Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 170 (Challenge Poems)

The 5th annual April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is nearly here! I hope to get a post up with all the guidelines sometime this week. As usual, I’m very excited and can’t wait to get poeming each and every day from April 1st to May!

For this week’s poetry prompt, write a challenge poem. The poem could either chronicle a challenge that some person (or animal, robot, monster, etc.) has attempted; or, the poem could actually challenge the reader in some way (be creative). If you have some other interpretation, poem with it.

Here’s my attempt at a challenge poem prompt:

“Smile”

When nothing seems right. Even as
there is no reason why you should.
Because you have teeth, or because
you don’t. At the children who need
to see it. As someone calls your
name in a crowded place. Your way
from one city to the next and
never expect it returned, though
another smile is all you need.

*****

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer and at my personal blog, My Name Is Not Bob, which shares some stories today that might make you smile.

*****

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168 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 170 (Challenge Poems)

  1. taylor graham

    DONKEY

    Bedeviled by flies, whip, and curse,
    the miles benumbing worse and worse;
    befriended by some fate perverse,

    he bows his head and bears his load
    beyond bearing, as if the road
    before him were a gift bestowed.

  2. Just B

    Sonnet of the TP Challenged

    You know your day is going bad
    When there’s a gurgling in your bowels
    But no TP to be had
    Not even tissues, paper towels

    Would your neighbors let you borrow?
    Why is the store so far away?
    Would they say, “Come back tomorrow?”
    You curse the miles with dismay

    The curtains draw, your final hour
    Then solution springs to mind
    Just wash yourself off in the shower
    For a sparkling, clean behind

    You burst with pride, the challenge done
    You v. nature, you have won!

  3. AC Leming

    This Fractured Me

    Do I look into your eyes or not?
     I can’t seem to remember 
    in which culture a direct gaze
    constitutes a challenge, mine
    or yours?  Or the one which
    surrounded me as a child?  I 
    can’t keep them separate 
    any more — my compartments 
    have split, their contents mixed,
    haphazard.  Inuit, white, southern —
    which button do I push?  Which me
    will emerge?  I don’t know.  Almost,
    I don’t care.  In this fractured me, 
    where do I put the parts 
    which do not make me whole?

  4. thehospitalinc

    Belief is never sweeter
    than to those who can’t believe.
    Reconciliation is for
    those without relief.
    Forgiveness comes in times and places
    farthest from our expectations.
    But ultimately,
    we’re the ones
    who must forgive
    ourselves.

  5. Genevieve Fitzgerald

    The hill is all challenge
    Ascension: exertion
    To summit is vertigo;
    The loss of descent,
    Denied in recounting,
    Becomes a second
    A third
    A fourth denouement

  6. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Hey, Soldier in a Wheelchair
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Lips should do more than just frame a mouth.
    Allow me to kiss you and transfer this smile,
    so hot might burn holes in your pocket, but
    then again, maybe butter your toast down the
    road sometime when you could really use it
    to help you find your way back to me again.

    Whoever said legs were mandatory? Bone
    can be so overrated and flesh notoriously fickle.
    Allow me to gift you this coupon for one free
    upgrade to whatever accommodation needed most.
    Might be glad to discover you had it all along
    hey, soldier in a wheelchair.

    You might not realize at this moment, but the
    beautiful things you always carried in your heart
    just before you first shipped out are all still there,
    intact, right where you left them,
    waiting at the door like a faithful old dog,
    eyes focused, tail still thumping.

    The only thing that ever really changes
    is the location of your giant X
    on some “you are here” map of the universe.
    So grab your leash, turn those wheels
    get on out here and just be yourself with me.
    Hey, soldier. Got this t-shirt I want to give you.

    © 2012 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder,

  7. writerdeviant

    I carry the weight of generations,
    of destinies intertwined and
    souls relying on illusionary fates.
    Their blood flows invasive in my veins,
    our temperament and genes
    coiled together in vulgar gestures,
    curses that hypnotize under
    evil spells like hand-me-downs
    of restlessness and abusive power.

