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About Cyndi MacMillan
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Cyndi MacMillan is a well-rounded writer who embraces many genres and forms. Her work has been published in local newspapers and has won contests. She enjoys reading literary journals, and she is actively pursuing publication within their glossy covers.

Verse is both magnetic and kinetic. She attempts - madly- to give equal attention to her poetry, short stories, and a novel-in-progress, the Trim of Wicks.  Regardless of genre, she focuses on language. One word has the power to repel or pull. She never forgets the reader and does her best to make their ride interesting.

Poetry soup is a good forum which enables people from around the world to share poetry. It has some great resources and provides a nice space for friends to meet.

Cyndi lives in a small town in Ontario with her husband, young daughter and far too many books.



Blog Posted:1/2/2013 9:29:00 PM

House winter snow moonlight 24x36 oils on canvas painting by RUSTY RUST / M-240

House in Moonlight by Rusty Rust, Oil

I was so delighted by the entries to my Season of Lights/ modified Kyrielle contest. You poets really dazzled with your lines and the verses were both charming and soulful.

Thank you to everyone who gave this a go. However, a few did not even attempt to write a kyrielle, so – unfortunately — I was unable to give them a placement.

Now, I was looking for at least the last word of each stanza to be identical in each stanza. I also gave extra marks for using devices such as metaphor, simile, and alliteration. I placed based on flow, strong and/or unique verb choices, careful selection of nouns and avoidance of unnecessary modifiers. I also took into account tone and mood and whether the finished piece was so polished, it practically gleamed.  I wanted something slightly different, something free from cliché, a lovely surprise gift for us to open.

Here are the winners:

1st Place

Yuletide Eve
By Craig Cornish

The cool crisp air where cirrus sweeps

like strands of angel hair flow deep,

in the heavens where faith resides

on this Eve of Yuletide.

As the light of day grows dim

and carollers sing familiar hymns,

scarved red and green, side by side

on this Eve of Yuletide.

In the night the bright bulbs glow

lane by lane, row on row,

while the fire warms those inside

on this Eve of Yuletide.

At worship faithful praise and sing.

Around the village church bells ring.

Within his love we will abide

on this Eve of Yuletide.

In silent night while children sleep,

mothers kneel and softly weep,

praying for a peace worldwide

on this Eve of Yuletide.

Out in the fields, no city lights

among the stars there in the night,

the brightest hope on high presides

on this Eve of Yuletide.

Right away I was captivated by the description of the cirrus clouds. A mood is set. The alliteration is spectacular, but not overly done. Reading this out loud is musical. Euphony. The second stanza made me smile. The verb SCARVED is rarely used. Its placement here is perfect. The third stanza brought even more alliteration, lovely, lyrical. I can almost HEAR this as a carol. The fourth stanza moves the poem forward. There is a real flow to this kyrielle, the night lengthening. The fifth stanza had me closing my eyes. Yes, so true. Then the final stanza ended where it should—with hope and light. Craig, you had me at cirrus and kept me with you. Congratulations on your first place win.

2nd Place



S.Jagathsimhan Nair

After the heat and then the rains

As a cool quietude starts to reign

Bringing into fraught lives more glee

Comes the day of lights, Diwali

Time, on fireworks and feasts, to splurge

Love, joy and hope finding a surge

Nights turn light’s veritable sea

During the time of Diwali.

The oil bath ritual helps restore

Nerves sore, bringing love and peace more

‘Good quells evil’ is what we see

As the message of Diwali

Even those who’ve got to borrow

And the ones caught in mild sorrow

Whatever their private woes be

Joy to them too, come Diwali.

Oh, I loved this poem on so many levels. It is De-LIGHT-full! The first stanza hooked me right away. The RICH RHYME (a rhyme not often seen by me on Soup) used in the first two lines (rains/reign) is lovely. Right away I’m wowed by a metaphor which also uses CONTRAST. The idea of quietude (peace) ruling. Clever poet!  The second stanza starts with the word time and the stanza IS about time. Nice flow here. The word veritable charmed me. The third stanza brought in more senses—touch, something that no many poets attempted with this challenge. And the final stanza bestowed another gem of a metaphor and finished with a flourish. Just a wonderful poem, Jag. I hope you shared this with your family! Congratulations!

