Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 121

Happy Groundhog Day! My two groundhogs of choice (Punxsutawney Phil and General Beauregard Lee) have predicted an early spring. After what has already been a rather brutal winter, let’s hope they’re correct.

Some people believe in the predictions of groundhog day; some people believe it’s good fun; and others don’t know what to think of the fringe holiday. Regardless of what you believe as far as Groundhog Day is concerned, people are built on their belief systems, which is important this week because…

This week’s prompt is to write a belief poem. Your poem could deal with your own beliefs or the beliefs of others. One quick request from me: Please respect the belief’s of others–even if you have a different worldview. Debating who has the best religion, political candidate, pick for the Super Bowl, etc., can be accomplished in so many other places online. Let’s reserve this space for the poeming. It’s my belief that everyone who visits Poetic Asides can be respectful and unique at the same time.

Here’s my attempt:


The earth changes shapes every morning
as if there’s no stopping the fire inside
that steams out of the surface and builds
islands beneath the surface of the sea.

Like the earth, I shake and tremble and
make perfect sense on some days, no
sense on others. Like the earth, I don’t
always know why I burn, why I change

or what will explode out of me next.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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68 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 121

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    The machine is breathing for you now,
    dropping oxygen over a field of dying
    capillaries deep within your lungs,
    a Cessna on a flight of mercy.
    The blowback stings my eyes, and for a
    moment though you lie motionless before me
    encased in cotton and shiny chrome bars,
    I am still aware of your presence in this room
    confused, ever clinging.

    But I will sit here with you in silence,
    smooth your white hair, palm your wrinkled hands
    until you’re ready to transcend all this nonsense
    of wires and apparatus and Cessnas,
    and return to the shoreline of Angels.
    And I will continue to await your signal
    to flip the switch and cut the engine,
    end this useless pass after pass of crop dusting,
    the sound of which echoes off these
    organic walls of flesh and blood
    between us.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Taylor Graham

    for the back pews

    Resurrection of the flesh –
    how should it be restored to a perfect whole,
    and why? The blood-nerve-bone mesh
    of body: Death will thresh
    and bury, add to the lengthening called-roll –

    this puzzles you. Its reason
    teases. The entire concept seems so droll.
    The mortal body’s treason
    is matter of a season.
    Cast it off, you’ll join in joy-dance of the soul.

  3. AC Leming


    Swallow the lump in your throat
    Wipe the tears from your eyes
    As you throw yourself out the door.

    Believe the parachute will open
    Believe you will float back to Earth

    After sixty seconds of free fall
    After the wind has torn your
    Screams from your own ears

    Believe the parachute will open
    Believe you will return to Earth


  4. Taylor Graham

    [Elihu Burritt, mid-1800s]

    What binds this great human family together,
    across continents and oceans,
    winds and tides of emigration to a foreign soil?

    What, but letters? In London, an old widow
    asks at the postal-office for her mail: is there
    a letter from her son in New South Wales –

    a place so far away, the seasons are reversed?
    Yes, a letter, but with postage due. Postage
    on his end; postage to cross the sea;

    postage at this end, as well. She turns
    away. Her son is still alive. Has he a wife now,
    and a child? News she can’t afford.

    Beyond that, how can the common folk
    of London – merchants, bankers, carpenters—
    converse with their labor-brethren

    in Limoges across the Channel?
    How can they speak peace, while the press
    and governments spark war?

    This postal system is a tax on love –
    on brotherhood and human kindness.
    Call it a taxation of the soul.

  5. Taylor Graham


    for E.B., 7 years old, 1817

    Hours standing still in service for the Lord,
    for the Lord
    God of Calvin knows your failings; for the Lord
    God forever has predestined
    Saved and Damned. And which, Elihu,
    are you? Small unsatisfactory
    soul, surely not Elect, not you;
    for the Lord

    knows the Blessed, sky-blue golden for the Lord.
    For the Lord
    leads them in such blissful praises for the Lord;
    gives them apricots to eat; says
    hide yourself in cellar, Sinner.
    Even Mother couldn’t save you.
    Hide till it’s past time for dinner.
    For the Lord

    God is jealous. Who are you, lost for the Lord?
    For the Lord
    numbers his own children, spring lambs for the Lord.
    Mother tells you God is loving.
    How she prays for your salvation.
    But of ten, can ten be chosen?
    Are you listed for damnation
    for the Lord?

  6. Katrelya Angus


    "Blessed be" said my Wiccan friend
    In the ale house on Saturday evening.
    When another friend joined us,
    He leaped to his feet and greeted him:
    "Blessed be"
    Seeing the pentagram about his neck,
    I too, rose and exclaimed the ancient greeting
    "Blessed Be"

    "Blessed be" said the priest
    In church on Sunday morning –
    She continued ". . . the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called Children of God",
    And the words of Jesus my Earth God
    Took root firmly in my mind,
    As Christian and Wiccan work side by side
    Over passages of Edmund Spenser’s fantasy
    And battles and political issues
    That were waged four hundred years ago.

    Christians and Wiccans drink ale together
    As companions, sharing knowledge,
    While respecting the works and views
    Of each other.

    Blessed be the Peacemakers;
    Blessed be.

  7. Taylor Graham


    for Elihu Burritt, 1810-1879

    Listen to the singing, here in the basement
    of a church in Manhattan – so many
    strangers gathered from across the nation
    for a single cause. Peace, Brotherhood.

    And you – I imagine you’ve crossed the great
    divide of time and space to be here.
    Do you remember that tune from before
    the Civil War? No More Auction Block for Me.

