Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 141

For this week’s prompt, write an empty poem. The poem should somehow play off the idea of empty–maybe empty rooms, empty containers, empty threats, etc. Or maybe you could empty the poem of vowels or prepositions. Your call.

Here’s my attempt:

“Will Strikes Again”

The popcorn box is empty of popcorn packages
replaced with five Hot Wheels; the emptied Pop Tart box
conceals several green plastic army men; and
hidden within the bottom cupboard is a laughing
two-year-old emptying the giggles from his lungs.


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49 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 141

  1. taylor graham


    They walk single-file
    as if in sequence up the dark corridor.
    The first with her unlit lantern lacking oil.
    The next, with a bloodless knife
    held tenderly as a small bird. The third
    with arms outstretched before her,
    bearing a chalice fashioned from a sieve.
    You might think them nuns or seers
    in chiaroscuro, how life shoots swift
    through all the lightened, reaching limbs
    as their figures disappear into dark
    and distance

  2. taylor graham


    Gap between tooth and
    cat’s cry, night-black empty
    but for disintegrating

    stars – a lost molar
    crown-treasure of the dumb
    mouth’s sparkling dark

    keeps me from sedimentary
    sleep. Layered rocks’
    fossil-vertebrae, ferns, teeth,

    songs aeons-old beyond
    our poor
    mouths’ mortal singing.

  3. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    sometimes we take the wrong fork in the road
    and then, end up with nothing to show for all our troubles,
    lest maybe a black eye
    and an empty gas tank in the middle of nowhere.
    but i suppose nowhere is as good a place as any
    when you’re sixteen going on fail.
    empty is the sound your gut makes
    when your cup runneth hollow
    and the buzzards are circling.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  4. De Jackson


    She collects the bottles
    as if these fragile vessels
    might hold some secret,
    some tiny liquefied vestige
    of hope way down deep
    some fully steeped and savage
    alchemy of change and right and reason.

    This season of her soul knows no
    fill, as wonder and will wrangle
    tangled tongues
    and tired lungs exhale words unspent.
    Now unsent, faith unfeathers,
    unfetters abandoned cage
    until there is nothing left but hollowed heart
    spilled out over empty page.


    Empty me
    that You might fill
    every corner
    with Your will.

  5. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Repost from last week -lost in the ether!

    It’s not in the detail,
    the detail was lost long ago,
    it’s not where are my glasses?
    or what time is it?
    it’s who am I?
    the whole, the entirety,
    the big picture,
    the past,
    has gone.

    The light that shone is extinguished,
    the voice of right and wisdom,
    that sounded deep inside since the dawn of time,
    is silent,
    not a whisper remains,
    drifted away on the comet tail
    of forgotten memories.

    The shell functions,
    as a shell,
    on auto-pilot,
    motor-neurons have purpose
    and work still to do,
    unknown work,
    unremembered purpose,
    the visual cortex is blank,
    as is the stare,
    a smile curls at the lips edge:
    the visitor is the person in the picture
    on the bedside cabinet,
    yes! that’s who it is…
    …who is?

    Echoes of dream fragments stutter into
    and falter and fail
    and tail off into…
    …who did you say you were?

    The mirror is blank,
    no light enters here,
    no shadows are cast,
    no one,
    no thing,
    no sound,
    no thought,
    that can be formed into words enters here,
    the void,
    and if yesterday,
    or today could be remembered,
    then lungs would fill with air,
    and lips would open wide
    and a booming voice would scream
    and scream
    and scream
    and scream
    who am I?
    who are you, dear?

    it’s so dark in here
    it’s so quiet in here
    almost as if…
    …as if…
    …what was I saying, dear?


  6. SalvatoreButtaci



    Jim sits thinking
    in the drizzling mist:
    Will I win?


    He feels he’s hedged
    the bet.


    Days pass.
    A pal prays.


    Who knows
    who won!


    “unlucky” hurts


  7. Nancy Posey

    I’m late this time–mine has been the empty place as I spent a wonderful week at the Swannanoa Gathering.

