Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 156

This is our first Wednesday Poetry Prompt since the 2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. I hope everyone’s having fun getting their chapbooks together who participated.

For this week’s prompt, write a “while you were gone” poem. We’ve been gone from the Wednesday Poetry Prompts since October–crazy as that sounds. But with the holiday season upon us, I’m sure we’ve either recently or will soon have those moments in which we catch up with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while–so what’s changed while you were gone?

Here’s my attempt:

“Poem-A-Day Blues”

My poems
played a game of hide
and seek while
I pushed through
November. Now, I’m not sure
how to revise them.


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368 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 156

  1. richard-merlin atwater

    I will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone
    a Merry Christmas this year …
    My way of saying that I am celebrating
    the birth Of Jesus Christ.
    So I am asking my email buddies,
    if you agree with me,
    to please do the same.
    And if you’ll pass this on to
    your email buddies, and so on…
    maybe we can prevent one more
    American tradition from being lost in the sea of
    “Political Correctness”.

  2. Nimue

    While you were gone

    I had a nightmare last week
    and to none I could share it,
    so on a sheet of paper I wrote
    and into bits, the sheet i tore,
    sending my thoughts to winds
    and let sunshine cam me within,
    so while you managed to forget,
    I realized it was the best,
    to whisper nightmares,
    and keep them close,
    since people most times
    promise to stay yet are gone.

  3. 4marie

    by: fahtima marie

    when you left

    you didn’t leave a note

    or waive goodbye

    when you walked through that door

    you shut it tight

    and left your key

    when you left

    you left me

    and I sat;

    I sat at this window

    waiting to feel free.

    does your heart ache like mine?


    I’ll be free

    free of these chains wrapped around my soul;

    and for that day

    today I’ll sit

    sit in my window and smile..

    I’ll smile…..’cause I’m almost free.

  4. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    while you were gone
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    while you were gone
    the bruising on her arms darkened
    her eyelids fluttered in code,
    her pulse slowed to a water droplet
    her cheek color turned ashen and cold,
    her lips quivered, the words pasting
    themselves to the roof of her mouth
    while her left hand tightened around mine.
    she could wait on you no longer so
    we drew one last deep breath together,
    before parting ways,
    hers over open water.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  5. Hannah

    ~OF SCARS~

    While you were gone I thought I might go through our dishes; each plate, bowl, cup and mug.
    I thought while you were away I should remove every piece with a ding, chip or crack.
    Starting with mugs: “Oh this is my favorite glazed mug, we’ve had it for years.”
    Memories flood, moments spent together in early morning hours sharing coffee.
    “Well behold, its just a tiny fissure in the rim, it’ll last another year for memory sake.”
    Making a sudden and practical realization, I abandon this plan for certain renewal,
    I trade it for uncertainty, knowing not when the demise of this mug will be, leaving it to the universe.
    So what if our memories are chipped and tainted like so many mugs, do we discard of them?
    I think it best to embrace them, learn from the unsightly blemish enjoy the gleaming good.
    Nothing can be perfect, let’s not send our cracked mugs to the scrap pile just yet.
    Upon removing every imperfection from our lives, we may mistakenly subtract
    Good or, “blessings in disguise,” so to speak, and find ourselves emptied.
    Rather let imperfect be the new perfect. Accept rather than resist,
    All the while striving for a more perfect imperfect.
    While you were gone, I thought I might magically erase mistakes
    Instead I lovingly traced soft, shiny scars and treasured them.

    1. The Happy Amateur

      I liked ‘Of Scars’ very much. Really struck a chord with me. And the idea of my blog, actually. If you get a chance, please check it out. I’d appreciate any comment, advice, critique, etc.
      Thank you!
      P.S. You can call me Happy!

  6. Dminor6

    Wednesday 8:39am

    The click of the door latch, like
    your kiss goodbye, wakes
    me just enough to start my
    next dream with the
    guilty pleasure of sleeping
    late in bedsheets laced
    with your body lotion and sweat
    and the pillow that held
    your eyes at a distance
    like the moon, so far away
    until you caught
    my eyes in
    a hopeful

    I pull and hold that pillow close to my ear
    to hear your words echo
    again and again
    “Yes, I do…”

    falling back into a dream
    with a smile
    and a hope

    that you come back



  7. The Happy Amateur

    Hi! A short tribute to John Lennon. He was killed 31 years ago today.