Winter Solstice

By Carrie Richards

Have you ever wondered where it all began

The rituals marked among the Celtic clans?

Look into the past and they are found

This day is when the sun would turn around

For when darkest days of winter fell upon

The Pagans found a way to carry on

And through the years traditions tumbled down

For this is when the world now turns around

There are fables told and many customs formed

Of the apples pressed and wassail spices warmed

With toasts regaled when snow skimmed off the ground

This day was when light would turn around

There are moments keen with memory as bright as fire

And woven wreaths would halt all spirits dire

While Pagan songs across the land resounded

For this was when the sun would turn around

A Yule log fire would burn for twelve dark winter days

And ashes kept to bless the next year on its way

Reverse 'o time, as ebbing days were found

This is where the sun would turn around

They would meditate and dance among the trees

And hide their faces, chant with chivalry

The radiant light would stretch the day with crowns

This is where the sun would turn around

This is where the past now comes undone

Reverse earth's darkness with the golden sun

This is where old legends come unwound

This is when the light would turn around

A poem that begins with a question and then delivers a detailed and wonderful answer! And though this is one of my longer entries, not a single word is wasted! Adverbs/adjectives are minimum. The classic poets of the past would applaud the precise use of description. I had contemplated bolding the verbs used, to further illustrate how well this is put together. There is also some beautiful, unique metaphor (light giving crowns to daytime, for example) Carrie, congratulations on your win. You gave us something truly memorable here.

3rd Place

Hear Oh L-rd
By Debbie Guzzi

The Festival of Lights, Chanukah has arrived

a hopeful time of praise each year revived.

The Menorah lit, each home becomes a church.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe.

Our sister Miriam lights the shamash taper first

a maiden fair and scholarly her prayers rehearsed

to bring together all that's beautiful, diverse.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe.

Eight nights we praise the L-rd for gifting us with Light

and pass around small things which bring delight.

We rejoice. In brotherhood we are immersed.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe.

May G-d in his greatness light all your days

May family, friends, and foes mend their ways

for all have needs, let kindness tame their thirsts

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe.

Sumptuous language. Light is used both as a noun and a verb in this poem and each stanza’s first line has a reference to light. This form of repetition is subtle and maintains the tone. Well done! I especially enjoyed the careful use of alliteration and how this poem moves from being a very private moment within a family and then flows outwards to all. Congratulations, Debbie. I’m so glad you shared this with your Soup family, and I hope you shared this with Miriam, too ?

A Christmas Season Souvenir

By Andrea Dietrich

Taking our sleds down hills of snow;

Ice skating though cold winds might blow.

Those days of beauty crisp and clear -

A winter’s treasured souvenir.

Exchanging gifts with those we’d meet

at big reunions. What a treat

to have all my relatives near.

Such a wonderful souvenir!

The talent show my church would host

with Christmas goodies I liked most

and whispering in Santa’s ear.

Our small flock’s joy was souvenir!

Stringing the popcorn for our tree

while being with my family

laughing, talking and filled with cheer.

Togetherness - our souvenir.

The night before - so hard to sleep!

In morning, down the stairs we’d creep.

No times to come could be as dear.

My memories are souvenir

Oh, this poem kept its nostalgic tone and chose the word “souvenir” both as its theme and its repetition. Perfect! The language is crisp, unfettered and tight. The mood is wonderful and is kept from beginning to the last line. The tale within this kyrielle progresses as it should. And because of the minimalist approach, the poem moves quickly, just like the holidays, a whirlwind of traditions. The poem is wrapped up nicely, too. Congratulations, Andrea! Wonderful!

