2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

For today’s prompt, write a tribute poem. Write your tribute poem for anyone or anything you like–Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Harry Potter, etc. Have fun!

Here’s my attempt:


For those about to poem, we salute you
with line breaks & ampersands & traditional
forms & free verse & whatever else we can
throw your way. If you will or if you won’t, drop rhymes
or don’t. Write it in prose if you must. Just write
in the morning & poem all night. Just poem
to the left & break lines on the right, & if
someone tells you what to do, go on & listen
but poem too. It’s your right & my right too.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

And check out my other blog: My Name Is Not Bob.


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245 thoughts on “2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    (for Ted Kooser, 2004-06 US Poet Laureate & Pulitzer winner for Poetry)

    There are poems
    that speak to us,
    make us kindred spirits
    both in heart and spectacles
    though our backgrounds
    differ as great as
    camels and pigs,
    fire and water,
    applesauce and creamed corn.
    Thank you, kind sir
    for addressing this
    and making sense of it all
    for the rest of us
    out here in kooser-topia.
    My jar of buttons
    are your jar of buttons,
    my bones
    your bones,
    nestled among beach sand
    in the bottom of some dome-shaped
    apothecary glass
    to be oodled over like high end art
    until someone turns off
    the light.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. pmwanken


    “Every cloud has a silver lining.” ~ Unknown

    I am grateful for silver linings
    but it is a cloud for which I pay tribute

    you were a welcome relief
    on days too hot to bear

    you provided rain to aid in growth
    and to wash things clean

    you inspired creativity
    and stretched my imagination

    and . . .

    you were also the face of a storm
    which helped me find shelter

    I look back on that cloud
    recognizing it was a silver lining all along

  3. pmwanken


    They say…

    “everything you need to know
    you learned in kindergarten…”

    To you…
    my kindergarten teacher:
    thank you for starting me off
    on the right foot, and for
    following me to first grade
    to be sure my left foot
    followed right along.

    I still know all of my letters!

  4. Marian O'Brien Paul

    A Rispetto for Mary

    Her childhood scarcely left behind,
    she met an angel asking, could
    she help her God to save mankind.
    Momentous answer: Yes, she would.

    She didn’t realize her yes entailed
    a day she’d watch her son be nailed
    upon his cross, his agony, his death.
    Salvation cost his final breath.

  5. richard-merlin atwater

    Prompt word “Tribute”

    Tribute to Love
    Richard-Merlin Atwater Nov 28, 2011

    The beauty of the Taj,
    A monument to death,
    Or was it LOVE!
    Within lie the bones of beauty,
    Without, the beauty of the inscribed Koran,
    Faith to some, opposition to others,
    Muslim in a Hindu land, dichotomy!
    MumTaz Mahal: mother of sixteen!
    Shah Jahan: warrior pre-eminent of Jihad faith,
    Built 300 years before the Great American Depression,
    White marble to be linked by bridge
    To a black Shah Jahan Mausoleum across the Jamuna.
    Not to be, thy son encaged thee in the Red Fortress to save the gold,
    Oblong walled garden, reflecting pool, first view,
    Inlaid semi-precious stones, with floral designs,
    Thy monumental dome and tapered towering spires,
    Topped by crescent , and internal octagonal tomb chamber—
    Lit by light passing through intricately carved screens,
    All bespeak of LOVE, and death,
    One eternal, the other merely time enshrined
    To await the resurrection of us all!
    Oh! Agra, India, so far away,
    Yet love is spoken in thy bosom,
    Yea thy breast– like sun and moon, half hidden
    Behind the clouds of a goddesses brazier.
    On the surface: Life and Love
    But down below the trees along the bank,
    Outside the wall of fragrance–
    Death, the Hindu crematory stands,
    The stench of burning death
    As the Jamuna awaits the ashes of the earthly remains
    Of those who seek ETERNITY in the flow to life beyond
    Whence both Mumtaz and Jahan have long since gone.
    Both with LOVE eternal on their minds.
    Life. Love.
    Even in death, beauty remains!

