Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 117

For those of you who participated in the 2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, today is the final day to submit your chapbook manuscript. (Click here for details.)


For everyone interested in writing a new poem, this week’s prompt is to write a celebration poem. People celebrate things large and small throughout the year from birthdays to holidays and from anniversaries to good parking spots. Write a poem that somehow riffs off this celebratory spirit.

Here’s my attempt:


I woke up next to my wife; the boys slept
through the night; the shower water was hot;
everybody left (for school or work)
on time; the sun broke through the clouds; and I
wrote a short poem–all before lunch time.


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91 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 117

  1. Taylor Graham


    Songfest in his head, but secretive
    lest it come bursting out, he slipped
    downstairs, as the city went on
    about its business and the family,
    upstairs, as well. He switched on
    the 10-watt sphere that dangled –
    an entangled and depleted sun –
    from a joist that kept the order
    of a house. And from a corner
    which the light-bulb never knew,
    he drew out the jeroboam – no,
    a paltry pint of good Irish whiskey –
    like the cellar’s incandescent sun,
    too soon depleted; gone the wrong
    way, like so much of life.

  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    tonight she said yes
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    when you’re in love
    everything falls to the wayside,
    white becomes red
    red becomes roses
    roses becomes gold
    which in turn becomes
    a shiny circular band
    the symbol for infinity,
    for love is love
    and doesn’t give a rat’s ass
    about all the details —
    gender, age, weight,
    the color of skin
    annual income
    excess baggage
    nor religious affiliation —
    the heart wants
    what the heart wants,
    no matter the hurdles
    no matter the path,
    for in the end
    all that mattered is
    tonight she said yes.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. Taylor Graham

    FOR YOUR 200th
    Elihu Burritt’s Bicentennial

    The celebrations last for months,
    but you’re not here. Or
    are you? The scholars quote your words
    against War, Slavery; don’t mention

    how to efficiently harness horses
    and ease the work of laborers
    in the field. (You were a Connecticut
    Yankee blacksmith , after all.)

    From your other-world
    out of time, I imagine you’d ask us
    what we’re doing about War.
    We’re doing war.

    I’d ask you about Languages –
    you taught yourself
    so many, and you talked Peace
    across continents and oceans.

    I worry about war that is.
    And about Language twittering &
    texting into a cyber
    moment. What is “was”? Your

    material life. Dead these 132 years.
    I speak a word, a phrase
    in just one of your languages.
    I want to translate “is” from “was.”

  4. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    A Fresh New Year

    This year will be different
    Celebrate the death of 2010
    And the birth of 2011
    A new look
    At a new life
    A year of possibilities
    Holidays to start
    Study to pursue
    Work to be done
    Wedding bells will ring
    I am a fresh new year

  5. Taylor Graham


    Mom’s basting the turkey
    and hoping the “sanctified custard” –
    a family heirloom secret – won’t burn.
    Over the TV drone of “Christmas
    in the Highlands,” Uncle’s stuffing
    himself on cookies and eggnog
    and making jokes about bagpipers’
    kilts. Missy’s sitting alone in a corner,
    Cinderella-fashion in her new
    pretend-crystal shoes. Dad’s on his
    laptop, catching up on email.
    The yellow tabby streaks
    down the hall and isn’t seen again.
    It’s a quarter to two on this festive day
    we’ve been awaiting since
    before Halloween. How shall
    we begin to celebrate?

  6. Debra Cochran


    He left years ago
    As I collect myself from the brokenness
    of time and emotion
    reaching toward a healing
    Growing ever stronger–
    The Iron in me becoming slightly
    in my walk
    and choice of better loves,
    or none at all–

  7. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Celebrate Our Humanity

    In this time of grief
    and bewilderment
    celebrate that in spite
    of chasmic philosophic
    from Arizona to Alaska
    and all in between we
    are one
    united, indivisible and
    in the wake of unspeakable
    violence yearning with
    singular human, humane
    compassion for peace
    and harmony
    moving this great experiment
    one step closer to the ideal
    of one country, of-by-and-for
    all the people
    starkly jolted from ivory towers
    and jargoned catchy rhetoric to the reality
    of the crimson common blood that
    runs in all veins and can be spilled in senseless
    insanity or protected
    it is simply up to all of us
    to grieve the tragedy
    and in the common grieving
    celebrate the opportunity
    to do better…

    With respectful memory of those who on a bright Arizona day, lost their lives, with respect for those who were injured and in honor of those who courageously put themselves in harm’s way to help. And, to paraphrase Jon Stewart – with grateful recognition that despite rhetoric and abstractions in reality we ALL continue to hold the capacity to be horrified.

