• THE
    Writing Prompt
    Boot Camp

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and get the Writing Prompt Boot Camp download.

    2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

    Categories: Poetry Challenge 2013, Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

    The April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is designed to help poets do one thing and one thing only: Write more poems! The process of revision may go on for weeks, months, and years later, but this challenge is all about getting that first draft. Please poem along with us–either in the comments below or silently at home.

    For today’s prompt, write a senryu. A senryu is like a haiku with less restrictions and different subject matter. It’s a 3-line poem with a traditional 5/7/5 syllable (or sound) pattern, and the poem typically deals with the human condition. But that’s about all. No cutting words, seasonal words, or focus on nature. In fact, many people who claim to write haiku are already writing senryu. Have at it.

    Here’s my attempt:

    “senryu”

    she wakes in a sweat
    because her A/C unit
    abandoned her too

    *****

    Workshop Your Poetry!

    Writing poetry is exciting, but the revision process can be too, especially when you’re revising with a group of dedicated poets and an experienced mentor. As luck would have it, that can be accomplished with the Writer’s Digest online course, Advanced Poetry Writing.

    *****

    Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

    *****

    Quick note on commenting: Please always save a copy on your computer. There have been moments in the past in which comments have disappeared, and I don’t want anyone to lose their work. Heck, I’ve lost some of my work here in the past, and it’s not a great feeling. That said, commenting here is a lot of fun, especially in April. If you’re completely new to the site, you’ll be asked to register (don’t worry, it’s free), and your comments might not appear initially until I manually accept them. However, after that initial phase, your comments should appear without my help.

    Want some more poeming fun? Check out these previous Poetic Asides posts:

    You might also like:

    • No Related Posts
    • Print Circulation Form

      Did you love this article? Subscribe Today & Save 58%

    About Robert Lee Brewer

    Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

    227 Responses to 2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

    1. Nadienne says:

      Him? Coupon clipper
      tabulating exact change.
      Me? Thick-frosted cake.

    2. stepstep says:

      HUNGER

      stomach calls hunger
      far beyond a desert place
      time and time again.

      LaSteph

    3. dextrousdigits says:

      Do more in less time
      You’re tired matters not
      Tomorrow the same

    4. foodpoet says:

      In forest of youth
      Cedar bursts scents of summer
      trampled by man’s greed

    5. Alpha1 says:

      Love That Feelin

      We really good friends
      so it’s time to recognize
      that’s love in our eyes

    6. PKP says:

      Thought I wrote haiku
      Only to find out right now
      “Haiku” was senyru!

    7. it rings and he checks
      her number just wrecks
      his sanity

    8. vsbryant1 says:

      I do, everything changed

      Old life away in the breeze

      Us eternity

    9. IrisD says:

      Procrastination
      Such a waste of energy
      trying to play catch up

    10. Yolee says:

      He used to share plums.
      Now I only get the pits.
      At home prodigal.

      ““““““`

      My big little man
      says only small things to me:
      teenage angst and all.

    11. Vacation

      Cockroaches within,
      winter snowstorm yet without—
      new motel next time.

    12. She smells like pop tarts
      and dynamite, tastes like flames,
      sings like the cosmos.

    13. mschied says:

      two-faced visages
      repeating the platitudes
      with false sincerity

      Mschied

    14. LouiseBilborough says:

      twirls hair, bites her lip
      eyelashes flutter, small grin
      her web ensnares me

    15. Some days the world sighs
      like a mom sick of questions
      I can’t stop asking.

      ****************************

      I count calories
      to distract myself from counting
      dollars or mistakes.

    16. Deri says:

      ‘Til Death

      We lie hip to hip
      our breaths all out of rhythm
      I pray for morning

    17. burrhead says:

      BUDGET

      Tighten my hat band
      Been spending more than I have
      Shepherd my brain cells

    18. Lindy says:

      Faceplant

      As my garden grew,
      so human restrictions too.
      Love, for now, adieu…

    19. tunesmiff says:

      I’m afraid my OCD got the better hand:
      The first Sunday was a seven line poetic form;
      The second Sunday was a fourteen line poetic form;
      Anticipating a twenty-one line form, I was slightly disappointed…

      until I realized 3 goes into 21 seven times~!!!