    I carry the weight of generations,
    violence and turmoil turning
    darkness into illness while the
    broken glass of time sharply cuts
    against my skin, leaving bare
    the open wounds of reality that
    reluctantly settles in, and like the rest
    of them, I too await my inevitable fate.

  8. Connie Peters

    Reunion

    Every summer, on the even years,
    Five Shannon sisters and their families meet.
    A mix of personalities, careers,
    To reconnect this way is quite a feat.
    With schedule for the week packed full of fun—
    Some country side hikes and big city tours,
    Bean auction, scavenger hunt, gifts homespun,
    Nice restaurants and campfires with s’mores.
    Swimming, exploring, shopping till dropping
    And playing Scrabble, Canasta and Pitch.
    And laughing, hugging and story swapping,
    So thankful when things go without a hitch.
    For we’re well aware of what can take place,
    Since this year, we will be missing a face.

  9. Brian Slusher

    NO MERCY

    Come out to fight, you bloated ghost!
    I’ll run you through your hoary coat.

    I’ll wind your sheet with one sharp pull
    Then bash in your transparent skull.

    I’ll tear your tissue paper face
    until there hovers not a trace

    of your sad, pale, impaling smile,
    the one you wore out as a child

    Standing at the playground’s edge
    As though poised upon a ledge,

    You heavy, timid, needy boy
    Who daily stood to be destroyed

    By our neglect, our laughing play.
    We never even looked your way

    Until you faded like a mist:
    Proof it doesn’t take a fist

    To batter someone into pulp.
    And now the best that I can hope

    Is that your shy, uneasy shade
    with proper bludgeoning, will fade.

    So raise your soft, undying face—
    No mercy until it’s erased.

  10. Melissa Colleen

    Facing the Angel

    we come to the orchard at night —
    weaving steps under resting blooms
    branches aligning with the dark

    we lie naked,
    hear nighthawks’
    courtship dives
    strange hums calling

    shadows upon shadows
    our lips, our hands
    every part of us
    in shadows

  11. DanielAri

    “What’s the point?”

    The point of drooling is to wet your chin.
    The point of starting is just to begin.
    The point of ending is no point at all.
    No point serenading a concrete wall.

       If you’re hungry, you have a bite.
    If you’re tired, well, you say good night,
    but why would anybody every choose to write?

    What’s the point in sending a telegraph
    in 2012? Don’t make me laugh!
    To put out a sonnet or a pantoum
    is like punting a diamond at the moon.

    The point of what I wrote today
    is I couldn’t stop it anyway.
    The point’s beside the point as when little children play.

    So you point at me, and I’ll point at you,
    and we’ll both keep on doing what we do.
    Nobody’s watching us but the blue sky.
    If you’re up to the challenge, so am I.

  12. Mike Bayles

    The Fall of Night

    After day bleeds into darkness
    I visit a sick friend.
    “It’s serious,”
    the nurse says
    as we stand jut out of earshot,
    “It’s grave.”
    I look at my friend
    now balding and in pain,
    and wonder how much time she has,
    and how much has changed
    since the last time we met.
    I wonder why she’s changed
    from my writing mentor
    to someone who needs me to visit
    and offer conversation
    when her daughter is miles away.
    The sight of her challenges
    visions of life and reason
    and sensibilities,
    While night promises day,
    how many for her, I cannot say,
    and while wondering about
    the essence of life
    and eternities,
    I fear
    things will never be the same.

  13. RobHalpin

    The Long and Short of Life at Work

    The Short

    Keeping folks happy
    at work by
    Making things happen

    The Long

    My
    cup
    runneth
    over? Nay,
    my plate overflows
    with too many projects to work
    and too few workers to put on task: a shop of one.
    Nimbleness of mind and fingers
    tap, tap, tapping on
    keys, racing,
    beating
    the
    clocks.

  14. Connie Peters

    The Fish

    What a beautiful day!
    Actual sun in Ohio.
    Warm breeze.
    She looked out the window
    and saw flashes of orange in the pond.