  8. Salvatore Buttaci


    October late the leaves commence their fall
    From heights of trees once safe, now perilous.
    Blue blotches pinch their way through apertures
    in overlapping branches, showing sky
    And moon is dreading winter’s gray return.
    But you and I celebrate as before
    in spring we cheered new life, applauded how
    True love, no matter what the season, sprouts
    forth wings of green despite the sallow face
    Of Mother Nature knitting woolen gloves
    The winter wears each year. She rocks away,
    Her creaking chair like fall’s last labored breaths.


  9. Walt Wojtanik


    A boy has to have his heroes.

    Even from high in the bleachers
    he looked mammoth.
    Broad shoulders and legs
    strong, churning, crushing.
    Eight years old
    and I was hanging close to my Dad’s knee.
    I knew the name. Cookie Gilchrist.
    Before I knew all my prayers. Cookie Gilchrist.

    Cookie ran for the Buffalo Bills
    on this cold afternoon November of 64.
    I sat riveted, watching my idol
    steamroll over opposing linemen,
    linebackers and the odd zebra or two.
    Dad laughed as it was
    "Cookie this", and "Cookie that"
    He knew a boy needed his heroes.

    The Bills could have won without him,
    but Gilchrist made it special.
    "Thanks Dad" I remember saying,
    "He’s my hero"
    Dad smiled a smile
    that continues to warm me to this day.
    We grabbed our gear and headed out.

    "This way, Sonny" he instructed.
    And I followed in obedience.
    Ramp, after tunnel, after stair
    to a ramp. We found ourselves
    in the lowest point in the "Rockpile".
    A swarm of screaming kids blocked the way.
    Standing above the throng…
    Cookie Gilchrist.

    Dad leaned in and whispered to me
    and I nodded in compliance.
    In my loud eight year old voice
    I called, "Mr. Gilchrist?"
    He stopped. And glancing our way, he smiled.
    Cookie pressed past the crowd
    to the place where my father and I stood.

    This mountain of a man
    reached for my program.
    He smiled even more broadly
    and he plied his signature
    onto the glossy crisp page.
    In awe I stammered,
    "Thank you very much, Mr. Gilchrist!

    One last smile graced his face.
    "No son, thank you!"
    I came to understand
    his gratitude as the years passed.
    For in a simple gesture,
    my father taught me a great lesson.
    I learned respect.

    I had the opportunity to thank my father
    before he had died.
    "No Sonny, thank you!" he said.
    With that the lesson was completed.
    A boy has to have his hero.

    Carlton "Cookie" Gilchrist died today from a recurrence of Cancer.
    He was 75.

    **I wrote this during the April 2009 PAD Challenge. It was originally titled, "And So We Decided to Go Down and Try to Get Autographs".

  10. MiskMask

    Walt, I hope your healing process continues at a speedy rate. Best wishes to you.

    Pearl, thank you for your kind and generous comment about my dripping nose. I think it is hereditary because my mother’s nose does the same in the cold weather. She’s always had a hankie tucked up inside her sleeve.

  11. Walt Wojtanik


    Breath and heartbeat,
    each new day becomes an event.
    Bent on staying the course
    with a life-force surging,
    purging every last bit of
    fear and confusion; theses contusions
    upon a battered body.
    What matters, matters.
    All else pales in comparison
    in this garrison of vitality.
    The banality of endless days
    finds ways to enliven, given
    to make these gifts a cause
    to rejoice; a loud voice
    in the wilderness, thankful
    for all that has transpired.
    As tired as it feels,
    a good deal of these days
    are spent in praise of being.
    Seeing the forest AND the trees,
    with knees to ground to pray.
    Another new day of elation;
    this life spent in celebration.

