Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 015

Good morning! Did you have any crazy dreams last night? If so, you should consider turning them into a poem. Many poets keep dream journals, which they can refer to in times of writer’s block. And often, a dream sequence can be a poem in and of itself.

For this week’s prompt, I want you to write a dream poem. If you can’t remember any recent dreams, then try making a conscious effort to do so during the next week and turn the results into a poem.

Here’s my attempt for the week:


While at my desk, I hear a baby crying,
so I get up and look for the little guy
until I realize that the whole south side
of our office building is littered with tents
filled with babies–some crying, some sleeping–
where there should be cubicles and co-
workers, and then, I notice all my best friends
from elementary school to college crowded
around the dance floor and talking about
the availability of databases and hot
chicks without mentioning once the fact
that there are babies crying and sleeping
all over the place, but then, I realize all
of the babies are gone as well as my friends
and I’m back at my desk and on the phone
talking to George Lucas about the original
Star Wars trilogy and how he was a fool
to make a pre-quel and to digitally remaster
episodes four through six and that everyone
knows he’s washed up before putting him
on hold to take a call from one of my best
friends who knows where all the babies went,
but he can’t tell me the exact location until
I get him a date with Carrie Fisher, and, “besides,”
he says, “you won’t be able to do anything
for all those babies when you finally find them.”

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10 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 015

  1. Tyger Valverde


    What if there were levels
    in every hospital
    each higher level reserved
    for yet a lower social class
    Where at the top
    poor people in rags
    would sleep on wooden benches
    aching and crying, and waiting
    for elusive, busy doctors,
    worn out from caring for
    the demanding wealthy
    Would that effectively illustrate
    our current healthcare crisis?

  2. S.E. Ingraham

    Thank you Karen – I just breezed back in here to see if any of the other poems had re-posted themselves and found your sweet note. It’s always a gift when you realize someone has read your work and liked it, so again, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Sharon I.

  3. Karen

    Sorry all the comments didn’t come back. I so enjoy, when time allows, browsing all the entries. I especially liked S.E. Ingraham’s two posts of dream poems, and the one about Dad touched me deeply, reminded me of my dear father-in-law, whom we lost about eleven years ago.

  4. S.E. Ingraham

    And so self-indulgently…

    His Eyes Were Serenely Blue

    Hospital walls glow
    Sickly mint-green
    Late afternoon sunshine
    Slants sneaky shadows
    Across dirty tile floors
    Floors I’d expect to find clean
    Spotlessly sterile in fact
    In this environment
    This long, broad hallway
    Is filled with light
    And hilliness, slopes, inclines
    My father, dressed in brown
    A sienna brown suit
    I’ve never seen before
    Has just finished hugging me;
    I am reeling, faint with it
    He rarely hugged anyone
    Not even me, his favourite
    As I stand in the basin
    Of the slopes, I watch Dad pivot
    Turn, and walk hurriedly up
    The incline going away from me
    When he reaches the top, he turns
    His eyes are clear, serenely blue
    There is no pain there, it’s plain
    He smiles broadly, waves at me
    I muster up my own smile and wave back
    Grinning, he turns sharply, walks out of my view

    There is something off about this
    But I can’t quite put my finger on it
    The niggling remains after I awaken
    And all the next day as well
    It’s like a name you’re trying to remember,
    Or a word you can’t think of
    It’ll be “right on the tip of your tongue”
    And then – boom – gone, seemingly irretrievable.

    It wasn’t until I saw a child struggling
    with his crutches later that day,
    that it finally hit me
    All my life, my Dad, so uncomplaining,
    it was easy to forget – had a pronounced limp;
    he’d been severely crippled as a child
    And in later years,
    he was slowly resigning himself
    To having to use canes
    and other “assists”, as he put it.
    As fate would have it, lung cancer
    put paid to any of those notions
    Dad had more to worry about than
    walking sticks, when he got sick
    And he was in so much pain
    in such a short period of time
    He didn’t do much moving at all
    in the few months left, after his diagnosis
    The issue of pain management was the only thing
    that mattered at the end
    And his trouble getting around
    became part of his history,
    by the time he died.

    But in my dream, Dad was vital again,
    and he was walking tall, striding really
    and with no sign of a limp,
    no hesitation to his step even
    I rewound the dream-reel in my mind,
    picturing him pivoting and strolling briskly
    up the incline of the hospital hallway
    Then turning abruptly at the top,
    smiling widely – he was inordinately
    proud of keeping all his own teeth –
    I thought that’s what the smile was about –
    Ah, but, his eyes were so serenely blue
    As he waved good-bye to me
    Of course, I should have seen it
    Not only was he pain-free,
    He could walk normally, briskly
    Probably run if he chose to;
    I like to think he was off to some rink
    to try out ice-skating.
    He’d always wanted to.


