November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

Wow! As many of you have noted, I’ve been super pleased with the quality of the poems written so far. Y’all’re swinging for the fences with your efforts this month. Very, very cool!

For today’s prompt, I want you to write a “By the Numbers” poem. That is, I want you to write a poem that somehow incorporates numbers. Sure, this might’ve made more sense on 11/11 when a few of us got talking about math and numbers and such–but, hey, who says poetry has to make sense? (Or numbers for that matter?)

Make numbers a large part of the poem or small part, but make sure they get factored in somehow. With this group, I’m sure some really cool stuff will emerge.

Here’s my attempt for the day:


There are four oceans,
seven continents,
and hundreds of islands on this planet,
but I always return to you with my atomic breath,
my swinging tail lined with plates.

For just as there is only one Godzilla,
there is also only one Japan.


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73 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

  1. Lynne

    Six fan palms popped up from
    the ground in an empty space
    where the old oak tree had provided
    shelter for wood ducks, owls, and all
    manner of birds for decades. They
    encircled the empty space as if in
    homage to the majesty of the felled tree.

    I smiled at this spectacle of nature
    and reached for my camera.
    As I looked through the lense,
    a man came into the picture armed
    with insecticide. I took only one photo
    before he sprayed toxic mist on
    each palm. As I wrestled with the
    raison d’être of the obliteration
    he moved on to the dandelions

  2. Kathy Kehrli

    XIII. Reality Defying

    I read an article the other day.
    118 days—
    That’s how long one teen lived
    Without a heart.
    “It was like I was a fake person,
    Like I didn’t really exist.
    I was just here,” she said
    Of the ordeal.
    It kind of downgraded my dad’s
    Cardiac comeback
    To minor miracle.
    Then again, when talking artificial living,
    Time takes on
    Einsteinian relativity.
    Several minutes or 118 days,
    You’re clinically dead.
    It still defies reality.

  3. Carol


    TETRAD SD51E 27th Oct 2008

    1 robin
    Approx 4 house sparrows heard in a hedge
    Circa 40 starlings flying as a tight-packed flock
    4 mistlethrush
    Circa 200 corvids rise and filter:
    60+ jackdaws squeaky-call towards leaf-topped oaks
    100+ rooks re-group like ghouls on a skeletal tree
    the crows start feeding again in the next field
    12 mallard in a flooded field
    1 male wigeon joining them
    1 moorhen
    14 lapwings in subdued hue
    2 rabbits
    2 buzzard and 3 kestrels hunting over sodden fields
    8 woodpigeon (seen in 2’s and 3’s)
    14 collared dove in a balding sycamore
    1 sun-soaked rainbow well defined against a heavy grey sky.

  4. Penny Henderson

    Day #13 By the numbers

    12 eggs in a dozen,
    3 feet in a yard,
    4 yards in a dozen?

    52 weeks in a year,
    7 days each,
    7 years to an itch.

    shouldn’t play
    with numbers.

  5. Iris Deurmyer

    I am glad I checked each day to see if mine had posted. I remember posting in the top ten of this one and mine is not there. I have had 3 days where I have had to go back and submit again. I do not know why sometimes I send them and they go right in, and sometimes I have to "save comment" at least 3 times. Anyway I have to rewrite this one because I did not save it. I am trying to save all of them in my documents for editing and a future chapbook. Why oh why is this the one I did not save. I even researached #s. Oh well, here goes for something different

    Numerical Wonder

    I met you on the first,
    You kissed me on the second.
    Third day we stayed up talking til dawn
    On the fourth day you met my son
    On the fifth day you sent me flowers
    Day six we stayed apart
    Day seven we cooked at your apt.
    Day eight we awoke late
    By day nine you were mine.

  6. lynn rose

    " Four "

    Four years, I have given my life
    and still I am not his wife.
    Four years, I find myself in tears
    instead of cheers.
    Four years, I am losting him instead
    of winning and I find myself not grinning
    He controls my mood 24/7 and I am not
    doing this anymore.

  7. Monica Martin

    All of these are so brilliant! Excellent jobs, everyone.

