2019 BATTLE of the BARDS Winners

First off, a HUGE thank you to all those who participated in the first year of the BATTLE of the BARDS.

Future contests might look a little different but you’re not here to read about that now. You’re here to find out who won this year.

So, without further ado, here they are!

Winner: Poem – Light

by: Janet Peters

Sky watchers glance up to the perigee.
Earth’s shadow creeps over bright lunar disk
Between the moon and the sun, sits—oversees
A celestial event where bright stars risk
Being outshone. The Blood Moon reddens high
In the sky. A deep, ancient silhouette
Stunned people for centuries—sigh
To the heavens, oh body, brief vignette.
Lovers kiss harder, blending into one,
While a magical, disappearing act crests
Overhead. A night of reflected sun
When the Super Moon plants a spot purest
In claret, burning a whole in pitch-blue
For lovers to gaze at, track and pursue.

Judge’s Comments (optional)

Why this entry won: I was blown away by this entry, in particular– distracted only by the use of “whole” in the second line from the bottom. If that is not a typo, I would recommend changing it to “hole” to avoid distracting from the beautiful picture you are painting.

Winner: Poem – Serious

(This one would make my grandma particularly proud to have her grandchild win in a blindly judged contest like this.)

by: Steven Pratt

Consider children
playing as they will,
Their pie-crust games
filled with their shouts of glee;
But words and metal put in place with skill
Can break respective bones with cruelty.
Who hasn’t heard the words of foolish hate:
“Your brain is made of poo!”
“You’re dumb, and weak!”
While weathered steel declaims its time-worn state,
The bully’s litany will never squeak.
It’s hard to say who wants for greater grace,
Forgiveness and reform both stretch the soul;
Some caution-erring lives will never face
The cost of graduating from their roles.
The Universe and Movers make a team;
The unexamined life is a machine.

Judge’s Comments (optional)


Winner: Lyrics

by: Cynthia Miller

I am the woman in the window,
Watching you just walk away
No looking back, no second chance,
Not even one last glance…

What about happily ever after,
And “Till death do us part”
Doesn’t that mean anything?

Your weapon of choice is silence,
You yield it like a sword,
Without one word… you slay me,
Over and over,
and over…
You slay me,
Just slay me

Dashed against the wall of your heart,
I lay shattered, nothin’ left but pieces and parts,
And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Could never put our love back together again.

What about happily ever after
And “Till death do us part”
Doesn’t that mean anything?

Your weapon of choice is silence
You yield it like a sword,
Without one word… you slay me,
Over and over
and over…
You slay me,
Just slay me

Your silence screams at me
You’re through, we’re done, it’s finished
Without one word…our love has been extinguished.

Your weapon of choice is silence,
You yield it like a sword
Without one word… you slay me
Over and over
and over…
You slay me,
Just slay me.

Judge’s Comments (optional)

Why this entry won: The author wasn’t afraid to get real. I can tell it is crafted as a lyric so context for the phrasing would be added with music.

Winner: Short Story

Confessions in a Veterinary Hospital
by: Crystal Jones

Kyle held his head in his hands, the tears falling to the linoleum floor beneath him. He took a deep breath and wiped away the tears as he heard footsteps coming down the hall.

“Give it to me straight, doc. I can handle it. How is Rocky?” He said.

“Kyle, you’re twelve, where is your mother?” The vet asked as he made a note on Rocky’s file.

“She went to change my little brother, and I’m almost thirteen. This is racist!  Tell me how my dog is doing!” he demanded.

An exasperated Dr. Gilly clicked his pen to the closed position. “Kyle, Rocky is old, he’s lived a good long life but he’s very sick and I think it’s time we put him down.”

“What? I want a second opinion!” Kyle began to gather up his backpack and prepared to storm out of the building.

More footsteps were heard from down the hall, “Calm down, Kyle. We knew this day was coming,” his mother said as she carried in a toddler under one arm and a large diaper bag in the other. She turned to the vet, “thanks so much Tom, I really appreciate you taking a look at our pet. This just means the world to me.” She said as she struggled to put the shoes back onto two kicking feet.

Kyle knew his mother was probably right but he couldn’t bear the thought of losing his best friend in the world. “Look, Doc, that dog is my life. It’s bad enough you neutered him a few years ago, now you’re gonna kill him?”

After a moment of pause, Dr. Gilly turned to Kyle’s mother. “Yeah, I’m not explaining this one. Pam, you’re up.”

Kyle’s mother handed the struggling toddler to Tom who held him like a grenade that was about to go off. She rushed to Kyle’s side and sat him down. “Sweetie, there’s something I gotta confess about Rocky.” She brushed her wavy brown hair out of her face and went on, “That day Rocky got fixed, you were only seven, but do you remember how upset you were?”