    Her husband, who could do anything
    when he put his mind to it,
    had built it for her.
    When he put the fish in,
    she questioned whether
    they would survive the winter.

    He reassured her in his confident voice
    and his half amused chuckle,
    “Oh yeah, dear, they’ll make it.”
    Now she walked out and watched them,
    looking lively with their little fins twitching.
    So they did survive the winter.
    He didn’t.

    Now, she felt like the fish
    must have felt
    in the cold and dark,
    waiting for the spring thaw,
    wondering if she’d make it
    to see the sun shine again.

    She imagined
    his confident, gentle voice
    with his little chuckle,
    “Yes, dear, you’ll make it.
    You’re stronger than the fish.”

  15. Jorja

    Challenge
    As light pushes its way out of darkness,
    My brain and body push their way out of sleep.
    I always wonder in that place where the sun
    Is just ready to jump into the sky
    Just how much of me there will be today.
    Then beyond the first twenty brutal steps
    Where the pain is the distillate of darkness and
    The sun is in my eyes, there I take account
    Of the challenges I’ll face today,
    I remember I dreamt of horses at the car wash.

  16. Marie Elena

    in her shoes

    voices
    you don’t know them.
    any of them.
    yet they occupy your brain
    scream, whisper, groan,
    lie,
    taunt,
    interfere.

    ignore them.

    thoughts.
    you can’t grasp them.
    any of them.
    they slither, tangle,
    mangle, morph,
    dodge,
    flee.

    perceive them.

    people.
    you fear them.
    they stare, sneer,
    mock, snicker,
    grimace,
    judge,
    shun.

    love them.

    mental illness.
    you didn’t choose it.

    live with it.

    (I greatly admire my daughter, who deals daily with schizophrenia. I couldn’t live with it for hours, let alone years. We need to learn how to treat the mentally ill among us. There, but for the grace of God …)

  17. seingraham

    The prompt over at Poetic Bloomings this week, “Back to the Future” ended up, for me in a bit of a challenge poem that I think works for this prompt as well … I hope so in any case …

    THERE

    Your tyranny paralyzes me
    Sometimes I think it will
    Do more, tear at my breath
    Rip out my lungs, my heart
    Suffocate any hope of mine
    To invade your space
    Decode the meaning hidden
    There

    Still, each time I spot your spine
    Newly stiffened and colourful
    Backing out of my mailbox
    Or in the infrequent instance,
    off a bookstore shelf-
    you so rarely deign to appear
    There

    I cannot resist grabbing you
    Holding you up by your covers
    As if grasping a recalcitrant child
    I shake you, wishing the answers
    To mysteries held within your pages
    Might flutter forth, falling out just
    There

    Oh esoteric literary magazine, you
    of the small press publishing house
    and the ivory towers – why must you
    Tease the emerging poet with such tales
    of unattainability but insist that you
    Possess the map, the truth, the way to get
    There

    Never mind, I am made of strong stuff,
    and I know how may renowned poets
    you rejected, long before I came along
    They tell me it’s a rite of passage,
    as they pat me on the head, saying, “there
    there”

    So – gird yourselves – I intend to continue
    Writing my poems, submitting them to you
    And submitting, and submitting, to you, and you,
    And everyone of you that in truth, I fear
    But do respect, and expect will publish me—
    Once my poetry is worthy of you, right? So …
    There.

    S.E.Ingraham©

  18. Sara McNulty

    Panes of Rain

    Portland’s challenge is on.
    Drips, drops, sheets,
    and pitchers of rain
    with no end in sight.
    I might sleep through
    until May moseys in,
    nudging aside the muddy
    tracks I slide on, left
    by an unforgiving March,
    and the rotten eggs
    and stale, soggy matzos
    scattered by the rabbits on
    the roadside of April. You know
    it is not always prudent
    to face a challenge head-on.

