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2011-08-31 04:24:41
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Strangers - a poetry contest

Sweetly, simply, this is a poetry contest about strangers. Have you ever imagined, while walking down the road, the entire lives of the people that pass you by? Picturing a beginning, a middle and an end for them in your head, their whole story - or even a fraction, a glimpse, of it?

What happened to the lady sitting across from you in the train, to make her look so sombre? And what is the secret behind the child who smiles sadly but does not laugh, and whose eyes show too much wisdom for his years? What was the event that sent the homeless man, pleading for a coin with his wild, messy hair, into the gutter?

Possibilities are endless. Now, I want you to tell me these stories. It doesn't matter that you know nothing of the person sitting next to you on the bus - you already know everything about their life.

I want you to tell me the tale of a stranger none of us has ever seen, but hears of every day.

1. All work MUST be your own. Plagiarising will result in disqualification.
2. Two (2) submissions per entrant allowed.
3. Any form or metre may be used.
4. Entries must be written in English. An occasional sentence in another language can be allowed, but in that case, a translation is required.
5. Have fun!

Three winners and an honourable mention will be selected. Most important criteria for the judging, which will be done by myself with an outsider judge, are the following:
1. How well the piece follows the theme.
2. The use of vocabulary, metaphors, etc.
3. Grammar and spelling.

All winners will receive badges.

The deadline for this contest is December 1st, 2009.


<img:stuff/strangerspoetrybadge-1.png> <img:stuff/strangerspoetrybadge-2.png> <img:stuff/strangerspoetrybadge-3.png> <img:stuff/strangerspoetrybadge-honours.png>

1. The Unhappy Happy Girl
The subdued sound of laughter takes away from the image of the heart,
A mask she installed in her attempt to fool the world,
So true her trick that she fools others from the start,
Oh don't you love this happy little girl?

The tears rest unspoken in her voice,
Even if her eyes betray no sorrow,
She lives her unhappy happy life by choice,
But she loathes to think about tomorrow.

Every day she acts the part of herself,
But can no one see past that?
She wants to put her mask back on the shelf,
And show the world how she's really sad.

Alas, the world demands her tricks,
And so she keeps on giving in,
But pretending is not what will fix,
There's no way for her to win.

The unhappy happy life is the one she'll live,
Until there is no happy left to give.

Written by [FlowerGirl21]

2. Not Yet
Likes to gamble, that one.
The one to your left.
The one to your right likes to sing.
But the one there, by the window?
She’s something special

with whirlpool eyes
and a dizzy-like smile.
Don’t know her name,
never asked. Never spoken
to her, if I’m honest.
But she’s something.

She’s got a castle somewhere,
a great thing, it is.
Home to dragons, kings
and who knows.
She looks sweet, that one,

but she’s not, she’s not,
she takes lives, she does.
But she doesn’t look like it
does she?

Not when she’s sitting by the window,
dizzy smile and whirlpool eyes.

But I’ve never spoken to her.
Not yet...

Written by [Chimes]

3. Rush Rush Rush

Always its rush rush rush
And Fuss fuss fuss
Under the weight of the world he feels crushed
And today all he has to do is get on a bus
He rushes to wait
And waits to rush
Busy like an ant
There is no hush
Just a rush rush rush.

Written by [Dragonous]

4. Putting on the Mask

She looks in the mirror
And sees a painted mask
Everyday she takes the time
To put this mask on

The eyeliner, the blush
The lipstick and especially
The cover-up.
A painted mask

It is the person she wants to be
Beautiful and happy
Perfect and strong
This is her mask

When she returns home
She washes her face and what
Remains are the cracks and imperfections
That go beyond her face

Scars that span a life time
That her heart wants to hide
So she smiles and laughs
Careful not to let the cover slip

This is her mask
She puts it on everyday
This is the woman
She wants to be.

Written by [pegasus1000]

5. Another Girl

Each morning she paints on her smile.
Always showing happiness to those around her.
She wares a mask of joy.

When her mask is off,
In one of those rare moments.
You also see her love, joy, and hope slip off.

Her eyes turn to deep pools,
pools of endless nothingness.
Deep down she has nothing.

We pass her every day,
Without a wave or 'hi'.
She's nothing special just another girl to us.

Written by [LinkTurrner]

6.Some lines written while staring at crowds

Past me you go
To the places you know
And I am still sitting, right here.

You move in your ways
Get through all your days,
And I watch you all, and I hear

The things you all tell
To those you know well
The same conversation again.

