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Cyndi MacMillan's Blog

About Cyndi MacMillan
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 I have been a member of Poetry soup since 2011. 


Though my forte is fiction, verse has always appealed to me. There is nothing like a play of words to rattle the ordinary, to tickle away the dust of stagnation. My favourite form is the contemporary sonnet, but I also enjoy free verse. Also, I love the zen experience of haiku, its seizure of a moment, how it can hold a universe in so few syllables. And I admit to a fondness for the Rondeau.




My life is simple, but busy. I’m a writer and stay at home mother. Days are full. 


Currently, I am working on a novel or ... ha ha... should I really say that the novel is working on me? Characters! They have a way of turning a world upside down.


There are some amazing poets on the soup. I am blessed to call many my friends ~~ Cyndi




RENAISSANCE WOMAN WINNERS... Finally. THANK YOU ALL!


Blog Posted:2/4/2014 10:37:00 PM

Oh, poets,


you blew me away with your entries, so much so that I had no idea how I was going to judge your works!

 

The devices, the figurative language, the imagery and tone....  I saw all your effort, felt as well as read your words.  What do I give MORE sway to…

 

I finally put on my big girl britches and decided that I needed to judge via this order

 

1)      Did the sonnet truly have a contemporary voice, fade the blueprint of its classic or modern counterpart, and yet feel of today/for today (and here is the truly hard part), WHILE KEEPING TO THE SUBJECT. Did the author capture what it must have felt like to be a female painter in the renaissance era, modern for her time? Never quite recognized by her peers? Did the poet catch the feel for one of her paintings, display its heart and keep it beating?

 

 

2)      Does the poem excellent flow, does each line move the little song forward. Does the sonnet contain some kind of turn, however subtle, or perhaps a paradox, a contradiction? What about tone, what about clarity?

 

 

3)      What language is used, what devices? Did something delight me with a twist of word? And what of observation? Did this poet say something in a new way? Did I feel moved by what I read? Did the poem emotionally connect me to its subject?

 

 

4)      Did the poet refrain from using language traditionally seen or overused in sonnets? Did the poet keep the lexicon fresh or did he/she fall back on the tried and true? New territory is harder to cross.

 

 

And so, after all this, here are the winners.

 

BLESS YOUR PATIENCE

 

(and bless those who fixed my computer for under $70! Now I can close my contest the way I like to close it. Giving full kudos to all these beauties… no ??????? Cyndi kisses the monitor! )

 

I HAD to award a tie for first place, something I rarely do… I always expect to find one stand out. This time, I had two.

 

1st Place

 

A Painter’s Pine

By Debbie Guzzi

 

The void calls through gossamer veils and widow's peak.

Shifty-eyed now of necessity I lie, bone-wrapped

in rosaries black as my rheumy eyes, death speaks.

Uncomforted by down or velvet, role trapped

corseted, board stiff with age like calf skin vellum

peeled and bloodied by the dual edged knife of man.

The scene is set and I shall not whimper, as do some,

or call to God, or blame the fates of those whose clans

 

remain earth-bound, when I have left this mortal glade.

Pigment on canvass, linseed loosed, stretchers taut, displayed,

all of this, I've had a plenty, and been royally paid.

My life was art, and it was art that fanned my life's flame.

So, stretch me on the pine boards and lay my edges down.

monochrome me in umber, drench me in shades of brown.

 

This one captivated me right away. Starts hard with the void. Immediately, I have a question. What void? Then a great deal of show no tell… the veils, the widow’s peak… The voice is retained throughout this piece. Its tone and imagery is impeccable. This sonnet is detailed, rich, and as ornate as any gown in the Renaissance period. HOWEVER, the enjambment, THE PACE of this piece, keeps it contemporary.

 

Love the internal rhymes happening. Oh, yeah!!!

 

I liked the Alliteration…  Now of Necessity, Scene is set/ Linseed loosed/ Fan flame

 

I have said it again and again. Whenever possible find the exact verb that suits…or event one! Bone-wrapped, role-trapped… what a way to spin language! I am being inundated with sensory experience… soft and stiff, for example…   

 

The last three lines are what won this the highest spot. Those lines hit me in a very real and personal way. Verbs in the last three lines by the way: fanned, stretch, lay, monochrome (as a verb! It works!) and the piece de resistance… DRENCH…

 

What can I say, Debbie. You had me at the void calls…

 

Congrats!