      So herewith is a 7 SENRYU cycle… more or less

      : )

      g
      —————–

      1/
      He pours his coffee,
      Makes his lunch, wakes her up, then
      Pours her coffee, too.

      2/
      Sitting in traffic,
      it suddenly dawns on him:
      He’s going nowhere.

      3/
      Flashing lights ahead
      on the right side of the road.
      Everybody looks.

      4/
      Not a day goes by
      that she doesn’t make the turn
      and think about not.

      5/
      “The thing is,” she says,
      “I don’t like being crowded.”
      Then she turns away.

      6/
      He tells stories now
      from his early navy days.
      That’s all he recalls.

      7/
      I write and wonder:
      Why does this form lend itself
      to unhappiness?

      (Okay, so maybe it’s not quite a “cycle” – but the OCD has to stop SOMEWHERE~!!!)

    20. Mr. Walker says:

      one could say: people
      talk entirely way too much-

    21. Tracy Davidson says:

      I gave up smoking
      apart from straight after sex…
      my boyfriend’s knackered

    22. drwasy says:

      Say a stupid thing
      words evaporate in air
      the bite stays behind

    23. PowerUnit says:

      Got up late today
      Be lucky to write that first
      Word before seven

    24. mlcastejon says:

      Hi Robert,

      Today’s prompt is very helpful for me because I believe I was writing haikus when I was doing senryu!

      My senryu

      Your words are like you
      Cold snakes who bite me all over
      My hell has your name

    25. After spending an afternoon with my friends’ 16 month old, there’s just one crazy thought on my mind:

      Coo coo

      Her lips curl to smile
      with the baby on her lap.
      “I want one,” she says.

    26. a couple of quick ones -

      Quick – sweep the corners
      before the Earth starts taking
      back what was once hers

      Ah! Spring and farmers
      spreading shit on their fields – Quick
      roll up the windows!

    27. deringer1 says:

      senryu

      I waited nine months
      now she is here in my arms
      forever beloved.

    28. BDP says:

      “Choice: Taylor”

      He’s sweet, may not know
      many kids with an extra
      chromosome aren’t born,

      that his kind are frost
      paintings, you rarely see them
      there, disappearing

      B Peters

    29. De Jackson says:

      senryu

      his body will heal
      the inside’s not so simple
      shrapnel of the heart

    30. omavi says:

      “shaken”

      his whole body shakes
      as another daydream ends
      of her in his arms

    31. “senryu”

      Feeling loneliness
      The condition of my heart
      Emptiness engulfs

      Wayne L Murphy 4/21/13

    32. If you start life old
      Age decreases, vigor spikes
      Stay up, watch day dawn

      Poetic Asides
      April Challenge – Day 21
      Write a senryu

    33. Puppet

      Beaming widely teeth
      Grinding sounds electrical
      Standing on man’s hands

    34. catlover says:

      She is very sad
      Tears fall from her heart like knives
      The ground is hard to tread

    35. RobHalpin says:

      Pouring wine tastings
      is great for watching people
      who’ve tasted too much

    36. THEGingerSass says:

      “eye”
      -kb

      the left eyeball swells,
      leaving the right one in tact.
      allergy season.

    37. Ann M says:

      sweet honeysuckle
      fills the city with the scent
      of lost innocence

    38. P.A. Beyer says:

      Tuesday in Nebraska

      John reaps the wheat fields
      The rusted sickle handle
      Burns less each harvest

    39. CHECKMATE

      He made the first move.
      Pondering, She made the next,
      Capturing the King.

    40. EXPLORATION

      Two little rascals
      Run like the wind tumbling
      Discovering life

    41. EbenAt says:

      I would love to not
      love Bourbon, but truth be told
      It ain’t happenin’

    42. priyajane says:

      I heard a rumor
      That warm weather has shown up
      Was wondering where ??

    43. carolecole66 says:

      Three Senryu

      She walks restlessly
      all night down dark city streets
      searching for the moon.