    Empty Seat

    At sixteen they understand the missing man formation,
    resisting their teacher’s well intentioned efforts to move
    his seat out of the room, its constant reminder
    of his absence a looming presence. And so the desk
    remained—empty—in the same row where he’d sat
    all year, almost invisible even then, plot his own
    disappearance into nothingness. Even at sixteen
    none was naïve enough to try to read some clue,
    some answer in the hieroglyphs he’d carved there.
    Maybe next year, when they all moved to other
    rooms, other desks, new assigned seats, his too
    could simply disappear, but for these next few weeks,
    it remained, nudging them to pay attention, never
    again to mistake quiet, eyes making no contact,
    for any lack of human need, for self sufficiency.
    The empty seat—his desk—their lasting lesson.

  8. MiskMask


    Music is empty now.
    Amy took her voice,
    flavoured of salty liquorice,
    textured of velvety smooth
    sandpaper and she’s left
    us empty but for scratched
    memories on shiny silver disks.

  9. Dyson McIllwain

    A Week of Empty Days

    Away from the grind,
    a mind at rest and loving
    the stagnation.
    It is rejuvenation I am after,
    and so walking off in the pursuit
    of mystic pipes and a search
    to debunk the dreaded
    Lough McIllwain Monster
    seems to be my solitary quest.
    A journey unplanned
    but well taken, forsaking
    electronic enslavement
    and social kinship
    for a sip of whiskey and
    nothing else over which
    to concern myself.
    Holidays always end.
    How unfortunate this is so.

  10. Dennis Wright


    This is the age that falls empty upon the stage,
    and tumbles in a roll bouncing backward as it goes,
    then falling in the hole, from where black coal,
    distills into rich, rich, bubbeling crude oil.


  11. Michael Grove


    They gaze into each others eyes.
    They know not what to do,
    to move beyond the here and now
    and past the déjà vu.

    They seek a similar delight,
    but neither one can start.
    They take a step, but it’s away
    and move farther apart.

    By Michael Grove

      1. Michael Grove

        Mamihlapinatapai – an empty feeling or look that 2 people share but fail to communicate. Both people want the same thing. Neither one moves on it leaving both empty.
        This 16 letter word is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the “most succinct word”, and is considered one of the hardest words to translate.

  12. RobHalpin

    Posted two last week that I hope Robert is able to retrieve along with everyone else’s who posted prior to the site change.

    Here are two more–same title, different forms:

    (form: lune)
    Empty Vows

    space between their bodies
    is dwarfed by
    space between their hearts

    (form: shadorma)
    Empty Vows

    “til death us do part”
    no longer
    refers to
    eternal love, but rather
    until the lust dies

    1. RobHalpin

      Shazbat! I changed the lune as I was entering it into the form here and missed that ‘bodies’ now makes it six syllables… changed it back to what I originally had here:

      space between their beds
      is dwarfed by
      space between their hearts

      1. Dennis Wright

        Your original opening line is better. It ties the begining of the set of poems to the end of the set and gives the poem a story line. The use of lust as the concluding thought calls for such an opening line. Lust dies when bridled, married to rules, customs, and ways of life – not to the pleasure of being with one another.

  13. Domino

    Almost panicked when my regular link to Poetic Asides did not work. Now I’ve found the site, registered, and find the poems are all missing… Here’s mine once more from last Wednesday’s prompt.

    More Empty Than I Thought it Would Be

    My youngest son
    moved out,
    moved on.
    (Of course, he left a lot of his stuff behind.)

    And now, instead of
    empty plates
    and cereal boxes
    and ice cream containers

    the house is very empty now.

    And instead of
    full laundry hampers
    and waste bins
    and family room

    the house is full of silence now.

    Or maybe it’s just me that’s empty.

  14. SaBlonde

    Here are my three from the “empty” prompt.

    Empty Meanings

    Empty does not only feel sad.
    I stood on the bare wood
    floors of my swept clean house,
    where I had spent twenty-three
    years of my married life,
    but seven more as a guest
    in this former home of my best friends,
    watching their children crawl,
    walk, and grow up. Now, a broom
    and dustpan leaned against
    a bare wall. I said a tearful good-bye

    and when I planted my feet
    on the floor of my new home,
    nearly three thousand miles
    away, there was nothing
    to look at except two
    beach chairs. The house
    was empty, yet I felt
    an anticipation of fulfillment.