    Two car garage,
    one front door.
    Two staircases-
    one leads to the basement
    the other, upstairs
    to the three bedrooms.
    Two and a half bathrooms
    accompany the bedrooms.
    Welcome home.

  8. Juanita Snyder

    (well apparently my muse thought it fitting to outfit me with no less than 2 poems for this particular excersize, so what the hell?! –spidey)

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    holding his breath
    Tom carefully tugged at
    the mangled left glove,
    starting with the smallest digit,
    who despite it’s tender young
    age, decided to be a big pinky
    and just suck it up.
    the next one over
    surprisingly hurt the least,
    in spite of all the blood,
    a boxer knocked silly
    but still in contention.
    Tom was surprised however, at
    finding out just how big a baby
    the middle finger turned out to be.
    true, it had received a few
    blood splatters from its close
    proximity to finger two, but
    I mean, really!
    was all that screaming and
    panic really that necessary?!
    as the largest digit on the
    bloc, he really ought to
    set a much better example!
    now the index hurt like a mutha
    as it left the glove of the accident,
    badly bruised and throbbing,
    gashed open, knuckle to cuticle,
    blood pumping out with every pulse.
    By all reason it shoulda been out cold,
    dead, sayonara, dangling by a thread,
    but the way it held on, clinging bravely
    to the palm of Tom’s hand for dear life
    swelled him with such pride, and
    when it looked up at Tom, smiled
    weakly and still dared to attempt a
    slight wiggle room salute in spite of
    all those life-threatening injuries,
    Tom became giddy and nearly fainted.
    oh and Mr. Index Finger?
    (or “Sarge” as Tom liked to call him)
    those years of military training
    were finally put to good use.
    Besides thumbing rides or giving kudos,
    Sarge had them sound off every morning
    at reverie: one-two-three-four
    and now continued to fight to keep them
    calm and focused, as he waved
    the medics over for Tom
    now lying in the ditch.

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  9. Juanita Snyder

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    a 3 minute blast means the sea level has changed and
    you have less than 15 to move inland to higher ground!
    other times a good ground-shaking may well be
    the only warning you have, so choose wisely!
    a wall of water can shoot up to 100 ft high in minutes
    depending on locale, quake strength, and
    80 years of history over Pacific waters.
    tune in to NOAA weather radio for further info
    and wait for the ALL CLEAR from local officials,
    as mother nature didn’t get the memo about the
    official national warning system buoy
    a few miles out.

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  10. Vanessa O'Dwyer

    Right by the Numbers

    I was told there are 30
    Human Rights,
    So I went to see
    If they
    Existed in fact.

    And so I looked…
    Which made me wonder…

    Could you ever quantify
    A right
    To the same degree
    You can
    Measure its denial?

    And so I wondered…
    Which made me look…

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  11. SaraV

    I wasn’t too thrilled with my last effort–This one is better



    One eye peering up
    From beneath tea tinted depths
    One eye seeking down
    Lunch is one beak away
    One eye waiting
    For the two food bowls
    Teetering in the food lady’s hands
    One eye tilted to the sky watching
    Jet planes fly by
    One eye blinking at the sun
    After emerging from the shade
    Watching for scaly competition
    And doing twenty pushups
    To assert first eating rights
    One pair of eyes dipping up and down
    Synchronized with the other pair of Ibis eyes
    One bite, two bites, three bites, four
    Time to take a drink before
    One pair of eyes rushes the bowl
    And scampers in daring any other critter
    To try to take one bite
    One pair of eyes watching
    From behind tinted glass
    And savoring the
    Of it all

  12. AC Leming

    I swear I pasted this and saw it on here yesterday!

    16 numbers

    My waiter flits between nine tables
    on a Friday lunch shift, black eye
    half-healed from some unknown
    accident. I never worked this end
    of a restaurant, so can only imagine
    the panic a two top’s misplaced
    credit card produces. Frantic search
    until it’s discovered perched atop
    a stack of menus, the black on black
    indecipherable in the dim light.

  13. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    The Numbers of Global Warming

    2030 is the year
    That Glacier National Park
    Will have no Glaciers
    40000 square kilometers
    Of Arctic sea ice
    Between 15% and 37%
    Of animal and plant
    Species will die.
    6000 species of dragonfly
    250 million years of life
    Outliving the plesiosaurs
    Wars, and religions
    But with 1 in 3
    Now extinct
    How long will they
    Live beyond
    Gaia’s death?

