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Word Wizard Competition

lanterns This is a monthly writing exercise to get the poetic juices flowing. It used to be very a popular writing activity first with Shadow Poetry's online writing group and then with the subscribers to its former magazine, the SP Quill. It has now been reformulated for all Shadow Poetry visitors. Are you up to the word wizard challenge?

Challenge: To write a poem of 8 to 40 lines, in any form, using all fifteen words from the list below. You may use any form of the words given such as “excite" can be changed to “excited” or “exciting” Entry is free. (All of the words have been added to the Magnet Word Poetry board for further writing assistance.) Poems must be typed with poet’s name and mailing address in the top left-hand corner. The Word Wizard Competition words must be underlined within the poem for easy reference. If submitting more than one poem, each poem must be typed on a separate sheet. A #10 (business size) SASE required. Entries will be returned. Limit of three poems per poet per month.

Prize: One winner to receive a Word Wizard Competition ribbon and the winning entry will be featured on Shadow Poetry.

Deadline: December 31, 2013 (in hand, not postmarked)

Sorry, entries cannot be accepted electronically. Mail poem entries to:

Shadow Poetry
ATTN: Word Challenge Competition
1209 Milwaukee Street
Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 USA

November 2013 Word List: No Word List

No Winner for November 2013 - No Running Competition or Word List

October 2013 Word List: haunted, October, pumpkin, trick, treat, witch, ghouls, costumes, spider, night, ghost, moon, Halloween, skeleton, candy

No Winner for October 2013 - No Entries

September 2013 Word List: pushing, crippled, control, nothing, inside, dying, breathless, stricken, heal, abyss, spirit, hurricane, forsaken, resurrect, plague

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Rattled Mind

Stifled within, are my cried,
A hollowed heart beats inside.
Crippled and stricken by her demise,
For the healing to begin, I bide.

Plagued by sorrows of my loss,
Regrets and guilt pushed me to abyss,
Forsaken, and forlorn, I felt like dross,
While everything around seemed remiss.

A hurricane of events then followed,
Consumed and breathless, I was left.
In this home of hers, hallowed,
I stood, in spirit — broken and bereft.

Nothing could have been controlled,
Beyond me were the incidents.
Into my own thoughts, I got holed,
And my soul when bared was in rents.

Dying words were subtly pointed out,
That grave burden was for me to carry,
I shall resurrect her now departed clout,
And my own grief, deep down I shall bury.

Anya Padyam

August 2013 Word List: mourning, summer, whimsical, bloom, green, unlock, treasure, behold, weep, frost, journal, fever, justice, magic, freedom

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Summers Is Not Lost

Autumn's here! my lilies bloom;
though frost is forecast news.
Gorgeous flowers face their doom,
I mourn the garden blues.

Weep with me for dawn brings death
of treasured white and green.
Wait! behold, can baby's breath
warm up this chilly scene?

Journal pictures show a glimpse -
what magic buds unlocked.
Freedom's drop in autumn temps
is foiled by fever's shock.

Whimsi-cal la lily thrives,
while justice comes to frost.
Precious baby's breath survives
so summer is not lost.

Reason A. Poteet

July 2013 Word List: peeling, lamplight, antique, dirty, loft, torched, paint, crunch, crime, switch, gallery, decay, empty, chips, wallpaper

Word Wizard Competition Winner


The gallery of my mind is empty.
Portraits faded and aged beyond recognition,
Crumbled and crunched away in the loft of my memory.

Is it a crime to long again for their splendor?

I switch off the light, beckoning sleep.
There, I pray the colors will flow to life again,
Illuminating forgotten faces until they are no longer strangers.

But it's then I realize...

The antique lamplight has torched the wallpaper of my thoughts;
Peeling back the dirty paint,
Fragile chips of plaster that once held me together.

In dreams I see the reality.
The canvases were painted with noting but decay.

Dorian J. Harper

June 2013 Word List: wondrous, anew, travel, ancient, country, perched, gleaming, sanctuary, crude, history, homestead, weeds, gnaw, patches, eager

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Forget Me Not

Ancient thoughts gnaw at my soul
With eagerness anew
Memories of my homestead
Gleaming sharp and crude.

I long for wondrous travels.
But, my country's history fades.
Spilth weeds replace the memory cells.
Profound Lethe invades.

The patches of my memory
Like dreams that fade away,
Are plagued with holes and grayness
As I cling to yesterday.

I still exist. Although my thoughts
Are scattered un-voluntarily
Perched in a prison with no bars nor walls...
My self-made sanctuary.