    July 21st

    I cannot give you a birthday present
    today. I cannot watch your gnarled
    knuckles bend to tear the paper
    from my gift. I cannot watch for
    your smile of delight, eyes filling
    with joy, loving any gift I give
    you, declaring it perfect. There
    is no ribbon, no purple paper,
    no box, large or small. There is
    no more you, and my empty
    heart aches for my Dad.


    The Mallowmar Thief

    The box sat
    in the steel bread box
    right up front,
    one sleeve left
    of Mallowmars. I reached in;
    Cardboard box felt light,

    far too light.
    I’d make do with two.
    Oh horrors!
    Empty box.
    Brown paper crackled inside,
    sister’s handiwork

  15. Michael Grove

    Thank You Linda.H. Awhile ago I was reading some of Eve Brackenbury’s beautiful work and she had so kindly given me her thoughts and perspectives on the use of “Enclosure” in poetry to frame or bracket the piece with repetition. I used it here. I can feel the stuck lump in you poem, “My Empty Mouth”.

  16. Linda.H

    My Empty Mouth

    It is now more than physical distance
    that separates the two of us.
    I search for a way to mend this rift,
    to find the perfect things to say
    to express my deepest dispare
    but my mouth is empty.
    Those exact words I long to speak
    have yet to surface, not lost
    but slipped from beneath my tongue
    and down my throat, bunched up.
    Perhaps they are the lump
    I feel stuck within my heart.
    Why not look inside?
    You might be surprise
    at what you find.

    1. claudsy

      Good poem, Dennis, though I wouldn’t call this a Haiku. But then I’m not familiar with every form of that designation. I could see it as in the Haiku family. It does stand for me as profound. Liked it a lot.

      1. Dennis Wright

        I learned, years ago, there are two forms of the Hiaku. There is the 13 syllable “Hi” aku and an 11 syllable “Lo” aku. This poem fits in the later category.

        Thanks for the compliments!

  17. CoFun77


    A morning cup, the meditating self
    A moonscape, Mother Hubbard’s shelf
    A B-list seat, a mathematical set
    A lazy man’s day, a misplaced bet

    A teen’s wallet or piggybank
    An unfortunate traveler’s tank
    A recycle bin, a frugal man’s cart
    A candy box, a jilted heart

    Insincere promises, Dopey’s head
    Poor men’s pockets, a worker’s bed
    Outer space, skinny jeans
    Flattery, a blocked writer’s screen

    Mid-age nest, backsliders’ pews
    A boring life, a toddler’s shoes
    Pursuit of money, a barren womb
    A drunkard’s bottle, Jesus’ tomb

  18. Michael Grove

    Shirt Pocket

    He crossed the street and the street
    crossed him. It was all there for him
    to take to the bank. It was enough
    to last him forever. He kept it in
    his shirt pocket where it was closest
    to his heart. On his way to the bank
    with it he stopped to have some candy.
    Then a delicious frozen treat which
    melted in his mouth and on his tongue
    and lips and ran down his chin and
    dripped onto his shirt where it stained him.

    He spotted something shiny in the
    dirt and he stopped to pick it up.
    As he bent over and inverted
    himself, part of which he had held so
    near and dear to his heart in his stained
    shirt pocket fell out and to the ground beneath him, and he moved along.

    There were so many shops and stops
    along side his path on his way to the
    bank. He found a warm snack, then
    a hot meal and unsafe shelter from
    the storms that always surrounded
    him but were never above him.

    When he reached the bank he did not
    realize but he did discover that his
    shirt pocket which was closest to his
    heart was now empty. That which he
    had held there had been lost on his
    way to the bank. He went outside
    once again and he crossed the street
    and the street crossed him.

    By Michael Grove

      1. Michael Grove

        Thank You Both Linda.H and Claudsy. I still have to get used to the new comments link at each posting. That is 1 good feature here at the new PA. Further comments 4U below Linda.H. Loosing all we have along our way “to the bank” is a sad state of affairs, especially that which we hold the closest to our hearts. I never feel that my free verse poetry is all that great, but I am rather pleased with this piece and I do feel that “Judge No More” above is one of my best short rhymers ever. Thanks again to both of you. I sure hope that others can get our new street figured out and come and join the party here.