  19. sarite

    Hi! Due to technical difficulties I’ve been out of the loop and now (thanks to the crack technical team at Writer’s Digest and the help of Brian Klems) returned with a new name–the poet sarite, previously known as SaraV 🙂

    In and Out

    When needed most
    We forget
    How
    To
    Just
    Breathe

    Soft Shelled Determination

    A dot on the horizon
    Works its way across
    The street

    Tender webbed skin and claws
    Were not made for asphalt
    Or concrete

    Still she lumbers on
    Scrabbling her way
    It’s risky business
    Sun, tires, barking dogs
    Little boys

    Finally she wades through
    Cool slick grass and
    Slips into the depths
    Of dark soothing waters
    Home

  20. Edlyn

    This is the best challenge for all human beings.. The challenge of reaching out.. 😀

    “A Man For Others”

    A deaf can’t hear, a crippled can’t walk
    A blind can’t see, a mute can’t talk,
    I’ve seen folks, suffered from hunger
    I’ve been to places with full of anger.
    Some unsatisfied still searching for
    The pleasures they didn’t have before,
    While those family who seek for food
    Even in a dump or to beg they would.
    Why people always don’t understand
    That the wonders of earth is in our hand,
    Some are like angels sent from above
    Bring peace on land like a white dove.
    After the storm, rainbow will appear
    Whenever the sky is already clear,
    A dazzling sun will shine in the day
    A bright tomorrow will be on our way.
    A man for others that’s what I mean
    Where I may go nor might have been,
    A human is still for human being
    No gold or silver will fill your longing.
    Offering comfort would be so kind
    Feel the world, and together we’ll all bind
    Each and everyone we see is us
    No perfect, no worst, couldn’t that be a plus?

    A bit aid from you would be so nice
    For them, you’re an angel in disguise,
    God has made the world for all mankind
    An enchanting home you’ll ever find.
    A man for others, do you now apprehend?
    Some broken heart needs to be mend
    Nothing in this world will do, but we
    The earth is so perfect and wonderful with thee.
    Try not to stop, just keep reaching out
    Our fellow in need without a doubt,
    Whoever you are, we are all brothers
    Cause everyone of us is “A man for others”.

  21. cstewart

    Got Challenge

    Once in a while,
    Completely surrounded by a kind of safety, he looked out –
    His red – glowing, heavy, wire, insulated cage was adrift in anger
    Though the heat was internal, he did not know the anger was at himself.
    By practice,
    He thought his anger was caused from the places he pointed to;
    These others; wrong, weak, misguided, culturally-criminal others.
    Whatever came to his mind as a quick defense caught his attention.

    To avoid these contended, outside-of-himself, things he feared.
    Things that might make him change his life or come close
    To terms with some long forgotten, misinterpreted, episodes,
    He had held onto for his eternity of ego; of self-punishment.
    Punishment, directed outward toward others who were not counted
    His enemies as that would be too obvious, just his others….
    Who looked innocently on, the bastion of chronic psychological
    Pain he held onto for some kind of blue, singular, suffering’s sake,
    To bolster himself against the

    Pain; camouflaged as some competence, as help, as interest in others
    As anything…

    What is his challenge.

  22. De Jackson

    In honor of the agony and the ecstasy to come, here’s a slightly revised one from last year.
    Rest up, my poetic comrades.

    The April Poem A Day Challenge

    A Poem A Day?
    No how, now way.
    Silly! Nonsensical!
    Tomfoolery! Absurd!
    To fling a phrase
    and wield a word
    all in the name of a poetic line.
    How laughable! How asinine!
    (Or, perhaps, how deeply divine?)

    Ridiculous, really! Idiotic at best
    to put rhyme and rhythm to such a strict test
    to ask form to conform
    suggest writers write
    (and plea procrastination to give up the fight).

    Laughable! Ludicrous!
    Frivolous! Foolhardy!
    This farcical, featherbrained
    Poetic party.
    The competition: brilliant, brutal.
    It’s simply illogical! (Though resistance is futile).
    Think ink in a blink; scrawl on the fly?
    The pressure would make any wordsmith cry.