    Poet’s Note:
    I first visited the Taj Mahal of Agra, India in 1981 and heard the story of how the Mogul Emperor went off to war, while his wife Mumtaz Mahal died in child birth of her delivery of their 16th offspring. The Shah returned home a saddened man only to build the Taj as her mausoleum as a tribute to love. A Muslim shrine in a Hindu land! Dichotomy of contrasts. His intention was to build a replica of a black Taj Mahal on the opposite banks of the Jamuna River connecting the two by a bridge. His son overthrew his father’s throne to save the treasury from such expenditures. The father was jailed for life in the Red Fortress, down river from the Taj, where he could view the famous mausoleum of his love for his wife—from the terrace. I likewise had such a view from the same terrace in retrospective reflection of philosophical thought on Life, Love, Death, the resurrection! On the backside of theTaj Mahal, behind the trees, and along the banks of the Jamuna river, in clear view of the dome and spires, is the Hindu crematories. The skeletal remains of the deceased lay in burning fires as the ashes are thrown out over the GRAY river. The Hindu seeks the after life in the flow of the river into eternity. The Muslim seeks resurrection, like the Christian, but from a different source of power as stated in the Koran—their holy book. But beauty remains, as death is superceded in a tribute to LOVE—which is eternal!
    Sir Richard-Merlin Atwater, World explorer and international geographic photographer

  6. Judy Roney


    She takes the rap
    Everything I dish out
    If only in my mind.
    She keeps moving
    Her shoulders hunched
    From burden of a life

    No one kept her safe
    Loved her, told her
    She was special.
    No one showed her how
    To be a woman, mother, wife
    Have respect for self
    How a good man behaves.

    No one said you are pretty,
    Smart, kind, strong or loveable
    She had to eke out a life
    Without guidance, love
    Or help of any kind face.

    She survived and was
    Toughened by a life hard
    From the beginning
    She knew what to expect
    What she’d get from this
    Life that spit her out.

    She didn’t know marrying
    An abusive man would be
    Her undoing where hope
    Was concerned. She gave us
    What she knew, a good spanking.

    She ridiculed and set up, made a sport
    Out of beatings. Didn’t hug, touch.
    Her children never heard I love you
    Or you are precious or pretty or smart
    For she didn’t believe in spoiling kids
    Or giving them the big head. She kept
    The six at bay so she could have a life.

    Such as it was. Her husband came first.
    He ate steak while they went hungry.
    She’d say she gave her life up for them
    And I know she did. A husband who drank away
    What he made, six mouths to feed with no support
    Her life swallowed up in have-to’s and wants
    And all the never haves.

    They were never a consideration for her
    She didn’t raise kids to think differently
    She worked hard to keep them down
    She’d never raised an uppity kid.
    She did a good job by her standards
    She worked all her life to make sure
    She handed down all her knowledge.

  7. DanielAri


    Cowbells and auto horns have pitch.
    Saw blades, hiccups, trashcan lids,
    fire bells, tin cans—the whole world
    is a xylophone crashing down.

    And that’s all there is to it.
    Let the orchestra’s instruments
    rest and stay lustrous, unplayed.

    An academy of clowns
    bangs out the hit parade
    in virtuoso anti-technique

    while you chew spearmint gum
    in time, whanging the antique shop
    clang and boom and gunshot
    into ridiculous recognition

    There’s a man a boy
    can be proud to know:
    one who plays music
    like a playground, like a pro.


  8. KathyintheWallowas

    barn janitor’s tribute

    we who are about to clean stalls, salute you
    pig mare! move your … there you go. a treat
    for your winter furry face? in the name of
    all that’s equine we honor you with crossed
    hay forks and full wheelbarrows, rampant
    pig mare! the hay is in… there you go. a treat
    for being a good girl. ouch! we who are about to
    pay vet bills salute you – double ouch, its more
    than I thought, but you are worth it, pig mare.

