Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 114

For this week’s prompt, write a receipt poem. The word receipt has several meanings, including recipe, the act of receiving, a record of transaction, and more. So your poem can play around with these ideas and concepts–or it can just be a found poem (that is, a very interesting receipt).

Here’s my attempt:

“Of summer”

Place your mask on the counter
and write me a letter without the word
“Dear” or “Sincerely.” I remember
which angle the sun took to surround
your face with fire. And the birds
bombarded the beach with the sound
of their wanting. In the twilight,
we listened to waves work the sand
with a methodical fervor and
imagined ways to welcome the night.


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97 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 114

  1. Richard-Merlin Atwater

    The Blank Check of Life
    (C) Richard-Merlin Atwater 3 Jan 2011

    Blank Check: Payable to "The United States of America"
    Amount: "Up to" and "including my life".
    Authorized Signature: The Veteran (Sacrificer)
    Purpose: To stand in harms way and seek to end all stife!

    "Lest we forget"–the soldier, the airman, the marine, the sailor
    God grant them peace in His due time!
    May they stand for truth and righteousness, even as the tailor
    Who weaves the cloth of character sublime.

    Major Rich Atwater, USAF Intelligence, Retired

  2. Marie Elena

    Walt, ‘Tis Better to Give has me teary to start my day. If only everyone on the planet caught your spirit. An amazing piece from an amazing heart.

    Amy, is there any chance you’ll be traveling the pike through Ohio? Hint, hint… 😉

  3. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Walt, this last one is my fave of all the Santa poems thusfar, truly.
    Sara Gwen, "salt shadow for brackish appetite," Brava!
    Juanita, the first I’ve read of yours, and from the kiss that stopped traffic to the bittersweet ending, excellent.
    AC, ditto the above on "snake charmer smile." Great take!
    Sam, your thoughts on the creative process, the whole egg, WOW.
    Tears Tango, Hannah, one of your best. Unfortunately, we don’t have an unlimited supply, and so the hydrofracturing, the oil spills, despoil an unrenewable resource… all the water we have is all we ever had, and all we’re gonna get… therefore, the "Tears" take on a new meaning for me… thanks.
    Maggie E, "my words love yours like kisses to your face," such a lovely, intimate thought.

    More later, gotta go to sleep… A

  4. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Hey, y’all, just a stop in during the busy church week to wish all who observe Christmas a merry and peaceful Eve and Day. My Solstice friends, I observed The Longest Night in prayer and contemplation. And of course, MANY candles, LOL.

    PKP, your comments always make me smile. Thanks to you, to RJ, to Marie, and I’m sorry if I missed anyone on the "howdy."

    And now… shall I pack or worry about whether Lex will make it through the 11 pm service on Christmas Eve? Methinks I shall do the latter.

    Wishing you all peace, and will be back on Street more often post-Feb. Moving me and cat in a car (!) with stuff, following Lex and movers, final week of January. Please keep us in thoughts and prayers for a smooth go and clear roads… love you all, A.

  5. Walt Wojtanik


    Some gifts don’t go under the tree.
    Even in the innocence of Christmas,
    that fact is apparent. Every parent
    or guardian knows how hard some requests
    can be. Were it up to me, no one would want.

    But sometimes, it can’t be done.
    My heart cries out to that inequity,
    for this non sequitur rarely follows
    along the lines of decency and fairness.
    In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas,

    but, in many hearts and minds, it is hard to find
    the ability to wrap ones arms around
    a season that sometimes seems determined to disappoint.
    To wit, I offer this point:
    “The art of living is in the giving”.

    It is my appointed round.
    The very sound of jingle bells
    tells me there is work at hand, and if I can,
    I’ll provide the gift so requested.
    It’s the best I can do, but for the few

    who ask for the gift that eludes my hands,
    I will take my stand and kneel in prayer
    for the care and safety of those presents
    that will never fill my bag; the one snag in this
    proffering of a Merry Christmas.