    Haiku?
    (What to do?)
    Shadorma?
    (Not normal!)
    Fibonacci?
    (I’m sure to botch-y.)
    Kyrielle? Villanelle?
    (Any good? Who can tell?)
    Skeltonic?
    (Moronic!)
    Tanka?
    (No, thank-a.)
    You see what I mean-a…
    (Please, oh please don’t let there be sestinas.)

    It’s simply poetic poppycock
    to watch the ticking of the clock
    to brave “you’re posting too fast” and writer’s block
    just to splat some words onto the page.

    Crazy to count syllables and measure meter
    to beg feet from Paul, borrow stanza from Peter.
    Really, what could be sicker, (or sweeter)
    than this rash rampant writer’s rampage?

    Preposterous!
    to take up pen and PAD
    when my verse just gets worse
    and my lyric’s been had.
    Demented and daft
    to revise and redraft
    to seek such profound poetic bliss…
    Really, Mr. Brewer, whose brain brewed this?

    I must confide,
    (just as an Aside):
    This is alphabetic anarchy, right down to the letter.
    But, hey…
    what do you say?
    C’mon out and play.
    After all, we’re all in this together.

    😉

    😉

  23. Mark Windham

    A Classic Fairytale

    She flowed through the door
    on the heels of a spring breeze,
    the sun following her
    like a devoted admirer.
    An entrance worthy of movies.

    It was the first time he
    had seen her this way.
    Until now, she had always
    been dressed in the
    lets-hang-out-and-be-friends attire.

    He was too baffled to move;
    a simple sundress showing
    features never noticed (low whistle escapes).
    Hair down, framing elegant cheekbones,
    flashing smile and sultry eyes.

    A jealous heat rises as he
    notices others looking. This will
    require him to negate years
    of we’re-just-friends inclinations.
    A worthwhile challenge to accept.

  24. Connie Peters

    Writers Challenge

    Let them scratch their at heads at you,
    wondering why you dangle a carrot
    in front of your own nose, driven,
    to write– for what? they don’t know.

    Why would you sit at a computer
    when you could be planting a garden,
    attending community meetings or
    any number of important things?

    Don’t pay them any mind, you know
    the magic of making tangible
    the intangible, hearing children giggle
    or watching tears when answers appear.

    So dangle the carrot, dream your dreams,
    and whatever it takes to motivate you
    for you are a writer and if you didn’t write
    the world would miss something beautiful.

  25. prof.meow

    Me and My Boy

    I’m so proud of you.
    Working through the rejection you did,
    What did you learn?

    To keep my head up,
    That sometimes God has a reason,
    And that I could cope.

    Have fun tonight and congratulations
    On making the new team you did.
    You worked hard. It was incredible to watch you grow.

    The last thing I saw was his smile through the dirtied window after he closed the car door.

    New mail notification in my lap; I’d been waiting and waiting. Opening. Breathing. Hoping.
    My salty fat tear was my dinner. I wanted this so badly. It’s not fair. I didn’t even get a chance to shine.
    The boy and I, thirty years difference, and only inches apart.

  26. De Jackson

    Be Tween

    She rolls her eyes
    punches with words
    struggles
    sighs
    lies.
    I hold my tongue
    and mourn the loss
    of little hands and chubby cheeks
    and giggles and braids
    and whispered secrets.
    Oh, Abigail Joy, I say.
    What am I going to do with you?

    Just love me! She says,
    eyes flashing,
    sly smile.

    I’m trying.

    1. Mark Windham

      oh boy, I on the backside of this with one girl (20), just starting with the youngest (9). Actually, I just sit in the corner and smile a lot. Her mother is about to strangle her thought. 😉 Very good.

  27. De Jackson

    Double Dog

    She sets her hair
    her teeth
    the clock
    eyes the door with
    an icy stare
    and dares
    him to come home.

    She bites her nails
    her skin
    her tongue
    listens with perked ears
    for the keys
    oh, please
    this time, come home.