  12. Justine Hemmestad

    The Celebration within Knowing

    I met you once, the keeper of my soul,
    The binder of my truth.
    I found you through the signs, obvious and subtle,
    Least expected and most unforeseen.
    I’ve seen you run through my dreams years ago,
    And I never understood, until I recognized you.
    Then I saw you and my heart opened up to a mystery,
    A world known only to Heaven,
    A truth known only to me.
    I found you a miraculous intervention,
    And yet it will take an even greater miracle to scale the wall between us.
    I opened your book,
    Leather-bound and ancient-copied,
    Read by others but never studied.
    I read the spell you cast,
    Felt the peace in your meaning.
    You are my truth as much as you are your own,
    And yet you are the most unyielding gift ever to tantalize.
    Your glory and your inhibition,
    Raise the stakes of your power.
    You’re wealth is this strength of your heart,
    Not of the world but in it,
    For me to recognize and admire, treasure and long for.
    You have given me a grenade and I willingly leapt upon it,
    A sacrifice made for you, never known by you,
    A justification in your eyes so deep, dark and pure,
    I melt within its quake.
    I’m humble within your fluid realm,
    I’m the wax streaming down the stand.
    And you are the answer to my question of life.

  13. Iain D. Kemp

    Thanks Pearl…. I especially love Los Reyes in the mountains…it’s so much more romantic than the carriages going round the Marina at home

    Btw…for the lonely & bored the podcasts from my recent Live shows are up on my blog plus of course the first of the New Year "Andalucia Flood"

    great Poetry people…

    Cheers all


  14. Walt Wojtanik


    Finding joy in the simple things.
    This battle of wills so demanding,
    despite cracked vertebrae, a very good day
    is one that can still find me standing.

    A week off track, somewhat flat on my back
    from a slip and a fall and a flop,
    Though I though they had healed, their fault was revealed,
    I just wish that this throbbing would stop.

    Today’s the first day that I’m sitting
    and able to think about rhyme,
    praying my bones will be knitting,
    though all things in life will take time.

    Medicated and my mind a bit foggy,
    elated the damages weren’t worse.
    Celebrating, although a mite groggy,
    I’m taking a turn for the nurse.

  15. Walt Wojtanik


    Born in the glow of Tupelo,
    with Graceland a future dream,
    the surviving twin with the music within
    according to the Grand Master’s scheme.
    Seventy-six, had he kept his head,
    and left self-abuse by the curb,
    twenty-three years now that he’s been dead;
    since nary a word has been heard.
    The fans of the King still revel,
    and hold his day dear to their hearts,
    to raise a glass in silent a hooray,
    through his music he never departs.
    Glad tidings to him on this birthday,
    with a celebratory touch.
    Were he here today, I’m sure Elvis would say,
    "Thank You. Thank you vera much!"

  16. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Just began to read… from the top…

    RJ could hear the cell phone ringing – PS thanks for the early shout-out
    Rachel the Estee Lauder lingers – and although maybe not a celebration poem per se one worth celebrating for its beauty
    Nancy P. A smile for your needed deduction!
    Thanks for the Happy New Year wishes and right back to you and yours RB
    Iain Viva Los Reyes Magos… delightful as one who reads you would expect!
    MiskMask still smiling at the “the drip the tip” delightful
    Joseph a celebration of sun in a box.. I swear I smell the citrus from here, as usual masterful use of language and such vivid imagery –

    De as I was scrolling down to post passed your poem and drank it in a sweet gulp – OH MY! Your poetry grows, even more delicate, more lovely, more beautiful – BRAVO

    Hope to get back for more!
    Wishing all a Happy, Healthy, Peace-filled New Year sparkling with joy.

  17. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    From Boy to Man

    With my womb like a ship in a bottle you slid as an unseen foot I pressed
    Until six weeks past the time of “any minute!” you moved
    from a Madonesque notion to become the adored infant son I wonderingly caressed
    On first day home I accidentally stuck you with a pin
    And at the realization of your pain in my heart truly a mother did begin
    You turned over at two days although they said you were truly six weeks old
    I cared little for their time-tables, thought the movement genius and quite bold
    Your long awaited delayed grand entrance, perhaps did your precociousness enhance
    As you stood at six months and said your first word ‘Hello!’ at anyone’s merest glance
    You swam under crystal turquoise waters as instinctively graceful as a creature of the sea
    And broke surface with that infant pealing laughter sun spattered, salted looking straight into me
    Each moment held its special wonder, from first step, to full out run,
    to pointing out the alphabet before sentenced speech had yet begun
    I knew I had longed for you, but could not have conceptualized the joy, the purest fun
    Your mind became your own and thrilled with thoughts that had tied perfection with a shining bow
    Like the time when at two when you hugged me tight and said your heart with love did “overflow”
    And so it went on and on and so on and on did it go
    I did all the things that mothers do, the little league games when I’d glance down quickly when a ball you’d miss
    And catch your eye straight through and at a run come in, grin and share the bliss
    I held you in my arms and danced and whirled you through day and night
    Until you were far too old and mature for such a sight
    Soon you held your palm up to mine and dwarfed my own
    Near fully grown
    I soaked in your proud introductions of your mother young and cool
    Left you at college, a cheery bye, smiling face swollen with sufficient tears to fill a pool
    From slide, side to side, within my womb as on an unseen foot I pressed
    To graduations, speeches, award dinners, office openings I dressed
    Each moment celebrated with a truly incomparable and somehow unspeakable joy
    With complete understanding that each event moved you to world’s man from my boy
    And as you shifted, I moved too, step by step, beginning center and over incrementally
    Continue to celebrate you in the sparkle light and attempt a graceful exit stage left – lovingly