    It is just this. I will pray for the Mommy
    with a grave illness that Tommy just wants to get better.
    I will clasp my hands in grand style for the while
    that Rebecca’s Daddy is without his job.
    For the Grandpa that has died; that his memory continues to live inside.

    For the Father, Mother, Sister or Brother
    who are away at war to secure the lives and freedoms of others,
    I will pray for them all, everyday.
    Those hungry and cold, I will hold in my heart
    and hope to make a start to help their condition.

    This life exists for the sake of our giving,
    and for as long as we’re living we should share
    in this one belief for the relief of our fellow ”man”.
    Extend a hands; you’ll feel better for it;
    The “problem” won’t go away if you just ignore it.

    As the saying goes: “’Tis better to give
    Than to receive”. It’s what I believe.
    What you get in return will make you yearn
    to do more. I’ve been nurtured in this noble cause.
    And I’ll take the help when I can. I am Santa Claus.

  6. sara gwen

    Receipt for an Acquired Taste

           Black market
           where my lips found purchase
           not so loathsome

           a fair exchange—
           salt shadow for
           brackish appetite—

           you to your self interest
           and I to my own
           indulgences, in trade

           as negotiated in advance
           over our rival loves
           to bitter indigestion

           kept like an afterthought       
           on the tongue’s numb tip
           for the tax deduction.

  7. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    The Kiss
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    I will never forget
    the day you showed up
    on my doorstep
    hair slicked back
    hat under arm
    freshly pressed uniform.

    Nor shall I ever forget
    the way you eyed me,
    large and wistful
    summoning courage
    to lean in and kiss me,
    fingertips ever so tender
    against my cheeks.

    It was the kind of kiss
    that slowed traffic
    watered thirsty lawns
    birthed constellations,
    the kind that put
    platonic friendships
    suddenly on notice.

    You had never done
    that before.

    His heart pounding
    and mine newly tasered,
    he backed away a few steps
    as if burning an image of
    me in my best yellow dress
    to take with him overseas
    in the troubling days
    that followed,
    the knowledge deep
    that this would be the
    last time your shadow
    would ever darken
    my threshold again,
    the taste of butterscotch
    still smoldering
    on my lips.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  8. Walt Wojtanik


                                          <      >
                                            V V
                                   All the prep-
                                 arations are
                              nearly completed.
                          The house is clean and
                       dressed up. Boughs of green-
                          ery hang in sweeping
                       arcs, bringing symmetry to a
                  celebration well planned. Every boy,
               girl woman and man, join hands in bowed
                     prayer for a day molded on peace
                 and love; above all else, the birth of a
            child brought to the world to sacrifice in order
                  to make a nice life rife with meaning.
                  And taking time to share in that spirit,
              aside from the hustle and bustle of hurried
            desperation seems to get lost in the shuffle.
         But, when evening comes to call and all will gather
      in heart, near hearth or around the tree, a communion
                                   of love lights
                                     every happy
                                    face brightly. 


  9. AC Leming


    The receipt in his pocket
    clarifies the smudge of makeup
    on his shirt, the faint scent
    of perfume in his hair.

    The receipt in his pocket
    pushes me out of frozen
    indecision, melted by my
    flash of betrayed fury.

    The receipt in his pocket –
    my permission to leave
    before his snake charmer smile
    seduces me, yet again.

  10. Sara Gwen

    In Receipt
         My words love yours. Like kisses to your face
         don’t have to get footnoted, that’s how we
         hear one the other. As my own would be
         no different than what yours wish to embrace
         with no conditions, no steps to retrace
         to earn ourselves a place we’d broken free
         of. Shared spirit. Mutual insanity.
         Dust to ash. Your leather to my lace.

         So what’ll it matter if it’s like you said
         it’d be? A girl like me should give a damn
         how many or how far or why they read
         it, whether they’ll remember when I’m dead
         I’d been the one who wrote it. Who I am
         is this, that poem you dreamed up in your head.

