Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Ballad of Dew Moon by Elena de Roo/ Judge's Report

Judges Report - Elena de Roo

There were lots of wonderful lines in the poems this week. Some of my favourites were Caroline Moratti's, "Ripe with Nights gaze, the air is filled with plum ferment ..." and Allie Hawksworth's, "The shadows flitter, under the buzzing lamp."

It's really interesting how the character's name - Dew Moon - had such a big influence on the atmosphere and tone of the poems (mine included). I loved the sense of mystery in Liv Coulter and Livy Maher's poem with the four fingered soldier, and their lovely line, "city lights glitter while candle lights flicker," and the quiet mood of Joshua Chote's last lines, " Dew Moon sees an owl flying past. / He silently falls to sleep." In contrast it was also good to find a bit of grittiness in Matthew Illing's poem, where the lane was "Pitch black and evil / and full of garbage and graffiti," and the shadows were the focus rather than Dew Moon.

Most of you forgot that we were on Planet Fabo2 this week, so well done Kendra for including Moratti Mountains and Illing Lake in your poem, and I love your last line "MO HA HA HA the shadow replies."

Another common mistake was to put in something unrelated to the poem just because it rhymed. Rhyming can be fun to write and even more fun to read aloud, but if you decide to use it, don't let the rhyme lead the poem.

Poems don't have to rhyme; rhythm, alliteration and repetition can be just as effective. In Maddy's lines, "I hear the drops in the quiet of the night / I slowly creep, down, down, down ..." the repetition of the word "down" seems to mimic the sound of the drops. Also, I love Paige Grant's use of alliteration in the phrase "Dew Moon's deep, dark, feathers rise," and the fact that she uses it twice in her owl poem. Wesley Wang's poem uses a great combination of alliteration and onomatopoeia together with a strong rhythm, to create a real sense of movement - "A leopard pounces through the dark creepy jungle. / The tall trees swish through the dark creepy jungle."

Where the line breaks come in poems can make quite a difference to its meaning and effect. I like the way Joseph Ayoade broke his last sentence into two, emphasising the last line. Dew Moon goes back home. / With no food. I also liked the way Kate's (Waimataitai School) last lines echoed the first, and her nice use of contrast "The night is young and the moon is high."

Because poems are so condensed, every word counts - titles can be an important part of them, sometimes providing the clue to the whole poem, like in Annie Sun's poem "Midnight" or draw you in to read them, like Lucy Spence's "The drifting, creeping, scary, cat."

There were lots of great figures of speech too:
My favourite simile was William Taber's "The sun rises like a cake"
My favourite metaphor was Neve Cobham's "The night is black and smooth like a blanket ..."

Favourite endings: Caroline Moratti's "Hardly daring to whisper, / The darkness stares at itself in Natures Mirror, / and unfolds" and Booke Ellis's "Owls watching above looking for tea. / Rats hiding."

Favourite beginnings: Molly Marsden's, "The night was quiet / Elves making shadows / Stars watching silently" and Tupeni Valili's "Cold was the night as the sparkling stars gleamed in the dark blue sky ..."

But there can only be two winners and one special mention. I thought since there are really no rules in poetry I could get away with having a few extras. And they are ...

Dark Night - by Bruno McCall
The Night Shadows by Matilda Clack
Both of you wrote poems that worked well as a whole, but were different from each other. I liked the way Bruno had a great idea, and wasn't afraid to experiment with line breaks and play around with words and the way Matilda gave herself a challenge, by writing in a particular style and pulled it off.

Special Mention
Night - by Emma O'Shaungnessy
I loved the way you used the moon, to join together the image of the cat with the golden coat, and the little girl with popcorn!

The Ballad of Dew Moon

The stars were sulking silently, the moon, too, hid its light
when Dew went out to track the long-lost Chocolate Moose that night
She took her flash, new, camera phone, her cloak of coal-wing feather
pulled the hood around her face, and braved the bitter weather

Intent on finding signs of Moose, she never saw the creeping
of the shadows in the corners, or the darker-darkness, sweeping
And if she had, she would have said,
"A shadow? That's not right.
It must be more than what it seems, for shadows must have light."

The shadow-men had searched for years, on planets far and wide
looking for a the perfect match to be their King's new bride
and now, at last, they thought they'd found the perfect shadow maid
mistaking Dew, in black, at night, for some exotic shade.

And all the while, she never saw the darker-darkness sweeping
or the shadows that were growing, coming closer, nearer, creeping
but she must have had a premonition something wasn't right
for she shouted to the darker-darkness
"Come on out and fight!"

The moon came out. At last Dew saw the shadows all around
she knew then, as her forbears had, that she must hold her ground
She ditched the hood and shouted out
"I have a flash new phone
Step back or I will use the torch. My name is Dew Moon Jones!"

But the darkness only grew, and drew around her, slowly sweeping,
and the crowd of shadows circled, getting nearer, closer, creeping
She couldn't even see the keypad. Which one was the light?
In the end, Dew pressed the lot – the beam was blinding bright

Twelve LED's lit up her face. The crowd cried in surprise
She seemed so pale – a ghostly ghoul. No beauty, in their eyes
The tide of shadows turned away – how quickly it retreated
and Dew, the hero of the night, returned home, undefeated!

So if, at night, a darker sort of darkness comes a-creeping,
forget about that Chocolate Moose, just concentrate on sleeping

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