 

 

Virgin and Child

S.Jagathsimhan Nair,

 

Matrix of allusions. Its intersections

dipped in the beckoning depths of chaste dark

to grow limbs like any other. To mark

a departure into a great mission.

Life dipped in a suave and rare medium

of strokes and streaks . Who would not sense

in the vision-flatness an equilibrium

of solidity and reassurance.

The harboring grid of hardened faith

is crowned with thorns of colored distractions

without the telling placenta of birth

but still-lifed  in womb-dark meditation

I ‘m the virgin, the lactating breasts, the birth

I ‘m the baby of the resurgent earth.

 

 

When I read this, I sighed… repeatedly1 This felt so fresh, it knocked me off my feet. Literary art about visual art. Truly one of the best poems I’ve ever read anywhere. Jag took the form and shook the tar out of it. Each line is constructed with precision.

 

Ordinary? So far from that it that it left me feeling very humble as a poet. Again, we have someone who knows to start with a kapow. An image so strong we are wondering, what next? Where are you taking us?

 

I love the rhetorical question… a device underused.. one that works magnificently here.

 

And then we are not only taken into the artist herself.. but further … we are taken through her eyes to the actual work she is creating…. Further still, we are taken as far as her faith can reach … sacrificing self for art…an act of faith,yes?... for what is true art but a loss of self in the act of its creation?

 

The verbs thrilled me… dipped, grow, marked, crowned, still­-lifed (YES IT WORKS)

 

And the last two lines? Divinity in every way!

 

2nd Place

 

Memorabilia

By Leonora Galinta

 

In stillness of her spirit she sits there

with all her prowess she manipulates.

Her fingers’ ripples in coldest water

replenish mind and soul that ruminates.

Playing in nocturne, she’s being witnessed

by her governess . The simplicity...

Her portraits that adduce virtues she possessed -

laconic and clear view of chastity.

Oh, Renaissance woman, you shine on top,

as you incandesce in  mind  love of arts!

You’re a czar bringing our decorum up-

women’s pride… imbue modesty in heart.

In the silence of our heart, we listen

in these memorabilia… you remain.

 

Moody in the best of ways, this one. Prowess, great word… I have no idea as I write this blog who wrote this … I’ll add the name once I post the winners..  but the lexicon of this piece dazzled me. Replenish, Nocturne, Witnessed, adduce, incandesce, modesty, decorum.. all words which evoke another era. The break in lines, the use of ellipsis, slant rhyme… makes it all very contemporary. Such a balancing act!

 

I loved the repetition found in the last line, the echo effect. Well done!

 

 

Palettes of Her

By Nette Onclaud

 

Dark glowing eyes, a hazel bun, well tucked

and neat. Lips curve like shells in porcelain,

Awaiting to express, her brave conduct

That I could sense audacity, back when

Ladies bowed to men, such common duty.

Yet she possessed an ardent fire, heated

by graphic flair; sultrily chaste to be

among lords of glory. Oh, brushes red

Spill on fabric;  If I could but explore

Her sprezzatura dripping lush oil, while

I breathe her strokes. My heart needs not of more

from galleries that hide a face beguiled.

 

   My own dark eyes will memorize her hands,

   Sprayed by palettes of brilliant renaissance.

 

Have you ever noticed how words are like jewels? When you take one and place it in a setting that is unusual, something truly beautiful can be created. Like “hazel bun” I love it… yes, the glow of colour usually used to describe eyes, works so well with hair! Sultrily chaste… wonderful. What a picture we are shown with this powerhouse sonnet. Whisked me away, this one surely did. STUNNING.

 

 

3rd Place

Mother's Unfailing Love

by Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

 

Our rising worship! Oh, perfect love of Mother and Child

is understood by adoring eyes. Eager hearts pray,

from the eternal breath of babe. Lifted high, strong yet mild,

He foretells of forgiveness and whispers agape.