The Christmas Stockings

By Suzette Crous

Children far too young to realize

That some things in life you should prize

We had no jobs and no takings

Bare were the Christmas stockings

Scrounging colourful material

Lace, chintz and chiffon ethereal

Ribbons included in the making

A show for the Christmas stockings

Balls of red and green and scrap yarn

Imaginary faces darn’

On beautiful princess and kings

Displayed in the Christmas stockings

Plywood and some leftover paint

Canopy bed fit for a saint

Pea under mattress, her liking

Endured for the Christmas stockings

A penguin made of black felt

A hobgoblin with a scarlet belt

‘Gold’ jewellery box, flaking

Accepted for the Christmas stockings

Coconut ice cut into stars

Liquorice plaited into bars

Brownies and tarts kept me baking

Produced for the Christmas stockings

My daughter was five that year

Son’s smiles, laughter brought a tear

After all this time – despite mocking

Treasuring the Christmas stockings

Granddaughters, by the Grace of God

They look like two peas in a pod

Material gathered for the making

Of this year’s two Christmas stockings

This is such a charming kyrielle. I can easily see this as a children’s book, complete with illustrations (Su, I’m serious. Consider it! “Toy” ;-) with the idea...) There is such a seamless movement between past and present. The flow has grace and style. Congratulations on this win... such an enjoyable grin maker your penned!

4th Place

Christmas Period by Olusegun Arowolo I enjoyed how the last line was turned in this poem to reset the mood and intent! Wonderful. I loved the message, too!

Christmas by Joyce Johnson I truly was impressed how this poem unfolded and what was encapsulated here. Such a lovely piece filled with tenderness... lovely.

Missing Christ by Richard Lamoureux Though this is not about the festivity of Christmas, I enjoyed this fresh approach to the subject. Well said! Tidy piece!

5th Place

Christmas Spirit by Linda Marie Oh, I felt transported into the land of romance with this gleaming kyrielle. Such a bright piece that practically glitters!

Christmas Me Dear Mandurah by Yanny Widjanarko Thank you so much for bringing us all “down under” to share in Australia’s Christmas. I so enjoyed your poem!

Lord Have Mercy by Sara Kendrick. Resounded in me. So many of these feelings are shared by Christians. If only we could all celebrate our faiths joyously and openly and equally... sigh... another prayer, perhaps?

Again, my apologies for the delay in judging this contest!

Happiest Holidays to my friends around the world!


PS- I will have to contact soup. There is no way to view a contest judged in 2013 yet? Huh? Ooopsie?

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  1. Date: 1/3/2013 11:38:00 AM
    Thank you for the placement and your kind comments, Cyndie. You have gone to a lot of trouble to highlight the pluses in each poem. WE applaud YOU for the opportunity to showcase our traditions. I loved every poem listed and Craig's poem had me humming (I cannot sing). :-)

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 1/3/2013 11:41:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I am not that good at illustration (though I do watercolour painting for fun). So, of anyone wants to run with this poem and the idea of a children's book, you have my permission to do so. :-)
  1. Date: 1/3/2013 10:38:00 AM
    cyndi, thanks so much for my win and for what you said here in this blog about the writing of my poem. much appreciated. I read all your winners list just now and was very impressed. and I totally agree with your first place choice. that poem is amazing!!!

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  1. Date: 1/3/2013 9:44:00 AM
    Thank you Cyndi for the placement. Feel really honored. To get placed and get to know what you feel about the write. Inspiring words. Thank you so much:) Jag

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  1. Date: 1/3/2013 9:31:00 AM
    Thank you very much Cyndi, not only for placing my poem on your list of winners, but for this wonderful blog giving our poems such thoughtful attention. You put so much effort and time into your contests, is much appreciated, and makes it a special pleasure to be acknowledged. Thank you so very much!

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  1. Date: 1/3/2013 9:26:00 AM
    Thanks so much Dee for my win and for highlighting all the wonderful cultural input we have here on soup! Mime is my baby sister and a police officer and as with all youngsters doesn't really think her old sis has any important input ;)

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  1. Date: 1/3/2013 7:08:00 AM
    CYNDI, Thank you for hosting another challenging contest and for my placement, I am honored, and congratulations to all the winners. Sorry but I'm away from my computer and text about one word a minute!