  11. Marie Elena

    All: If you have a moment, please click on my name. This will take you to the blog I am greatly humbled to share with Walt. There, you will see the color version of Santa with The Infant. Color makes it stand out so clearly and beautifully. An amazing poem … an amazing piece of art.

  12. Sam Nielson

    Goldenrod Receipt

    For some it must come
    As rain in discrete and definite
    Drops squarely on the forehead
    When one’s eyes are open.

    For others the muse of the Greeks
    Must show a little leg, glint of eye
    Or provocative flounce of hair,
    Or even "hey, you guys!" outloud

    In the nominative gender, of course,
    Or perhaps in Latin phrases serene,
    Intoning in the echo of space
    Rolling about our hairy ears.

    Some must climb the Mount
    To exerting places of revelation,
    To see the bush not burning,
    To feel the rush of mighty wind.

    But for me, I must consider and
    Take a quick crack, like an egg
    With what skill I may have
    To open the shell carefully

    In whole parts, dropping nothing,
    To see what lies precisely therein.

  13. ~ Hannah

    Okay, so I’m a bit too hasty in posting because I revised yet again. I posted it in a note on my fb profile if anyone of my friends is interested.

    Good day all!

  14. ~ Hannah

    Forgive the repost…too many errors to pardon.

    TEARS TANGO (Earth’s love affair with rain)

    Sun parched Earth receives a drenching rain
    her lips split and wetted she’s ready to produce;
    plants, tendrils, green, fervent and fertile.
    Seeds stir among roots dirt and depths below,
    awakened from a silent slumber they muster strength;
    push forth tiny arms, reaching faithfully to an unseen sky.
    Gradually as day darkens on day emergence of life
    lifts steadily, gracefully from aromatic mud.
    Bugs and yellowed grasses left behind, left to linger,
    humbly bow at the knees of a found field of poppy flowers.
    As night lightens on night petals upon petals fold to find
    comfort from the light of a mysterious moon.

    Unpublished work written by Hannah Gosselin © 2010

  15. Mike Bayles

    Making the Spring Garden

    Take a dose of sun
    and let it shine.
    Take a plot of land
    and plant one seed,
    repeat if necessary.
    Take a gentle breeze,
    and let it breathe.
    Take a little love and time
    to nurture.
    Take a little imagination,
    and you can already see
    what it will become.

  16. ~ Hannah

    Walt!! "Wow," indeed!!

    Forgive me for my lack of specifics, perhaps time allowing I’ll find myself back on the street later to comment on my reading next time. Very enjoyable none the less. Happy writing!

    Warm Smiles,

  17. ~ Hannah

    TEARS TANGO (the Earth’s love affair with rain)

    Sun parched earth receives a drenching rain
    her lips split and wetted she’s ready to produce;
    plants, tendrils, green, fervent and fertile.
    Seeds stir among the roots dirt and depths below,
    awakened from a silent slumber they muster strength;
    push forth tiny arms, reaching faithfully to the unseen sky.
    Gradually as day darkens on day the emergence of life
    lifts steadily, gracefully from the aromatic mud.
    Bugs and yellowed grasses. left behind, left to linger
    humbly bow at the knees of a found field of poppy flowers.
    As night lightens on night petals upon petals fold to find
    comfort from the light of a mysterious moon.

    Unpublished work written by Hannah Gosselin © 2010

  18. maggie e

    For my dear friend Sara Gwen upon her receipt of acceptance
    for publication of a major poetic essay —

    For a Friend on the Eve of a Triumph

       A little credit. That’s what some might cede
       you, maybe even realize you’re the same
       who wrote your essay. "What’d she say her name
       was? Wasn’t she the one who…?" Some may read
       enough of it to get you guaranteed
       an extra hit or two from those who came
       to get attention of their own. What fame
       it has to offer isn’t what you need.