  9. KathyintheWallowas

    barn janitor’s lament

    we who are about to clean stalls, salute you
    pig mare! move your … there you go. a treat
    for your winter furry face? in the name of
    all that’s equine we honor you with crossed
    hay forks and full wheelbarrows, rampant
    pig mare! the hay is in… there you go. a treat
    for being a good girl. ouch! we who are about to
    pay vet bills salute you – double ouch, its more
    than I thought, but you are worth it, pig mare.

  10. jane hoover

    Reposting because I wrote an ending verse:

    A Sure Presence

    Her eyes shone bright long
    before my sisters and I
    were a noted thought

    She walked beside first
    wobbly steps, and ran beside
    bicycles and skates

    Her steady fingers
    guided needle stitches and
    scissor cuts till straight

    She sang Sunday hymns
    her breath full of gratitude
    her smiles our sunshine

    I could go on and
    on as she has through these years
    always near enough

    To listen, offer
    us her trust, assurance in
    our ability

    and why not? We the
    students of her skills, now
    our very own

  11. Domino

    For Leona

    Your real name was Alma
    but you hated it
    and so you took your middle name:
    Leona, which means lioness.
    And everyone (for some reason)
    called you Betty.

    Your life began in 1905
    outside Independence, Missouri
    at your father’s homestead.

    You were the thirteenth of
    twenty-three children,
    though some did not live
    past infancy.

    You grew up and moved to
    the Northwest,
    and loved Oregon
    and its easy weather.

    You had more hard times than
    you ever let on.

    The father of your only child
    married your sister.

    You went to prison for two and a half years
    once, and I suspect it was
    for making moonshine.

    You married Karl, and lived on your property
    raised your daughter,
    your grandchildren,
    and helped to raise your great-grandchildren.

    You taught me to love books
    and the outdoors
    and gardening
    and to be fearless
    and frugal.

    I will remember you
    every day of my life
    because the impression you left
    was deep and lasting.

    I will miss you forever.

  12. Sibella

    I’m going to guess that I’m not the only one who’s trying to catch up since the holiday weekend. Lots of juicy prompts here.


    It was another thing to envy the boys for. I never wanted
    the thing they said a girl should want–at least,
    not on my person–but I sure wished I had
    that extra gear the guys had to shoot straight up
    into terror, or wretched lust, or exaltation.
    The top of the Four Tops, the Spinner
    who spun fastest: they wielded that freak power
    that left me in the middle, neither super-high
    nor super-low. It was like they had a bonus
    chance at rapture, like God was tugging
    some rope in the soul of the male gut,
    saying, “Come on up here
    where the stakes are higher.”

    Pamela Murray Winters

  13. Tracy Davidson

    In Tribute to old-fashioned 5-7-5 Haiku

    your simple beauty
    in seventeen syllables

    In Tribute to Contemporary non 5-7-5 Haiku

    simple beauty
    in three lines

  14. Connie Peters


    Old Theodore did so much more
    than what most people know him for.
    He and his sister knew happy times
    when his mother would chant some rhymes.

    In college, he edited the Jack O Lantern
    but when he threw a party, he got burned.
    He contributed to the magazine just the same
    by secretly using his middle name.

    To be a professor, Dad sent him to Oxford,
    toured Europe instead because he was bored.
    But at Oxford he met his first wife, Helen.
    She liked to edit and write for children.

    He cartooned for Saturday Evening Post,
    but he wrote Standard Oil ads the most.
    He contributed cartoons to World War II
    and learned animation with Private Snafu.

    He wrote books filled with illustrations and rhymes.
    His first big one was rejected twenty-seven times.
    His big break didn’t come until he was fifty-three,
    when the words he used were as simple as can be.

    He didn’t die until he was eighty-seven,
    then at last he went to heaven.
    He wrote about a cat who was wild and loose.
    So here’s to the beloved Dr. Seuss!

  15. De Jackson

    Late to the party again. Long, fun weekend.


