writing for children

Free2Rhyme (or not) Friday: poetry contest winners and reviews

The winners are posted on the poetry page. Go see if you won!

I will have the reviews for all the poems in below. Sorry for the delay. I have been dealing with life…it happens. 🙂

Thank you all for your partcipation. I hope you had a good time and will come back again for more contests. As I said, this was a hard choice…so many good poems!

Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions! And congratulations to all of you who stepped out and shared your work. That takes courage. Don’t let this be the only time, okay? 🙂 (Don’t forget to find your poem below and read the comments from Cindy and me. Please know that we intend to be helpful and encouraging, but still truthful and thus we hope you take our comments with a grain of salt, knowing that are only 2 voices and 2 opinions)

Cheryl: Flowers are Overrated

  • Cindy’s thoughts: I love the content of your poem- each stanza brought amusing pictures to mind. The ending was quite clever, too, with a good punch line. Your first stanza was near rhyme, but all the rest were spot on.  The meter on the third stanza was great. All the rest would need a bit more work to get this poem ready for publication somewhere.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I feel like you’ve got a good start with this one. The meter is off in some places and needs tweaking. I love the third stanza.


Because roses are synonymous
With lovey dovey stuff
Keep those valentiny smelly things
Away from my hot clutch

And those disgusting weeping lilies
With their sweet and sickly smell
Remind me of a funeral home
When you say your last farewell

And as for Black Eyed Susans
I know who gave their name
My guess is a malicious male
Who has atrocious aim

And don’t forget daisy delight
He loves me – he loves me not
Get a grip you silly ladies
Petal power is a long shot

All the nectar and the pollen
Causes miserable hay fever
Those devil flowers make me itch
I’m an awful springtime griever

So these are all my reasons
Why flowers are over rated
If I ever have to bear bouquet
I will have to be sedated!!!!

Mary: Untitled 1

  • Cindy’s thoughts: I liked this different point of view- good humorous take on it. Your rhythm was fairly consistent. A few lines could use some more work. One near rhyme and one same rhyme that could be changed. I liked the ending, wrapped the poem up well. This one is almost ready to send somewhere.
  • Donna’s thoughts: VERY funny. I love the twist. The natural accents seem a little off to me in some places, but overall you just need a bit of tweaking to get it ready. Read it aloud to make sure your rhythm flows as it should.

 The princess in me
Waits at the castle door
To meet a prince
I’ll surely adore

He’s here! He’s here!
My dear prince charming
What he holds
Is quite alarming!

A rose is a rose…
Is a rose is a rose
How do I tell him
About my nose?

Any other princess
Would love those flowers
But not this one
I’ll sneeze for hours.

Achoo! Achoo!
He jumps back
A juicy sneeze
He’s under attack

Oh my lady,
You should stay in
Is that a booger
On your chin?

I let out a scream,
And close the door
When it rains
It always pours.

The evening was over
Before it began.
A rose is a rose…
I’m not a fan.

TIM:  Untitled 2

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Yes, don’t keep that princess inside. I’m glad you’ve decided to let yours out! I hope you feel free to keep writing poems. This one’s a bit rough in meter, but it’s fun. Keep writing!
  • Donna’s thoughts: You’ve got a funny poem in the making here. Some of the lines really popped out as keepers. Make sure your rhythm is spot on, though. Keep tweaking, change up some of the lines and it will be ready to go!


I never kissed a frog because I guess it was not fated.
We picked some lilies (pads and all) but,
Flowers are overrated.

Life ain’t nowhere near perfect but it’s where I have to be.
‘Cause where else can I be free to show,
The “princess” in me (tee hee).

“A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” I’ve heard the poet say.
In the 47th year of my boring life,
Freedom finally comes my way.


  • Cindy’s thoughts: Oh, I really like this one. The first stanza was a bit stiff- I think because you were trying to use so many of those lines. (And I still want gifts of dark chocolate.) But the second stanza flowed, and one can just feel the emotion behind it. This one is ready to go.
  • Donna’s thoughts: This poem stood out from the beginning as fabulous. The message is clear, the language focused and the voice strong. I love the images and contrast between the princess and the witch. 😉 GOOD work. I think you could take out some of the prompts and it would be just as good. VERY nice job, T!