  19. DrPKP

    Lol…do not know where that ” pit of empty ” tag line came from since there is no longer automatic preview…
    Robert, think your vacation has come at just the right time, hope you are enjoying,…and know how much you are valued.

  20. DrPKP

    There once was a writer from WD
    That could not the true bottom line -see
    Who thought it was ads and chatting one to another
    That made more successful a blog come to be
    The braniacs there who decided
    to change a successful format and editor unique
    will find I fear
    that many walk off
    from here
    sad as might be
    keenly empty
    deprived of a poetic family

    with a pit of empty

  21. DrPKP

    Empty heart

    Once upon a midnight perhaps dreary
    Stumbled upon a site unweary
    Where an editor encouraged
    writing freely first to share
    A prompted poem each day submitted
    No competitive edge with one poet against another pitted
    Instead a word of welcome, perhaps a comment or two
    And watched we in mutual confidence as we grew
    But more than even the inestimable writing pleasure
    Became a community where one could treasure
    A place often referred to as a safe home
    And on writing and posting one’s own poem
    And yes, looking for a favorable mention
    Time and time again read through
    Original poets and posts that were new
    Led always by Robert Brewer editor and poet too
    Now a change, a dilution of the fellow who gave his all and all their due
    This is not fair the strollers of PA Street roared
    We will not have our street nor our leader “whored”
    A young professional man always truly loyal and productive for WD
    Deserves elevation to a far higher state, never to be treated so shabbily
    I do not get the blank white page
    I do not get the log in stage
    I do not get the erasure of a particular feel of Robert Lee
    Who is now forced into editing a site bearing his name
    But, of him, empty!

  22. DrPKP

    Empty Street

    There only memories of verdant trees
    white blossoms showering
    The Street with melodic musing
    Stolen souls sanitized, emptied, compartmentalized
    corporatized, in a banal attempt to coral
    the creative poet editors
    humiliating show of poetic license abused
    Poet Asides, never was, nor will be an “aside”

    Creativity is not easily contained
    Somewhere verdant trees toppled and torn will push saplings
    through the concrete of this parking lot where once a
    poetic community formed and flourished

  23. pmwanken


    I’ve come to the end of my day, feeling quite empty.
    I look for what can fill me, discovering my night’s empty.

    The longing for love is strong, like an addiction,
    Like an addiction to what once swirled in this bottle, right empty.

    Early on in this search, I looked for who could fill me.
    My search for the best quality red, rose’ or white: empty.

    And then my standards lessened, as desperation set in.
    I consumed it all, whatever I might empty.

    Now alone, I jiggle the door to that last locked cabinet.
    I catch my reflection in the glass, Paula, what a sad sight: empty.

    P. Wanken

    * There are extensive “process notes” on my blog for this one. The form: Ghazal.


  24. Caren


    One shot, two, then three
    Drowning stress;
    Troubles blur
    And fade until my head hurts
    And my stomach aches.

    Just one more
    Hoping for comfort,
    Finding none;
    All I have
    Are empty bottles and dreams
    I never reached for.

    Caren E. Salas

  25. Michael Grove

    Judge No More

    When we can look at one another,
    taking direction from above
    and leave it all to fate
    finding unconditional love
    thus accepting all as one
    and ending every war
    while living with compassion
    then we will judge no more.

    By Michael Grove

  26. barbara_y

    (This may be the only time I’m in the first slot. Takes a site revamp to do it)


    who always wears purple on Thursday
    because it makes you feel cheerful, and
    God Knows, Thursdays need cheering

    Caroline, that Caroline,
    would never complain
    Feels old.
    because she remembers life
    without boneless Buffalo wings?
    without yoghurt granola and brunch?

    or because this morning she sat
    on the floor for five minutes, wondering:
    when was the last time
    she cleaned under the sofa, without
    having to plan how to get up again

    remembering Mr Anthony, who brought
    television checks from The Millionaire,


  27. Dyson McIllwain

    By the Pint

    Rattle, rattle.
    Tossed aside for another round.
    Is the ground tilted?
    Feeling jilted and quite
    unstable. Unable to keep
    my feet. Any more malt
    and whatever happens
    will not be my fault.
    Walking a fine line
    although not a straight one.
    What a party! Yea, a great one
    as empty bottles and tins can attest.


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