Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 120

Today’s prompt was inspired by a suggestion from a Poetic Asides regular (Iain Kemp). He asked if I could somehow tie today’s prompt in with Burns Night, which is celebrated around the world on January 25 every year for the writing of Scottish poet Robert Burns.  Since everyone may not be familiar with Burns’ work, I tried to make the prompt open to poets who know his work and who do not. Soooooo…

For today’s prompt, write a burns poem. This could be a poem inspired by the poet Robert Burns. Or it could be about rope or carpet burns. Or the poem could deal with flames or volcanoes. Your poem could deal with the way your heart burns or with heartburn. Hopefully, you won’t have to burn the midnight oil to write this poem (unless you prefer writing in the evening).

Here’s my attempt:

“A night without the boys”

I can feel the urgency in your eyes
that burn holes through everything
they strike. Like an ambassador for
caution, I raise my hands and sing
your name hoping my salty surprise
will stay hidden behind oven door
until its time for dinner. “Enter,” I
say. “Please enter.” And you sigh
when you see the table is still bare
after a long day at work, but you
only say, “I’m glad we can just loaf
around tonight.” But your beautiful
eyes still search beneath your hair.
Your nose knows there is meatloaf.


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76 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 120

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Burning the Midnight Oil
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    I burn the midnight oil
    with pen and paper
    live bait to troll across
    verbs and adjectives
    searching for small noun sharks
    to snag in shallow waters
    to eventually hold up in class
    and impress all the hot
    literary journalists
    now giggling in the
    piccachu audience.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. stu pidasso

    Pie ala mode to Robert Burns
    by stu pidasso

    It was half past the third hour of a mid-November night.
    I was enjoying 19 year old scotch into the deep twilight
    When I heard an odd knock (it gave me a bit of fright),
    so I tuned my ears to hear what hid from the candlelight.

    I knew it wasn’t my daughter, or my son, for that matter;
    and if it were my ex-wife, she’d have to be a mad hatter.
    Another sound, but longer, more like heavy pitter patter,
    So I picked up my Louisville and gripped it like a batter.

    I rose and inched my way, as silently as I could,
    into the dark, carefully, for my floor had creaky wood.
    My vision was still janky, and I prayed my aim was good,
    as I held my bat at ready, like a home protector should.

    It was then I spied a shadow, something was in the hall,
    I thought it might be a ghost until it bumped into the wall.
    The noise confirmed the reality, as it would for damn near all,
    that I had an intruder! Good thing, I was ready to play ball.

    I stood my ground nervously, waiting for that “someone”,
    trying to convince myself that this might be a bit of fun.
    When the form emerged, I swung like I wanted a home run
    But he scooched sideways suddenly resulting in “strike one”.

    He tumbled over the sofa, not knowing what to do,
    and it was then the second form let his presence be known, too.
    The second tumbled across the floor as my second swipe flew
    Barely avoiding injury, leaving me with strike number two.

    The first now made an attempt to bull rush straight at me.
    I tripped him as I dodged and turned just in time to see,
    the second burglar soon enough to meet him with a knee
    he let loose a conniption, as I missed him with strike three

    Not waiting for them to seize the opportunity to take another turn
    I threw my Saint Magdalene, thereby breaking the glass urn.
    I followed it with lit candlestick, and they were forced to learn
    What any good Celt knows, that the greatest scotch makes robbers burn.

  3. Walt Wojtanik

    Over at micro poetry we are exploring Imagism. Imagism is the name given to a movement in poetry aimed at clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images. The early period often written in French form was Imagisme. Use the language of common speech, but employ exact words; not the nearly exact, nor the merely decorative word.



    Mists hang low, clutching the grass
    with moist fingers. Lingering
    for the feel of the warmth of
    sunrise’s first heated breath,
    knowing the rising sun spells
    its demise. It would be wise
    for the mist to remain prone.
    If left alone, it will remain.

    If you’ve never visited micro, please check us out.

    If you haven’t been over in a while, give us another look.

  4. Walt Wojtanik


    Aye b’ George h’ foun’ ya,
    a partner an’ a wife ya b’come.
    Illogic waer th’ trade ya hon’d
    an’ by hi’ side ya remain’d.
    Lo’ed in life until a hundred h’ wa’
    an’ in eternity fro’ ther on.
    Com’dy and lauf’ted wer yer reward,
    li’ing by th’ words, ye slay’d them.
    Fro’ Cle’eland to th’ holly’ woods,
    yer legend continu’ aft ya b’gone.
    "Sae, sae, sae g’nigh’ Bonnie Gracie!"
    "G’nigh’ Bonnie Gracie!"

