Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 115

Before we get into this week’s prompt, I just want to make you aware of all the fun stuff happening at Poetic Asides. Click here to read about it all. Challenges, chapbooks, and more!


For today’s prompt, write a poem about something you (or someone or something else) are dreading. An example would be writing a poem about an impending visit to the dentist or an upcoming test. Or it could even be the specter of bad traveling conditions for the holidays.

Here’s my attempt:

“To grandmother’s house”

Snow-covered guardrails and tracks spiraling
into the median from a two-lane Interstate
to a minivan that’s no longer going anywhere.


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77 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 115

  1. Meg

    I feel like a child
    clumsily walking
    in her mother’s high heels
    makeup smeared on her face
    who, when arrives at the party
    everyone laughs
    at her adorable charm and charade
    when in reality
    she’s trying her best
    to be beautiful.

  2. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    Hi All!! As part of my new year resolution, I’ve decided this year is about ME! Last year things got far too stressful, so i’m taking all measures possible to do the things I want to do and are for me – and getting back into the poetry writing is one of them! I know this is late, it’s taken me some time to get organised 🙂
    It’s been awhile, so I think I’m going to be quite rusty :S
    This one came easily to me though, I know what I am dreading!

    Chains and shackles

    Whip cracking overhead
    Sneers in my eardrum
    Demanding more more more!
    Tugging and pulling
    Clawing at my legs
    Even in my sleep
    Rattling around my head
    Suitcases under each eye
    Drag my lead feet
    To try to survive another day
    In a school with little appreciation
    A place where I am berated
    For using my initiative
    For dressing ‘outlandish’
    To wear a suit, will make me
    A much better teacher
    What magic!

  3. Nilo Simogan

    To Die Poor

    When my mom brought me to this world
    I had nothing. I was naked and crying.

    As I grow older, I want the world to be mine
    I want everything. I am dreaming and exciting.

    When I draw my last breath, I want to die rich.
    I want the best of this world in my hand. Now, I’m still dreaming.

  4. Monica Martin

    I dread winter and cold,
    the snow and ice. I can’t
    handle the cold, and even
    just reading winter stories
    or watching winter movies
    causes me to curl up within

  5. Rinkly Rimes


    (On seeing a sign saying ‘Last Chance to Podium.’)

    There may be people out there who understand this ad!

    Maybe it’s something up-to-date, the very latest fad!

    Maybe I should ‘podium’ if it’s quite the latest thing!

    Maybe it is vital to those who’re in the swing.

    I’ve never thought of ‘podiuming’. I’m filled with nervous doubt!

    This gold and silver message makes me feel that I’ve missed-out!

    I look at people in the street and try to make a guess….

    Are they cheerful ‘podiumers’ all filled with happiness?

    What happens if one ‘podiums’? Does one get up and speak,

    Standing at a rostrum and feeling very chic?

    The word seems to imply it, but it doesn’t make much sense.

    But then, I’m quite ‘un-podiumed’ so I may be rather dense!

    It says ‘Last Chance’! Have I missed it? Am I doomed to be inept

    Because the whole thing passed me by as I, ignorantly, slept?

    Oh woe is me! I’m ‘podiumless’! I should feel so contrite!

    And yet, you know, it’s a funny thing….. I feel perfectly all right!


  6. Nancy Posey

    One Week

    Why did I never notice that sliver of a week
    poised between Christmas and the New Year?
    The calendar grants permission to tidy up,
    bringing one year to a close, yet we rush
    toward January with no sense of the gift:
    one full week without great expectations.
    I’m in no race, so turning to look back
    brings no penalty or risk. I can take stock,
    accounting for all the immeasurable gifts
    one year has brought—love without loss,
    fresh starts, new friends without a need
    to relinquish the old. For just this week,
    I’ll sit down with Father Time, asking
    if he’ll stay around to usher in the new
    child, showing him the ropes, teaching
    him a thing or two, teaching me as well,
    how to make the most of what I have.

  7. stu pidasso

    My Holiday Hangover
    by stu pidasso

    I love my hectic holidays.

