2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

We’re already half-way through the month. Today is prompt 15, which means there are only 15 left to go. It’s all down hill from here, right?

For today’s prompt, write a “just when you thought it was safe” poem. For instance, write a poem about the dangers of going off a diet just after hitting your goal weight, entering the water after it appears the killer shark has been caught (Jaws anyone?), or whatever else could offer a sneaky bit of danger. Of course, with only 15 days of poeming left, it’s safe to assume you’re going to finish this challenge–or is it?

Here’s my attempt:

“I forgot how to think”

One day, the words left me without notice
and never returned. Then, my legs refused
to move for me–followed by my hands and
then, my arms. My mouth worked itself into
a smile against my will. And it filled me
with a terrific anger at first, but
eventually even my anger
left me like a verse of music drifting
outside my window and into the street.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Learn how to write effective metrical poetry with Writing Metrical Poetry, by William Baer. Baer instructs how to get metrical with your poems in a very accessible how-to book.

Click here to learn more.

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162 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

  1. Megan

    Just when you thought it was safe
    That you were satisfied with pen and journal
    That the novel was happy collecting dust
    Wordist struck sinking ideas of lonnng into your system

    Satisfied with pen and journal
    Brief dips into verse and rhythm
    Wordist strikes sinking ideas of long into your system
    You scramble out of the way of random dialog that goes nowhere

    Brief dips into verse and rhythm
    Spin out of control in a fractured tapestry of recycled plots
    You scramble out of the way of random dialog that goes nowhere
    Stuck with characters taking control of your pen

    Just when you thought it was safe
    Spinning out of control in a fractured tapestry of recycled plots
    Stuck with characters taking control of your pen
    the novel was happy collecting dust

  2. Dennis Wright

    We Reach the Middle

    We started out sailing
    The voyage for our lives.
    Home was not warm.

    As we were sailing
    We reached the middle
    From home to Eden.

    We who have so much
    We say to the world
    Sail the ocean alone.

    Who could deny us,
    The conceit we hold
    We face the unknown.

    When we reach the end
    To home beneath the stars
    We will warm in our move.

  3. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    ‘She will dwell too much in fantasy,’
    the palmist told my parents
    when I was a little girl. ‘Make sure
    she keeps her feet on the ground.’

    The ground I walked then
    was the island, Tasmania,
    and I wanted no other place to be.
    Nature fed my inner world,
    fantasy mixed with reality.

    I was river and sky,
    ocean and mountain,
    earth and tree. I was
    inside dream and fairy-tale.
    The spirits of place
    spoke to me.

    Wrested away at 15,
    to a flat, dry landscape,
    I lived in longing.
    Fate moved me. I merged
    with a city; seldom returned
    to my island, except in sleep.

    I was 34 when I stepped off a plane
    into Bali, another small island
    of mountains and streams.
    Ocean and sky embraced me.
    The spirits danced, surrounding me.

    Afterwards, though I walked the ground
    of Melbourne, I lived my life
    in a strange state of removal,
    inhabiting an island.

  4. Susanne Barrett

    Posting rather late, but much better than not at all…

    When logic says "no"
    and imagination says "yes"–

    When words fly easily,
    gliding across page effortlessly
    on updrafts of thought–

    When characters speak,
    carrying wise conversation
    and all I have to do
    is transcribe their dialog–

    When all flows together beautifully,
    so beautifully that
    one feels blessed to write–

    But one thought, one idea, one false step
    forces everything to explode,
    disintegrating into rubble–
    bits of ideas floating gracefully
    to earth in the aftermath.

    I rise, injured, perhaps mortally,
    placing the half-empty kettle
    onto the stove to boil for tea.

  5. Michelle Hed

    The Thief

    She tip-toed toward the kitchen
    pausing in the doorway to

    The house appeared to be silent.
    The lights were off or dimmed for the night,
    she took a few cautionary steps into the kitchen –
    still listening…

    She exhaled with relief and
    ran to the far counter.
    She stuck her hand into the cookie jar
    and pulled out two chocolate chip cookies.
    She was no longer listening…

    She had just finished eating one cookie
    when she realized she was no longer alone.
    She turned with the cookie in her hand,
    chocolate smeared on her face
    to see her father standing in the doorway.

    She froze and stared at him,
    while he stared back.
    Then he moved toward refrigerator
    and said, “How about some milk with those cookies.”

  6. Marian O'Brien Paul

    The Turquoise Riviera

    Conjuring up visions of turquoise waves
    lapping sparkling sands, palm tree fronds
    tossing in the breeze, and red tiles roofing
    sun-bleached walls, Alanya* offers all that.

    It was Şeker Bayramı (Sugar-fest) in 1988.
    We left our pension (a little inn), heading
    for the surf with its deep surges of lacivert.
    (The Ş shooshes and c in “navy blue” is j.)

    We saw dozens of people riding on waves
    as broad as the backs of whales. We heard
    the cacophonous joy composed of human
    laughter, the crashing waves, and gull-call.

    Me? I don’t really swim. I don’t like water
    higher than my chin, but who could resist
    such fun? Suspended in Mediterranean sea,
    we languidly floated for hour upon hour.

    At least it seemed that long. Now I was
    tired. That meant getting back to shore.
    I saw how other people managed and if
    I copied their technique, I’d be one more.

    As I carefully launched myself forward,
    feeling self-congratulatory about my skill,
    a wave crept up unnoticed and dumped
    me, arms and legs akimbo, on the beach.

    * Alanya, Turkey

  7. Kit Cooley

    Glancing through the poems; so many clever rhymes and designs. (Posting late today: got sidetracked by a sick hen and a long drive to look at a ram for my ewes.)

    This one kind of takes care of both prompts 😉

    “Stacking Firewood”

    Stick by stick,
    cord by cord,
    the pile grows
    all summer long,
    fore winter’s cold,
    then each burnt log
    will warm and glow,
    through frosty day and frigid night,
    the hungry flames
    eat through the stack,
    until some bark
    is all that’s left,
    and dwindled is
    the once full shed;
    so, once again
    stick by stick…


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