  5. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    Ash spiraling
    Gently flirting
    Wind fingering
    Its delicateness
    Smoke joining in
    A menage a trois
    Coiling and orgasming
    Into neverland
    Below this playful
    Love triangle
    A sinister crackle is heard

  6. Earl Parsons


    Burnt toast
    Scrape it off

    Put on the lotion

    Burned out
    Get a new job

    Muffler burn
    Really a hickie

    Burning desire
    Usually lust

    Burning love
    Elvis could shake it

    George Burns
    One funny man

    Rug burn
    From fooling around

    Burn in Hell
    No on your life

  7. Walt Wojtanik


    O, pint o’ wine,
    my flask is dry
    and my eye is
    fix’d on thee.
    Sweet decant,
    t’ my hed you’e gone,
    an’ aye, looking better
    by th’ second ye be.
    Bonnie o’ mine this night,
    tis right tha’ I may tarry
    wi’ fond mem’ry an’ th’ taste
    o’ thine lips agin mine.
    Fine art thou until th’ fog
    which clouds my sight falters.
    Blare of trumpets pains me,
    An’ shouts of warning are
    heard t’ resound agin.
    Eat, drink an’ be Bonnie.
    I be merrie enou’ far th’ two o’ us.

  8. Caren E. Salas

    A Slow Burn

    Just when I’d started to be optimistic,
    And let my emotional guard down a bit
    Believing in dreams I’d almost forgotten
    Believing that I could achieve something more.

    That’s when life throws me a fast ball, a curve ball,
    And next thing I know, it’s three strikes: I’m out.
    I brush off the dust and head back to the dugout
    I’m through for the season, gotta’ wait for next year.

    It’s not like my life is all over, not really.
    There’s no drama, or trauma or tears to be seen.
    No ones hurting me, and there won’t be a scar.
    It’s just a slow burn…
    that’s killing me.

    Just when I started to think I’d be moving
    Away from the sidelines and onto the field
    My shoelaces trip me; I fall on my knees.
    I’m tired of pretending I can fail with grace.

    But what can I do but keep trying to make it
    Put the show on, and go on, is what I must do
    I refuse to give up, gonna’ fight for my life
    Can’t let the slow burn…
    keep killing me.

  9. Colette ;D

    ~ Burnished ~

    She loves sideburns on a man
    (especially when closely trimmed–
    like sculpted artistry).
    And even when closely trimmed,
    they beckon like handles
    to pull his face to hers;
    they function as frame
    for work of art
    or play on words–
    some performance only heard
    by lips within her skin.
    Sideburns make her insides burn
    (especially when closely trimmed)–
    like burnished artistry.

    {Inspired by ROBERT Redford’s sideBURNS. JK ;D
    How about Poetic Aside-burns? }

  10. Debra Cochran


    My heart ripe for the picking
    as you enter and the picture
    distorted–your handsome face
    my willingness as straw to be
    broken in a field of wanting,

    Your touch confusing Truth,
    Your running towards the Freedom
    of non Love and committment

    and I, left a burnt sparrow
    with Eagle heart,

    left to carry on in silence.

  11. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    On not burning with envy

    When a winner is a winner
    Coming up the street
    When a winner is a winner
    On that face you’ll meet
    The wash of words into a wonder thing
    This time a dreamy sevenling
    When such a winner is a winner
    Coming up the street
    When such a winner is a winner
    Sparkle dust of muse good-will will greet
    We have a winner such a winner
    Among the thou, the thee, and me
    The sparkle magic dream felt good willed glowing
    Walking on the street of living words
    Our talented CD


  12. Walt Wojtanik


    Across the back
    a bridge from shoulder blade
    to shoulder blade. Rickety,
    a crick and creak.
    Hurts like hell without
    the swelling; achy breaky.
    A bit shaky lifting,
    shifting from C7 to C8,
    the ungrateful vertebrate.
    So not in the mood to celebrate,
    arthritic condition;
    cervical sedition. You’d think
    you’d learn. Feel the burn.

  13. Michelle Hed

    Robert Burns

    The drums of my Scottish blood
    rumble deep within my breast,
    and I think of your written words
    and hold them to my chest.

    I wish that I may write
    with words as deep and true
    and make a legacy which lingers
    through time, just as yours does too.