    I drive the five hundred miles of Texas’ winding beauty,
    to pick up my kids, turn around and traverse back to home.
    We brave the megamall mania to forage for that perfect something
    for each and every cousin, uncle and aunt. We tenderly dress
    each treasure with festive decorations and conjure magical
    holiday goodness for the mass of beloved family visitors.

    But when all the joy has been wrought, the tree’s fruit plucked,
    the field of feasts ravaged and savaged, all the remnants of the laughter
    hauled and discarded; the long trip to return my daughter and son home
    culminates in the worst day of my winter vacation.

    Hugging them goodbye once again. Bah, humbug.

  8. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Joseph … I too thought of " dreads" but delighted in how you were as usual able to, dare I pun, weave as usual a wonderful poem …. Bravo

    Amy… Enjoyed all …. Thanks for your shout out on rolled eyes…. Hope your move is moving along well!

    Laurie… Could feel the angst of the family get together, so articulate in so few yet vivid images!

    Again, Sharon, your words echo on and on….

    To all… Looking forward to a new prompt and a bright shining new year filled with promise and possibility

    To those familiar voices on The Street who I suppose have been busy with Christmas and other endeavors….miss you ….Barbara, RC, Daniel,Iain,Sara Gwen, Arash, and all! To the many wonderful new voices, looking forward to reading more!

  9. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    next of kin
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    the fear
    the irrationality
    of it all
    began long ago
    when you were still in utero,
    started with
    a dream
    a vision
    a knowing chain of events
    that would ultimately lead
    to this very moment,
    the dark car pulling curbside
    the men in dark glasses
    uniformed hats tucked under arms
    standing at my door
    hoping the porch begonias
    surrounding us would somehow
    soften the blow
    temper the dread
    render us all
    cranes of origami
    and light.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  10. AC Leming


    The dreadnought closes in.
    Her reactors burn bright 
    as the stars she blots
    with her bulk.  
    we wait.  My crew, my
    wayward children, gathered
    from the underbelly of the 
    stations which had no use
    for the uneducated they left
    ……………..So we preyed on ships
    who had too much, played 
    Robin to their Sherriff.
    But it’s over now.  Our feeble
    bow lasers no match for their
    world killer catapults.  
    die fighting off the law,
    the ships which take no
    account of wayfarers like us,
    the flotsam and jetsam 
    unsuited to their short-
    sighted restrictions. 

  11. Connie Peters

    Great work, everyone! My favorites: Willy, Bruce, Amy (Santa Take Care), Maggie E, Sharon Ingraham, Sam Nielson (Fruit Cake), Nancy Posey, rmpWritings, Maureen Sexton, Margaret Fieland, RJ (Holiday Overeating), Rob Halpin, Laurie Kolp, Rinkly Rimes, Salvator Butacci, Nancy J

  12. Willy

    Before it was done,
    I was filled with urgency.
    Let’s get this over with,
    this testing and poking,
    prodding and guessing and
    I’m tired of not knowing,
    worrying about what might
    be growing and crowding
    the rest of my body I
    can’t see out of shape,
    into only God-knows-what,
    leaving me wondering
    at how long I’ll be living
    or how soon I’ll be
    But after it was done, and
    I was given a clean bill,
    only then did my eyes and ears
    clear, see and hear those around
    me who have legitimate claim
    to tears and fears, some with
    no more years
    to count.


  13. Walt Wojtanik


    A day of infamy.
    I cannot see past tomorrow.
    For in my sorrow, I will relish
    the last days afforded me.
    For you see, I’m on vacation
    until the third. It is absurd
    to think the world will end
    on that day. But, my vacation will.
    I return to the fray
    without another scheduled day
    until the following third;
    I dread the third. My birthday.
    My day of infancy.

  14. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Chicago Winter (December 2010)

    Not looking forward to the rest of winter,
    slush under foot from a temporary thaw.