    In your lifetime, there was no peace.
    In our lifetime, we still haven’t managed
    to become one family, one blood.
    If you climbed out of this basement

    and walked outside – if you tossed an olive-
    pit, it might land on the steps
    of the United Nations; take root in marble,
    in people’s minds. An olive tree

    leafing green with faith – which is all
    we have. Our ideas, our voice – so many
    voices snatching a song out of the air,
    making it the battle hymn of Peace.

  8. Willy

    My quick read showed me some FANTASTIC entries this week.
    Unfortunately, much as I’ve tried to shake it, an attack of the "W’s" has taken over my brain, so here’s my "shot" at gettiing rid of them. I believe it’ll work for me.


    in who
    you are, what
    you do, wherever
    you go. Know your way is wide, true,
    curved and filled with adventure as you accrue wisdom
    which will keep you wary – awake
    to those who would wrest
    all your strength.

    Willy’s wanderings
    in winter weather: wishing
    and wanting more warmth.


  9. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Baby Faith

    There once was a little baby named Faith
    Who believed taking showers was a game
    Sometimes in my kitchen sink she would bathe
    She enjoyed doing either just the same

    She was very polite, always said ‘Please’
    Young and old alike loved her to pieces
    She would always "God Bless You" when you sneezed
    Her favorite hanging spot? Chuck E. Cheese’s

    She loved "reading" books and singing along
    She was as pretty as a spring flower
    If you let her, she’d stay up all night long
    Playing emergency room for hours

    She was a dream, even Freddy Krueger
    Fell in love with my little cheesebooger.

  10. Sam Nielson


    Every time a poem is written, . . .
    it is written not by cunning,
    but by belief.
    (Robert Frost)

    Frost says it- belief not cunning.
    Who am I to shrug that off?
    But in that darkness of writing
    That wilderness full of construction,
    A crossroads, we wonder at it all.

    My words scratched onto paper
    For what? For me, for someone
    Salivating down the road a piece?
    Somehow it wrests something less
    Tangible from these arthritic wrists.

    I want to believe that perhaps a few
    Brain cells have known what to do,
    Have laid themselves spread-eagle
    On the microscopic slide, for inspected
    Scientific truth. But I’m not that smart.

    So cunning is off the table in my case.
    So Mr. Frost, take a glass, here’s to you.
    All’s that left, I must believe in you, that
    My belief is somehow enough to pull it all
    Off in this profession of careful words.

  11. Taylor Graham


    I haven’t seen a rabbit in years – pest
    that feasted on our garden. We got rid.
    Paved. Also, icebergs melting to sea,
    as well as glaciers – Mendenhall once
    so much greater than I, turning seven,
    smiling gap-toothed into shutter-lens,
    believing nothing about a climate’s
    ages. Now, they mine blood-diamonds
    from open pits in earth that once was
    green – it pays for war. Our green war.

  12. Brian Slusher


    My core belief
    begins when I’m
    three, staring at the
    glass bubble of
    the gum machine,
    the carnival colors
    of sugared worlds
    heaped within reach
    but cruelly kept
    locked in a
    transparent cell

    and the grown-up
    gods forbid you
    the key, but if you
    search the secret
    places, the dark
    and beneath where
    the dust keeps its
    kingdom, there you
    will grasp the miracle
    nickel, only seek:

    ye shall find the
    coin of the realm

  13. S.E.Ingraham

    just a few comments – Robert – this is by far one of my favourites of yours – esp, "I don’t always know why I burn, why I change or what will explode out of me next" – that line resonates (as the saying goes) with me; Karen Philps, "But if he sees his shadows" sums up the irony found in organized religion (for me) succinctly and brilliantly – a cautionary tale, in many ways … J. Martin – how utterly poignant, esp. "when I tell him, even when I’m gone, I am here …" How nice to see you here Earl – I know you’ve been back before this but I haven’t had a chance to comment, and I love this one – a very balanced perspective and I whole-heartedly agree, "it should be fine with you" should be the mantra for the entire world … Bruce, "Exegesis" is clever and well-done, I like it very much; "Quilted Thoughts" – what a lovely title, image and poem Michelle … PSC – "waiting to believe" echoes the yearning in many of us, I think – thank you my faithful champion … last (for now) and certainly, never least – Walt – this poem sings, as it is meant to, and I am inclined by your writing to give you a chance to believe in your dream…

  14. Walt Wojtanik


    Lyrics by Walter J. Wojtanik

    I open my eyes to the challenge of life in this crazy world,
    And I take on the task, seeking things that I lack, to carry me through.
    So I keep my feet moving (never getting me there)
    It just seems that people do nothing but stare
    And I stay in one place looking up in the air
    Searching for signs to clear up my mind, I wish for a dream.

    It wasn’t so long that the sound of my song was light-hearted and free,
    And the taste of success was as sweet as the rest and so easy to see.
    So I’m striving for something I’ve wanted so bad
    Putting all of me out there with all that I have
    Hoping my gift will carry me far, right up to my star
    I wish for my dream.

    Give me a dream for my heart to cling to,
    Believe in my chance to believe in myself
    Dreams for a heart I can sing all my songs to
    Give me a chance to believe in my dreams.

    I’ll write you the words and I’ll sing from my soul
    I’ll put you to music
    Living this dream that I’ve cherished so long, for all of my life
    So I’m list’ning for something, the beat of my heart,
    Feeling determined, right from the star
    I’ll take these emotions and leave them on stage, turning each page
    I’m living my dream.

    Give me a dream for my heart to cling to,
    Believe in my chance to believe in myself
    Dreams for a heart I can sing all my life to
    Give me a chance to believe in my dreams.

    Give me a dream for my heart to cling to,
    Believe in my chance to believe in myself
    Dreams for a heart I can sing all my love to
    Give me a chance to believe in my dreams.

    Give me a chance, believe in my dream.

    ** A lyric from one of my musical compositions.