    She sits, she holds
    her ring
    her breath
    stays her tired heart
    beat stills
    and wills
    him to come home.

  28. Ber

    Daddys Gone

    She walked up to him brushed her hand along his arm
    leaned over and whispered in his ear
    your the one for me dear
    I want you to stay close
    I want you to stay near

    He gave her a loving stare back
    he told her that every little thing she does
    Makes his world exciting and new
    As she flicked her hair across her neck

    She couldnt take her eyes off of him
    There was the love of her life stairing at her with a smile a silly grin
    As silence broke the moment as if caught up in time
    He knew someday he would marry her
    And all in life would be fine

    This moment they didnt take for granted
    They made the most of what they had
    Before he was to go and fight for his country
    Her freedom and that of the unborn childs dad

    Little did they know of this
    only time would tell of this tale
    When he was at war
    she was gone to far
    The child would be born before then

    As she sent off letters to him to tell him of his child
    a telegram came to silence her
    The news was bad inside
    She held her baby near and whispered in his ear

    Your daddys gone been killed by a bomb
    What will we do now
    Oh what can be done
    Dear baby you are your daddys son

    A picture was all she had left
    She pinned it to the babies cot
    As tears trickled down her face
    She remembered their first dating place

    As she walked up to him brushed her hand along his arm
    As he leaned over and whispered in his ear
    His words to her your the one for me dear
    I want you to stay close
    I want you to stay near

      1. Ber

        Tks Mark i have family in the army and this is their challenge that faces them everyday as soldiers and family. my cousin has lost so many close friends in this month alone while on duty abroad so sad. Many have left behind new babies and small children

  29. Domino

    Not Brought Up

    First we learn to smile, then walk.
    We learn those things and others
    from our native home. Perhaps
    we’re lucky and we learn
    trust early. Perhaps we learn
    that someone is always there
    to catch us should we fall. (And
    we do fall, everyone does.)

    Perhaps we learn, though, that grown-
    ups really don’t care, are too
    busy, preoccupied with
    their own challenges and trials
    to notice our baby missteps.
    So some of us learn not to
    trust, even though a child’s nat-
    ural instinct is to try

    to trust, no matter what. But
    eventually we learn
    that we cannot rely on
    those we should be able to
    rely most upon. Then the
    challenge becomes growing up
    without that trellis, without
    that so-needed guiding hand.

    And like a wayward vine, some
    of us manage to grow up
    anyway, never real-
    izing, until much later,
    that there was something wrong with
    the way we were not brought up,
    and hope our kids never learn
    what it is not to trust us.

    Diana Terrill Clark

    1. J.lynn Sheridan

      “So some of us learn not to
      trust, even though a child’s nat-
      ural instinct is to try”
      –you hit the challenge on the head with this line!

  30. Mystical-Poet

    Dream It Forward

    open the hallowed windows
    bring forth the dream image
    out of smoke bathed blessings
    unfolding yourself on night’s dream stage
    spurred on, by past generations
    didgeridoo’s echoing drone pulse
    reaching from creation time
    through dreamtime, calling
    to great grandchildren yet to be
    dream forward your aspirations
    send forth your dream archetype
    see it, sketch it, and let it name itself
    wrap its spirit in rainbows velveteen aura
    allow its manifestation in the natural world
    listen to the dream
    hear sense talking sense
    telling you, you belong
    Welcome your spirit visitors
    open your heart and soul
    to their presence
    dream forward
    elders cherished memories
    dream it forward
    your psychic inheritance
    dream it forward
    connect the dreaming circle
    spiritual infinity beckons
    the dreamers await
    I know for I’ve dreamed them

  31. taylor graham

    TO BELIEVE IN GARDENS

    The last green tomato’s long-gone –
    vines ripped out by the roots, tossed
    over the fence for sheep to browse.
    Zucchini, eggplant – last summer
    nothing prospered. Only chard
    survives, too ragged, tough to harvest.
    It’s raining on the rubble of garden.