       And when the dust has settled back in place
       and once again your poems lie still, come see
       the changes I’ll have made to mine, the base
       I’ve started using, how they make their case
       because of what you’ve done. Believe you me,
       my words love yours like kisses to your face.

  19. Marie Elena

    She sure is, Sally!
    Elizabeth: Thank you. Thank you for the kind comment, for your poignant poem, and your husband’s service.
    Colette: Recycling is sooooooo sweet!
    Michelle Hed: Like something out of a movie. Bless your hearts!
    Sharon: So powerful … as I’ve come to expect from you.
    And speaking of what I’ve come to expect: Walt — who never ceases to amaze me. The Gift would stand alone as a "wow" in my book, but you add the graphic to it and, well, what word can I use? "Wow" is "wow," my friend. You need to collect "I am Santa," and submit for publication.

  20. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Welcome back to the street Amy …. Hope the pre- move is going well! Adieu Attica…finally parole or pardon? Lol

    Nancy P….for powerful, poignant , sheer poetry of the heart…. Bravo

    SE Ingraham…. Particulars may be interesting….but…thus poem stands on jt’s own as testament to a recipt of loss of freedom…. Standing ovation

    Maureen … Don’ t know if this is a welcome or a welcome back….but either way…wow! On both!

    Sooo many others including Robert s kick off…. I agree that our fine editor deepening and growing richer with each poem…

    Soooo many others….but hour is late… Apologies to all…must note…

    Amy … Adorable rhyme on the "anniversary"… And wonderful use of prompt fir your public announcement!

    RJ always a smile

    Sara V … Yes wouldn’t it be somethiing,, if only it were that simple

    Sara M adorably sassy

    Michelle as always pure clear authentic feeling… Delight-full

    Goodnight to all…

  21. S.E.Ingraham

    It is indeed Amy. I switched my November theme mid-stream as I take a creative non-fiction workshop bi-weekly and my prof has been working on an anthology of essays about Khadr. Some of the most recent film footage and documents that have come to light about his initial "interrogation" and other anomalies specific to his incarceration alone prompted me to start a second set of poems, but I’ve posted very few of them … it is a mind-boggling story, and a heart-breaking one … I just felt the need to bear witness in some fashion, myself.

  22. Maureen Sexton

    No 1 response

    the receipt

    the wind picks up a piece of paper
    and blows it toward me where it
    lands at my feet:
    one plush towel $25

    and I imagine a woman
    living alone in a small
    neat apartment – pretty cream
    curtains with ruffles, shiny
    ornaments adorning a highly
    polished wall unit, burgundy
    frilled doona cover, matching
    pillow cases, cream plush
    pile carpet, a carafe of wine
    on the table and two long-
    stemmed glasses – she has
    long auburn hair that tumbles
    around her bare shoulders,
    and she is dressed in a …

    suddenly a voice shakes me
    out of my fantasy – apologises
    and takes the receipt out of
    my hand

    I watch him drive away …

    No 2 response


    it was the receipt that got my attention
    but he was watching
    I would look at it later

    I put my hand in the bag and
    pulled out the gift

    neatly wrapped
    obviously he didn’t wrap it
    and a gold bow on top?

    a sideways glance
    but I couldn’t read the look on his face

    carefully removing the paper
    (I could use it again) –
    a red velvet box

    no, not jewellery not
    from him – surely

    I opened the box
    a sparkling ring
    cheap costume jewellery for sure

    I shifted my gaze back
    to the receipt in the bag

    over a thousand dollars?
    “what are you doing you
    idiot? we can’t afford this!”

    to this day I still don’t
    understand why he packed
    his things, and the ring and left me.

  23. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Sharon, what a powerful story, excellent poem. Tell me, is the subject of your poem Omar Khadr? I have been reading about his case among others. No matter the outcome of a civil or military trial, these guys are going to be held by our govt permanently, so far at least. No comment.