      She puts on purple
      lipstick, tights, and dancing shoes,
      hopes that’s all she needs.

      She writes poems all night
      in a wild frenzy then sleeps
      till noon, till dreams freeze.

    44. Rachel Blake says:

      you are forgiven
      do not mention it again
      because I love you

    45. Linda Voit says:

      Sunday afternoon
      missing old neighbors as they
      leave our new driveway

    46. I comment; you like
      We touch as in the photo
      Across time and space

      Can so few keystrokes
      Whittle away all the years
      Stroke our wond’ring hearts

    47. Amy says:

      wrapped in newspaper
      memories packed in a box
      we begin again

    48. LCaramanna says:

      his game changer fall
      from kitchen stool fractured hip
      surgeon said he’s screwed

    49. julie e. says:

      poem with few words
      found to be oddly freeing
      this new form I try

    50. vjohnso1 says:

      Slept in misery
      Missing who I use to be
      What a price to pay

    51. julie e. says:

      unloved empty home
      filled with dust and old whispers
      waits for new laughter

    52. julie e. says:

      Above her, nested
      beneath garden hat on shelf
      babies yell for food

      mother father birds
      dart with beaks full of nourish
      answering their call

    53. profal29 says:

      she sparks like the sun
      coronal mass ejections
      have me on the run

    54. julie e. says:

      i’m pretty sure i’ve taken liberties with this senryu style, but if that’s the worst thing i do today i’m good…. ;-)

      DOWN.

      And when she is down
      she’s sure the sun can’t save her
      from those weary thoughts

      she really does try
      to hear what people tell her
      if she just got up

      she’d be much better
      why won’t she just go outside?
      dragging herself to

      shut down the voices
      she lays back on the porch swing
      and hears the soft chimes

      singing a minor
      song in the key of breezes
      and she smiles softly.

    55. On a happier note…this is to celebrate the memory of my Mom

      Early morning riser -
      remembering days gone by
      spent in Mom’s garden

    56. After all that has happened this week, this was waiting to be written. May all those touched by the tragedies of Monday be blessed with healing and love.

      Feet pounding pavement
      cheers explode into terror
      ending glory’s dream

    57. bxpoetlover says:

      Sometimes It’s A Good Thing

      Jealousy makes me
      reflect. What else do I
      need, aspire to be?

    58. lionmother says:

      I just wrote 4 senryu’s and think they’re fun.:)

      The air filled with pain
      as we hashed out the weeks events
      and love overcame all

      My heart demands you
      but your focus is not me
      you are in baseball time

      Not able to make sense
      of the crime-filled week we had
      glad peace has arrived

      macaroni and cheese
      for dinner and not as is
      often, made by me.

    59. vickiejohnstone says:

      I love haiku, but I think I’ve been writing this form without knowing !! :) Here are mine -

      Mindless he strays, far
      From the heart strings that pull so,
      Imagining light

      Sinking in the dark
      Where the gutter sucks him up,
      He tries on a smile

      She wakes in the morn
      Wanders to the shower, sighs,
      Stops and cannot start

      Chasing the deep bark,
      He throws the stick wide, laughing
      Where the lake invites

      He takes the plane where
      A hundred signposts signal
      The hunt for freedom

      Pegging the clothes she
      Stares into the ache beyond
      As the days wear thin

    60. mich says:

      receiving blanket
      preserves the new baby scent
      pure love ev’ry sniff

    61. Jane Shlensky says:

      I form attachments
      to poetic forms, follow
      recipes, taste words.

    62. shades, wind – flying with
      the Valkyries blaring loudly
      transported away

    63. sometimes getting off
      the rollercoaster is all
      you need for relief

    64. JRSimmang says:

      Some say you build a
      house where you rest your tired bones.
      His rocks fall like bricks.

      The little droplets
      dribbling down the rounded face
      remind him to welcome

      with a jute welcome
      mat his new friends, inscribed with
      encouraging words.