    Yes, you. The person who
    writes the words. Thank you.

    Thank you for clacking black
    or scribbling ink, for bumping

    phrase together in irresistible
    ways. For daring to d a n g l e

    that participle, for making me
    understand color, for stealing

    my breath and seizing my heart.
    Thank you for seeing the world

    in a way I never could, and for
    sharing these slices of its very

    core with me. I slip them onto
    my tongue, and close my eyes

    in gratitude. Thank you for
    being brave enough to bare

    your teeth yourself your soul
    as needed, and in just the

    right measured, treasured
    couplets. I carry your words

    now in cheek, toolbox and
    heart, ache to absorb them

    into my skin, uncap my own
    true inky self. Stretch. Etch on.

  16. iainspapa

    Hip-Hip! Whatever.

    Here’s to the mocking, distrustful and jaded
    The kinfolk of yin, when yang equals elated
    The bitter, contemptuous cynics among us
    Who feast on fine truffles and taste only fungus
    The fervent Scrooge-groupies (until he recanted)
    Whose attitude is, by default, disenchanted
    A toast to those most unencumbered by wonder
    Who set the bar low and then glumly slump under
    The ones for whom meh is a rallying cry!
    There, but for unending giggles, go I.


  17. seingraham

    In Praise of the Compassionate Ones

    Here’s to those who give more than they have
    You’ll find them everywhere, if you look hard enough
    Often in inner city ghettos and soup kitchens
    Or working pro-bono at the court-house

    And here’s to the ones who rescue stray animals
    Or puppies being raised for profit in those awful mills
    Let’s not forget the doctors and other healthcare
    Folk who sign on to work in war-torn countries
    For no money but just to save lives

    A bouquet or two for those who take in kids
    And not just one or two but dozens
    Those that foster children again and again
    And not for the money but for the right reason

    The kids need them and they know it
    Crack-addicted babies won’t stand a chance
    If someone doesn’t take them and love them
    From the get-go – here’s to those people

    This is a tribute to those persons born
    With extra compassion genes or a predilection
    For gaining high levels of empathy
    It certainly appears that some people

    Are just naturally able to expend
    A great deal more altruistic service
    Than the average soul – and they do
    So – here’s to them – where would
    The rest of us be without them?

  18. Bruce Niedt

    Sophomore English, 1967

    She stood before the blackboard,
    a petite young woman with a hint
    of bohemian fashion sense – post-Beatnik,
    pre-hippie – and took us on a tour
    of our language. She introduced me to
    Dylan Thomas – the first time I heard
    “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”
    was in her class. She encouraged us
    to write, and wasn’t afraid to talk
    about things like rock music –
    we both loved Jefferson Airplane.
    She was gone by the next year –
    dropped off the face of the planet
    as far as I could tell. Maybe she
    didn’t fit in with the administration’s
    idea of a good teacher. Or maybe she
    just went where she’d be appreciated.
    If I met her on the street today,
    I would say, Thank you, Mrs. Bernheim.
    My writer’s journey didn’t start with you,
    but you gave me a map and pointed me
    in the right direction.

  19. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 27 11-27-2011

    Write a tribute poem.

    You are the gem of the Bluff, the original reason
    why the area surrounding you became
    Bluff View Arts District.
    Your whitewashed columns stand in Greek revival confidence,
    flanked by steel and glass on the left wing
    and concrete on the right.
    You perch high above the Tennessee
    and overlook Walnut Street Bridge and happy pedestrians
    who walk it, and you watch the seasons turn
    your view and your own beauty more beautiful.
    Within your walls, treasures await the eyes and spirits
    of those open-hearted to colors, shapes, textures, and shadings.
    You beckon all who enter to learn from the creative
    and to learn to create.
    Up your mansion’s double stairway walks grace;
    down your steely wing’s wooden parquet steps falls light.
    Your permanent collection never grows dull;
    your new exhibits stimulate.
    I never lose the heart swell when I enter you,
    Hunter Museum of American Art.