  24. S.E.Ingraham

    Receiving the Verdict

    He went into the fray a child
    In fact, still a child, was captured,
    Badly injured, hospitalised for a good
    Long time, but, still considered a child

    Or at least that was the world view
    But somewhere along the line
    There was a shift in attitude
    Of such magnitude it was a sea-change

    The subject of all the attention
    Had little or no idea about his situation
    Having been shot twice in the back
    Wounded in his shoulder and both eyes

    The only survivor of a firefight wherein
    He threw a grenade that killed a U.S.
    Soldier – the only witness to this act?
    The child-soldier, the only survivor …

    The circles grow more eccentric
    And concentric as the tale expands
    And rumours of torture become fact
    Sleep deprivation, water boarding …

    Whatever it took to make the child-soldier
    Now considered by his captors, a murderer
    A most unusual description for any
    Individual involved in war, admittedly

    Confess – confess? In war? Confess?
    To what? Fighting for the other side?
    Is that not a given? Does this make sense?
    Not to the rest of the world, but they

    Stayed silent – all of them, including
    The country of his origin – Canada
    Silent – as the Geneva Convention was
    Trampled and trashed, ignored completely

    To what end, one could be forgiven
    For wondering where this was headed
    For this one child growing into manhood
    In the oh-so-infamous Gitmo

    Finally, it becomes apparent, he must
    Stand trial and he must plead guilty
    To murder for throwing a grenade
    That killed an American soldier

    Even though he has long recanted
    That confession, having made it under
    Extreme duress – read torture – even
    Though the tribunal has had to invent

    A whole new term just to know what
    To call this person so they can charge
    Him and take him to court – they had
    No title for such a one as this – no surprise

    So, the newly created “enemy combatant”
    Grew to learn that if he continued to claim his
    ‘Not guilty’ status and was found guilty
    By the courts or a jury, a certainty, it seemed

    He would remain in an American jail
    For the rest of his life – this, after over
    Eight years of incarceration already
    Just to get this far – so he, who has sworn

    He will never plead guilty finally gets it
    If he has a hope in hell of ever seeing
    His mother again, or Canada, flawed
    As that country has proven to be

    It still offers a gentler outcome than the one
    That has been housing him – or so he hopes
    He will have to plead guilty – jump
    Through the hoops placed before him

    Or resign himself to dying, rotting away
    Inside the American jails – there is going
    To be no rescue, no matter how hard his
    Lawyer works or how many people write

    Letters on his behalf; so finally, he steels
    Himself, tells them he will do what they want
    He will sign the papers, stand up in court
    Admit to being guilty – he prays to Allah

    To forgive him for the lie, hopes he will
    Be forgiven for it, but knows that he cannot
    Spend the next sixty years – he could live
    That long, he knows it – where he is right now
    Still, the day it happens, his voice sounds
    Loud and unrecognizable in his ears
    The words are strange and ring wrong
    But he forces them past his lips, gets them said

    He barely hears all the extra things they
    Have added on to the charges; the only
    Real thing that happens that day is the apology
    He makes to the widow and family

    Of the soldier that was killed by the grenade
    He threw – they glare at him as if it just
    Happened; they hate him, he can tell
    But he really is sorry just the same

    He stands again when the judge reads the verdict
    And thinks to himself, he never expected
    To be in receipt of a guilty verdict but
    Here it was, he was being found guilty

    And even more ludicrous, he was being
    Sentenced to forty long years in prison
    His knees buckle at that, but his lawyer
    Helps his stand tall still and he knows

    That it is just a number, there has been
    A deal made with the Canadian government
    To apply for his transfer within a year
    To a prison north of the border with a promise

    For clemency – that is a much more moderate
    Sentence, if he can just hang on and believe
    He has to believe it will work out
    He wonders if he has just made the mistake

    Of all mistakes but quickly shoves the thought
    Away and lets hope crawl into his mind
    Tries to keep the tears from falling
    Tries to stand on his own, stop trembling.

  25. Michelle Hed

    The Gift

    I was running on empty,
    there was too much to do –
    Three jobs to juggle
    and a potluck Fondu.