    The mercury on that thermometer stuck
    outside my window glass is guaranteed
    to drop, re-freezing snow melt, studding
    sidewalks with glacial cleats and glazing
    pavement with black ice.
    For us walkers
    who’ve given up cars, the forecast is for
    snagged feet, smashed-up knees, bruised
    behinds from a whipper-snapper winter,
    still an infant, scarcely one week old.

  15. S.E.Ingraham

    Amy – no worries – your poem, as always, was delightful, and just what was needed right about now. Thanks for the condolences – my brother and I were once very close; losing him hurts more than I can articulate or even sense yet but the kindness of others has helped immensely …

  16. Bruce Niedt

    Inspired by the weather in NJ today:

    Blizzard Villanelle

    The coming snow, a thing we dread:
    the forecast says a foot or more.
    We storm the stores for milk and bread.

    The first flakes fall, our fears are fed –
    No shovels found in any store.
    The coming snow, a thing we dread.

    It piles on roofs above our heads,
    it drifts right up against our door.
    A good thing we bought milk and bread.

    It coats the lawns, it overspreads
    the streets and driveways – we’re in for
    this heavy snow, the thing we dread.

    Everything’s closed, the news just said –
    the schools, the malls, the roads and more:
    the stores, cleaned out of milk and bread.

    Let’s live in Florida instead!
    Our power failed at half-past four,
    We watch, with meals of milk and bread,
    the raging snow, the thing we dread.

  17. Connie Peters

    Sevenling (Christmas Remnants)

    An evergreen containing symbols of Christmases past
    Sparkling lights lending warmth and color
    A crocheted Nativity Set alluding to the reason

    The page about to turn
    The front door loaded with cards
    Empty boxes waiting

    So fun going up, a pain coming down

  18. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Sharon, just read your post. I’m so sorry for your loss and hope you didn’t interpret my poem as a slam on the troops, because they are the folks doing the hard work. What a horrible price to pay. I’m very moved by your words and again, sorry for my timing…

  19. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    One more on "dread," but not in the way you think. It’s also on my blog,


    This, the Fat Man’s night of nights
    Tuck them in and dim the lights
    Lest he catch them still awake
    Waiting for a peek to take

    No one thinks about how hard
    this job is, to stay on guard
    Treacherous, this wonder work
    Dangers all around him lurk

    Will he get stuck twixt the bricks
    Holding Billy’s hockey sticks?
    Will his leg be rendered null
    by the Sanderson’s pit bull?

    Will his bag be torn a shred
    Getting pulled from rooftop sled?
    Will he miss a deadline ‘cause
    Mrs. Green’s cat bared her claws?

    What if someone’s rancid cocoa
    makes his intestines go loco?
    Santa, hear my words this eve:
    Take good care, ‘cause we believe!

    (c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

  20. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Dear Sharon, With you words, with the love that pours from the page you bring tears to eyes to one who now knows him through you and the depth of your love and honour. You have fulfilled the words that ring as loud and true as any Christmas bell from the highest steeple in a clear blue sky….

    This man, my brother, that died last week
    And honouring the man he became
    For the friends he made and the life he led
    Maybe these are the things I need to remember

    You have immortalized your brother Bill, wrapped him in your words of love forever shared and poured into the open hearts of others.

    Enjoy the memories of what you have done in his honour.
    With all my love,

  21. maggie e

    Christmas 2010

          It’s not about the getting, so I’m told.
          If so, I’m expert on this Christmas scene
          since I’ll not get you spending any green
          on silly things like diamonds set in gold,
          a fragrance I might like, some magic sold
          inside a whiskey bottle, magazine
          subscriptions, a new internet machine
          or just a coat against this winter cold.

          No, clearly I deserve far shorter shrift
          than simply not receiving things as such
          might to some higher plane my spirits lift
          empowered by the honor of your thrift.
          It’s easier than that. I’m not worth much
          beyond what you held on to to regift.