    65. rogue agents invade
      destroying cells needed to
      live – death to cancer

    66. The poem below results both the prompt from this site for a senyru and the one from NaPoWriMo.net to re-write Frank O’Hara’s “Lines for the Fortune Cookies.”

      Fortune Cookie Lines in Senryus
      (A la Frank O’Hara)

      You’ll inherit much.
      The sun will rise in your heart.
      You will bless others.

      Fortune smiles on you.
      Your beauty glows like the moon.
      You give happiness.

      Your tears will be dried.
      Your gifts outnumber the stars
      Fill the world with joy.

    67. Dini says:

      grasping at slim strand
      self-imposed dedication
      frayed not yet broken

    68. RJ Clarken says:

      Tir na Blog

      The computer world
      has its own tiny wee folk:
      they’re called the Pixels.

      The Pixels’ powers
      are determined by magic
      and pantone colors.

      You can find Pixels
      if a Vector Inspector
      gives you a bitmap.

      But please be careful.
      Pixels are shy, and hide if
      closely monitored.

      ###

    69. Domino says:

      I wrote a few – hope I’m doing this right. LOL

      Love, loss, bliss, pain, joy;
      no, the human condition
      is never boring.

      ***

      I may still love you
      but that doesn’t mean I will
      be your bitch, you jerk.

      ***

      Just one touch, is all
      Somehow that changed everything
      Now what do I do?

      ***

      Tender kisses from
      slobbery childish lips. This
      is what I live for.

      Diana Terrill Clark

      • PressOn says:

        I have no feel for what’s right or wrong in this form,. but your third piece strikes me as getting near the essence of it. At any rate, the final line is compelling.

        • Domino says:

          I wanted to hit at several emotions, since it is supposed to be dealing with the human condition – the angry one doesn’t feel right, though. Will have to work on this form some more. Thanks for your comment, PressOn, because

          sometimes it really
          does feel a lot like flailing
          around in the dark

    70. Jane Shlensky says:

      Intentions

      “If you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to [the poor].” HD Thoreau

      It happens daily
      Somewhere someone reaches out
      feeling lesser than

      Can we spend ourselves
      in helping others rise up?
      Is money the key?

      He watches beggars
      work busy streets, collecting
      alms, pity, prayers.

      Can we distribute
      service, self-esteem, kindness?
      And does our help help?

    71. Jane Shlensky says:

      Mercy

      beeping monitors
      hissing pulse of oxygen
      a single pink rose
      ————————————————–

      Because

      hot tea with honey
      warm bagels, fruit with cheeses
      my thin hand in yours

    72. shethra77 says:

      Senryu

      Thought I would be back,
      but she seized and fell again.
      The tea chilled outside.

    73. Angie5804 says:

      Swimming in the dark
      The Rock of my salvation
      Makes the waves as glass

    74. I loathe and detest all syllable counting especially Japanese poetry – quite simple because I can’t do it!!!! I do, however, really admire those that can. Some feeble attempts:

      material greed
      over looking life’s treasure
      from cradle to grave

      *******

      late night discussion
      words far better left unsaid
      the truth spilt through wine

      or

      Inquam nimium
      tardus nox noctis sermo
      vinum veritas

      (I know I’m weird!)
      *****

      Found senyru – from a song by Dory Previn:

      well, ain’t that something
      ain’t that wild, my daddy says
      that I ain’t his child

      Hah! Ain’t that something wild?

      Iain

    75. RJ Clarken says:

      Come, Bob

      Discombobulate
      implies at least once you’d been
      combobulated.

      ###

      Look Out Below!

      I just found this out:
      When throwing stuff from above,
      shout out, “Gardyloo!”

      ###

      Melee

      So, these Donnybrooks?
      They’re not about some water
      or a guy named Don.

      ###

      Didja Know…

      A cow’s first stomach
      is known as a fardingbag.
      Kind of makes sense, huh?

    76. I really want to get on my soapbox and complain about the West’s fascination with trying to squeeze into 17 bare syllables the resonant, culturally rich depth of the Japanese haiku (today’s prompt being a modern variation on the haiku called the senryu) that routinely manages to convey so much more because it’s based on a heritage western poets don’t share, but I won’t. Heh. Too late again. I’ve always thought that western haiku is mostly a training exercise for poets learning to excise all but essential language from their poems.

