Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 099

I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it is super hot around these parts. Even the evening can’t cool things off, because first thing in the morning is still hot and humid. Blech. Soooo, in an effort to change the tide with wishful thinking…

This week’s prompt is to write a cold poem. I’ll leave the interpretation of what constitutes a cold poem to you. It could mean temperature, but cold carries other meanings and connotations as well.

Here’s my attempt:


I found myself singing “White Christmas” this morning
for no apparent reason, except I felt that something
was out of place. Maybe the heat that never leaves
burned the tune into my head. If I could make a film
with a low budget, I’d make a horror movie named
“White Death.” It would start with snow and finish
with two survivors riding out of town on a bulldozer
and discussing their favorite milkshakes. The sequel
(there’s always a sequel) would start with the snow
melting and be called something like “The Flood,”
because there’s always something to complain about.


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286 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 099

  1. Taylor Graham


    [Half-naked negroes, with a bundle of pine splints
    lighted in their hands, walked between the outer fires
    and the passengers down to the boats.
    – Elihu Burritt, “Incidents and Observations in the South” (1854)

    Behold, a scene from Dante or Greek myth:
    the sullen river lit with flares, as boats
    sit waiting for their burdens. Here, the Great
    Pedee runs swift between primeval banks.
    Here, silence is the screen dividing North
    from South. The fire-lights flit and flicker, glare
    and dim by fit of wind. And all is done
    in darkness, seen and unseen interchanged.

    A devil stokes the forge that sears your sight.
    The ferryman, the torch-men – how they quake,
    these Negroes black as angels who once fell
    from freedom to a fiery gorge. They stand
    and wait their token. Now has come your time
    to turn your back, or board and take your place.

  2. Hannah Gosselin

    Pearl! Thank you for mentioning a few of my favorite lines from daydreams. I appreciate the way you highlight everyone’s best sides! Blessings to you!

  3. Dennis Wright


    I like "Winters’ Fury". It’s a bit different for you as the descriptive side of the poetic voice is more prominent than the subjective side. I also like the last stanza as it brings a change in tone, perhaps some gratitude for life… maybe?

  4. Walt Wojtanik


    We huddle close.
    Bedtime comes too soon
    and the moonlight
    through the window
    shines upon you; a halo
    presenting you angel status.
    I see you smile in the dark,
    in stark contrast to the
    otherwise lack of light.
    I fight the urge
    to close my eyes and end
    the vision that augments
    this and everyday with you.
    A gentle kiss; a sleepy "goodnight",
    and the security of this blanket
    and me precipitate sweet dreams.
    It all seems too perfect.
    It is perfect as contentment’s sigh
    fills the air of this gentle good night.
    And then I draw my feet back
    under our covering seeking your own.
    My game of "footsie" as you slumber
    brings you upright and full of ire.
    My icicles toes have stoked your fire.

  5. DrPKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    This one’s for you Marie…originally posted over at Micro Posts…in response to you wonderful heart-wrenchingly beautiful quatern…
    I got to thinking that perhaps it is not that "we get" just what we can handle… but perhaps true grace lies in those who handle what they get."

    Maybe Grace Is Handling What We Get (A Quatern)

    maybe grace is handling what we get
    slugging long ago in the burning desert sand
    toward unseen milk and honey in a horizonless land
    …walking forward, in an individual and collective marching band

    after ice of diagnosis doing what must be done, teary perhaps and yet
    maybe grace is handling what we get
    a finger tracing a raised and angry scar
    a smile glowing in beneficence at the fact that you apparently still ‘are’

    in the poverty, grime, in holocaust, in catastrophe, in all the desperate need
    children born of one’s womb squeezing milks’ last thin drop to feed
    maybe grace is handling what we get
    not sighing with resignation but managing still and yet

    whether burdens are historic in eras one shall never come to forget
    or more recent war, pestilence, poverty, catastrophe, some mystic human debt dignity in filth, the choice to carry on meeting all that must be met
    maybe grace is handling what we get

  6. DrPKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    For Marie…sometimes even a pacifist can use a little threat of violence on her behalf…against a monster..