  18. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Celebrating Oliver? (the formerly orphaned now Lord-and-Master kitten)

    I am celebrating
    so they tell me I will see
    that in November
    during the challenge
    a tiny kitten adopted me
    at first he melted in my arms
    and wooed me with his feline charms
    so vulnerable, his energy
    in apparent perfect synchroncity

    I thought I was doing a wonderful deed
    rescuing a helpless ball of life
    a few days of shelter and hand fulls of feed

    Harbored, yes a few romantic notions did begin
    when I thought the little one female thought
    perhaps my visit was from my little Muse, Kaitlin

    I am celebrating so they tell me I will see
    the little one that turned out a fellow to be
    Who is now beginning to become his own person and jump and run
    Savoring each soft look of the love affair with my husband he has begun

    I am celebrating so they tell me I will see
    the joy of sharing my life and psychic energy
    as he taps each surface of my home
    claiming each and all including both of us as his own

    I am celebrating so they tell me I will see
    the shattered silence of my quiet energy

    Believing that there are lessons to be learned in all
    I attempt surrender of life space and throw myself into his thrall

  19. Chev Shire

    "the next thing"

    my daughter sings jazz,
    a capella
    at almost 4 years old.
    from the seat in the
    shopping cart she
    out her alphabet,
    smiling at passers by.
    getting louder
    as we pass
    by the ham,
    then finishing
    with a smooth
    jazz, "yeah."
    I applaud
    but she’s already on
    to the next

  20. Colette ;D

    {the *’s acted funny in my first attempt…trying again}

    * Cheers for Physical Therapy (PT)! *

    I celebrate physical therapy!
    All these baby exercises
    will turn these baby steps
    back into athletic strides
    that will stomp all over the court —
    the same court that twisted my hip
    and kicked in my knee.
    * Hip, hip hooray! Knee, knee PT! *

    {note: this hopeful poem was drafted the other day, before today’s PT appointment, which I discuss (diss and cuss) in my next poem.}

    * These = my pom poms! *

  21. Colette ;D

    ~ PT Party ~

    PT shoulda been a celebration today,
    but after hundreds outta pocket,
    my knee’s still outta socket!

    So I gotta do more PT, than maybe gettan MRI;
    it’s notta EZ thing to do,
    and my tennis team’s haddit with my MIA.

    I just wanna flush alla this PT BS
    down the pot with a lotta TP!
    But I’ve still gotta good leg to stand on —

    I could always havit worse —
    so I still gotta celebrate PT!
    (This ain’t no pity party!)

    {PT = physical therapy}

  22. Colette ;D

    * Cheers for Physical Therapy (PT)! *

    I celebrate physical therapy!
    All these baby exercises
    will turn these baby steps
    back into athletic strides
    that will stomp all over the court —
    the same court that twisted my hip
    and kicked in my knee.

    * Hip, hip hooray! Knee, knee PT! *

    {note: this hopeful poem was drafted the other day, before today’s PT appointment, which I discuss (diss and cuss) in my next poem.}

    * These = my pom poms! *

  23. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Celebrating Stacking Success (5 January 2010)

    Imagine my surprise
    when I saw demonstrated
    right before my own eyes
    how fast a skill can be
    mastered when one is
    as persistent as Tommy.

    Was it only November
    when I wrote the poem
    dedicated as I remember
    to learning how to stack?
    Tutored by his brothers
    Tommy mastered the act.

    He balanced each block
    carefully atop the other.
    I gasped in total shock
    at how fast he’d learned
    Full of pride, he smiled
    at the praise he earned.