    While you were gone
    The world has changed,
    And stayed the same,
    The broken hearts
    Have not been fixed,
    And darkness lurks.
    But faith goes on,
    And hope still lives,
    And love prevails.

  8. cstewart

    While You Were Out V

    I looked after your animals,
    And saw some anxiety
    In their mannerisms,
    Wondering where you were,
    Nagus went to where you
    Parked your car,
    Sat down on her haunches,
    Lifted up her head
    And Howled.
    One long cry.

  9. Michael Grove

    Just A Little

    Just a little older than my yesterday.
    Can‘t hide the fact that it might start to show.
    Just a little slower than I was before.
    Maybe lost a half a step or so.

    Just a little better contemplating
    all events of destiny or force.
    Just a little tiny more resilient.
    Accepting things as matters of due course.

    Just a little wiser every single day.
    Never was too good at keeping score.
    Just a little closer to a peace of mind
    that everyone is always searching for.

    By Michael Grove

  10. DanielAri


    I’ve been edging toward your return since last Saturday.
    There’s no question that serving as you have is selfless
    in a way. When you flew out in 08 to put your life
    on the line for this country and its changing ideals,
    Katelyn, God bless her, hardly knew that you had gone.
    But she grew to feel it. From me, perhaps. I can’t reckon
    if the emails and videos and Iraqi Xmas gifts helped her
    touch your presence or your long absence. Anyway
    I told you how she salutes each and every American flag,
    the ones in the neighborhood and the one at the mall.
    Believe it or not, she’s turned six and grown so tall
    and graceful. She’s pushing her boundaries, says her dad
    is on her side, it doesn’t matter if he’s so far away.
    You know, she can read most of the Berenstain Bears
    by herself. Did I tell you? Our pastor and our flock
    have changed minds about things I thought were certain.
    I hardly know anymore what to tell Kate is really real.
    Now here you are in your kitchen again with your wife.
    Anyway, I don’t know where to start to confess
    about what’s gone through me since you were away.

  11. cstewart

    While You Were Away IV

    You would tell me
    What we might do,
    In case of a world event
    Crashing down on us –
    Losing our bodies,
    Crushing our psyches.

    Then we would play
    Guitar and sing,
    About love and desire.
    And eat apples.

    But now you are gone,
    And do not smell
    The sweetness of fruit,
    Or the dullness of hate.
    You capture thoughts,
    And being them around.

  12. cstewart

    While You Were Away III

    At first I hoped against hope,
    You were not truly lost to me,
    But; I knew you were.

    And the silence that followed,
    Moved like a black hole,
    Through my chest.

    Suddenly, abandoned forever-
    Your longings and desires,
    The sweet life that was you.

  13. tapasinmotion

    The great escape

    We must escape most everyday
    How to do it; through our play

    A walk with puppy in the park
    A beer or two or three at dark

    Some yoga, church, a favorite tune
    The dreams that fame will find us soon

    A nice long drive or sleeping in
    Let’s not forget erotic sin

    A meal which we can’t resist
    A book with which we must persist

    Whatever way in which we choose
    The great escape becomes our truth

  14. cstewart

    While You Were Away II

    So many things happened,
    So many people and events,
    That eventually did not matter.

    Because it was only living them
    With you,
    That created their value.

  15. cstewart

    While You Were Out

    I missed you as if
    A crucial part
    Had been extricated
    From my body.

    Only to release you –
    With grief –
    And some regret.

    For times I did not
    See –
    The best for myself,
    And your kindness.

  16. cstewart

    While You Were Away

    The sky got grayer,
    Sometimes I felt lucky
    That you were waiting
    For me.
    People seemed less friendly,
    And more responsible –
    For themselves.
    The music scene changed,
    And there were a lot
    Of new “Garage” sounds.
    The cultural ferment – finally
    Burst through for good –
    An immense relief.

  17. Bruce Niedt

    Welcome Home

    Maybe, like Arnold, you’ll be “bock”,
    or like McArthur, you shall return,
    come home like the cows,
    or all the chickens, to roost.
    You may show up at their door
    like the Prodigal Son,
    or come back the same day every year,
    like the swallows of Capistrano,
    or the buzzards of Hinckley, Ohio.
    You may migrate from a warm winter
    like the robins, or the “snowbirds”
    who jet home or drive the long spine
    of I-95 back from Florida.

