I am currently competing in the MMPoetry 2014 Children’s Poetry Competition!!! (At least I am for sure until tomorrow morning. After that, the votes will be tallied and we will see if I or my talented competitor move on to the next round. You can see my poem, and hopefully vote for me here: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/2-gripe-vs-15-dilettante/ If you explore the site, you’ll find lots of other match ups to vote for as well. It’s a children’s poetry lover’s dream come true!)
I was assigned a particular word, dilettante, that had to be incorporated into the poem. While I consider myself a pretty decent poet and wordsmith, this one threw me for a bit of loop. I wrote eight different poems before finally selecting the last one. For the curious, here are some of the ones I rejected.
You want me to spell ‘dilettante?”
Is that even a word?
You mean elephant? Debutant?
‘Cause those are words I’ve heard
Did somebody just make it up?
It sounds imaginary.
I think I should make sure it’s real
Who has a dictionary?
(I had had in mind to have the word be in a spelling bee in my poem if the word was too tough. And then my dad was watching Psych on netflix and it was the spelling bee episode, so I took it as confirmation and gave it a try. The spelling bee theme was used in various creative ways by other Authletes, so I’m glad I didn’t choose this one.)
Attempt 2: (Actually, this is attempt three, but I am holding the real attempt 2 in my back pocket for another day or another round. The real attempt 2 is a good story…based on a true story from my childhood. Here instead is Attempt 3 masquerading as attempt 2:)
I looked up from my register. Welcome to Burger Station!
A group of hipsters ambled in, engaged in conversation:
Isn’t this ironic? I’m gonna take a selfie!
I only eat organic. This place is so unhealthy.
There’s way too much red vinyl! That artwork is so hideous!
You’re seriously a dilettante! Those heat lamps look insidious.
They rolled their eyes while ordering, eager to critique.
I don’t mind. I’m used to it. They come here twice a week.
(That one is a favorite. It tells a little story, it has a little twist, dilettante is used fairly well. It also fits the mandated 8 lines well, but I thought it might be a subject the younger readers might not relate to, so I decided to pass this one up and try again.)
I’m an expert on all things croissant
The opposite of nonchalant
No amatuer, no dilettante
They’re all I dream of, all I want
For croissants I’m filled with lust
I drool over the flaky crust
I stuff my face until I bust
I must eat them, yes I must
(I liked this, but it didn’t have a twist or a story, and I thought that kids might not be as into croissants as adults…so I tried again.)
Pastry, Donut, Cake, Croissant
It’s all I dream of, all I want
I’m opposite of nonchalant
An expert, no mere dilettante
I study like a scientist
The flaky treats I can’t resist
Chewy, gooey, light as mist
Danish, Strudel, Cruller, Twist
(Yummier, but still not much of a story. I love a story.)
My son you must marry a debutant
A lady who has style, a dilettante
Appreciating art and finer things
Who wears high heels and polished diamond rings
But Mom, I want a girl who can have fun
Who likes to hike and shoot a paintball gun
Who has tattoos and who likes to wrestle
Oh no Mom, did you pop a blood vessel?
(This wasn’t a favorite of my family, so I tried again. They are usually pretty accurate critics.)
Miss Elephant, a debutant, might be called a dilettante
In appreciating beauty
She was persistent and insistent that all ugly folks stay distant
She was the epitome of snooty
One day by chance she caught a glance of a lady and was entranced
“How do you do?” she asked as she moved nearer
It was a joke to all the folk who had heard how the lady spoke
Miss Elephant had been speaking to a mirror
(I thought this one was the winner, but my brother who is one of my biggest fans and biggest critics and usually right, didn’t like the rhyming pattern. Sigh…so I tried one last time…and the last one was the one I chose. While I wish I had more than 8 lines to work with on it, I love that it has a pun, a twist, a story, uses the word I was assigned in a way that honors its definition, and is appropriate for all ages. You can see it here: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/2-gripe-vs-15-dilettante/)
So…which one did you like best?