    No, look! here’s a green plush bed
    of wild bounty, nameless weeds.
    With my basket in the rain, I’m
    gathering chickweed and Indian
    lettuce for a salad; dreaming squash
    and eggplant, tomatoes, peppers –

    believing in gardens yet to come.

  32. Nancy Posey

    Challenge in Perspective

    Sitting in the bleachers, two mothers chat about their girls,
    college-bound, still building resumes, a clear attempt
    to win scholarships, saving their college funds to pay
    sorority dues, off-campus housing, the full experience.

    Behind them, the dads boast about their boys, football
    stars already scouted by the big schools, looking ahead
    to major leagues. Another says his own son should sail
    through on his golf swing, without fear of a torn ACL.

    All the while, the families of the athletes participating
    below in the Special Olympics stand and cheer—not
    only for their own sons and daughters, but those running
    against them, the one who stops, offering a hand
    to the boy fallen on the cinder track behind him,
    holding his hand as they walk together across the line.

  33. J.lynn Sheridan

    “The battle rages”

    You were eighteen when I told
    you your greatest asset was
    your strong will.

    You were nineteen when I told
    you your greatest downfall will be
    your strong will.

    The battle rages in open spaces.

    Today I ache to know you again.

  34. Andrew Kreider

    Me and Billy Graham
    (Saint Andrew’s Street, 1990)

    There were three of them
    leaning against the brick wall,
    loose and liquored up.
    I might have listened to the voice
    that whispered, Don’t go down there!

    But we had just read
    that perfect love casts out fear,
    so I carried on,
    riding my green bicycle
    with evangelistic zeal.

    The smallest of them
    knocked me screaming to the ground
    while the others laughed.
    I lay with my eyes closed and
    thought about crucifixion,

    martyrdom, and how
    the proper witness could still
    win these souls for Christ.
    As they walked off with my bike,
    I yelled at them: “God Bless You!”

        1. Andrew Kreider

          Ah, yes, Domino, you get the irony here. I felt incredibly stupid standing there in the street! Not sure what the whole experience taught me – except a good helping of humility. Saint Andrew’s Street, indeed! Can’t help thinking someone up high was laughing!

          1. Domino

            Actually, Andrew, I have a similar story involving “turning the other cheek.” :p My cheeks still burn…in more ways than one.

  35. Jane Shlensky

    The Me I Want to Be

    Keeping my thumb on the pulse
    of what’s true and good,
    my mind tuned to kindness,
    my mouth glad and grateful,
    my judgments to myself;

    Seeing the world with loving eyes,
    harboring no ill will or past hurt,
    having a ready smile and laugh,
    being and having fun, chucking ego,
    loving past pain and despite memory,

    Doing what needs doing,
    having the courage to be used,
    being a real friend every time,
    trying every day to be
    a better human being—

    Damn, that’s hard.

  36. Buddah Moskowitz

    “The Eternal Challenge”

    Throw down the gauntlet
    I’ve drawn a line in the sand

    I dare you
    I double dare you
    I double dog dare ya
    I triple dog dare ya

    you’re yella
    you’re a chicken
    you ain’t got the stones
    why don’t you grow a pair?

    knock this off my shoulder
    stand up for yourself
    shit or get off the pot
    what’s it gonna be?

    you ain’t man enough
    put on your big girl pants
    don’t take another step
    I’ll slap your ass
    into the middle of next week.

    if you loved me, you would
    oh yeah?
    you and what army?

    come over here and say that
    smile when you say that

    I’ll drop your ass like a bad habit

    go ahead, make my day
    feelin’ lucky, punk?

  37. Peggy

    Feeding Dinosaurs

    “I’m feeding all the dinosaurs,”
    he put his eyes at level with
    my own, his eyes intently blue
    and certain, mine a question, not
    unknown as daily 7 years
    experience trump everything
    I knew about this ordered world
    around us…and I’m often wrong.
    “The beak, the tail, the feet are proof”
    he pointed at what I supposed
    were birds, then turned his piercing gaze
    on me. “You see?” the question
    challenged more than sight. I tried,
    and more because I knew him right,
    I swear I saw a dinosaur.