    But anything could await you there:
    A new array of bad guys or enemy soldiers,
    a greener pasture, a swept-out coop,
    a killed and fatted calf, or a week of arguments
    that forces you to leave again.
    Maybe all your nesting trees were cut down,
    or they cleaned up all the carrion,
    and all the early worms have been taken.
    Maybe squirrels had a Christmas party
    in your house, or humans purged you
    of all your valuables. Like it or not,
    home keeps plugging along without you;
    you need to be prepared to take
    the bitter with the sweet.

  18. taylor graham


    The City impounded Holly’s car.
    That ’65 VW bus, turquoise & white, &
    rust-colored, you remember,
    she used to drive it to work except
    in winter. She’d park it on that hill behind
    the office, to get a running start. Its top
    speed was the ambient temperature:
    35 degrees=35 mph; 25, 25. At zero
    it stopped cold, so she rode her bike
    to the bus stop to get to work.
    Last winter she lost her job.
    She couldn’t pay her rent, so she slept
    in the VW, in a thrift-store mummy bag.
    It was home. She ate cold out of cans.
    But the City has an ordinance, they
    towed her VW away. She can’t pay
    the impound fee to get it back. All her
    stuff was inside. I don’t know where
    she is now. People come and go
    all the time.

  19. jane hoover

    Grandson’s Visit

    Still –
    While you were gone
    John came – he the one
    who rarely found his way
    into the ring of family

    Still –
    While you were gone
    to that distant coma
    John came – he to hold
    your hand, sit and sit
    beside the metal rails

    Still –
    I recall blue eyes, the
    rounds he watched, this silent
    time awakening the core
    while he waited now

    Jane Penland Hoover
    December 8, 2011

  20. Mike Bayles

    First Snow of a New Winter

    A fine coating glistens
    on the sidewalk outside
    of the coffee shop,
    and cover possible signs
    of my footsteps
    and yours.
    I look across my table
    at a spot where you once sat,
    while still holding a folder
    of poems once shared with you.
    Songs from the owner’s collection,
    intended as background music,
    fill the silence left
    after we stopped sharing poems.
    While sipping my tea,
    I watch vibrant couples
    come and go,
    and my visions stir memories
    as I start this winter alone.

  21. Walt Wojtanik


    Two plus years have passed since you did.
    So much has changed; so much stayed deranged.
    I have come to find that I am a poet (although you had known it
    for some time), my rhyme has earned me laud and praise,
    but in those days yours was the opinion that mattered.
    I have been flattered and honored, a title bestowed;
    Poet Laureate in 2010. It was great, but then you weren’t there
    to share my joy. I stood an overaged boy, feted and elated,
    but sadly deflated without you knowing. Since then,
    I have been growing more assured in my abilities,
    hoping to retain them until my senility sets in. I can feel
    your grin at the thought that I ought not worry about
    getting older. But it is a bolder guy that plies his craft,
    this daft rhyming humorist, kissed by fate a bit late in life,
    but rife with an abundance of profundities to write.
    Oh, I no longer work through the night, my sleep had been
    very noticable in its absence. So the chance of finding me
    hunched over the keys on your nightly nudges is rather slim
    (pretty much like you were back in the days). Call me crazy,
    but I can still feel your guiding hand while you stand in faint vigil.
    Work is work, the girls are good, I battle my demons like you told me
    I should. I have settled into a life more sedate, I can not complain,
    up til now things are great. But I still keep that void where you used to stay
    here in my heart (it just won’t go away). Your memory has taken me
    as far as it can, still happy to think I had once been your man.
    Since you’ve been gone, I still miss you daily. Remembering the kiss
    as I held you so fraily. And when you were gone, I held a bit longer
    deluding myself that your heartbeat felt stronger. But alas you had left,
    to leave me bereft you, wishing the Good Lord would let me have kept you.
    Rest peaceful and still, I am doing fine since you’ve been gone; since you were mine.

    1. seingraham

      “But I still keep that void where you used to stay …” – you write eloquently and well always Walt but nowhere more so than when you write of your great love. This is a poignant, beautiful tribute filled with many wistful reassurances. Lovely.

  22. KathyintheWallowas

    I write, therefore you are.

