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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)

TITLE: Hedging Your Bets
By Sydney Avey
05/16/11


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Take a wrong turn
find yourself facing
a hedge – a tangled wood
of unmet expectations
a conifer wall of grievances
that define your space
you can go no further
a thicket of veiled accusations
block an undesirable view –
you.

Fine! You say
seeds and cones produce my groans
but blame will not avert me
over, under, around or through?
If only you could find the way
you need not equivocate – only
take the time to look – you will see
this beastly tree that spread its seed
so far and wide and hits you where you hurt – is
pride.

Use strength to slay the rumor dead,
smarts to turn upon its head
the slight that you perceive is there –
it needles you, but dare you now
to grab a blade
cut the offense at its source,
prune the dense and twisted tale
of your wrongdoing – so they surmise –
and call it as you see it?
Lies!

Once you start to swing that scythe
you’ll fight that battle all your life
you’ll smack your face
on your neighbor’s fence
let go of any and all pretense
that justice was the thing you sought
it’s the fight you love
but you cannot win
the hedge will stand as long as
sin.

Reach through hedge limbs
that scratch your skin
there find sheltered deep inside
a robin and her nest abide –
know full well that you
like they, have the heart to blow away
innocence with your two-edged sword
stand down, drop out, though words
seal your fate – you won’t be stopped. There is a
gate.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen05/20/11

I read and re-read this several times and I must confess I am confused by some of it. It seems an inner conflict, but in stanza four it seems to say I cannot (or will not) win, then in stanza five it seems to say reach through to win…also in stanza five, why would I blow away innocence with my two-edged sword (which is the bible?) You seem to have a lot of thought going on here, but I have to be honest and say I am not grasping fully what you are trying to say! Sorry.
Cheryl von Drehle05/22/11
As interesting as reading the widely varied takes on any challenge, is reading the divergent comments. Now this particular poem, I LIKE the intersperse of free and rhymed, and the variation in meter. Fascinating depth of imagery and word use. Great poem!
Danielle King 05/26/11
Now I really liked this poem in every way. I thought you did an excellent job with the imagery and conflict. A well deserved 2nd placing. Congratulations.
Charla Diehl 05/27/11
Congrats on winning 2nd place with this very interesting poetic piece. Pride is certainly a sin that has some tough consequences at times. The MC seems to be struggling with pride or hurt by someone else's--not quite sure which way that goes--but maybe the reader is supposed to be left wondering. Either way, I liked this.