      All that said, today’s effort on my part: a senryu/haiku sequence.

      Seriously?

      Once ideograms
      Conveyed more than seventeen
      English syllables.

      But summer roses
      Trellised skyward also speak
      More than words convey.

      Pictograms, given
      Seventeen-thousand-petaled
      Tongues, burst into song.

      Basho though: winter
      Descends, sky’s quiet Kanji,
      White chrysanthemums.

    77. DanielAri says:

      Instead of packing
      the nail clippers, I always
      clipped before travel.

    78. Because of the letter’s own form some liberties have been taken!

      Dear Moosehead,

      Heart set on clean sweep
      Mind full of doubt and questions
      Life’s great adventure

      Pick ya up at 12 – I’m buying!

      Yours, clutching a metaphysical rabbit’s foot.

      Ringo the Howler

      • JRSimmang says:

        I’ve been reading the Ringo series (or would you prefer the Moosehead series [or neither]?), and I have to ask if it is indeed a series. I think these are all fantastic one-sided conversations.

        • Thank you, kindly….it is indeed a series that I have been doing for six years. The very first was in response to a “Rant” prompt in April 2008, the following November I did 30 days of them and have done the same every April since. To be honest his life has grown so complex that even I have trouble remembering all the details. Strangely, I do affectionately refer to them as “Mooseheads”. Moosehead has only ever written back twice, as I recall but there is a mystery in play this year so, who knows?

    79. ewdupler says:

      My First Senryu

      Please give it a try.
      Senryu is easy Haiku,
      Without all the rules.

    80. One man on corner
      holds sign, “Want Work.” Behind him
      sign says, “Help Wanted”

    81. Never2L8 says:

      Loss of Innocence

      Kohl lines eyes too young
      sultry eyes, sexy, jaded
      Cleopatra eyes

    82. Melanie says:

      The Runner

      He runs through the rain
      Counting each marathon mile
      Dismissing the pain

    83. Brian Slusher says:

      The wind chimes jangle
      As nearby a goldfinch feeds:
      Perhaps I’m happy?

    84. LIVING WITH NUMBERS 2013

      Lost their home after
      the mill shut down. So now they’ll
      try the lottery.

      Eyes dim from the smoke,
      and spin of the jackpot wheel –
      one win, she’ll see straight.

      He walks his small plot
      of land, not knowing what eyes
      and lenses watch him.

      Eight chances in ten
      she’ll get what killed her mother.
      Living with numbers.

    85. tonijoell says:

      winged words fluttering
      like butterflies between us
      so much unspoken

    86. I’ve always had cats
      They are man’s best companions
      Spoiled little fur balls

    87. identity says:

      She watches the pot
      brew her Human Condition
      in torturous drips.

      Her good intentions
      visit the gym frequently,
      leaving her at home.

    88. It’s a condition
      That all humans should endure
      But far too few do

    89. Julieann says:

      Misplaced

      Dreams float away on
      Cold, traitorous clouds, letting
      Desires remain

    90. A perfect fit today: NaPoWriMo’s prompt is to write a fortune cookie poem. Robert, didn’t you use that prompt some time ago? I remember writing a poem called “Cynical Fortune Cookies” once. Anyway, here’s my poem. (Note my upbeat messages are probably influenced by the beautiful day outside and the baby shower for my daughter-in-law about to begin at my house.)

      Fortune Cookie Senryu

      Don’t measure success
      by how high you climb, but what
      you do where you are.

      No matter how stressed
      and busy you are, add one more
      thing to your list: rest.

      Take a walk today,
      observe your environment,
      report back to you.

      Pessimism loves
      a vacuum; optimism
      thrives best in fresh air.

      Your marriage account:
      investing hard work and some tears
      will yield dividends.

    91. alana sherman says:

      The last senryu had to not be a senryu so the chain could end

      From Point A to Point B

      Why go to when you
      can go under or around?
      The shortest distance

      is a straight line. She
      can never do it that way
      except for the stairs.

