Conformists of a feather
flock together.

Michael R. Burch, Nashville, Tennessee


The u of solitude allays the y of lonely.
The i in if precedes the o in only.

Michael Harmon, Scottsdale, Arizona


Runners Up


I sympathize truly my dear,
But as you see, I have a beer.

Robert Walton, King City, California


It’s always the common folk who must pay
When their leaders go looking for dragons to slay.

David Martin, Chantilly, Virginia


Honorable Mentions


Knowledge, bestow thy light upon the mind,
Lest pleasures waste and lucent trifles blind.

Joseph McKenzie, New Mexico


Face drenched with tears I wipe my eyes
with hope God hears my fervent cries

Jan Hersh


I want the facts that will inform my views.
I don’t need entertainment from my news.

James Ph. Kotsybar, Lompoc, California


Mid the forest, Dryad stood; hidden, oaken, silent wood,
Mid the glade, the Sun he splayed; folk content, they never strayed.

Neal Dachstadter, Knoxville, Tennessee


Participating Judges

Michael Curtis, Washington, DC
Joshua Philipp, Queens, New York
Damian Robin, Sheffield, United Kingdom
William Ruleman, Athens, Tennessee
James Sale, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Bruce Dale Wise, Naselle, Washington


Judge Michael Curtis poetically noted:

If I could improve it
I didn’t choose it.

I looked for wit, precision too,
Heart-felt feelings wouldn’t do.


RULES: To celebrate National Poetry Month, write a two-line poem (couplet) that rhymes. It’s nice to have some meter or the same number of syllables per line, but not required. Paste your poem into the comment section with your name, city, and state (no need to list your last name or email address if you don’t want to). No submission fee.

DEADLINE: April 30 midnight (***Deadline extended to May 1, midnight EST). Winner announced May 10.

PRIZE: Free Society of Classical Poets 2016 Journal due out later this spring.

JUDGE: Classical poets staff and advisory board will judge (which means they can’t compete, sorry)


Featured Image: “Candidates for Girton College” by Frederick Brown, 1884.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

138 Responses

  1. Bret, Brooklyn, New York

    If you don’t know what to do
    Just zip dip trip flip dippity doo

  2. Mark, Montgomery, Alabama

    Spring is right around the corner,
    So it’s time to plant the corn, sir!

  3. Marvin, Phoenix, Arizona

    An oxen set free is what we aspire
    Then our goal of due course is to retire

  4. Stefan, Hazel Park, Michigan

    Addiction is the magnified passion;
    Love in extreme is the current fashion.

  5. Denise, Phoenix, Arizona

    Hummingbird, hummingbird, please do return,
    we bought a new feeder and you must learn.

  6. Veronica, Lathrup Village, Michigan

    Phoenicans shared tall mountains and desert scapes.
    Now we return to our wonderland of hills and lakes.

  7. Felicia, Atlanta, Georgia

    Compare the sadness and anger of westerners,
    to the suffering ‘alien other’ of our easterners.

  8. Michael Harmon

    The u of solitude allays the y of lonely.
    The i in if precedes the o in only.

    Michael Harmon
    Scottsdale, Arizona

  9. Enri Vilmos, Hungary

    At the fiery cauldron or high up in the sky –
    Dance with the devil or with the angels, fly!

  10. Jan Hersh

    face drenched with tears I wipe my eyes
    with hope God hears my fervent cries

  11. Sylvia, Rutherglen, Scotland

    On the world’s political stage honeyed words
    But only God’s gifts truth, sweet persistent birds.

  12. Diana

    Diana, Missoula, Montana

    Absurd thoughts for a normal thinker,
    rational to me, mad freethinker.

  13. wendy lee klenetsky

    I emailed this now so I wouldn’t forget it,
    and hoped you’d like it because, friends, you’ve just read it!

  14. Daniel Petrila

    Goddess, you are my prayer of death
    And the blemished lamb sacrificed on the altar of powerlessness of worshipping you, here on earth!

    • Daniel Petrila

      Goddess, you are my blemished lamb and my prayer of death
      sacrificed on the altar of powerlessness of worshipping you, here on earth!

  15. Corey browning

    O sapience, to you! The brightest flame!
    Do taketh thee? Or giveth do you fame?

