General Poetry posted June 4, 2020

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The Opposition

by Mary Furlong

Competition Contest Winner 
can I define
Can a fish define
the sea? A bird sing
about the essence of
the air beneath its wings?
A flower speak to the qualities
of the soil from which it stems?

I have
a memory
that I struggle
to describe. A little
girl coloring, with crayons,
row after row after row of
wavering lines -- an ocean for
a ship cut out of paper -- a ship
In full sail -- the name Nina printed
on its bow in straggling penciled letters

Her lips
are parted
In a half smile.
She seems not to
hear the hubbub around
her, nor to see the changing
light outside the window, nor
to care whether the ship ever sails
or the picture ever hangs upon a wall.

The ocean
is what matters,
that deep, silent
ocean. It is as though
she is crayoning the colors
of her soul. Whatever competition
is, whatever it may mean, that child,
in that brief moment, was its opposite.


Writing Prompt
Write a free verse poem on competition. Tell what it means to be competitive and why you love competition or not. Free verse is a form of poetry that does not necessarily follow to any specific meter patterns, rhyme, or any other pattern. Free verse, despite its freedom, often still has some elements of form. Most free verse does observe a convention of lines and structure. No rhyming patterns.

Contest Winner


Competition is so pervasive in our culture that there seems to be no antonym for it. Is the presumption that it is always a good thing? A bad thing? Or a synonym for life itself?
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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