Upon Mary's chest, lie His heavenly dreams -

a love of no measure born unto a Virgin

and sins evermore are assuredly redeemed

as God's blessed Mother cradles creation.

Her womb brought forth Light, the Savior of man.

Her gentle touch nurtured God's only Son.

The sacrifice, His blood shed to quench a dry land.

Prophecy fulfilled, so no soul shall be shunned.

Inspire us precious babe upon Mary's chest.

Mother's unfailing love gives comfort and rest.

 

So lovely and deep and filled with the language that I am fairly certain Sophonisba would have wanted to read herself.. read down, folks.. read the last word of each line. Each one a word of Christ…profoundly moving piece.

 

 

Sofonisba Anguissola, Pieta

By Carrie Richards

 

Gathered, to mourn in one deathless hour

Fragile, a test to faith's consummate power

Grief, which is stone cast, among five stricken faces

Softened by reverence, and mute, anguished traces

 

Weightless in her arms, but heavy for the eyes

Devotion anchors deep, painting tears that will not dry

Each pulse that pounds, each gasp one takes,  

will rise, then, with awe, as the brush strokes create......

 

Lost, the desperate world, which honed new beginnings

Shattered, by the cost, as their world had stop spinning

The few souls, who cradle, unable to speak

would renew from a tomb, He would defy and retreat

 

For those who altered history, Sofonisba paints with eye and ear

Will they stutter, will they falter, or still deny that He appeared?

 

This is such a work of art, truly. I love especially the beginning of lines 1, 3, 9 and 10. YOU have painted such a picture here, three dimensional… and captured the aspect of immortality, both in art and faith. Fantastic depicture and well said!

 

4th Place

 

Sofonisba  by Craig Cornish. Enjoyed so much about this one. Loved the echo effect in lines 11 and 12—masterly done!


The Gentle Soul of Creativity – By Andrew Crisci..Very educational. Full of lovely images of artisans. Like a panoramic view! Wonderful.

 

Sofonisba - Young and Old – By Andrea Dietrich- I loved the turn from the octave for the young, to  the final six lines for the aging artiste, yet some things remain the same, the echo of the black, is so well depicted. Lovely language. Crisp.

 

5th Place

 

PIETA by Kechi Odibi– emotive. A timeless message of a mother’s grief told in a modern voice. Nicely done.

 

Boy Bitten by a Crayfish – by Dr Ram Mehta… I enjoyed the different take. And kudos for picking a different painting. Thank you!

 

The Start – By Sara Kendrick – So enjoyed how the subject is speaking of the artist who painted her… nice twist and well handled!

 

Chess – By Julie Heckman  - a poem that made me smile for there are layers there… chess a game of strategy and there is no strategy to avoid the hours it takes to learn it. Nice use of irony.

 

Sofonisba Anguissola Self Portrait By  Richard Lamoureux – I loved the use of questions, which makes this sonnet feel even more intimate, closer to the reader. A tender write, this.

 

 

Honourable Mention

 

1st women inspired art by Shanity Rain  – loved the spirit behind this nonet and had to feature on the winners board…



Contest Winner Medal1A Painter's PineDebbie Guzzi
Contest Winner Medal1Virgin and ChildS.Jagathsimhan Nair
Contest Winner Medal2MemorabiliaLeonora Galinta
Contest Winner Medal2PALLETTES OF HERSELFnette onclaud
Contest Winner Medal3Sofonisba Anguissola, PietaCarrie Richards
Contest Winner Medal3Mother's Unfailing LoveRhonda Johnson-Saunders
4Sofonisbacraig cornish
4Sofonisba - Young and OldAndrea Dietrich
4THE GENTLE SOUL OF CREATIVITYAndrew Crisci
5PIETAKechi Odibi
5The StartSara Kendrick
5Boy Bitten By A CrayfishDr.Ram Mehta
5Chessjulie heckman
5Sofonisba Anguissola Self PortraitRichard Lamoureux
Honorable Mention 1st women inspired artShanity Rain



THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED MY CONTEST

Hope you enjoyed a look back as you stepped forward!


