The 2019 Geometry | Open Book National Poetry Contest

Find out how to enter.

Possible inspirations

Qasida of the Weeping

I have closed off my balcony,
for I do not want to hear the weeping.
But out there, beyond gray walls,
nothing is heard but the weeping.

There are very few angels who sing.
There are very few dogs who bark.
A thousand violins fit in the palm of my hand.

But the weeping is an enormous dog,
the weeping is an enormous angel,
the weeping is an enormous violin,
tears have muzzled the wind,
and nothing is heard but the weeping.

- Federico Garcia Lorca


When he is dead, a man in a

bathing suit looks most like a little boy.

A woman in a bathing suit

looks like a woman, unless she is quite

thin, in which case she looks like a little boy.

A little girl in a sundress looks like a little boy

in a sundress. Her mouth is a cold oval, as cold

as a strawberry. When dead, a robin red-breast

looks like a little girl, while it goes without

saying that Robin Hood looks like a boy.

The snowfield cresting the mountain looks

like a little girl sleeping on the mountain.

The pines, boys right before they disappear

into men with cold faces who carry hatchets.

Just before it dies, a car looks like a teenager, but only

if it was built before the ’90s. After that, cars look like women.


Blooming asters on hillsides look like boys.

The boys look like stars breaking up.

When it is dead or just before, an ant looks like

a woman sunning herself on a beach.

Crabs look like little girls playing hopscotch.

Grasshoppers look like middle school boys

throwing bugs at girls in late summer.

Spoons are the eyes of women asleep behind rainstorms.

Their interlaced fingers look like two children afflicted with dwarfism.

The pint glass is a man preparing to dive off a tall building.

Paper planes look like little girls in skirts, real planes are women.

When it is dead, a fox has the eyes of a little girl.

A faun looks like a little boy, its bones like a courtyard full of children.

- Extract of a longer poem by Heather Tone

The Stare’s Nest by My Window

The bees build in the crevices
Of loosening masonry, and there
The mother birds bring grubs and flies.
My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
We are closed in, and the key is turned
On our uncertainty; somewhere
A man is killed, or a house burned.
Yet no clear fact to be discerned:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
A barricade of stone or of wood;
Some fourteen days of civil war:
Last night they trundled down the road
That dead young soldier in his blood:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.
We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare,
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare

- William Butler Yeats

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