroll down to the last reply on this page. Thanks. I look forward to reading your poem.



    There’s always a line within our head
    To do what’s right, when wrongs have lead
    To reap the fruits for sufferings sake
    When thoughtless regrets have tempest takes

    When shadowed blossom’s mist and die
    And valley cads just laugh and cry
    When festering wounds rule woeful storms
    Their twisted rally shaped human forms

    We etch deep strokes with stylish flair
    The urge to purge, we cross when dared
    Within this battle of inner slew
    A bottomless well, a conquered you

    Volleyed shots of battery-shells
    The jaws of death, the kiss of hell
    Who will rise at thunder’s gate?
    A horse, a hero, or blundered fates?

    Hung smelted horns remain askew
    That bright land game ‘tween him, and you
    To prove the best man’s valued worth
    Your ego buried, your destiny berthed

    Copyright September 2013
    by Mary L. Palermo


  7. Whispers of the Lake

    My choices often find me
    standing alone in deep water.
    I dive unafraid—
    cutting through the resistance.

    Shouts from shore warn me of danger.
    A loved one hopes I won’t drown.
    He has resuscitated me before—pushed air into my lungs,
    until I spurted.

    But I can hear the whispers of promise.
    The secrets the lake holds about
    those that failed at their attempt to swim.
    They did not stop, until eventual death.

    It’s those whispers of hope—
    I look to find in friends.
    Aloneness is easy, comfortable and sure,
    solitude is a place of peace.

    Yet a shimmer off the water
    lures me one more time—
    to try—until someone
    pulls me under, from below.


    1. Thanks, Mary and Elaine for your entries.
      Nighthawk, you are on the right page right here. Some poets posted on the general blog page and I moved them here.
      Please submit in the reply below this message.


  8. If You Want to Exist Do Not Choose Left
    By Tanda Clauson

    Perhaps because it’s sinistral,
    I cannot comprehend
    Leftness. Left is
    An enigma… an unsolvable riddle.
    Nonexistent in memory… Nonexistent in reality.

    I enter a room without a door
    Without a door, I cannot leave.
    I eat my food and like a waltz
    I whirl about, and magically,
    My plate of food is here. I eat.
    Although I’m told I came
    So near to finishing my plate, I dance
    And magic shows my plate is full again.
    Like Zeno’s arrow I cannot move.

    Though people tell me yes,
    I know no left.
    My universe is right.
    Left is… a riddle… sinistral.
    If you want to exist – Do not choose left


  9. “Not Much Choice”

    Abandonment is a painful exile,
    an exorcism of the familiar.
    A powerless isolation pervades,
    adrift as human flotsam and jetsam.
    Samaritans become perpetrators,
    substances become solace and escape.
    Patterns of self denigration imprint.
    Poisons are mistaken for poultices.
    I survived a systemic negligence,
    emancipated to uncertainty.
    Trails marking my past, overgrown with weeds.
    The lonely woods dark and full of despair.
    Parents made a selfish choice to leave me.
    I must make one to always love myself.
    Some days I find it difficult to do.
    On those days, I choose to love much harder.

    ~ M. Zane McClellan

    Copyright 2014
    M. Zane McClellan
    All rights reserved

    Hi Julaina. I don’t know if it is okay to share this on my blog or not and still qualify for the contest. I wrote this specifically for your contest, but I am publishing it on my blog as well. Please leat me know if I need to unpublish, or write another poem. Thank you.


    1. Hi Zane,

      Thank you for entering your poem. Yes, you may publish it on your blog and still be in my contest. My only requirement is that you have all legal rights to whatever you submit to me.

      Thanks for checking,



      1. All of my work is original. Please let me know if there is a limit to the number of poems I can submit. I will withdraw one or the other, and not submit any more. Great topic Julaina. Thank you.


      2. Hi Zane,

        I can accept one poem per person for the contest and the poem can not be longer than 20 lines. Your first one qualifies (did you want a title or just call it Untitled?).

        The “Two Choices” poem is longer than 20 lines so I will remove that one from the contest. The winners of this contest will be published in my next anthology that has the Choices theme. Whether you win the contest or not, you can submit a poem to be included in the anthology.
        With your permission, I’ll put “Two Choices” in my submission file.

        Thanks for asking,



      3. The first poem is titled, “Not Much Choice”. I will appreciate you putting, Two Choices” in the consideration pile, and thank you very much.


  10. Their Pool of Pandemonium
    Regina Puckett

    Each day there are so many challenging choices
    So many that I’m left confused by the babbling voices
    Each one is shrieking and shouting to do that or this
    How will I ever decide which ones to keep or dismiss?
    So I’m covering my ears and shutting them all down
    Before I fall into their pool of pandemonium and drown

    Copyright 2014
    Regina Puckett
    All rights reserved


  11. Hindsight
    by G. Karl Kumfert

    It was my choice, and I chose poorly.

    I was true to my principles.
    I didn’t give in to special interests.
    I trusted my gut.
    I was strong.

    I knew numbers could be manipulated,
    Evidence could be fabricated,
    And people complained no matter what.
    So I tuned it out — all of it — and stuck to my guns.

    I made the tough choice.
    I kept my promise.
    And I expected to live with the consequences, effortlessly.
    I was wrong.

    Instead of critical thinking, I was just critical.
    Refusing to compromise, I forbade myself to see.
    They were my opponents, after all.
    How could truth possibly be on their side?


  12. Choose the Moon

    Take one small step
    Foot in front of foot
    Journey’s end visible
    But distant
    So far that colors change
    Air thins
    Muscles ache
    Plant your heel
    Push against stony ground
    Stretch sinew, bone, intent
    Grasp the horn of the crescent moon
    Breathe in the ether
    Choose your next challenge


  13. Patrick Coyle sent a poem before midnight but to my email instead of posting it here. I am including his entry in the contest.

    Thread Finger Bowl

    These words: thread finger bowl.
    What would I choose to make of them?

    We thread words from our minds and hearts through our fingers
    — holding a pen, a pencil, or moving across a keyboard.
    We choose words to put onto a page,
    into a text, an email, a manuscript, a poem, a song.

    We may chant them,
    we may strike a singing bowl,
    we may pray with them,
    we may finger our beads,
    we may dip our fingers in a holy water bowl,
    we may reach ourselves or another.


  14. Hi There! I was copied on an email by my writers group (CWC-TriValley) that My poem, By My Choice, was noted with an honorable mention for your poetry contest. I may have missed your note to me but I wanted to thank you very much!


    1. Hi Mona,

      I didn’t know you were a member of Tri-Valley too. I will be sending you a release form soon since I’ll need your permission to publish your poem in my next anthology about choices. All three award winners and Honorable Mentions will be in the book.


  15. I forgot to mention that I’m leaving for vacation Friday the 24th and won’t return until Nov. 10th. Please let me know when you’ll need the release form.
    Thanks again!


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