    There’s A Cold Wind Blowing – The Street Is Ready

    we’ll punch that
    steal-hearted monster
    in its steel gripping jaw
    pound it, kick it, beat it
    till it sags in open mouthed
    toothless surrender whimpering
    on the floor

    anything is possible…

  7. de jackson


    It’s colder now, and q u i e t
    heated discussions cooled
    and for once she can hear
    her own heartbeat feel
    the tick of her own
    compass see the
    mercury flow
    32 degrees or
    (look out)

  8. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Thanks, Claudette! ^^

    This is the opposite of the topic, but sOoOo weather-appropriate:


    Summer’s NOT my favorite season,
    I despise being sweaty and hot,
    for the thought of sweating bullets
    is only welcomed if I’m shot.

    (c) jh 5/23/08

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s prompt. I had fun with this one. ^^

  9. DrPKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    WALT "Cold" "In The Dark" "In The Dark Once Again" and "Winter’s Fury"
    WOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! If you weren’t Poet Laureate you should be somewhere!!!!!!!! Fantabulous… and the coda "sign post up ahead"
    Brilliance blinds me… all I see are those little dots like when the old flash bulbs used to explode light straight on into your eyes….

    Back to read more later!

  10. Walt Wojtanik


    A bluster of wind and snowfall
    reign terror on my exposed face.
    Too cool for a scarf; cold enough
    for my ego to freeze to death.

    I was well unprepared to find
    a bluster of wind and snowfall
    battering my windows with such
    a vengeance; furious flurries.

    The chill on my skin; memories
    of those winter days of my youth,
    a bluster of wind and snowfall
    takes me to the place I was born.

    On a cold February morn,
    I was brought into this wonder,
    a love filled life like a blizzard,
    a bluster of wind and snowfall.

  11. Marie Elena

    @ Claudette: ClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClapClap
    =0) And amen on your comment to Pearl.

    @ Walt: "In the Dark" — Funny, hunny! "In the Dark Once Again" — amazing how different the two pieces are. True talent.

    P.S. Road signs belong BEFORE the dangerous crossing. I’m just sayin’…

  12. Claudette

    Pearl, no apologies necessary. I love that you can get away right now. You’ve been writing like a demon hear lately and making some of us–ahem, namely me–feel beyond inadequate in the creativity dept.

    Too many distractions this week to find much creative outlet for me. I’m so glad that others have been on rolls here with humor, insight and talent galore.

    Everyone should give themselves a hand.

  13. Walt Wojtanik


    Dreary, depressing, desolate,
    cold in every sense. Unfeeling,
    I’d commence to shivering,
    but life has determined
    that I can only lay here.
    In a vegetative state;
    reclining on chilled stainless
    steel. Very surreal. And then,
    a light filters inward. I do not
    feel anything in this space.
    A face peers down; searching.
    Hoping to identify me in despair.
    The light dies, but my eyes
    see only darkness again. Always.
    An eternity awaits. Or only a few minutes.
    Again, the light shines; the face of God?
    Glowing beauty in the warmth of love?
    Yes. I shiver no more. Always.
    Dreary. Depressing. Desolate. Cold, no more.
    City morgue. Drawer 7. John Doe 17.
    In spirit, to a better place.

  14. Walt Wojtanik


    Dank, dark, desolate,
    cold in a very real sense.
    I’d commence to shivering,
    but nature has determined
    that I can only lay here.
    In a vegetative state;
    non-responsive. And then,
    a light shines above. I feel
    a rush of warmth filtering
    into my space. A face peers
    down; searching. Passing me
    in disdain. The light dies.
    Darkness fills my eyes again.
    Another eternity passes.
    Or only a few minutes. Again,
    the light shines; the face of God?
    Glowing beauty in the warmth of love?
    No. I commence to shivering. Again.
    Dank. Dark. Desolate. Cold.
    All in the life of broccoli.