“Of course,” Kyle raised his arms in the air. “You took his man parts without even asking me how I felt about it.”

“Right. Well, do you remember why we wanted to get him fixed?” She asked.

“Because he peed on all the furniture and you said if he did it one more time you were going to make a Jack Russell-skinned rug.” He glared at her through the side of his eyes.

Dr. Gilly laughed behind Kyle’s mother. “Quiet Tom,” she said. “And Dr. Gilly performed the operation and then Rocky never peed on the furniture again.”

“Yes, it was a success.” Kyle leaned over to glare at Dr. Gilly, “But Rocky was never the same after that.”

Still struggling to hold the rambunctious toddler, Dr. Gilly mumbled, “Uh, yes well, go on Pam.”

“What I didn’t tell you is that I didn’t really neuter Rocky that day… He had gotten so old he couldn’t control his bowels and… we had to put him down.” She closed one eye and prepared for the backlash.

Kyle stood up and began to back away as he took in the information. His mother tried to approach him but he put one arm up and she sat back down. He took a seat facing the window as everyone else sat silently waiting for his response.

“So,” he asked without turning around, “who is that laying on the table in there?”

“Um…they were calling her Lola,” she said hesitantly.

“Ah man!” Kyle put a palm to his face and began to pace the room. “I thought you took too much off the top, Doc!”

Dr. Gilly’s mouth moved to answer but he couldn’t get the right words to come out.

“Sweetie, I knew how upset you’d be if you knew the truth. You were still so young and I knew how much you loved him. So I found a dog that looked just like him and wouldn’t mark its’ territory. I figured that would keep us both happy.”

“How… COULD YOU?” He asked incredulously.

“Kyle, you don’t understand.” She said softly.

“Uh, you also don’t understand what “Racist” means,” Tom interjected.

“Be quiet, Tom!” Kyle and his mother said simultaneously.

“Dr. Gilly,” a young nurse with a high ponytail cautiously entered the room, “the little Jack Russell isn’t doing so well, I think the family had better come and say goodbye.”

Kyle’s face went from angry to concerned. He rushed past the others into the room where his best friend lay. Sensing he needed time the others hung back.

Kyle approached the table, the only light coming from an over headlamp where the little brown and white dog was breathing heavily. The table was cold and Kyle felt the need to tuck the helpless pup into the blanket it was laying on. He softly stroked its’ head as tears welled up in his eyes.

“Rock, er, I mean Lola, whoever you are. You were my best friend when I didn’t feel like I had anyone else. We were best bros, or… so I thought.” His face confused, he wasn’t sure what else to say to the dog he thought he knew.

Kyle heard footsteps behind him. His mother pulled up a chair next to him and rubbed his back.

“I can’t believe it,” he said, shaking his head.

“I’m so sorry, Hon-” she started.

“This dog has seen me naked!”

“Kyle, it’s a dog,” his mother raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, a GIRL dog.”

“Look, Kyle, you’ve been the man of the house for a while now. And I know Rocky has been your second in command, so why let this ruin your memory? Do you love Rocky any less than you did before?”

Kyle thought for a moment before replying, “Well, no. But I do wish I would have put on a towel more.” A half-smile crossed his lips.

“I’m sure this dog loved you as much as you loved it. Whether it was Rocky or Lola, or any other dog, it had a good life because of you,” Pam said as she stroked Kyle’s shaggy brown hair. “She was lucky to have you.”

Kyle sighed, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

With a kiss from each of them, Rocky AKA, Lola, went peacefully on to the next life.

Pam put her arm around Kyle as they began to leave the room, “Mom?” Kyle asked.

“Yeah, bud?”

“The next time we get a dog, I want a paternity test.”

Pam smiled as she held back a laugh, “Who is teaching you vocabulary? Maury Povich?”

Judge’s Comments (optional)

Why this entry won: Humor is fun– pictured a comedy sketch while reading it. Good that it begins with tension, a crisis– the pet at risk and some resolution at the end and wisdom exchanged between Kyle and his mother. Echoes and style of sitcom in this one. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

White Lake Farms Award

The people at White Lake Farms offered to gift one entrant a jar of their honey, they mentioned poetry and the need for it to continue into future generations.

Who better to give their honey-pot award to than our youngest submitter?

Congratulations, Avalon (age 11)! Both White Lake Farms and I love that you’ve discovered poetry so young and hope you keep writing long into the future.


School is out
It’s summer now
No more assignments or essays or books
No more equations knotting my brain into twists
I grab my backpack, race out the door
Hurry home and kick off my shoes
And throw my backpack deep into my closet
I sit down on my bed
A thought enters my head
What do I do now?….


Thank you again to ALL who participated in the 2019 BATTLE of the BARDS!

Winners, please expect to receive your trophies in October.

Avalon, your White Lake Farms honey will be on its way shortly.