    Corey Browning
    Brooklyn, NY

  16. Neal Dachstadter

    Mid the forest, Dryad stood; hidden, oaken, silent wood,
    Mid the glade, the Sun he splayed; folk content, they never strayed.

  17. Reid McGrath

    Modern Cynics

    Distrusting, thus starving, with an ungrateful suspicion,
    they murmur at their Moses in their Wilderness of Sin.

    Pawling, New York


    Heroes mown down like poppies in the field,
    switch to the acoustic guitar, a worthy weapon and shield.

  19. Radu Spinu

    We sing comedy in our sour dreams
    causing tragedy in their children’s tears

    Radu Spinu
    Bucharest , Romania


    Mommy don’t be mad if I shout scream stomp and loudly vent
    When I master my most obnoxious behavior I’ll run for President

  21. Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    Knowledge, bestow thy light upon the mind,
    Lest pleasures waste and lucent trifles blind.

  22. Susan Binyamin

    Fleeting away with each passing moment,
    Only fools spend all time in atonement.

    Brooklyn, NY

  23. Suchitra Das

    Suchitra G. Das

    Temporal bodies of endless desire; bustle to create, hustle to acquire,
    Seeking immortality in Hades’ lair; we succumb to lures beyond repair.

  24. Carly McGrath

    After Practice

    I am really thirsty and tired.
    Too bad the milk’s expired.

    Carly McGrath
    Pawling, New York

  25. clinton van inman

    Real love comes not with Cupid’s arrows
    But with shovels, picks, and wheelbarrows.

  26. Gregory Palmerino, Connecticut

    Earth is a sphere of poverty and wealth;
    Its two sides nurture and betray its health.

  27. Basil, South Africa

    From age to age treat all as equal.
    Then at life’s end you’ll love the sequel.

      • Basil Fillis

        Thank you. I hope this couplet will earn me a copy of the Annual anthology.
        I can’t afford to buy it. I’m just a poor pensioner in South Africa!

  28. Michael R. Burch

    I lived as best I could, and then I died:
    be careful where you step; the grave is wide.

    “Epitaph for a Child of the Holocaust,” Michael R. Burch, Nashville, TN

  29. Jesse Laine

    What is word and sight, this poetry?
    If not a bird and flight and soul to free

    Jesse Laine, Toronto, Canada

  30. Jacqulyn Ryan

    I spent all night chasing the white rabbit
    but I never could grab it

  31. David Fiedler, Monticello, NY

    Silently witnessing the madness of the world,
    The pine tree stands, arms upstretched towards God.

  32. A.R. Harmon

    A hundred birds on still seas sleep,
    As one sinks soundless towards the deep.

    A.R. Harmon

  33. Tyler James Smith

    Die stances! What’s accord-conversation?
    Instances of discord-conservation.

  34. Lizelle Cloete


    Glancing over my shoulder, but the horizon calls again
    Another place is waiting for me to attend

    It’s happening inside, the change of mine
    Long fingers are shooting out like new vines

    Bubbled up expectations are squashed together
    Gone is the emptiness of despondency with whatever

    Beautiful in the distance of its own kind
    Leaving the way open for new possibilities to find

    The first steps might be uncertain and daunting
    Fuelled by an eagerness to bring relief in a world that’s haughty

    Uncomfortable at first, hope, faith and love covers the rough edges
    Push and pull slowly, holding steady the growth of relationships

    A map has been laid out, even before our time
    Roads, directions and signs are there to choose, yours and mine

    In our hearts and hands the ability has been given to do
    Walking our paths of life in who we are and following through

    Transition to something different or new is never easy
    Moving from one place to another doesn’t happen immediately

    What a journey and adventure it could be?
    Exploring the unknown with people and things to see

    Change is all around us and can’t be stopped
    Life is in our hands and what is the cost?

    By Lizelle Cloete

  35. Anthony Travers

    In China where the great wall stands, live sadly shackled human hands.

  36. suprabha

    this is not the last chance to win the contest,
    but this is a good chance to try my best.

    sun will rise and sun will set,
    ever thought why little rabi in the window,is so upset?