  14. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Hurrah RB

    Hurrah RB
    With apology
    That it took CD
    To raise hurrahs for you from me
    OUR RB
    Our poet leader
    Our conciliator
    Our through life-threat perserverer
    Our extraordinary prompt, challenge creator
    Our remarkable purveyor of forms, our reader and rater
    Close to impossible to imagine an editor whose dedication is greater!
    So thanks again dear CD
    For a most deserved Hurrah Rally
    Hurrah to our own RLB
    Without whom there would never be
    Poetic Asides as it has evolved award winningly
    With our poet leader’s hand on the helm word lovingly
    To YOU, our very own, here, now, and on onto the ribboning future
    R. L. B.

  15. AC Leming

    He Burns

    He burns. He glimpses her profile
    outlined against stained glass
    and cannot control his impious
    thoughts. He burns for her,

    despite a wife bound to him
    by vows spoken in this self
    same church. He cannot help
    himself — should never

    have draped those vows around
    him, a weight too heavy to bear.
    He cannot confine himself
    to just one woman, one muse

    to spark his verse. He burns
    for her this moment and no more.

  16. CD

    Robert Burns

    Robert burns
    the midnight oil,
    devising prompts and other toil.

    Robert leaves
    a trail of spark
    wherebefore was only dark.

    Robert brews
    a potent concoction
    of heady poetic intoxication.

    Robert Lee Brewer burns
    a propellant
    that never burns out and never is spent!

    -and he works so hard, we hope he won’t burn out! – Seriously, this guy works hard in the service of poetry, don’t you think? Hear! Hear! Let’s hear it for Robert here!

  17. Marian O'Brien Paul

    For an Infant, Deceased
    Inspired by Robert Burn’s
    “My love is like a red, red rose”

    Oh my love is fiercer than the rose
    with its wicked sharp-tipped thorn
    Oh my love is softer than the dawn
    on the day that you were born.

    Such a bonny lass were you, my child
    with curls in your fine, dark hair
    and your cheeks like a china-doll’s,
    translucent they were and fair.

    Not red nor rumpled was your skin
    for your life would not be long,
    born with a spine not fully formed.
    All I’ve left of you is this song.

    And I will love you all my life,
    my child, although fifty years
    have gone, till the sea-tides cease
    and the desert blooms with tears.

    I could hold you in my arms
    such a brief, bright time. Oh I
    could scarcely know you, child,
    but I will love you till I die.

  18. Cameron Steele


    How many times will she open eyes
    to find her bedsheets sweating?
    Each morning, she becomes a mountain
    the slick rocks of her
    the cracks
    the heaving upwards
    One day continents along her spine
    collide and bend her like a bow:
    her weak knees and slender wrists
    are peaking in this new, arcuate body.
    And her mind rolls, stretches for heaven(even if
    she becomes the greatest mountain
    bigger and more frozen than Everest, she won’t become
    a God)

    The bedsheets
    are dripping and folding
    over her luminous
    where fire burns and refolds
    her every evening.
    And haven’t you noticed how easily
    she closes herself;
    curving into fault-lines of women?

  19. Sam Nielson

    Sorry. Not much else seems to be raising up from the water’s surface, except this flotsam/jetsam (depending on your view of the consciousness).

    Burns Conservation

    He brought a 19th-century
    Leather-bound copy of
    Burns’ work for me to
    Work on. I was to
    Rebuild the book
    With new leather spine,
    Guard signatures with
    Paste and Japanese tissue,
    Then re-sew them together
    In careful proximity.

    I figured levels of cost
    Based on hours of labor
    New leather per square foot
    And quartered the price
    To give him a break.

    When he came to
    Pre-authorize the plan
    And make his choice for
    Level of service, for deciding
    The level of survival of this
    Volume of Burns,
    I saw the burn of anger
    In his eyes, felt the yank
    Of book from my hands
    And heard the guttural
    Muttering as he whirled
    And left.

  20. Daniel Ari

    "Lung Ghazal"

    Eighteen thousand times a day, I breathe in and burn
    without ever questioning: “Why breathe in and burn?”

    I’m too busy to ask silly questions—or to
    take a moment to thank the sky. Breathe in and burn.

    Some days I feel cellophane-wrapped, crazed to inhale
    for gasping, as though two flows vie: breathing, burning.

    Sometimes I cough up a ziggurat built by germs,
    a fever of tribes who all try to breathe and burn.

    Or maybe out the window, I see white herons
    in their patience as they hunt, eat, fly, breathe and burn.

    The substances that sustain us all kill us, too.
    The factions of ours bodies fry, breathe in and burn.

    The tasks we take in coming to vibrate are to
    oxygenate and oxidize: breathe in and burn.

    My name is Ari, and I’m addicted to air.
    Let’s all share a collective sigh, breathe in and burn.