      At two, when you are
      learning locomotion every
      thing is an adventure

      especially stairs—
      “DOWN!” she shouts, bumping along,
      “Down and Down! and Down!”

      pausing on every step
      to laugh and identify
      each picture—the framed

      horses and horsemen—
      comments on cracks in the wall
      and her progress. From

      top to bottom (on
      her bottom) this journey is
      an escapade
      to revel in and share.

      alana

    92. Jennifer O'Connor says:

      My heart is heavy
      My soul is lost without you
      Baby please come home

    93. Spring Sun raining down
      lifting spirits and flowers
      both from under ground

    94. Margot Suydam says:

      Senyu Fortune

      Poem a day #21 is a response to prompts from NaPoWriMo and Poetic Asides: (1) Write a poem that is lines for a fortune cookie, and (2) write a senyu, a three-line poem with a 5/7/5 syllable pattern, which deals with the human condition.

      You will join pilgrims
      traveling through scenery
      you avoid in dreams.

    95. pmwanken says:

      surrounded by stuff
      she realizes just how
      empty her life is

      2013-04-21
      P. Wanken

    96. Glory says:

      ‘senryu’

      stretched arms, hands upward
      heads erect as pulled by string
      to meet heaven’s sky

    97. Tracy Davidson says:

      whatever he says
      will not explain or excuse
      their evil actions

    98. MsGenuineLady says:

      “Forgiveness”

      You made a mistake
      Anger will not consume me
      I will still love you

    99. last night is a blur
      as I wake up next to her
      what did I do now

    100. Opel D Hell says:

      swelling leather purse
      shifting wealth of free markets
      comes with strings attached

    101. missjoyce says:

      his mind runs away
      fictitious situations
      his eyes closed resting

    102. Amy says:

      Innocent questions
      breed complicated answers
      children see too much

    103. ValerieO says:

      Cracked pavement and trash
      Outlines her apartment door
      Life in the city

    104. PoM says:

      Evil hearts so dark
      Outer darkness they’ll abode
      Forever distressed

    105. Jezzie says:

      British Sundays

      Splendid hours we pass.
      We sow, mow, weed, seed and feed.
      Splendour in the grass.

    106. Widowhood feels bleak..
      She savours the nutty bread
      bestowed by her friends.

    107. From books to Kindle
      Addicts switching pills to shots
      Straight to the bloodstream

    108. priyajane says:

      EASE.
      A little red wine
      let the entangled words
      Slip easily out

    109. Jezzie says:

      Gardening

      I’m stiff as a board.
      I’ve been out digging all day.
      Boy, it was so hard.

    110. Raina Masters says:

      Sunday reflection

      Infertile ground sits
      just above her waist, leaves her
      gutted and hollow.

    111. happys says:

      ~Divine Will~

      Though man proposes
      Ultimately heaven rules
      Since God disposes

    112. Larry says:

      My life is fulfilled
      When they show up at my door
      God I love my kids.

    113. PressOn says:

      The eyes of a child
      see the same vision as I,
      but the child recalls.

    114. PressOn says:

      The old gentleman
      still chases after women
      but forgets what for.

    115. This sleepy writer
      Requires caffeinating
      To make any sense.

    116. On Friday, I kept up with the events unfolding in Boston through the Facebook posts of a former student just a couple of blocks away. I landed on a series of senryu:

      Lockdown in Watertown

      SWAT team on her porch
      she post pictures for her friends
      from behind closed doors

      she left the small town
      where she had lived all her life,
      wanting excitement

      more than she’d asked for
      peeking through her window blinds,
      she watches and waits

      all day long, the scene
      playing on the news she sees
      just outside her door.

    117. PowerUnit says:

      My sun shines brightly
      But there’s ice is in the garden
      So planting will wait

    118. missjoyce says:

      Prompt:
      A senryu (5-7-5)

      But

      her mind is screaming
      wanting to communicate
      but she’s paralyzed

      PS, I hope I got the senryu description right.

    Leave a Reply