  20. Buddah Moskowitz

    Tribute to Myself (posted 8:5 pst so it counts)

    On days like these
    when every step is a misstep
    and every word is misspoken,

    I feel completely
    misunderstood and unappreciated

    and I think it perfectly
    reasonable to pay tribute to

    as no one else knows
    the trouble I’ve seen
    and tried to fix
    and eventually give up on.

    It veers closely to self-pity
    but in essence,
    I congratulate myself
    on not diving into drink
    or otherwise deserting,
    shrinking from this fight.

    I just recognize that
    today I have lost,
    but with a dollop of grace
    I’ll be given another shot,

    perhaps to endure
    masterfully enough
    so that I’ll have it
    in my heart

    to look beyond myself
    and my collection
    of impossible, miserable

  21. Dan Collins

    Tribute: A poem I owe one of my best friends

    I know this poem
    needs to be written,
    because I cannot write it.
    On the roads we’ve traveled
    my friend, we’ve seldom seen
    each other from such distant
    peaks of similar altitude.
    Here and now, I’m so glad
    that you are finally happy,
    that I am too, and that we
    are still such good friends.
    Jealousy once made me believe
    that you were having
    an easier time. I’m sorry
    for that now; now that I know
    the human road is always
    the same road. It’s funny,
    I knew you would end up
    Buddhist, and I felt bad
    for many years that I could
    not follow you or your path,
    even when you didn’t know
    where it would lead. To me,
    that kind of stuff
    only led to higher worry.
    I had my own drunken
    karma. I remember well
    the big fork: It was not long
    after school when you sold
    everything you owned
    and went to live on the islands.
    I admired your courage,
    also, I was a little relieved
    that you would not see
    my descent. I got your letters.
    I floated you a few bottles too,
    empty of course.

  22. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    I’ve had such a hard time coming up with decent pieces for this challenge. I don’t know if this works as a tribute to those struggling (like me), but here goes…

    To Whom It May Concern

    I’ve gone and lost my rhyme
    I’m charged with
    It’s happened many times

    I’ve gone and lost my verse
    Can’t find it; must be a curse
    Did I search the universe?
         Of course!

    It wasn’t a fair trial
    My penalty? Exile!
    Did it make me hostile?
         You know it!

    Still circle Writer’s Block
    Word-searching ’round the clock
    I see me bouncing back…
                A poet!

  23. Mark Windham

    There is a lot more to this….I just have not worked it all out yet.

    Tribute to Sacrifice

    A mother with her time,
    A father with his energy,
    An organ donor with their body,
    A soldier with his life,
    A Man on a cross –
    With everything.

  24. jane hoover

    A Sure Presence

    Her eyes shone bright long
    before my sisters and I
    were a noted thought

    She walked beside first
    wobbly steps, and ran beside
    bicycles and skates

    Her steady fingers
    guided needle stitches and
    scissor cuts till straight

    She sang Sunday hymns
    her breath full of gratitude
    her smiles our sunshine

    I could go on and
    on as she has through these years
    always near enough

    To listen, offer
    us her trust, assurance in
    our ability

    Jane Penland Hoover
    November 27, 2011

    Prompt #27 A Tribute

  25. PSC in CT

    Not sure this really works as a tribute. It started out as a “Good Old Days” – Day 26 response, but morphed, into a pseudo tribute…. For now, it’s all I’ve got, and it’s getting late, so it will have to do. 😐

    “A Better Life”

    My father’s parents came from “the old country” with nothing,
    seeking a better life. Managed to acquire a house and farm, over time,
    bringing up five children, losing some along the way. With no heat,
    electricity or indoor plumbing, they persisted by wood stove,
    kerosene lamp, hand pump well, ice box and outhouse.

    Grandma spoke little English; she lived almost a century, yet, I learned
    more about her at her funeral, than I ever knew while she was alive. My only
    “memory” of Gramps (tales told to me, years later): angry beatings
    in the woodshed with a belt; my father, never getting past sixth grade,
    all hands being needed at home when Grandma became a young widow.