    Speech, you contend
    is not what it is cracked up
    to be, and the written
    word lies

    The language of
    otherwise is your forte.
    We don’t speak

    It only took a minute
    for the dream
    to fade to

    In a gasp of awareness
    now I know
    what’s gone

    I found that unspoken
    on my

    What is the next
    question, and
    how will
    the answer

    What is
    is not sustainable
    over the long

    And run, oh
    run, I wish
    I would.
    Dream on.

  23. cstewart

    While you were gone

    I grew up and got married,
    Got divorced,
    Became an artist and writer,
    Got three degrees,
    Can take a great abstract photograph,
    Manipulate media, –
    Some people say –
    I am the nicest person they know.
    I wonder, if that is enough.

  24. jane hoover

    While You Were Gone

    Clouds moved in and through
    Herons caught the big cat fish
    Robins stripped berries

    Clouds move in and on
    Birdsong strung along
    Monarchs winged their way

    Clouds no longer roam
    Visions of your limb-long stride
    Bring you home to me

    Jane Penland Hoover
    December 8, 2011

  25. Earl Parsons

    While You Were Out

    A whole lot happened while you were out
    Mostly bad

    We got greedy while you were out
    Hands out
    Palms up
    Waiting for the crumbs to fall
    From the government table

    We let our pride run rampant while you were out
    Our selfish pride
    The suicidal kind
    We forgot about our history
    And how we got where we were
    We thought of no one but ourselves
    “Give me more!” Became our battle cry

    We sank to the bottom while you were out
    We fell
    As a nation
    As a people
    We lost our way
    We trusted our leaders
    Our leaders were corrupt
    More corrupt with each administration
    Because of our selfish corruption, they ruled

    We stayed at the bottom while you were out
    Hopelessly lost
    Morally bankrupt
    Aimlessly wandering
    In a dark, Godless world
    Created out of our own greed
    Our own hatred of that which made us great
    A world manifested with no regard of our future

    While You were out
    We lost our way
    We need You back

  26. Earl Parsons

    While You Were Gone

    It wasn’t easy
    But I knew that’s how it would be
    It’s never easy when you’re not here
    It’s never easy
    And it wasn’t this time

    But, I survived
    Even without you for support
    Even without you for companionship
    I survived
    Even without you
    So lonely

    I even smiled
    Because I knew where you were
    Because I knew you must be very happy
    I smiled
    Thinking of you
    So happy

    The years passed
    And although you never came back
    In a way I knew you never really left
    Many years
    Spent without you
    In part

    So good now
    So good to see your shining face
    So good to finally be in this place
    So good now
    With you once more

  27. Walt Wojtanik


    Kiss your hibiscus goodbye dear,
    it doesn’t live here any more.
    None of your plants do really,
    dead, dry leaves strewn on the floor,

    I remember your instructions disticntly,
    to water, and nuture, converse?
    But those damn plants never answered,
    they left me feeling perverse.

    Your tulips have bid Toodle-loo dear,
    the fern flipped me off in a huff,
    Your Wandering Jew asked me “Wat’s up wit you?”
    I’m sorry, but I had enough.

    The Christmas Cactus dropped its blooms,
    ’tis the season and it’s dying.
    You left me alone here to care for your plants
    but dear, you can tell I stopped trying.

    You’ve been gone for two months, and left me alone.
    No postcard. No letters. Did you lose your phone?
    These dead plants are depressing as I’m sure it gets.
    I thought you had learned when I cared for your pets!

  28. seingraham

    Should You Be Here Now

    Know that we waited as long as we could
    That it killed us to leave without you
    Especially your father – you know how
    He is; always pretending to be so tough
    But really, a marshmallow inside

    But while you were gone, they came
    For everyone that wasn’t registered
    You can imagine the chaos and fear
    And even though we hid out in the woods
    Behind the alders way in back of our place
    Hoping against hope that you would
    Make it back before we had to disappear

    I think all of us, even the babies, felt
    On some level that there would be no way
    Especially when the tanks rumbled
    Down the streets and the soldiers
    Marched into Wilsons, next door
    And those other people’s we didn’t
    Even get to know across the street
    Rounded them up and out and shot them
    Dead – everyone, even the children

    Did you know the smell of shock is almost
    Like that of vomit? Or maybe we had thrown up …
    I don’t remember – it was an awful time
    Knowing how quickly we had to gather
    Things together and get out – trying
    To forget that we were leaving
    Without you, but we couldn’t think about
    It or we wouldn’t ever go

    So if you are here now, I guess I don’t
    Need to tell you really but while
    You were gone, everything changed
    Everything but this – we never stopped loving you
    To distraction, never stopped missing you
    And wishing you had made it back
    I have no advice except to tell you, maybe
    Try and follow us – you cannot stay here –
    While you were gone, that became clear
    Please be safe dearest one, love always.