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  1. Date: 2/5/2014 10:08:00 PM
    checking checking... huh? I am having trouble getting into some of my member stuff...

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  1. Date: 2/5/2014 7:44:00 PM
    Thanks for my placement in your contest, cyndi

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  1. Date: 2/5/2014 2:44:00 PM
    Thank you Cyndi....I'd forgotten this contest, but you know, what I love about you is the time you take in telling us what "worked", what drew you in, and why you choose the poems you do. It is so nice to know, and is so appreciated. You had some stunning entries...this is such an honor!

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  1. Date: 2/5/2014 10:46:00 AM
    cyn, yes it was decades ago, lol.... when i read mine, i flipped, " did i do that?".. thanks for appreaciating this... bt oh, my frieeeda; i love that too!... congrats to all, soul sis, and to you for introducing us to maverick women od the arts... huggs

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  1. Date: 2/5/2014 7:51:00 AM
    What a pleasant surprise, Cyndi, because my member area was all along telling me that this poem had not placed and I thought I had missed to notice the contest results somewhere on the way..What a honor, I can't thank you enough..Congrats to all the winners!!

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    Nair Avatar S.Jagathsimhan Nair Date: 2/5/2014 10:20:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Please call me just jag, cyndi..i value your words so much..!!
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/5/2014 9:00:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Congrats, sir! You are an amazingly gifted poet... thank you for writing this. I feel doubly guilty... for taking so long to close my contest and (because most publishers do not want poems that have been posted on sites such as these) for encouraging you to post it here. It deserves MORE!
  1. Date: 2/5/2014 7:36:00 AM
    You had a HARD time those are majestic verses [& certainly not quack, quack, quack grrrrrrrrr]

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 2/5/2014 11:35:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    hey YOU'RE a SWAN! [do swan's quack? hmmm]
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 2/5/2014 8:56:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Remember Mr T? LOL. "Pity, Fool!" Let 'em keep their ducks in a row, let 'em miss markets and lull insomniacs to sleep, let 'em fold their arms and pout, while I exhale pleasures... you can quote me, hon. LOL... like water off a duck's back. LOL
  1. Date: 2/5/2014 7:33:00 AM
    I'm glad it worked for you Dee :) Folks might also note - the play on the word PINE - lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief; & this definition Europe like any other part of world has its numerous death rites, meaning traditions ... sau Al sulitii" ("The Song of the Pine", "Of the pine needles" or "Of the spear"). ... body of the deceased is placed on boards between two chairs or two tables.