I never kissed a frog because
The princess in me never needed a prince,
And my inner witch had more than enough warts already.
In this 40th year of my so-called boring life,
I’ve come to realize that
White knights are for the weak,
Gifts of chocolates make you fat,
And flowers? [i]Psshhh[/i].
Flowers are overrated.

Give me a real man,
A partner,
Who cleans toilets
And gives me
Gifts of time to myself.
Who knows that life with me
Ain’t nowhere near perfect (never will be),
And still wouldn’t trade me in for a younger, prettier,
More adoring model. Not even one who looked like Beyonce.
Who tells me, “Baby—
A rose, is a rose, is a rose.
But a snapdragon like you is to die for.”

You tell me—who has more freedom to[i] be[/i]:
A princess, a rose,
Or a snap dragon?

   Leslie: Untitled 3

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Cute musings about frog kissing. The rhyming is good. The meter is rough in spots. Has a clever ending. If the meter was smoothed out, this could be sent out.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I like where you are going with this one. Read it aloud, though, to make sure your rhythm is where it needs to be. It’s off in several places (at least to my ear). The first few lines need to set the stage for the rest of the poem. Make sure you’ve got the rhythm secure in those lines so the rest of the lines flow smoothly.


I never kissed a frog because
I’m not sure I know just how
Shall I make it quick and snappy?
Or press him softly against my brow?
A rendevous among pond lily pads?
Or perhaps a swamp is where we’d meet
I’d certainly offer to bring the flies
And not make mention of his feet
Yes, I believe I’ve had a good life
I even once dined with a queen bee
But I never kissed a frog because
A frog’s never asked me!


Kelly: Untitled 4

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Ha! Ha! Ha! This was cute. Somebody was hungry when they wrote this. Clever use of words and rhythms. 
  • Donna’s thoughts: Love this one. Short and to the point, but lasting impression. And funny…all the stuff that will grab a kid’s attention. Nice job!

A rose is a rose is a rose
on a cake a cake on a cake
How many bites many bites many bites
Can I take can I take can I take?


Jody: Untitled 5

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Oh my- another very clever poem. Good meter and rhyme. Short and to the unexpected point, and funny! This one is ready to go.
  • Donna’s thoughts: See the comments I made on the poetry page contest winner announcement.

The princess in me was delicious.
Such a treat when I swallowed her down.
But the heartburn she’s causing is vicious.
I think that it might be the crown.

derekcalavera: Untitled 6

  • Cindy’s thoughts: I liked the “smothering Mother’s Days” line- the florist shops are certainly busy for that holiday. This poem had some near rhyme and some lines that tongue-twisted me, (and some words I had to look up!) Thought provoking ending.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of flowers (other than wildflowers), so this one really spoke to me. I like the rhyme and jazz feel to it, though I think you could have conveyed even more without the rhymes. If you keep the rhyme, add to the poem and expand the thoughts you’ve already started. (my opinion, of course!)

Flowers are overrated:
the overstated overstays
of unabated lovers’ strays,
smothering Mother’s days
and coverings of others’ graves.

Flowers are overrated:
exacerbated by the way they
pass and fade away the same day
inflorescense essentially weighs
more than the pain its sent to allay.

Angela Cerrito: True Self

  • Cindy’s thoughts: There were some lines in this poem that struck me- “a rose…   is stuck being pretty.”  “I have never kissed a frog because a prince is not what I want.” This poem makes you think.
  • Donna’s thoughts: see my comments on the poetry winners page.


The wind whispers
And lies
Says there is a princess in me

But I kicked the princess out
Broke my nails
Snapped my crown
Spit in my soup

Searching for my true self

The flowers sing
And lies
Say it’s not too late
to go back in time

But I’ve started
The search
I’ve made my choice
I won’t dig through the mud
And slime
For anyone

I’m searching for my true self

The powerful wind
Can dace and destroy
But flowers are overrated
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Stuck being pretty

I am searching for my true self

The castle croaks
And lies
Promises to protect me

But I knew I would leave
In the seventh year
Of my boring life
When I saw my sister and my mother
Wade through mud and slime
To find their princes

Mama, stop
I cried
But she smiled
And said
Life ain’t nowhere near perfect
She shrugged unable to finish
And bent to kiss
The slime lips

I am searching for my true self

The mountain is quiet
And far
It knows I have the power
To transform frogs
It sees the princess
I used to be
But it does not demand