You move through your lives
With your husbands and wives
Some who love you, and some who give pain.

Your jobs are well paid
Your plans are well laid
For retirement that should give you bliss,

But every night
You long for flight
From a boring life like this.

You'll get around to it, someday,
You'll live out your dreams, someday,
When you have time and money to spare.
When the kids are grown up and all gone,
Their toys and cars removed from your lawn,
You will be ready.

It will not come.

You will realize you spent your whole life waiting for the moment that long ago passed you by.

written by [Seamus Schwathe]

7. Another Charming Thought

The donut shop
like any other
was fairly empty
at that moment
between very late at night
and too early to be up.
But there she sat.
Her eyes danced back and forth
between me
and her invisible companion.
I think that she noticed
that I had noticed her.
Her tiny body shook
as it followed the swinging
of her restless foot.
Softly spoken conversation continued.
It was sparkling and animate
with intermittent laughter
as she caught
some inaudible joke
from the phantom across from her.
And still
she looked at me
(Of course
I was looking too)
And I wondered
if she wondered
if my interest
was a threat.
Little could she know
I was only curious;
as intriqued by her
and this lanquage
that she spoke
as she was
by the one
she spoke it to.

written by [LynnAnneBrown]

10. Love

Side by side, they had that kind of glow.

Sitting alone,
she was bound to notice.

Someone in glasses made chemistry jokes and the lounge singer
twirled his microphone cord, closing his eyes and giving into the
jazz. She didn't mean to look their way a second time, but the singer
hit that note and her heart ached for love. Their gaze was golden.

Everyone was applauding when the night ended and not looking.

And when they left (alone?) without each other,
it was the most tragic thing in the world.

Written by [little flag]

11. Day Dream

She wore the unfinished beauty
Of an unfinished painting.
Well more a gesture drawing
Slightly out of skew
And all the lovelier
For her imperfect rendering
What had brought her
Down to earth
This eccentric angel
Who stood speechless
As she let the story

In the blinking
Of an eye
I heard everything
About her birth
How she was conceived
In her mother’s darkest hour
About her youth
Hiding from her fathers bottle
About the children
That she bore
She would not
As she been hurt.
To find
She’d only hurt them differently
About how
Now they were
Having children for themselves
About her fear
That the chains
Of suffering
Would still be worn
By even those who followed

She blinked again
And the grasp
She’d laid upon my eyes
And I watched her silver tresses
Drag the dream behind
As she slowly walked away

Written by [LynnAnneBrown]

12. Transparency in Sanity

She talks to herself, that strange old lady.
Mumbles and mutters in a foreign tongue.
No one knows her name, or in what language
her musings take form, or where she came from.

Most think she's crazy, should be taken to
an institution. But I, I wonder:
I'd rather think that something had happened,
something tragic or traumatic; a wound.

Her love asked her to be his forever,
but she was too young, too scared, so denied,
and now, years later, she longs for him, yearns
his asking again, drilling her reply.

Or maybe her son, cherub that he was,
loved to hear mama's tales at his bedside,
but he was lost, taken at a ripe young age,
and now she tells tales to a ghost, a lie.

Or maybe yet a man, a husband, love,
was a demon, a drunk, who hurt her so
to this day, she damns him for killing them
both; she lives while his liver gave long ago.

Whatever the case, as she sits mumbling
to herself, and I sit dreaming her life,
she transparent, I in silence: One might
wonder who's insane: ... She or I?

Written by [SAHS]

13. Moments

She sits alone, thoughts, ideals, dreams and fears all sweeping over her at once
And so she wonders and ponders about all that is and has been and will be
And even about who she is, and why.
So she sits in silence, her thoughts screaming, her mind racing, barely there at all,
Completely alone.
She wants more and less, and nothing at all and if entirely possible; everything.
She ponders over her connection with God, wonders if she’s forgotten how to pray.
Perhaps He’s forgotten how to listen. Perhaps He’s listening right now.
She enjoys these moments of pseudo-peace, sitting quietly and owing nothing to the world.
It’s amazing how silent the world is at this moment, when every ounce of who she is –
Every thought she’s ever had – is rising inside of her.
She longs for tears to release a wave of emotions; if only one wave of the ocean.
There is one single tear.
All that it means to be her becomes a spinning hurricane of confusion and doubt.
She brushes it away.

The storm subsides for a moment and all within her is silent in that instant.
She closes her eyes and rests for the trials of tomorrow.