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My Past Blog Posts

 
I HAVE TO SHARE THIS... BEST ARTICLE ON FIGURATIVE WRITING EVER!!! Worth the read!!!
Date Posted: 8/22/2014 10:47:00 AM
THIS IS POETIC PROSE
Date Posted: 8/20/2014 9:28:00 AM
Death in Family
Date Posted: 7/23/2014 8:30:00 AM
A CHANGE REQUEST FOR MEMBER CONTEST WINNERS PAGE... Me... upsetting another applecart... or a good idea? Thoughts?
Date Posted: 7/22/2014 3:57:00 PM
GARDEN PARTY CONTEST WINNERS... YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!
Date Posted: 7/15/2014 9:57:00 PM
CONTEST JUDGES: A WAY TO FIND AN ABUSER
Date Posted: 7/15/2014 10:32:00 AM
NEW CONTEST: HARD SHELLS: TURTLE INSPIRED FREE VERSE
Date Posted: 7/13/2014 5:19:00 AM
LEATHERBACK BOY, FREE VERSE, CONTEST SOON TO FOLLOW
Date Posted: 7/11/2014 9:53:00 PM
SONNET TITLE FOUND..THANKS TO CHARMAINE... MINDING MANNERS
Date Posted: 6/11/2014 6:17:00 PM
THANK YOU FOR THE SONNET ENTRIES...short short blog
Date Posted: 6/9/2014 3:27:00 PM
TORRENT: A CONTEMPORARY SONNET, example for my contest
Date Posted: 6/7/2014 6:56:00 AM
NEW CONTEST- Garden Party: VERB-alized NOUN-sense with FLORAL accents. Hungry for summer!!!!
Date Posted: 6/4/2014 10:19:00 PM
UPDATE ON THE HELPLESS CONTEST-- My apologies to all. Exhaustion has hit the household- possible heat exhaustion
Date Posted: 5/29/2014 1:40:00 PM
GENITALS in PRINT, AN OPEN DIALOGUE
Date Posted: 5/27/2014 3:20:00 PM
CONTEMPORARY PUBLISHED HAI_KU TO SHARE
Date Posted: 5/21/2014 2:24:00 PM
UPDATE ON THE HELPLESS/KYRIELLE CONTEST - please check your entries
Date Posted: 5/16/2014 8:47:00 PM
A CARD FOR FRANCINE ROBERTS, who is recovering from a car accident!
Date Posted: 5/9/2014 8:10:00 PM
A WORD PAIRING POEM- THE CLEARING, PAIRINGS BY CARRIE, AE RIVENBANK, CALEB, RUBEN & ANDREA
Date Posted: 5/8/2014 10:21:00 PM
PROMPS FOR WORD PAIRINGS 2 - COME AND PLAY
Date Posted: 5/7/2014 8:50:00 PM
********PLAY WITH ORIGINAL WORD PAIRING***POEMS BUILT BY SOUPERS #1, 3 and 4
Date Posted: 5/6/2014 9:04:00 AM
THE BEST HOW TO WRITE POETRY ADVICE I'VE EVER HEARD. WORTH 20 of YOUR MINUTES. FANTASTIC!!!!!!
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:13:00 AM
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROSE AND POETRY. One piece of writing, three ways
Date Posted: 5/4/2014 12:50:00 PM
TRADITIONAL POETRY MARKETS FOR EILEEN AND OTHERS WHO LOVE RHYME
Date Posted: 5/3/2014 8:14:00 AM
A LOOK AT A LITERARY JOURNAL CONTEST, RULES and the WINNERS POEMS
Date Posted: 4/29/2014 8:37:00 PM
POP QUIZ HOT SHOTS... C'MON... LOVE 'EM, DISS 'EM, JUDGE 'EM, PLACE 'EM!!!
Date Posted: 4/28/2014 3:47:00 PM

My Poems

12345678
Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
8/25/2014LIFE WILL BE A HONEYMOONLyricparadise,passion,romantic
8/25/2014HOSTEL, QUEBEC CITY, 1978Free versehistory,places,
8/21/2014DEGREESSonnetbooks,sensual,words,
8/7/2014NEUTRALIZEDSonnetcolor,home,
7/17/2014CRADLEDTrioletbaby,love,
6/9/2014THE RETURNSonnetdepression,giving,life,lo
6/7/2014TORRENTSonnetcelebration,life,women,
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,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY, LINDA MARIE, EASTER WALK, 7th REPOSTRhymefamily,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 6- DEDICATED TO LINDA MARIE, REPOSTRondeaufaith,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 5 - FAMILY TREE, REPOST FOR LINDA MARIEVersefamily,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 4- A REPOST DEDICATED TO LINDA MARIERhymefaith,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 3- EASTER LILY, A REPOST FOR LINDA MARIEVerseeaster,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY 2-- A REPOST AND TRIBUTE TO LINDA MARIESestinaheaven,
2/15/2014HAPPY FAMILY DAY-- A REPOST FOR LINDA MARIE- WE MISS YOUVersefaith,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A BOND CROWN, EXAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsfilm,sexy,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A JAMES BOND CROWN OF SONNETS - 6 down 1 to go- SAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsadventure,film,sexy,
12345678

My Photos


Fav Poems

123
Poem TitleFormCategories
The Sowing Free versedevotion,
Ten Little ToesRhymedaughter,lifeold,old,,gra
Woodland RhapsodyQuatraininspirational
Contradicting KeatsSonnetintrospection,life
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,
SlumberEpicdedication,epic,slam,
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
UntouchedRhymeforgiveness,me,me,
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,
123

Fav Poets

PoetCountry 
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
Catie Lindsey United States Flag United States Read
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