I have never kissed a frog
A prince is not
What I want

I am searching for my true self

A tree stands
On the mountain
Calling me
to see the world
marking my path
to freedom

Brian Minnick: Translation

  • Cindy’s thoughts: I liked some lines in this poem- “the wind speaks in shells on the beach.”  “shedding tears only his pillow will understands.”  But, I confess, I didn’t understand what this poem was trying to say. That’s not to say it isn’t a good poem. Just that it was beyond me. I need a translation!
  • Donna’s thoughts: Your poem had a rhythm all it’s own. I see the theme of translation between the stanzas, but I don’t think it fits together quite yet. The ending left me puzzled, though. I didn’t get the connection to the rest of the poem.  

 Distant castles speak mystery onto
many feathered
speaking in tongues only the
crescent moon wearily translates.

But I hear whispers…

And they tell me they understand
the wind.
They say the wind speaks in
shells on the beach
and empty rooms where a
golden mushroom decays into gold.

Why then do I still
open my window at night?

It’s the gossip in giggles,
never ending the
same as
when they began,

When you
know you have heard
a spark questioning its freedom.

Truth is a game we play as children.

And yet the gods of the forest yell
in vain for man to see
the reason.

And we all forget Love’s diction;
the dreamless held husband
shedding tears only
his pillow understands.

And the wind…

Why else do you think I’ve never kissed a frog?

Raghu: Untitled 7

  • Cindy’s thoughts: This poem seemed disjointed to me, but perhaps that was the poet’s purpose! But I think going totally free verse and not trying to put in the rhymes might serve this poem better.  Loved the rhythm here:    “ A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose…  Delicate shrubs and thorns of those” but didn’t quite get the next two lines.   But that’s my failure….
  • Donna’s thoughts: You have a good start here, Raghu, for a good poem. The jazz feel is almost there, but not quite.  I like the direction you’re heading, but it feels out of sync to me right now. A little more tweaking is in order, but again…great start!  


I never kissed a frog because….
life is very small, live the moment all
nobody after death, will make you call.

flowers are overrated and so it blooms in mind and heart
let them grow up freely and never set them apart

life ain’t nowhere near perfect but…
never loose hope on yours failure
nobody is perfect so don’t feel inferior.

The princess in me seems god creature
Beauty lies in simplicity like golden treasure.

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose…
Delicate shrubs and thorns of those
Make your mood to show the propose
token of love and a valentine dose.

Let we all promise we are one
forgone sorrows in the 22nd year of my boring life
And presently enjoy freedom in doing the study and fun.

Patricia Olson: Uriah’s Freedom

  • Cindy’s thoughts: This was precious. A poignant farewell poem, with a hope filled ending. Did think the word hesitant was not quite the word that fit there. It didn’t have the emotional impact the rest of the poem has.
  • Donna’s thoughts: you have shown emotion and drawn a strong, poignant picture with your words. I don’t really have anything to add except good job.


Uriah “the Lord is my light”
little precious one
perfect and peaceful
we stroke your smooth, silky skin,
and finger your black soft curls,
caressing your ears,
touching your nose,
laying kisses upon your forehead
we linger a little longer
hesitant to say good-bye
and send you from us
even though we know
grandpa’s arms await you
in the palace of the King.

R.A. Cilia:  Grey

  • Cindy’s thoughts: The sorrow and grief is felt in this poem. “that had been purchased by some kind relation so he’d feel less glum.”  Now I will think twice about buying funeral flowers.   “the routine would be messed”  That is how our life gets to be.  Not sure the ending satisfied me.
  • Donna’s Thoughts: This can be a very powerful poem. I think using the first prompt was appropriate, though the “rose is a rose…” seemed to take away from the honesty of the poem. The ending actually worked for me, as it reflected the finality of it all. Sad poem…but well written overall.


“Flowers are overrated,” he thought
as he stooped down towards the brown
of the mahogany coffin that lay at the front,
his fingers skimming through
the chrysanthemum and rose buds
that had been purchased by some kind relation
so he’d feel less glum.
“Who would’ve said that in the nth year of my boring life
the routine would be messed and I’d be losing my wife?
Yet a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
as life is life is life is life
stopped abruptly at death.”
Plodding down the aisle for the open door,
a long shadow staggering behind,
he wheezed for breath
and stared.