Written by [Nioniel]

14. Gentle Shadows

Gentle shadows upon her eyes,
Aged and creased,
Wizened with sorrow and joy,
What happiness she must have known,
The birth of life,
Marital bliss,
A mother’s passion,
What sorrow she must have been shown,
Years of strife,
Something amiss,
A child’s abduction,
Yet who can know it but she with the shadows?

Sitting there, alone in the corner,
Waiting, waiting, for something unknown,
Passion and misery,
Excited and leery,
Approached by several younger than she,
Spoken to and laughing with such glee,
One would never think to look beyond,
The gentle shadows upon her eyes,
Masking pain and loss of days long gone,
She leaves alone,
What sorrow and joy she could have known,
Yet who can know it but she with the shadows?

Written by [Ravendust]

15. Looking for you

Walking by the park
Talking to myself
Passing you by
Eyes meet
I know you
Do I ?
I’ve seen that face before
I’m dreaming
I feel like I know you
It feels empty
You are just a stranger
like all the others

I’m alone again
Talking to myself
Walking by the park
Meeting strangers
Hoping to find you

Written by [Iske]

16. Let That Define Me

Strangers don’t care who you are;
All you are is something they don't like.

I was walking on my college campus
(The high schoolers were using our field again)
This group of girls took one look at me and started laughing.
"Is that a boy or a girl?" they shouted loudly to each other.
Are my boobs not bouncy enough?

Strangers don't care who you are;
All you are is something they don't like.

Took a trip up to Kansas City with my friend Hunter;
He was making a joke, and referred to the splitting of the Red Sea.
Picking up on his gay lisp, these two guys said: "What do you know about Jesus, fag?"
He knows more than you do; he knows more than you do.

Strangers don't care who you are;
All you are is something they don't like.

Though I was depressed, I decided to leave the indoors;
What a beautiful day outside.
It was warm for the first time in weeks,
And the sun was shining;
Made me happy instantly,
But while using a crosswalk,
A guy from one of the cars waiting for me to pass screamed at the top of his lungs:
You sound like you're drunk; why are you behind the wheel?

Strangers don't care who you are;
All you are is something they don't like.

I'm a girl, for the record,
But my sex doesn't define me.
Hunter is gay, for the record,
But his sexual preference doesn't define him.
I'm fat, for the record,
But my weight doesn't define me.

I'm a daughter, I'm a sister,
I'm a friend, I'm a lover,
But one thing I'lll never be
Is you;
Let that define me.

Written by [Leb]

17. The lonely stranger

One man in our town,
everybody knows him,
but nobody knows his name.

He watches, he waves,
and all of us wave back,
commenting on how lonely he must be.

Because he stands there,
every day, for better for worse,
you can count on him standing there.

He must be so lonely,
that he’s willing to stand there,
in the rain, in the snow, every day, waving to strangers.

The stranger,
who’s name nobody knows,
who’s face is familiar, comforting, always.

Is he that lonely?
Isn’t he the one familiar?
Aren’t we all strangers?

It’s his face people remember,
it’ll be him people will miss,
if he decides to quit knowing the world.

If he quits waving,
if he quits standing there,
people will ask, where is that man?

And I, if I don’t stand there,
if I, as perfect stranger,
don’t wave at him, nobody will care.

So who’s the lonely one now?
Who’s the stranger now?
Waving back at him, I wonder if he knows.


18. Glittle Glinda

See how she walks,
Like a sneaky little squirrel;
And the way that she talks,
Joining all the snakes of the world.
Acting foolish and naive,
She thinks she knows what she's doing:
"I just like having close friends."
Who do you think you're fooling?

...Throw yourself to the wolves,
I tell you,
She throws herself to the wolves.
It's never very hard to get wrapped up in scandal,
When you throw yourself to the wolves...

See how she acts,
Vulnerable vixen in pearls;
And the words that she writes,
Screwed up seductive little girl.
Sounding foolish and naive,
She thinks she has them all drooling:
"I don't entertain married men."
Then what are you doing?

...Throw yourself to the wolves,
I tell you,
She throws herself to the wolves.
It's never very hard to get wrapped up in scandal,
When you throw yourself to the wolves...

"Hello, how are you?
Oh me, I'm doing fine-
You know I'll do anything for you,
And you can call me anytime.
Well, I heard you were married?
That doesn't really bother me-
I'm not looking for commitment,
Just some lustful company."

See what she's doing?
She's looking for trouble;
Where are her morals?
Betting on a double.
It's all too easy
To get her attention-
Working's become a big plus,
Now that her job has connections.
Seeming a bit desp'rate,
Bord'ring on illegal-
Saying all the time how
Her love life's quite feeble!