  22. Walt Wojtanik


    Years pass.
    Christmas never changes.
    In the exchange of gifts and greeting
    there is a meeting of hearts and it starts.
    Thoughts of voices that have been silenced
    and smiles that have faded into misty memory.
    Melancholy peeks through the windows
    of a heart broken soul; a token show of
    love for loved ones long vacant.
    At some point you anoint these recollections;
    a status of legend and immortality takes hold.
    We remember Christmases of long ago as if
    they are visions of a changeable future.
    It nurtures us and give our sorrow rest.
    The tomorrows are the best when our steps
    are guided and propelled by the lessons learned.
    Through our losses, we remember the wonder of love
    and we will be healed by it; the gift of Christmas.

  23. S.E.Ingraham

    Remembering Bill

    Everyone has been incredibly kind
    Beyond my wildest imaginings really
    The Salvation Army, bless them
    Have donated The Warrior’s Song Cafe

    Just the name of the place tugs
    At my heart-strings; I know he would
    Approve of this choice for his memorial
    And as if this weren’t enough

    The pastor is doing the service, gratis
    Another pastor, the one who runs the cafe
    But who is on holiday that day tells me
    She will just “throw a turkey in the oven”

    The night before, so we will have meat
    For sandwiches for after the service
    And we are welcome to the cookies
    Pies and other sweets we will find there

    And of course, the tea and coffee is ours
    For the taking – oh – of course –
    Who is this munificent? I find their generosity
    Just a about undoes me but am so grateful

    Especially as the woman pastor tells me
    How to be kind to myself, how I am doing
    This last thing for my brother and what a fine
    Thing it is for me to be doing; she seems to sense

    How much reassurance I need about this
    How unsure I am, how afraid that I will do
    The wrong thing, betray him in death the way
    I did in life; she seems able to comfort me

    Without really knowing the whole story
    And I am coming to realize that perhaps
    The story is not as important as I thought
    Perhaps it’s more about laying to rest

    This man, my brother, that died last week
    And honouring the man he became
    For the friends he made and the life he led
    Maybe these are the things I need to remember

  24. Mike Bayles


    I wonder what kind of hell is this,
    this night without sleep.
    My body burns,
    my body aches,
    by the gods,forsaken,
    and I’m awakened
    by thoughts and fears
    of misdeeds.
    Even my mattress, grown hard, is unforgiving.
    No position eases the torment I feel
    while shadows hover over my mortal frame.
    I toss and turn on this restless night,
    and everyone around me sleeps.
    Even closed eyes can’t rid me of demon thoughts
    or save me from this private hell.

  25. sara gwen

    Dread Aubade

                            Neighborhood’s stirring. Meaning soon we wake.
                      it easy. When it comes time to, I’ll help pack.
                in bed, you. Come let’s turn our dream back on.
          will turn it off behind us after you’re gone
             leaving me a day dropping in as unanticipated
                as being forgotten. God, of all you’ve created,
                                     take back dawn!

  26. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    WARNING: Do not read if you don’t like my politics, but some fears need to be expressed at this moment. Dedicated to my friend Justin, who’s doing the work described.


    Christmas is here again.
    Here in Afghanistan.
    Another year of kissing a computer screen
    instead of my baby girl’s cheek.
    Only dreams of snugglin’ with my wife
    whisperin’ ’bout the future.

    When I get home (if I get home),
    we’re fixin’ to make another baby,
    so Ashley won’t be spoiled rotten
    Specially by her grandma, who
    lets her eat crap when at her house
    while my wife works at the Walmart.

    Lord, I’m scared I won’t make it back.
    Scared that my buddy who went to Iraq first
    (then got called back here) will crack up
    and take us out while he’s shootin’ locals.
    Sarge said it’s not bad to put some of ’em
    out of their misery, so we let him go a little postal.

    I’m scared of dyin’ here, we hit an IED and
    Danny lost his leg, coupla fingers.
    Man, he was so high on morphine he was
    singin’ Christmas carols while we were
    scramblin’ around under fire
    trying to pick up his spare parts.

    They hate us, we hate them, so it’s even.
    A fair fight, but what the hell are we doin’ here
    at Christmas? Eatin’ sand in our rations and
    watchin’ guys I train haul ass to the Taliban side.
    I had to shoot one guy who was makin’ his move. In the back.
    Dear Lord, I wonder what Jesus would think of me now?


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