    I worked for an artist
    who liked me to model –
    He thought he was a stud
    but really, he walks with a waddle.

    I worked in the mail room
    for a large office complex –
    The guys were nice but only had one speed,
    consisting of sex and how they peed.

    My final job was a lucrative one,
    but only lasted a twenty-four days –
    Delivering corporate gift baskets
    for Christmas really pays.

    I lived alone
    in my three room flat,
    with my wee dachshund
    and a stuffed cat.

    I was lonely
    and feeling blue –
    While eating Fondu
    I met you.

    We hit if off
    right from the start –
    We dated for years
    playing it smart.

    We finally got married
    and settled down –
    We have three kids
    and a dog running around.

    You were my soul mate,
    my one and only –
    You were my gift
    when I was lonely.

    Now we’re old
    and a little gray,
    but your still the best gift
    and I’m thankful every day.

  26. Walt Wojtanik


                                                                      and still,
                                                                     the way a
                                                                    night like this
                                                                   should be. All have
                                                                retired, they surely look-
                                                                ed tired and worn. They’ll
                                                               be better in the morning, they
                                                            have earned their rest.   They did
                                                                their best. I’d be resting too, but
                                                                    it’s just that I’ve still too much to do.
                                                     There’s   that list; a new quick check for updates,
                                                    reprieves from me in a stretch.   A call to the stable,
              assuring                           this latest chapter of the fable goes off without a hitch.
           The    s    uit                        is pressed. The boots shine next to the white fur, setting
         the    brig       ht                     crimson ablaze; a staple for the Holidays. Am I crazy, or has
        De     cember     co               me more rapid than eagles? It feels like it to me. Time flies
          wh   en I’m hav ing     fun.        I scan under the tree with a twinkled eye, spying the
       presents displayed. Every          brightly wrapped package becomes the best prize, never
        taking away from the next, at        best joining each box in wonder and richness. But,
       there is one gift that draws my attention. Did I ever mention my total love of Christmas?  It
         is in that spirit that I take up this Gift so incons       picuous, yet so utterly necessary   for
         this day. For in my hands, I hold perfection. At    closer inspection, I am certain. No gift of Christmas was ever so right; so accepted. So loved.   Remembering the verse, “…and the
    greatest of these, is Love”, my heart swells, a telling    sign that Christmas lives within me.
     This                            Gift      so needed, fills my hands with its girth, and makes my heart
        wor                        thy                through all that it espouses. It houses purity, and sanct-
             ity.                It                       represents love. The Truest of All Love. And so it is
                 with      this                   First Gift of Christmas.              I bow my head; a silent
                     prayer                         prepares me for my jour           ney. “God so       loved
                  the       wor                      ld that he gave his only            son…”              and
              I ret             urn           The Babe to His manger, the love of Christmas fills me. I raise
           from                     my      knee, coming to stand near the tree. I am Santa Claus, chosen to be an icon of the season. I am humbled to receive “The Gift” I represent Who gives it a reason.          Walking in silence and reverent thought, to a waiting sleigh and a day of love.

  27. Colette ;D

    ~ Notice of Receipt ~

    I make note of notoriety
    and notice I don’t want it.

    I take notes and annotations
    of notable thoughts to share;

    I write notes of notable
    notions to blog, post, or send.

    But no note of receipt is noted
    for banknotes of notability,

    for the only notice I notice
    is the notice of a friend.

  28. Colette ;D

    ~ Recycling Receipts ~

    Of all the receipts
    that I receive,
    the only ones
    I’d like to save
    are the ones
    for which I paid
    little to nothing
    I save them in the
    pockets of my heart.

    The morning snugs,
    the bedtime hugs,
    the “I love you Mommy”’s
    and “love you, mom”’s
    (from the older one),
    are the payments I receive
    for which I paid nothing
    but the everything
    saved up in the
    pockets of my heart.


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