  37. suprabha

    you can’t always win,you may have failure,
    but you are learning the proper things,make it sure

  38. James Irving Mann

    Love is born in your soul through soft, tender sighs
    Then flies out of control as it Personifies.

  39. Elaina Dionisio

    A Drive I Used to Know

    Road of pink blossoms to Majestic Woods.
    Once was Phillies Bridge, now Nostalgic Way.

    Newburgh, New York

  40. S. O'Shea

    So lonely, creeping each his way
    Go only predator and prey.

    Brisbane, Aus

  41. S. O'Shea

    All faithful, down the caterpillar highway
    Go others – I insist it isn’t my way.

    Brisbane, Aus

  42. S. O'Shea

    There is no fire, how wild soever it rage
    To beat the printed word upon the page.

    Brisbane, Aus

  43. S. O'Shea

    Still, torture’s not designed to kill
    Till all has failed to move the WILL.

    Brisbane, Aus

  44. S. O'Shea

    To see with eyes of love is but
    To see the dough and not the nut.

    Brisbane, Aus

  45. S. O'Shea

    Unless my life should mortal be
    It renders not eternity.

    Brisbane, Aus

  46. S. O'Shea

    For though to some death is a bitter end
    It is to others mercy, and a friend.

    Brisbane, Aus

  47. S. O'Shea

    Without my life should draw unto its end
    Forsooth I must go clean around the bend!

    Brisbane, Aus

  48. jerrod hannah

    Who Can Awaken

    Divinely Inspired Poetry, is
    my Heart

    To Revere the divine, is the origin of Art

    note: my own project is called
    Divinely Inspired Poetry

  49. Meryl Stratford

    What did the icy temperature forbode?
    We saw the rocket lift off, climb, explode.

  50. David Martin

    A Rhyme for the Times

    It’s always the common folk who must pay
    When their leaders go looking for dragons to slay.

    Chantilly, Virginia

  51. John

    Choice is the eternal doctor of fate
    Medicating the Millennium’s great

  52. Daniel

    Old hawks or new demagogues, to the right or left bent,
    Weighs not, where drones their gift, to its next young recipient.

  53. andy

    Move over sweetly fathomless, there’s a new stranger in our bed.
    I asked him only for a little warmth. well, he pissed on me instead.

    andy, colorado springs, colorado

  54. K.E.Gersch

    Spring Tulips

    The searing wind sighs and folds into morn,
    soothing pink budded mouths like a newborn.

  55. Janice Canerdy

    Experience and innocence join hands,
    enabling us to thrive through life’s demands.

  56. Abu tarek md tahsin

    In the midst of this summer,
    Blooms the seasons of life’s desires.

  57. Nicholas, San Jose, California

    The loss we endure is a wound unseen.
    Internal stitches are so tough to clean.

  58. Kristen Borowski

    When the cloud eclipsed the sun it became the bright full moon;
    Distilled in fragrant euphony, untouched but loved too soon.

  59. Mike E

    The trouble with using half-rhyme
    Is that it tends to sound rather tame

  60. MalaikaFG

    Please give me one more night,
    I just wanna make things right.

  61. Laura


    If each poem would mirror a writer’s sin
    There would be nothing left for priests to deem.

  62. mell

    Frail, but resilient, emerging from drifts,
    Wan petals, yet brilliant, as Winter’s coat lifts.

  63. Keith Robson


    Between all that we’ve forgotten and between the things we’ve shared
    There is such a warm sensation in the ways that we’ve both cared…

  64. Samina Hadi-Tabassum

    The world must change its borders
    This land is not for hoarders

  65. Theodore Eisenberg

    A word absurdly dreams of belonging.
    To be forever phrased — longing’s longing.


  66. B. E. St. John

    Kidz havta wear kevlar pjs 2 bed
    2 wake up not shot dead


  67. Jack Horne

    The thing that she regretted most:
    not putting poison on his toast.

    Plymouth, England

  68. Najda HSJ

    The border is vast, majestic, and tall
    That’s why it is called The Great Wall

  69. Robert S. Hubbard

    A sign of life that flits from tree to tree,
    ‘Tis spring’s hello–the errant bumblebee.

  70. Marcus Bales

    Conservatives are fools: that’s just hors d’oeuvreative:
    Because not every fool is a conservative.