    This poem is based on an actual dream that I had about a year after my Dad died, and most of the details are true. His hip was broken when he was six years old by kids giving him the “royal bumps” at his birthday party. The break wasn’t discovered for almost a week when my Grandmother was helping him bathe, and consequently was so messed up, he spent the next four years in a body cast and in the hospital. He was told he would never walk again, never even tie his shoes, in fact, he would never likely do much of anything. He became a determined, patient little man, probably the most patient person I ever knew. As far as I know, the only thing he couldn’t do was ice-skate – and still, he taught both my brother and I how to do that as well. Yes, he’s one of my personal heroes, and I still miss him greatly, almost thirteen years after his death.

  5. Earl Parsons

    Where, oh, where did all the comments go?
    Where they’ve gone, no one seems to know
    It’s the second time you’ve lost all our data
    Can anyone tell us just what’s the matta’?

  6. Monica Martin

    We pose in a claw-footed bathtub,
    Slash and I; he in his leather pants
    and top hat, I in my white slip.

    We pout, we stare, we cling to
    each other. The camera captures
    our passion, lust, and longing.

    You know you want to be us.

    We know you want us.

  7. Ms. Bonomo

    The back hoe snorted as it shifted down
    digging ever revolving metal feet into
    the loamy earth.
    her tiny little body
    heavy with fear
    clawed at the ground
    choking on the densely humid air
    the massive machine
    chugged ever closer
    it’s shovel flailing madly
    waiting to violate her
    and leave her to smother
    face down on the mound of dirt
    she closed her eyes and recalled
    being a peregrine
    uplifting currents of air
    skimmed beneath extended wings
    she soared into brightness
    and falcon eyes could spot below
    the man snorting and flailing his arms
    his anger smelled like burning diesel
    as she eluded his vile clutch

  8. S.E. Ingraham

    Whoa – what happened? Since I just posted my dream poem yesterday…I have it handy, craziness and all, so here it is.

    M.C.Escher Paints My Dreams

    Deaths were swirling round me as I ferried
    Joseph’s children down Macleod Trail
    In that way that only dream state can command,
    we were off to a wedding reception
    At an old-age home where Bobby and his
    buddies were sitting around drinking
    Partway there, I found myself in Escher’s painting,
    trapped on the staircases with no beginning
    And no end – the ones that have middles only,
    they are going nowhere and are particularly
    well-suited to the nightmarish landscape of dreams.
    In this case, the staircases began to move
    becoming an escalator, one from which I could easily escape,
    all the while bending and twisting,
    Trying to catch sight of myself in storefront windows
    (I’d found I was in a three story mall by then)
    And, as in all of my dreams, while I knew I was present,
    I could never actually see my face…

    Arriving on a grotty sidewalk, I became anxious
    about Joseph’s kids and started hurrying,
    trying to find them again.
    There are dingy basement windows
    along the edge of the walk;
    Out of each, different types of naked arms protrude:
    scrawny senior limbs stretch from one,
    Chubby children’s dirty hands wave and grasp
    through the bars of the next opening –
    I find them repulsive but they remind me of the kids
    I should be minding; I feel worried that
    Joseph’s wife Miriam is going to be upset
    when she finds out I’ve let the kids loose
    On such a busy street, alone.

    Only in a dream would I next find myself
    at the hall,inexplicably locked out.
    Bobby has loaned me a set of his keys;
    the one I need is shaped like a gun,
    A token given officers when one of their own is slain.
    “Sad, isn’t it?” Bobby says.
    I turn to look, and there he is,
    beside me in his dress uniform.
    He looks off, seems to be staring into space
    but his eyes are wet.
    Even in the dream I feel helpless

    Without sense of either segue or juxtaposition,
    I am now with an elder from my church
    She and I are with a Jewish family
    in a house high up somewhere;
    Gentle arguments about God are taking place;
    we have to leave suddenly and she and I
    have to climb a path, more like a tree,to get down.

    I go from there to my church to work
    on some sort of publicity, and find myself
    eavesdropping on an argument about some pictures
    of deceased members, not yet dead, about to be displayed.
    Before I can make sense of this,
    a couple from my long ago past,university days actually,
    appear on the wall of the church office
    as if actors in an old home movie.
    Oddly, they are interacting with neighbours
    from my present-day life.
    There is a narrator saying,in a voice I recognize
    but just cannot place,(and this annoys me in the dream, I sense)
    the familiar yet unknown voice speaking is explaining,
    “No – no – this is retrospective. This is wrong.”
    I struggle awake, lie in the dark, wonder what’s real.

    S.E.Ingraham Aug.18.08

  9. Karen

    Dream Evokes Memory 8-19-08

    He approached me in
    brightly printed flannel pajamas
    (seems they were predominantly hot pink)
    his same large but distinguished nose
    making clear to me
    even in the dream who he was–
    my old dear friend from high school
    articulate, brilliant, not handsome.
    Even in the dream I must have wondered
    where had he been?
    what was he doing now?
    did he still believe in Christ?

    I guess I must have asked
    why the pajamas
    because he told me
    in words I can’t recall
    that he was dying
    of some terminal illness,
    but standing there inches away
    looking down into my eyes
    (but not much–he’s not tall)
    he looked the same as always.


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