...Throw yourself to the wolves,
I tell you,
She goes and throws herself to the wolves!
Maybe she just likes to be the center scandal?
Well it's not that hard
When you throw yourself to the wolves!

Written by [kamisch]

19. Legends of a Nobody

Red rock screams out a silver deposit
Grass clinging to the edge waiting for someone to grab it
Sharp decline in Life expectancy
Death peers out only sex he can see
Wind rips the clothes stings the cheek
Earth expands and whispers meet
Legends of a Nobody no one knew
No Fortress in the sky to go to
Who will remember this matter
These remains all bent and tattered
Water slowly pours quietly past
Time makes it's move and reacts fast
Rumors fly and power shifts
Over the boy who spirits he lifts
Drowning out the shouts
Hearts brighten and stops the pouts
Everyone knows the Legend now too
Of the Nobody that no one knew

Written by [Pillowthief]

20. Canadian Dreams

Searching through the deadwood,
Runic lines drawn in timber.
Trying to find you if I could,
Meanings and thoughts I can't remember.

I reach for doors that lead me on,
Away from you I sense around.
Animals and plants, anti-dawn,
Tracks I follow on the ground.

Answering your call, costs a fee,
Of bone, blood, and sinew.
Blind to what you can see,
Everything that I wish I knew.

Strange words fill my head,
Confused I look about.
Understanding tastes like lead,
Overwhelmed by feelings of doubt.

Earthly anchors fade away,
In another place my thoughts burn.
Everything decides to turn ash-grey,
So much that I will never learn.

Something clicks- I will leave this place,
Clouds are pierced and I jolt awake.
Pressure on my eyes removes your face,
And I realize that it was all just a fake.

Written by [Pillowthief]

Username (or number or email):


2009-04-23 [ReineBloodwolf]: nods

2009-04-24 [pegasus1000]: My poem does not tell the story of a person. It is more an observation of how people see strangers. (It does not fit the Theam very well.)

2009-04-24 [Linderel]: No, what I meant was: How is having to write another new poem a bad thing?

2009-04-24 [pegasus1000]: Ah. It's not. I just have to shift gears, and sometimes the car in my mind gets the clutch stuck in first. I am already working on a new poem, but it is still in editing.

2009-04-25 [Fallen faith (return to mine idle hands)]: I read the breiefing on this wiki an d it sounds cool, and there is one poem I wrote but I'm not sure if it fits the theme it's called "Parrot" I was wondering if someone on this wiki could take a look and tell me if it would be passable.

2009-04-25 [Linderel]: You can send the poem to me in a private message. :)

2009-05-03 [Seamus Schwathe]: I never know that to call mine... the title on it now seems so pretentious. But I never could think of titles that I liked.

2009-05-14 [Changer]: Could i send mine to you as well? I'm not sure...

2009-05-14 [Linderel]: Feel free.

2009-06-29 [Captain Rachel Black]: *haunts* X)

2009-08-12 [Ravendust]: A sudden burst of inspiration on my part decided for me whether or not I should enter this curiousity. I certainly hope that my entry is fitting^^;;

2009-11-12 [kamisch]: Your poem is really great [Chimes]...really :)

This has seriously been around for two years?!? Wow...glad it finally seems to be getting the attention it deserves! It's a wonderful contest idea.

2009-11-12 [Linderel]: Yes, well, the idea came to me a long time ago, but I only opened it this year. :)

2009-11-12 [kamisch]: Ah, ok. The idea of this hanging out unnoticed for 2 years seemed pretty remarkable. :D

2009-11-12 [Linderel]: Hehe, yeah... although that can happen, sometimes. The atmosphere only now seemed fertile enough for me to launch the contest and actually be able to expect participation.

2010-09-14 [Ravendust]: is this being voted on or judged yet? :-/ Been curious for a while about it...

2010-09-15 [Linderel]: Yes, the judging has commenced. I'm sorry it's taking so long. :/ Having trouble finding the time. I'll do my best to announce the results by the end of this month, though.

2010-09-15 [Ravendust]: its totally fine, I'm a patient person :) I was only curious

2011-01-01 [Linderel]: Results! Yay! I'm so very sorry it took this long to announce the winners; life kept getting in the way. There were many really great poems so even if you didn't end up getting a badge, feel free to raise yourself a toast anyhow. :)

2011-01-01 [Chimes]: Eeee. Well done everyone!

2011-01-05 [SAHS]: 'Grats, guys!

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