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My Past Blog Posts

How I judge Contests by Cyndi MacMillan
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My Poems

Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
9/4/2014I COMESFree versesexy,
9/2/2014cummings and iVersepoetry,word play,
8/25/2014LIFE WILL BE A HONEYMOONLyricparadise,passion,romantic
8/25/2014HOSTEL, QUEBEC CITY, 1978Free versehistory,places,
6/9/2014THE RETURNSonnetdepression,giving,life,lo
4/21/2014LA MARQUISEFree versepsychological,
4/8/2014BUKOWSKI CONTESTFree versemoving on,power,teenage,
4/4/2014GINGHAM AND LACE, A BLITZ POEMVersedaughter,love,
4/4/2014NUDE, THIRTY DOLLARS, A BLITZVerseart,imagination,lost love
3/24/201450 GODSFree versegod,peace,philosophy,
3/15/2014WINTER IN PORTLANDFree versedepression,winter,
3/11/2014FREEDOM BLUESTail-rhymefreedom,
2/28/2014WELCOME TO THE BLUENOSEAcrosticfish,history,journey,sea,
2/25/2014PITY THE PIRANHAFree verseintrospection,people,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A BOND CROWN, EXAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsfilm,sexy,
2/11/2014ORION: A PERSPECTIVE for third to tenthSonnetmythology,star,
2/10/2014TARTANS, A SONNET FOR FRANCINESonnetfriend,patriotic,places,p
2/9/2014TESTIMONIALS, A SONNET FOR BRIANSonnetfaith,friend,nature,
2/5/2014ON THE FRINGE, A SONNET FOR MARLONSonnetafrica,allegory,culture,f
2/3/2014SUMMERLAND, A SONNET FOR CARRIE RICHARDSSonnetfriend,music,places,poetr
2/2/2014WORD ON THE STREET, 2009, A SONNET FOR DAVIDSonnetbooks,friend,places,poetr

My Photos

Fav Poems

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Surrender to LoveRhymeloveme,
A Totum Pole OdeConcretenative american,people,
MORE DREAMS TO ROWRhyme royalinspirational,life,
When the Tab Comes DueFree verseinspirational,introspecti
Lighting My Candle From WithinQuintain (English)caregiving,introspection,
The Kirk by the SeaCoupletnostalgia,religion,love,
Moonlight On The WardChokahealth,life,
Nocturnal PoetryRhymeimagination,life,poetry,
FROSTY NIGHT STROLLCoupletinspirational,seasons,
Our ThanksgivingLight Poetryholiday,
Tomorrow's GraceEthereepeace,
A New Star Shines Above HawaiiRhymededication,music,
Jesus, Our SaviorShapereligion,life,
Monarch of SummerHaibunanimals,devotion,inspirat
Midnight PearlsThan-Baukintrospection,love,
Beaucoup BloomsTerza Rimanature,spring,spring,
On Heaven's DoorwayNarrativeinspirational,life,care,c
WALKING ON FAITHVersefaith,for children,
BeachworldFree verseplaces,sea,sun,

Fav Poets

Debbie Guzzi United States Flag United States Read
Caryl Muzzey United States Flag United States Read
Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
Joe Flach United States Flag United States Read
nette onclaud Philippines Flag Philippines Read
Drake Eszes United States Flag United States Read
Mystic Rose Canada Flag Canada Read
mourning mist France Flag France Read
elizabeth wesley Canada Flag Canada Read
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders United States Flag United States Read
Ruben O. Argentina Flag Argentina Read
Carrie Richards United States Flag United States Read
kathryn collins United States Flag United States Read
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craig cornish United States Flag United States Read
David Williams United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Charmaine Chircop Malta Flag Malta Read
Francine Roberts Canada Flag Canada Read
Eileen Manassian Lebanon Flag Lebanon Read
Poet Destroyer A United States Flag United States Read
Faye Gibson United States Flag United States Read