  71. Ovidiu-Marius BOCȘA

    Leggy Girls Days

    A clock: you’ve got to walk it straight and narrow:
    Pyramid based on truth I built as last Pharaoh.
    Monkey is a feeling in front of the window;
    Smile is healing even the Caliban`sorrow;
    You are my little bow and I am the arrow,
    I have in my hands the joy of a sparrow;
    You learn by heart my lyrics like mellow;
    Because, really I am a good funny fellow;
    Peoples burn pain all in my bone marrow;
    No night will fall down like a crowing crow
    And let the struggle for an other tomorrow;
    Each day is a leggy girl who still can borrow
    No moments of my poem: a cloak to wrap a sorrow.

  72. Deborah L.

    The clowns and the lions and stunt acts are great.
    Where are we, the circus? No, prezy debate!

    San Jose, CA

  73. Greg Tuleja

    I’ll come tonight, my love, tonight, she said
    The perfumed words I wish I’d never read.

  74. Skip Hughes

    “Hamlet’s Least Soliloquy,” by Skip Hughes of Greenfield, Indiana

    An owlish phrase, to wit to woo, or not to woo
    Yon maiden fair, is not the question hitherto.

  75. Ovidiu-Marius BOCȘA

    But, leaves` procession under the kiss of the wind;
    Buds of faith and hope live in philosophical mind.

  76. John Michael Ruskovich

    One Reliable Thing
    Each year I count on just one thing:
    The melting of winter into spring.

  77. pgepps

    When you hear talk of green but spell it “grieve,”
    Remember life will make you lief to leave.

    Peter G. Epps
    Oklahoma City, OK

  78. pgepps

    When you leave liefer things behind in grief,
    Remember where they’re pressed and turn the leaf.

    Peter G. Epps
    Oklahoma City, OK

  79. Christina

    Mountain clouds, foot-trodden ways,
    And pale pink trilliums in the haze.

    Chantilly, VA

  80. Miles

    When your mind is open and your heart is gold
    Life’s about more than what your hands can hold

  81. Shailyn Sooter, Seattle WA

    The Roi du Bois, upon his gilded mushroom throne,
    Oft recalls in loneliness his soldiers swallowed by the Rhône.

  82. Kathy in Canada

    China’s moon is dark with corruption and grime
    Suppressing free speech is a human rights crime*

    *The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, section 17, subsection 19:

    “19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

    Free Liu Xiaobo!

    • elizabeth henry

      Here’s proof that one should never rush poetry…
      It should, of course have read:
      The Hatter and the Rabbit sat to eat a sumptuous tea,
      Until a girl dropped down a hole and spoiled their privacy.


  83. Dan; Pittsfield, MA

    We are shadows–from thoughts, half-heartedly
    Looking through a broken glass darkly

  84. Cynthia

    It’s a feast for the senses to be showered on, kissed
    As the twangy scent of rain rises up its tasty mist.

  85. Basil Fillis

    From age to age treat all as equal;
    then at life’s end you’ll love the sequel.

  86. Bob McNeil

    An Untitled Couplet

    Within you lies the Hope Diamond of wealth,
    How fortunate you are to be yourself.

    Copyright 2016

    • Basil Fillis

      Lots of ifs and buts are ensconced in that couplet.
      Maybe if it rhymed….

  87. Chandradeep Das

    ‘Or saunter along together amidst a chilly mizzle,
    Not a bower nearby to conceal us from the drizzle’

  88. Vikoo

    What does love made from you
    You can laugh, cry but he doesn’t see u

    • Michael R. Burch

      It was an honor to participate in the competition against so many talented poets, and a pleasant surprise to be one of the winners. Thanks very much to the Society for sponsoring the contest. I have won prizes or honorable mentions in 38 poetry contests, but this is one of my favorites because everyone was able to read the submissions. — Mike Burch

    • James Ph. Kotsybar

      Congratulations to all the winners
      I hope you are lauded over dinners.

      Especially, thanks to Evan Mantyk
      who works so hard though his life gets frantic.

      Thanks also to the judges and the staff
      who helped choose winners, where there was no chaff.

  89. Mantz

    I love you more than I can say:
    please, oh please, let me come to stay.


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