  15. Colette D

    Marie ~ I LOVE your oxymoron!!! Too good! I’m glad my G-parents made you smile, they were so funny with their pre-planned slapstick routines with each other… a regular comedy duo! And you never heard tell of them fighting.

  16. Colette D

    Taylor Graham ~ I just saw your name in Poet’s Market 2011, p. 91! It made me 🙂 :)) :)))

    Claudette ~ -49 would be just fine, but 50 below? A tad too low! 🙂 (neener neener? too funny!)

    Dennis, you’re right. The poetic voice lingers, questions itself as to whether it is not the cold one by running away. Who’s the colder one here–the one with the short summer, or the one who wants to migrate but at least has conscience enough to feel hesitant about wanting to leave? Sprints are short, quick bursts, like impulsive, unthought-out decisions, and the lingering suggests a conscience giving it more thought as to whether it is the right thing to do in the long run. (A cold shoulder with a heating pad on.) I liked your shoulder device.

    Walt ~ HaHa! Then what about the A/C bill? 🙂

    Pearl ~ Oh, to brave the cold cellar in search of ugly souvenirs! Sounds like a euphemism for therapy. 😉

  17. Marie Elena

    Walt, my man, you really know how to invoke and infuse emotion. Hang in there, buddy.

    Colette, plenty of hugs to go around! “Forgiveness chills revenge.” Wow. Totally outstanding. And I don’t know your grandparents, but they made me smile! You words out here are continuing to pull me in. If I haven’t already told you, you are on my “must read” list when time is limited.

    Clauds, do you know how much I LOVE that the only four cyberspaces I frequent, I can find you?! (Cyberspaces. New use for the word? Hey … it works …)

  18. Walt Wojtanik


    A heart languishing,
    lost in the depths
    of rampant lovelessness,
    a lifeless mass of muscle
    once sinewy; strong.
    Relegated to the darkened
    voids of time and space;
    a place to rejuvenate.
    Waiting for the spirit
    to move into action,
    every faction of this
    cold-blooded world,
    left swirling in Coriolis
    effect. In every aspct, ’tis better
    to have loved and held onto it,
    than to lay in a heap
    devoid of passion and verve.
    It will serve one well
    to just go to hell.
    At least they pay the heating bill.

  19. DrPKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    The Basement

    dangerous, dank and forbidden place,
    cellar separate from the house, wooden doors painted green
    the trick to pancake against the house far wall unseen
    five year old body like quick silver slid,
    strong enough to pull a heavy rope,
    slowly, slowly to lift the door,
    find the stairs long and longer more
    courage tip-toed down alone,
    the world outside a silent drone
    hands at sides still brushed a web,
    a shuddered scream held inside instead
    in the basement a silky place of dead things held in abandoned hope,
    a wooden chest,furniture never seen, a wire dressmaking model, and
    like snakes about to sliver against a leg, more mysterious coils of rope,
    there was a single window high and very small that
    shone a thin light stream shiver upon an opposite wall
    where in a corner closet there provisions
    just in case our lives to spare
    soup and beans, ketchup, all such common stuff
    filled with pride in courage won turned having had enough
    when in the glimmering dark appeared a suspended head,and grinning teeth, bulging eyes no body neath,set feet running up back above where the door slammed shut against the dead,
    for surely that was all lounged there, death among things long dead
    of the basement trip and revelation not a syllable was said
    until years passed and someone asked
    "whatever happened to that ugly Florida trip carved coconut head?"

  20. Dennis Wright

    Colette: The other frame "froze" ; > ) !! on me. Here are the remainders of my comments.

    In your poem, "Cold Comments" you touch also on the sense of vulnerability. How can I rely on the other? How can I respond when someone cuts me where am not, cuts me at my fears, or cuts me where I dare to live? Prayer for the other to end the "cold comments" suggests our nature to seek resolve, even if it is not a permanent resolve.