  14. SaraV

    Loved the two dogs poem–can totally relate!


    One body of water
    A pond deep and cool
    One day to count
    Is it two, four or twenty
    Yellow and/or orange billed wonders
    Arguing over the food dish?
    40 whistling wings lift off
    At any noise, or human appearance
    Two sable necked geese
    Protecting their crumbles
    Charging across the hard-packed dirt
    Intimidating even the bravest bird
    Two teenage ibis asserting themselves
    As next in line at the feed bowl
    Then roosting vultures like above
    The twinkling pond
    Three enormous iguanas
    Shaking their skin flaps
    And bobbing their heads mechanically
    Clearly stating this is mine, back off
    Two eyes watching in wonder
    As the scene unfolds
    One set of lips lifting in a smile
    At the innumerable joys
    Found at one pond

  15. Rodney C. Walmer

    Time and Who

    An amoeba lives a day or two
    a fly, but a few
    so short a life
    so much to do

    One must wonder
    but, if they only knew
    certainly, no time to ponder
    with all they must do

    If there was just a way
    to go back, relive each day
    science fiction,
    some might say

    Certainly, not the fly
    to whom
    on the seventh day must die
    Facing doom
    The laws of physics
    he might choose to defy. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 11/14/08 Numbers poem

  16. Karen H. Phillips

    Kudos, Michelle & Nancy! Earl, your poems get better all the time.

    Great prompt, Robert.

    Jules Breton, French (1827-1906)
    The End of the Working Day, 1886-87

    Three Women

    Three young women trudge in from the fields
    at sunset.
    Golden-pink light illuminates tall white
    flowering plants and the silhouettes of
    the women
    as they move away from the light.
    The second woman
    carries a heavy burlap sack that
    bends her shoulders
    The woman behind her mimicks her
    movement and stance,
    but the woman in the rear
    seems to bear
    a heavier burden.
    The leader looks over her
    shoulder, with
    a contemplative expression.
    Why does she carry two shovels
    and a water jug,
    while the other two women
    tote the heavy bags?
    Behind the women,
    two men remain in the work field.
    One kneels,
    another stands.
    They continue to dig the harvest.
    The beautiful light belies
    the heavy labor,
    glorifying the earthiness of what
    these five farm workers
    do with their hands
    and lives
    every day.

  17. Mary K


    One day is all I have
    one moment, one hour
    this moment, this hour
    live right now.

    One life is all I have
    one chance, one path,
    my choice, to get it right,
    live right now.

    One day, one life
    this moment, one path
    this hour, my choice
    live right now.

  18. Billy Angel

    Waiting For Spring, November 13, 2008

    The trees are black and bare,
    unmoved by the cold wind.
    Days of change came, left
    nothing untouched. I think

    of the game of statue we
    played as children, running
    from the person who was
    it. If touched, you froze

    no matter how awkward
    and difficult it was
    to remain in place
    without moving

    until someone charmed
    set you free
    to start the game
    all over again.

  19. kate

    Just a little one as I’ve been to the monthly spoken word nite! I read a couple in the open mic including the kids and cats poem from last weekend (day 7?)


    Let’s have you in the shower
    by the time I count to three,
    two and a half
    two and three quarters
    ‘say three Mum
    say three.’
    I don’t want to say three
    I want to see you move
    I want to say hooray
    well done
    what a good boy,
    I want to keep a hold
    on my temper.

  20. Kate Berne Miller


    Thousands of spawning Dog salmon have returned at once, all attempting to swim up the same small steam, so solidly packed you could walk across on their backs. Instinct drives the overflow up onto the beach to die.

    Hundreds of Bald Eagles, their white heads glowing in the fog, line the banks of the stream, ripping the pungent carcasses with beak and talons.

    Dozens of crows hop along the beach picking at the remains, their tracks like graffiti in the sand.

    One Raven, black against the blue dome of the Russian Orthodox Church, calls out in its rolling rattle, speaking in tongues.

    Kate Berne Miller


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