Challenge Responses! (poems with story and emotion, but lacking the word ‘I’)

Well, as usual, I asked, and you responded! My wonderful poets displayed an amazing response to our poetry challenge. They were asked to produce a piece of any style, and length and any metered format. The only stipulations were that it had to display emotion and offer empathy, without using the word ‘I’. Here are a few of our submissions, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! I was impressed with the depth that was produced, and the ease with which they seemed to rise to the task. Honestly I would love to take these and break them down into line by line analysis. Great work, poets, keep writing!

Submission 1- an introspective piece by David Bankson, offering insights into the mind via fantastic imagery.  Note how he displays such depth of emotion without once identifying the speaker.  He never tells of his exact plight, but the story and emotion are strikingly apparent.  We have character, story and emotion, all without direct explanation, only the emotion truly sticks, as was intended.  A wonderful entry.



Floating as jetsam;
Cast overboard
From a capsized vessel.

The derelict ship
Drifts further away,
Swallowed by dense fog.

Bobbing in darkness.
Unseen sea creatures
Writhe out of sight.

Waves rise as spikes,
Thundering down
In crushing attacks.

Gripped by slick tendrils
That squeeze and ooze
Across bare skin.

Flung like a doll,
Smashing to detritus
Against the cliff face.

Greedily devoured
By ravenous piranhas.
Bones picked clean by vultures.
© David Bankson, 2015 All rights reserved.


Submission 2- an interpretive piece by Emerys Watchel, offering the story of an inexperienced poet in love. Notice the subtlety of the description of the speaker, offered within line one and the title. Observe the imagery provided to display emotion, while never outright speaking words such as ‘love’. Character is present, story is present, emotion is present, though none are clearly defined in wording. Another wonderful entry.



eager poets sing
for honey skinned beauty
curve of ankle, thigh and
neck slender wreath
ruby lips
jet agate hair
light with flower image of want
kiss dry mouth to wet flesh orbs
fire laughter smile
dream arms around each other
burdenless within the overture
cacophony of excess
pulled taught
to match heartbeat
for she: arcane fragility
though her origins and motive
tang with morbid fascination
rake the tongue with notes darker
over-spun verse silvered to praise
the absent equality
heft pedestals perfumed cushions, deceive
under-ripe wine sour bites of half-honest
© Emerys Watchel, 2015 All rights reserved.


Submission 3- a detailed emotional piece by Nikki Anne Schmutz, offering us story, emotion and character, extremely in depth emotion, and all without once using definitive descriptors to signify a ‘who’ or a ‘why’.  She gives us an emotional span with amazing imagery laced throughout.  Another wonderful example of how to allow your reader to empathize by showing them an experience, allowing them to live it and feel it as opposed to telling the reader.



Night suppresses
excitement felt
beneath the shining sun.
Black velvet cords
bind the glory
of daily endeavors.
Shrouds of uncertainty
drape words of acclamation
with insignificant drivel.
What really matters
only hides,
peeking around corners
waiting for the perfect moment
to appear
without blemish.
© Nikki Anne Schmutz, 2015 All rights reserved.

These were all fantastic works, and I cannot thank these three poets enough for their contributions.  All were great examples, wonderfully done, and pleasantly varied in tone and subject matter.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I did.  Keep it up, poets!  You consistently exceed expectations!


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