    "Coldest" shows the contrast in nature. Your grandparents make off hand comments some might see as distant, yet reveal a great warmth the share beneath their remarks. Thank you for the kind comment, but it seems your grandparents inspired you much more than I.

    Please call me Dennis.

  21. Pkp

    No neener neener… Family destination wedding…( then a few laid back off the radar days) as all who know me know….regardless of where a GPS might say I am …I’ never really left the islands…. I am always surprised anew when I visit…that the place actually does exist outside my head and heart! Besides you are all as always coming with me…You are correct Clauds no need to have mentioned…..think I was concerned that I might not get to read and do the weekly commentary and so pierced my own veil of privacy and spilled…. Second time today I am not very proud of myself…. Okay lesson in humility still on going…. Apologies to all for any perceived
    braggadocio ….. but will still soak up the reality of the beauty and peace…. 🙂

  22. Dennis Wright


    The two dashes in the form give a sense of lingering. The poetic voice might be less assured than I had anticipated. The words "Good Bye" come from a voice inherently with mixed emotions and a difference in outlook could be described in degrees.

    My first poem this week, "The Cold", came from a recognition any poem about the weather is a poem about nature. Frost was such a great nature writer and had such a brilliant sense of meter. His poems were often couched in his gentle voice with a relaxed ease with words. The reader, I have often been, can easily be fooled into missing the depths he reaches in a short time.

    In "The Cold" I wanted to work in iambic meter. The first line fell into five beats so I settled on iambic pentameter. You read the statement clearly on the level of the temperature. As a nature we sometimes go from one extreme to another wishing for the moderation in between.

    The second poem, "The Cold Wind" is a bit more layered. It touches on that notion of loneliness and relationships, yet springs from some poetic sources. Again I worked in iambic meter, but this time in the tetrameter found commonly in Frost. He writes of nature and I think of humans. I recognise the felix culpa interpretation of "Nothing Gold Can Stay", yet first was struck with the notion it might be about aging.

    The other poem I thought about when writing "The Cold Wind" was Yeats "The Road Outside My Door". The last line, "In the cold snows of a dream" brought me a vivid visual image the first time I read it. Yes, as dreams age they can become no longer warm, but cold as the snow.
    It struck me this line might also be written "In the cold shoulders of a dream".

    Maybe I thought of the contrast between the poets upbringing and his support of irish nationalism. I know his support was not always accepted at the core of revolutionary forces. In a sense he got the cold shoulder.

    It came to me snow banks are sometimes called shoulders and I worked that idea into the poem. As we walk into this life as poets, we face the same possibility of placing ourselves in front of the world where we could find ourselves getting the cold shoulder. As "I" am no longer a boy, I am, perhaps more vulnerable.

    "The Cold Wind" is unfinished. I gives a snapshot of where the poem will go, but does not present the full picture. In some real sense it is an extension, or refinement, of the first poem.

    In your poem, "Cold Comments" you touch also on the sense of vulnerability. How can I rely on the other? How can I respond when someone cuts me where am not, cuts me at my fears, or cuts me where I dare to live.

  23. Claudette

    Collete, you’ve produced some mighty wonderful pieces here. Too numberous to go into, but meaningful to many.

    Jacqueline, your pieces make me smile and sigh. Thank you so much.

    And Pearl, you’re escaping for sure to islands wild, soft, lush, bright, and relaxing. Please don’t bother rubbing it in. The rest of us have imaginations that can provide enough neener, neeners to go around. Just have lots of fun for me, too, while you’re there. Okay?

  24. DrPKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Thanks to Theresa
    and again to Colette… about to show your poem to my husband who was a math/physics major… In terms of time..lovely to lose myself for a few and get to read and synthesize…

    See you all on the Street on Wednesday… Thursday I’m off to my beloved Islands for a little bit which might explain any high humidity or Calyso beat:)