    1. PKP

      It is this passion that pours you out and up into the stratosphere of poetic greatness…. We are transported somewhere a scene brilliantly illuminated… viscerally caring …. BRAVO

  29. PKP

    I want to keep reading and commenting from bottom up… but I must say that the RoboticEditor has me on face recognition tonight. I write a comment – it takes the comment and tells me to slow down. So humming a song that I now cannot get out of my head… I’m off to bed… Humming… “slow down you move too fast…” Goodnight all… a wealth of wonder here… Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be able to comment… 🙂

  30. PKP

    Janet the ROBOTICEDITOR cut me off and erased my comment!!!

    I said that I was sooo happy I returned to look for your poem. Truly wonderful. Too many wonderful images to select just a few. “where once a girl would wait” does linger….

    1. JanetRuth

      Thank-you…he’s messing with me too:) I really appreciate your words.

      I shall hum… and go to bed. G’night all. So much aching beauty is truly happy-sad note for the poet’s heart to slumber upon. I am simply speechless as i read through each poem and EACH poem here today deserves a BRAVO! Thank-you.

  31. JanetRuth

    While you were gone the ivy grew
    To deck the garden wall
    Where once I used to sit with you
    And watch the shadows fall
    And we would dream and we would sigh
    And wish for things to come
    But then you left without good-by
    And now that girl is gone

    While you were gone the laughing brook
    Bled dry and flows with reeds
    The old dirt path that we once took
    Is overgrown with weeds
    But I still see that secret place
    Behind the old oak tree
    Where first your soft lips brushed my face
    And stirred the want in me

    While you were gone my hope grew dim
    And drifted to the sky
    I learned that love is not a whim
    And some tears never dry
    While you were gone the years somehow
    Wore out the garden gate
    I see a woman standing now
    Where once a girl would wait

      1. AP

        So beautiful~and stirred the want in me. ~ I still see that secret place. I had visuals for everything you wrote. Again, beautiful, touching, tears came to my eyes.

  32. a.paige

    A Swiss Bliss.

    While you were gone
    I took one out from a twenty ounce bag,
    a globe grape size sphere
    wrapped in a shiny, fine foil,
    and uncovered a smooth, rich dream
    enrobed in a delicate shell.
    Naked and irressistible,
    it melted on my tongue,
    as I gently caressed its
    sweet filling,
    unveiling heaven.

    While you were gone,
    my senses were overcome,
    as I tasted each moment
    which took me to places
    you could only dream of.
    Again and again, I savored
    each one, down

    If you be gone again,
    I’d get me another twenty
    ounce gold bag
    of Lindor.
    It’s what dreams are made of.

  33. Shannon Lockard

    The Lights

    the lights
    orbs pulsing with hope
    promising me they’d lead you back home
    the lights
    cast shadows on the wall
    illuminating cracks I hadn’t noticed before
    the lights
    too bright for my eyes
    I sank in the closet and tried not to cry
    the lights
    dimming around me each day
    but burning more brightly inside my rib cage
    the lights
    but my light grew strong
    so I switched your waiting lights off and moved on

  34. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    when you are gone

    i eat very little
    no room in my stomach but a knot there
    noises from neighbors going up and down the stairs
    scare me to my very core
    i bless myself, say my prayers, barricade all doors
    hide under the covers from America’s Most Wanted
    come back to me
    this time, i swear, i won’t take you for granted

  35. pmwanken


    newsreels and newspapers
    I scanned them all
    while you were gone –
    searching for word of you,
    sailing so far from home

    I wanted a glimpse
    of your face, your ship
    whatever would show me
    that you are not counted
    among the lost

    while you were gone
    you and Arizona
    became part of the Pacific,
    forever . . .
    on that day of infamy

    P. Wanken

  36. SaraV

    My husband’s had to travel more lately–yawn, no sleep for me

    Dream Deprived in Davie

    You, you are my knight
    My night
    Time is empty
    Without you
    Who holds me
    And who I hold
    My pillow cushions
    Some of the empty
    But it doesn’t warm
    Me in your place
    Nothing fits
    Except your arm
    Around my waist


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