    Despite his own abusive upbringing, my dad never laid a hand on us.
    “Drowned his sorrows” at times (a habit we never acquired); but, we all did
    graduate college, with honors; I like to think he’d be proud; that they might
    all be proud – if they could see us today; content in the knowledge that they did
    eventually, through us, attain what they set out to achieve: a better life.

  26. Sara McNulty

    Sonnet Tribute to the Dog

    To know the friendship of a noble dog
    who senses those times you crave a friend
    and curls beside you as still as a log.
    A brown-eyed buddy eager to lend
    his heart and soul in strict confidence.
    You feel no guilt for not throwing his ball,
    he accepts your sadness as a defense.
    On many occasions you’re not home at all.
    You will not ever have to walk alone,
    he’ll run in circles and poke at his leash,
    roll over or sit when he smells a bone,
    or target the kitchen if you bake a quiche.

    Come through the front door in anger or joy,
    and watch his tail wag when you say, Good boy!

  27. Kit Cooley

    A timely prompt. We just found out an acquaintance here in town died suddenly the day before Thanksgiving. This is for him, and for his family.


    He treated people right,
    Smiled, chewed the fat,
    Scooping spices from bulk jars,
    Giving just a little extra, and
    A good price, to boot.
    He made sure that his customers
    Were satisfied, like you were
    Family, when he hardly knew you.
    A generous man, a rarity in the big box
    Retail world, with wife Carol, a true mom-and-pop
    Market. “Just a customer,” no other
    Relationship (except for being human),
    Feels the loss with his passing.
    That’s a tribute to a life well lived.

  28. RJ Clarken

    Are You Puzzled?

    “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” ~Lewis Carroll

    Let’s pay tribute to folks who make
    Sudoku, crossword games, opaque
    posers meant to keep you awake…
    they’re the metagrobologists:
    the folks that make you clench your fists
    and gnash your teeth with each new take

    until you swear you might forsake
    all you hold dear. (A big mistake.)
    Let’s all cheer the puzzler’s twists…
    Let’s pay tribute.

    Let’s honor dudes who merrymake
    for word search, maze and Rubik’s sake
    because no mortal soul resists
    the puzzles that go on these lists.
    The puzzle-makers hands we’ll shake…
    Let’s pay tribute.


    Notes: The form is Rondeau. According to the Worthless Word for the Day, a metagrobologist is a person who makes puzzles. Since I initially felt puzzled by this prompt, I decided the tribute was apropos.

  29. PKP

    To Kaitlin – My Character

    Appeared one warmed September
    running through dew wet fields
    mischievous grin bouncing
    curls in a faded ruffled sundress
    softness in bare feet tender soles
    running in chime pealed laughter
    running to the dark green wood


  30. posmic

    Ms. A

    These are the teachers who
    patch the holes, fill the minds,
    lead our children in and out,
    back to us, like a line of chicks.

    Each day brings more gifts—
    an apple taste test, a flow chart,
    a chance to read out loud
    the words from one’s very own
    marble-covered composition book.

    These are the ones who press
    a bit, just enough, more than
    strictly necessary, so that
    our children come home from
    first grade having learned about
    the properties of matter.

    I am talking about public school,
    a big city, a big system, never enough
    of anything for everyone. But these are

    the ones who soften everything
    with pillows for reading time,
    pet rabbits brought from home.

    More specifically, here’s this one,
    my daughter’s teacher; today
    she wears a red flower in her hair.

    1. PKP

      Was just signing off to return to NaNo and read your wonderful poem.. I was going to write a tribute to Mrs. K. a wonderful teacher of mine, in a “big public school in a big city” long ago who wore enameled “chop sticks in her hair” … Mrs. K. would have adored this tribute to your daughter’s teacher and the wearing of a “red flower in her hair.” WONDERFUL! 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words 🙂


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