  24. stu pidasso

    Adorations on Onionskins
    by stu pidasso

    If there is someone
    who needs wrong undone,
    a heart in need of mend;

    or if you enjoy a feeling
    that has you reeling
    For a lover or a friend

    Take precious time
    to compose a rhyme
    Full of love to lend

    Sign it. Seal it.
    Address, stamp and mail it;
    before you reach day’s end.

    For nothing makes one smile
    as wide as a country mile
    than adorations sent hand-penned.

    The effort undertaken
    won’t be found mistaken
    in the manner you chose to spend.

    For any tongue can wag
    like a plastic bag
    Dancing on the wind.

    Who knows, someday
    a random note sent your way;
    your blues, will help you suspend.

  25. Bruce Niedt

    A rather cynical take on the prompt – I don’t really feel this way about Christmas, though I do intensely dislike cleaning up after it.

    A Grinch Puts Away Christmas

    Twelve days now flash in rear-view,
    decaying with the half-life of holidays.

    Take down the tree, leave a raining trail
    of desiccated needles as you lug
    the carcass evergreen out to the curb,

    or If you prefer, disassemble
    green toilet brushes from a vertical pole.

    Unstring the lights, garish incandescence
    that infested your eaves and shrubbery
    like a multicolored, luminescent pox.

    Return the presents: garments that insulted you
    by being a size too small, or worse, too large;
    little gadgets and chachkes you will never use.

    Pack away the Santa candy dish,
    fireplace stockings and reindeer hat rack.
    Recycle all the Christmas cards.

    Rejoice in the fact that you will not have to care
    about any of this for eleven more months.

  26. Leslee Andersen

    Satchel: Paged

    It’s time to celebrate
    The newest acquisition
    for my accessory collection
    A gunmetal piece of perfection:
    A new satchel handbag.

    Perusing online auctions netted frustration.
    To the discount designer’s I headed: Elation!
    There, unassuming, ‘midst bright oranges and yellows
    It sat, unassuming, in a color quite mellow.
    I modeled it carefully in front of the mirror,
    and left the store, gift card-free,
    in a state of good cheer.

  27. MiskMask


    today is my father’s birthday
    he was born 90 years ago
    he’s no longer with me
    he died a few years ago
    but something happened to me
    a release, a relief, a few weeks ago
    like sunshine piercing a cloud
    that I saw one morning a month ago
    suddenly everything changed for me
    grief rising like misty wisps off a dark pond
    I laughed remembering him in days so long ago
    so this year I’ll celebrate his birthday
    like he and I did so many, many years ago

  28. Taylor Graham

    (a Welsh Clogyrnach)

    No blind astronomer could doubt
    what pours from the great Dipper’s spout –
    light that leaks below
    into flower-glow
    to overflow, in and out

    of darkness, sight. No telescope –
    hold out your hand. This grassy slope
    blooms with golden spars,
    blue scimitars,
    shooting-stars of earth-hope.

    What revelation as you bow
    to find one blossom spared by plough,
    bulldozer, and boot?
    One bud. Leave the root
    for its fruit. Here is now.

  29. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Miskmask, aside from the bathroom issue and the standing on your feet for several hours (we did 13 hours ‘cos we wanted to be right there in front of the ball), Times Square is ONE AWESOME EXPERIENCE! And the weather was so mild it was perfect. ^^

    Maureen… "My new baby" is such a cute poem. Mine is 5 years old as well and I love her. ^^

  30. Taylor Graham


    Twenty-pound turkey for two, plus
    stuffing, and gravy – we repeat the feast
    until it’s down to cold leftovers, bone.

    And then, there’s turkey stew and turkey
    tetrazzini, turkey enchiladas verdes, until
    by month’s end we’re tired of turkey.

    Stuffed with bounty, aftertaste of thanks.

  31. Mike Bayles

    Sing to Friends

    A song picked is a song shared
    at end of year, when images
    mark passing of time
    and time to come.
    I sing of time,
    celebrate with a Beatles’ song
    squeeze it in just before midnight,
    a resonance of year’s end
    echoing into the next
    with friends at hand.

  32. banana

    Hope and Water.

    Despite this fever and racking cough
    and mucous membranes sore
    I have hopes this year will much improve
    on that which came before.

    The rain has melted all the snow
    the roads are damp and grey
    Thus hope provides the sunshine
    to brighten things today.

    I’m thankful for the cool clear jug
    holding beside my bed
    water to drink and help to sink
    the tablets for my head.

    So truth to tell I don’t feel well
    and certainly not great,
    but that doesn’t stop me hoping
    which is what I celebrate.

    M. Brenton 6th January 2011


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