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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Lament
By Leigh MacKelvey


Regret lives in our attic.
clothed in black silk,
she takes tea with her tears,
lemon on the side,
which she sourly squeezes,
and drips drop by drop
into her bone china cup
with the teeniest roses
and the zig-zag crack
that runs from the handle
down the side.

Her lips purse after each anxious swallow.

She moves into our home
twenty years back,
we barely notice her arrival
until she catches our attention
with her
why, whys and oh mys,
silk dress crinkles as she flings herself
into the parlor where she
languishes somberly,
chants ill-omens throughout
the day, counts mistakes
to lull her asleep at night.

We cannot pry her loose from the settee.

Those twenty years back
we hastily act on a chance,
repercussions abound as result.
Which of us invites her to come,
who can say?
But come she does,
her ponderous perfume fills
every dark peak of the house
and mists over the furniture
with an odor of forebode
we wish gone.

Repeatedly, we assure her it is over and done.

She covers her ears
with her black-opal-ringed hands
and makes a list of consequences
that will search us out,
low to our graves.
She beseeches us to let her stay;
just a tiny space
is all she needs.
We fold her up, stuff her
into a trunk and slide it
under the bed in the guest room.
Houdini-sly, she jimmies the lock,
escapes with a wicked grin
to the attic.

We promptly nail thick boards across the door.

Through a small slot in the door,
we serve her tea daily
and occasionally
only occasionally,
though we know
it does us no good,

we let her out for a breath of fresh air.

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This article has been read 1223 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/14/08
This is a SERIOUSLY awesome poem. I love so much of it--the imagery is fantastic--but my favorite is the irnoy at the end, where you give her tea and let her out for fresh air. Great poetic tools, and marvelous work all-around.
Lynda Schultz 02/14/08
Sally Hanan02/14/08
Wow! You have heightened the gamut for every poetry writer here. Incredible.
Rita Garcia02/15/08
Inspiring on soo many levels!
Your words have blessed me indeed!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/15/08
Would it be wrong to say, "I wish I had written this stupendous poem"? Every word was precisely just the right one for sound and meaning.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/16/08
Wow! Awesome in every way...imagery, word selections, meaning. You nailed it.
Patty Wysong02/16/08
Oh. My. The imagery is perfect--and the details, Wow. The details are enough to make chills run down my back. Super...truly.
Sheri Gordon02/18/08
Wow, wow, and wow. This is incredible. Awesome. Truly amazing. (Can't think of anymore fantastic words -- but you get the point.)
Shelley Ledfors 02/18/08
Fabulous! I am ever amazed by excellent poetry. Any great writing is challenging, but to add in the constraints of writing in a poetic form and come up with something like this...absolutely wonderful!
Dee Yoder 02/18/08
Wonderful personification and so many apt and accurate descriptions of regret. This poem is perfect in every way.
LauraLee Shaw02/19/08
God is totally in this piece. It is truly anointed straight from HIs mind to your hand. This line especially drew me in:
We fold her up, stuff her
into a trunk and slide it
under the bed in the guest room.
Houdini-sly, she jimmies the lock,
escapes with a wicked grin
to the attic.

Lori Othouse 02/19/08
Wow, this is awesome! I love the way you personified regret, great imagery. Very thought-provoking as well, how we can get used to things we were never meant to live with and sometimes even accomodate them. Fantastic!!
Seema Bagai 02/19/08
Masterfully written. I'm in awe.
Marita Vandertogt02/20/08
The personification of regret - I love this - the images are so vivid, the whole piece bathed in a sadness that draws the reader in and holds them there... excellent!
Yvonne Blake 02/20/08
Great personification!
I love the ending.
Debbie Wistrom02/20/08
Thanks for the brick or I might have pssed this by. No words to say what hasn't already...incredible!
william price02/20/08
I super sincerly like this. I mean, I enjoyed reading it and apprecated the talent and anointing of the writing, and the dry witty sense of humor. Excellent job again, Leigh. You "wow" me every week.
God Bless.
Sara Harricharan 02/20/08
Oh I like this. I think it's a new favorites of yours for me. My only note was this one line:

with her black-opal-ringed hands

I think you could've omitted the "her", but that's just me, the rest of it read wonderfully and I really liked how you described her...and lol-actually let her out for air! That's brave...I would just give her the tea! ^_^
Betty Castleberry02/20/08
If I review this, I'm only posting words. Trust me when I say that just wouldn't be enough. Excellent work.
Marita Thelander 02/20/08
This style intrigued me. The lesson is flawless.
Beth LaBuff 02/20/08
Absolutely beautiful and creative...loved the pictures!
LauraLee Shaw02/21/08
Congratulations on 2nd place!!!!!!!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/21/08
I was so happy to see this place so high because it truly is extraordinary. Congratulations.
Sheri Gordon02/21/08
Leigh -- Congratulations on your EC and 1st place in Masters! This piece is awesome, and I'm so glad to see it place at the top. Way to go.
Beth LaBuff 02/21/08
Super!! Congrats on your level placing and your EC!!
Loren T. Lowery02/21/08
Your writing is so, so blessed and inspired. Thank-you for sharing your talent and wonderful spirit. Congratulations, too on your well deserved win/placement.
Cori Mann02/21/08
This work of exquisite poetry is a masterpiece! Great work and congratulations on your win!
God Bless
Sara Harricharan 02/21/08
***Congratulations, Leigh! Awesome writing!***
Karen Wilber02/21/08
Powerful poem about the wrong way to take thoughts captive.
This was a sobering thought "...chants ill-omens throughout
the day, counts mistakes
to lull her asleep at night."
A well deserved EC.
Jacquelyn Horne02/21/08
Very smooth flowing poem. Congrats on the win.
Dianne Janak02/21/08
"Just a tiny space is all she needs!" WOW.. this one blew me away.. so true.. so human.. priceless writing that took great skill.. you deserved the win... congrats!
D. J.
Peter Stone02/22/08
Congratulations on your well deserved placing with this touching and so true to life poem.
Janet Butler02/22/08
This is beautiful! Should have won first place. Kudos to the author for not hitting us over the head with a "spiritual" message and/or the seemingly obligatory Scripture reference...but getting the message across far more strongly than either of those obvious methods would have. All this and it's real live poetry to boot!

Well done!