Joyce J. Schuler

May 2013 Word List: umbrella, breezy, humor, peaceful, sandals, cascade, seashells, glance, waves, dolphin, bottle, calm, glass, silver

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Dolphin Bodies

A tenuous line flickers, silver and
Unsteady, between the semantic realms
Of humourous wit and horrifying
Hollowness. I sometimes try tiptoeing
That line, careful, mindful of being watched,
As my sandals skim the foamy waves.

But not so unline Jesus' calm triumph
Over physics, my quiet feat of wrestling
Words loose from language - their wriggly forms set
Cascading forth past throngs of glassy eyes --
So trickles into anonymity.

Slippery and pearlescent, freed from their
Nets of fabrications and assumptions,
These effusive, sparkling syllables
Shine like seashells in a breezy, sun-lit
Mist; their dolphin bodies slide peacefully
Beneath the surface, uncomprehended.

Swimming beyond the ancient influence
Of the Proto-Indo-European
Umbrella's tyranny over human vision,
At what cost have the words, indeed, escaped?
We float in a bottle of repression,

Embracing phantoms within the same glance
In which we disparage passion and substance.
When confused, we nod with self-assurance;
When certain, we guard ourselves with caution.
Ever buoyant, we yet shun true laughter
To save ourselves from incredulous tears.

Stephanie Harper

April 2013 Word List: invisible, park, flame, dark, stone, dance, meditate, evening, damp, reveal, mask, downpour, tunnel, mysterious, young

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Only a Moment

a young flame
          dances through
an evening
          in the park

a mysterious tunnel
          of excitement
keeps the fire alive
          in the dark

an invisible
          stone wall
causes spirits
          to meditate

dampness turns
          to a downpour
stripping masks
          to reveal fate

Karen O'Leary

March 2013 Word List: wildflowers, whispers, gladly, serene, forest, starlight, misted, map, future, fireplace, resume, trail, tumbling, reason, butterfly

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Travel by Starlight

Though the map has led me to a future
That reason could never have presumed,
And I have embraced this trail's unfolding
Story, like an old forest embraces
The most tender, quivering, new creatures
Engenered in its fertile underbrush,
Gathering chaste courage to reach above,

In the starlight of dreams I would gladly
Resume that serene drive past misted fields
Of wildflowers bending their heads dimly
Toward immature roots as they settle
Into the sun-warmed peat beneath, their hues
Muted by the dusk tumbling softly
From the sky like a swarm of butterflies.

As I recall keeping pace with vast hay
Bales rolling themselves into great carpets,
Lining themselves up along the roadside
Just so, my heart flutters with nostalgia
For the summer thunderstorms, the midnight
Whispers between crickets and cicadas
and ancient oaks' songs that once defined me.

I've turned the map on its head, made east west
And west east, while searching out and finding
The Northern Lights flickering above me;
However majestic and surreal these
Wraths' dances may remain, their hold on me
Is fleeting. My dreamy reverie is
No more solemn - nor gratuitous - than

The gas fireplace crackle that has roused me.

Stephanie Harper

Feburary 2013 Word List: flap, dreamy, duty, pondered, shrug, strip, valley, obscure, spectacle, scrumptious, harvest, wax, blot, know, questions

Word Wizard Competition Winner

The Decision

I ponder what lies
          ahead in the strip
          of valley called home.

With Dad's recent heart
          problems, the harvest
          blots out all else.

As my tires spin on
          the obscure gravel road,
          my mind rolls too.

Despite shrugs from staff,
          I know my duty as son
          far outweights being editor.

The rooster crows and flaps
          his white wings. I laugh
          at the spectacle he makes.

Mom and Dad are waving
          and smiling on the porch.
          Love is in their embrace.

We share a scrumptious
          meal in peace as wax
          slides down the candles.

Questions wait for dawn.
          I slip into a dreamy fog
          so glad to be home.

Karen O'Leary

January 2013 Word List: doubt, frost, gray, size, tight, drizzle, crowded, pause, hue, research, foreshadow, lifeless, overheard, swirl, honey

Word Wizard Competition Winner

Grief's Grip

Research foreshadows
          a pause for sadness.
          What do they know!

Crowds of honey-coated
          cliches swirl, overheard
          they send frost up my spine.

My husband, my love, lies
          lifeless with a gray hue as
          tears drizzle down my face.

The size of the hole in
          my life cannot be filled
          by empty words and smiles.

What can be worse! My
          chest feels tight as doubt
          encases my icy soul.

Karen O'Leary

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