 Constance Lombardo:  Frog? Prince?

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Oh no! The kiss didn’t work! A cute ending. Enjoyed the poem, but the second stanza needs work on its meter.
  • Donna’s thoughts: Heehee! Love the ending. Unexpected and it works. The rhythm is off throughout much of the poem, but that is easily fixed. I like the rise of the poem then BAM! You pull the rug out from under us. Nice surprise! J Make sure and read the poem aloud so you can hear all the places that need tweaking.


I never kissed a frog because
I never had a reason,
but since I found this handsome guy
it’s frog-kissing season.

I heard him croak and wondered,
does this frog want a kiss?
He just might be a dashing prince-
an opportunity I can’t miss!

So ready, set, go and SMACK!
Is this my lucky day?
I saw a sparkle in his eye….
then froggie hopped away.


Ezramon:  the kiss

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Another poem I’m not sure I completely understand. Since there is no punctuation, it all runs together and I am not good at sorting out where one line of thought ends or begins. I did learn another new word, though! And the last two lines were good meter and rhyme, so it ended well.
  • Donna’s thoughts: the picture I get from this poem is one of a stone statue in the middle of a park, love unrequited, and a forever almost kiss. The imagery is good, thought the misspellings need to be fixed. And as I mentioned, I can’t find any of the prompts in this poem or any of your others. I would have enjoyed seeing what you did with them.


what began in stone-marble perfection
eyelids a-touch
mouths wide open
clambered for much
a remebrance unspoken
hs hand on her knee
perfect panoply
frozen in time and memory
for they felt an inordinate thrill
lasting an age
carved with living hands
on the ricketty scaffold that bent
and when it finally went
the lovers remained
broadcastring no shame.

look at the various angles
their lips remain entangled
in a hot and sunny eroticism
beyond all critics’ criticism…

the models are long gone
their feign is forevermore
so by the ticking of the clock
appropriately their lips stay locked.

Linda Andersen: The Princess in Me

  • Cindy’s thoughts: This one was very easy to understand. It spoke to me clearly, as I have a princess in me who has wanted the very same things. Very nicely done to get across some very good points. The ending was appropriate, also. This one needs to be sent out.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I sooo relate to this one! The princess in me wants all those things, too. Ugh. J Great work. I know it doesn’t rhyme, but it still has a rhythm of sorts. Good job. Verse 4, even though it is good, doesn’t seem to fit with the other stanzas as you use verses from the Beatitudes in the other stanzas.


The princess in me
wants worldly recognition.
But Jesus taught,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The princess in me
wants riches and fame.
But Jesus taught,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

The princess in me
wants to hold power over others.
But Jesus taught,
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.”

The princess in me
wants my own selfish way,
But Jesus taught,
“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.”

The princess in me
wants to be a false god.
But Jesus taught,
“Get behind me, Satan!
You are a hindrance to me…”

Dear Heavenly Father,
replace the princess in me
with the heart of a servant;
then everyone will know
that I stand on the Lord’s side.

Lynn:  The Princess in Me (2) 

  • Cindy’s thoughts: Rough in some of the meter and internal rhymes (first line especially.)  I liked “who needs a prince with all his flaws?” The ending could use a twist- it was a bit flat.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I think it started out good…but by the third line it felt very disjointed. Read it aloud and make sure the rhythm flows as it should. I suggest using the first line (tweaking it just a little so the rhythm is right) and go from there. I’d love to see the 2.0 version! J I like the imagery of the “sweet prince’s lily pad”. CUTE!


The little girl I used to be once dreamed she was a rare beauty
With tangled curls and freckled nose, who pricked her finger on a rose
And as she cried she said aloud, “I’m so alone e’en in a crowd.
I never kissed a frog because … who needs a prince with all his flaws?
But picking flowers for just me is not all it’s cracked up to be.
And life ain’t nowhere perfect but … I will not live it in a rut
Soooo …
I’ll become a charming wife in the next year of my boring life
Then bored I will no longer be for I’ll love him and he’ll love me
Together we will change the world, among the flower buds unfurled
And I will live in freedom clad, on some sweet prince’s lily pad.”