  38. Hannah

    ~PERSEVERANCE~

    Poised with purpose
    she’s ready to strike,
    elusive, it slips swiftly
    beneath dark loam.
    Looming hunger remains.
    Her eyes catch
    the shiny, glint
    of pink earthworm flesh,
    brilliant in morning sun.
    Her ears detect
    undetectable sound,
    earthworm movement
    rustle of soil below.
    Rising to the challenge,
    shrill, shriek, fragile bodies,
    featherless; each breath
    dependent on her willingness.

    (H.G. 3/14/12 P.A.)

  39. Michael Grove

    Love Don’t Judge

    This whole world is beautiful.
    All people carry weight.
    Great visions held within each soul
    bear destiny and fate.

    Actions viewed within or out of context.
    Judgments all to often made in haste.
    Drawing false conclusions knowing nothing.
    Closing open doors… such a waste.

    Have love for others without passing judgment.
    Find it for them unconditionally.
    You can’t do both, it’s one thing or the other.
    Open up your heart and be set free.

    By Michael Grove

  40. laurie kolp

    Do You See What I See?

    Elegant spirit you baffle me, baffle me
    with your ballerina grace so gracefully
    swaying back and forth long limber limbs
    arabesque across the stageless stage in front of me
    negating doubts, external freedom
    negating doubts, internal existence
    within one’s tainted eyes, one’s painted view
    lilting, leaping ever sweeping the bountiful bayou
    challenging t’ai chi a mental muse
    oh, cypress trees, you baffle me, baffle me.

  41. Kevin DeRossett

    “Biographical, A Challenge”

    Take it
    Rise to meet it
    Don’t turn around, you fool.
    Your wife is weary
    Children clearly not in the mood
    to listen or behave
    The grave is waiting for you too.
    So rise to meet the challenge
    Like you do.

    I was once sitting fat and lazy
    On my couch and driving crazy
    Both myself and my old lady
    With this life so dim and shady
    Then I met my oldest daughter
    She was five before we got her
    We were bound to leave the states
    As missionaries, had to wait
    Because we knew she needed us
    And more than that we needed her
    My wife had sworn she’d not be prompted
    To bring home a girl that was adopted
    She said the only children she
    Would have would come from her and me.
    But when we met this girl
    Our laziness unfurled
    And down the gauntlet thrown
    We made her our own.
    You can swear and swear and swear
    But all bets are off when
    Face to face you see your child
    For the first time
    Be she half a minute or half a decade old.
    So now we have this kid
    And now another kid
    One from our physical union
    And one from our emotional union
    Two kids, both ours
    What a challenge.
    When the oldest looks at me
    With eyes that do not see
    A father she has always had
    I cannot always hold tears back.
    Sometimes there is something inside her
    Like cancer.
    I did not put it there. It is not in my youngest child.
    But it is in her.
    I can’t get it out
    I did not put it there.
    But it is there.
    I cannot change who she is.
    I can only love who she is.
    And I love her.

    When we finalized the adoption
    I took two days off work.
    She’d been with us for two years by then
    Two stressfulstressfulyears.
    I told my students,
    “We’re finalizing the adoption. See you next week.”
    “Oh,” they said. “I thought she was yours.”
    Remembering that lazy couch boy,
    and looking at the father I am
    I said,
    “She is.”

    Would you meet that challenge?

    1. Hannah

      Two stressfulstressfulyears. I love the endless feeling is evoked by linking this all together. This is such a deeply meaningful story, so glad for those who will rise to these challenges. Thank you.

        1. PKP

          Didn’t get to any reading today… So delighted that I stopped in and had the opportunity to read this wonderful poem… what a tribute to getting up off the “couch” rising to meet love .. A love that jumps off the page and has moved me to tears. BRAVO!

  42. PKP

    Challenge

    How does your life look?

    Depends who is looking and looking why
    From the inside out or down from the sky
    Simple question – perhaps but no
    Do my best and then let it go ….:)

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