Keith A. Simmonds: Life

  • Cindy’s thoughts: It seemed the lines were written mainly to get a rhyme, not necessarily to make good sense. But there was good rhyme, though the meter was rough.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I can tell you had fun writing this, Keith. J It’s a bit nonsensical, though. I expect, if you really tried, you could have a good poem that readers would understand. If you decide to give it another try, I’d love to see it. Thanks for entering and having a good time with the contest!  


I never kissed a frog
Because the princess in me
Always preferred a dog,
And flowers are overrated, you see!

Life ain’t nowhere near perfect!
They all say a rose is a rose is a rose…
And that, you know, is the burning subject,
The same I will continue to oppose!

In the 20th year of my boring life,
I started to fight and to rebel.
Then, when all was nothing but strife,
Freedom came, my wayward spirit to quell!

Ann Smiley:  A Moment

  • Cindy’s thoughts: This is a very sweet poem that makes one realize the specialness of ordinary moments. I especially loved the last stanza.
  • Donna’s thoughts: This is beautiful. Absolutely. I love how the word “aisle” brings to mind the grocery store aisle, the wedding aisle and also walking down the journey of life together. Just beautiful!

In a moment
Of ordinariness,
As we stroll down
The grocery store aisle
I feel a tap
On my hip
And turn to see
You smiling,
Your hand outstretched
To hold mine.

And as I take
Your hand in mine
I smile to think of
Another moment
Long, long, ago
In the beginning
Of us
Where laughter and sparks
Showered the air
And our hands
Became clasped together.

As time went on
You would hold
My hand as if
I were a cherished treasure,
Awakening the princess in me.
And you kept holding on
Over the years
Through, sorrow, joy and love,
Your hand fitting with mine,
Like a piece of puzzle.
And as we hold hands
down the rest of the aisle
I think to myself,
May it be like this

 Maria Mifsud: The Tone

  • Cindy’s thoughts: This was an interesting angle. I liked how the poem ended, and this line:  “I constantly longed for the harmony in my ear.”            It was a bit confusing at the beginning as to what you were talking about. Might want to make that more clear.
  • Donna’s thoughts: I like this. It made me think. I’m still not sure I understand it all – but it could just be me. I love the last stanza and the stanzas leading up to it. NICE job!


Does it bound?
Does it free?

Sometimes it does hurt, as
life ain’t nowhere near perfect.
But love keeps me going on.

True love happens, it’s true
as felt it in me myself.
Though entangled in a cage.

I constantly longed for
the harmony in my ear.
Love, the thrilling experience.

I did meet love one day
and there I was born again.
It was a colossal change.

As the princess in me
that twilight trekked to the throne.
Thoughts twinkled towards the tone.

This is the tone:
Love is freedom.
Freedom is love.


20 thoughts on “Free2Rhyme (or not) Friday: poetry contest winners and reviews

      1. Hey Nathalie! I wish I could have chosen more than one first place winner! Stepping out and submitting is hard stuff. So yay for everyone who entered and thank YOU and everyone else who came by and offered support!


  1. Thanks for the opportunity to do this, my first attempt at being so public for ‘judging’, so it was a little rough. Maybe I will do it again sometime.

    Congratulations to the winners.


    1. I’m sorry it was rough for you, Lynn! I am so proud of you for entering and getting your stuff out there. Please don’t stop. Take the comments as proof that you’ve got something good going on and worthy of working with! I think you do. Don’t be discouraged. If you want another critique when you are done with revisions, I’m glad to offer my eyes. (trust me, it gets easier the more you do it!)



  2. Donna and Cindy,

    Thank you for the comments on my poem. I agree that the fourth stanza takes the reader out of the flow. You helped me to see that. What a lovely gift–to comment for each participant. I’ll learn a lot from reading what was sent to them. THANK YOU for your encouragment. What a great contest.

    Linda A.


  3. This was a wonderful experience Donna, and I thank you for all of your hard work. This was the first contest I entered as well, and it was fun. Thanks to Cindy too for her wonderful critiques. You girls will need a vaca after this 🙂


  4. Wow! What a great post for poets to enjoy and learn from! Thank you ladies for all of your time, suggestions, and praises for all of the poems. Thanks for holding the contest, Donna!


  5. Donna & Cindy thank you for sharing your comments. I’m honored to have been selected 2nd place! What a fun contest and great prompts. I loved reading everyone’s poems and it is wonderful that you commented on all the poems!!


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