Editors Blog

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

After we finish today’s poem, we’ll have crossed the half-way point in this challenge. Congratulations for making it this far! It’s all downhill from here, right?

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “What (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “What Luck,” “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” “Whatever You Say,” and so on.

Here’s my attempt at a What Blank Poem:

“What Happens”

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.
Every time a gun is fired, people buy more guns.

They spread like kudzu across the landscape, and there’s
no way to stop their advance. Like insects, like black

rats–they return and return stronger than ever
as if they never left. As for me, I won’t bend

to their will, whether for protection or a thrill.
Every time a gun fires, an angel joins the choir.


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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is a Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a person who understands the complexity of the gun issue. While he’s not interested in taking anyone else’s guns, he doesn’t believe in owning them himself (to each, their own). After the Aurora shooting, gun sales increased in Colorado, Georgia, Washington, Florida, and California. There was also a spike in national gun sales following the Sandy Hook shooting. Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and can be found on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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259 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

  1. Susan Schoeffield


    ‘tween there and here,
    one heart’s muffled orchestra
    echoed in an empty chamber,
    a song no one could hear.

    ‘tween then and now,
    one heart sang a capella
    to melodies not yet written,
    a song it would not share.

    ‘tween you and me,
    two hearts created music,
    a chorus blending together,
    a song only love sings.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  2. hohlwein

    For today’s prompt, take the phrase “What (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “What Luck,” “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” “Whatever You Say,” and so on.

    What I Knew

    I was an odd child who was in love.
    This I knew and I knew
    I loved the distressed mess of oak leaves
    that a peacock brushed through during the night
    that ochre field greyed shuffled under electric blue, night-greyed
    that the rain was love, was in love
    with the leaves under the leaves
    that the worms
    and the spiders under the snapped and fallen branches
    were as perfect as the words
    “I love you”
    and that no words were needed
    not ever
    there when I was ten, silent,
    acknowledging each piece of color
    as I could, arranging them in my lap,
    in the bowl of my cotton dress,
    with care according to how much
    for them I felt.

  3. Jezzie

    What a woeful week it was.
    What more will we all do?
    We will not wangle
    the weather which
    wastes the world.
    Why not?
    What now?
    We’ll just wait
    while we wonder
    what will happen and
    when or whether we will
    depart this woeful world
    this week or will we survive

    What causes a whirlwind
    to wipe out homes and lives?
    What wicked wars will wrench
    men from their weeping wives?
    What will we survivors
    do to show that we care?
    What worse is there to come,
    we worry, and where?

  4. Yolee

    What Is Going On?

    That which does not kill me
    makes me want to eat. But
    I’m tired of codfish still
    stuck to the bone,
    needling between
    my teeth and testing
    things I need to say.

  5. deringer1


    Oh see it with me !
    Mountains blue, misty, or rosy,
    sunsets red and gold and pink,
    forests green, tall trees reaching up
    into blue, blue never ending skies.

    But wait–there’s more than that–
    there’s beauty in a friendly smile,
    a caring touch,
    a wrinkled face and snowy hair,
    a little child with trusting eyes,
    a table set with thanks and love,
    or a baby’s coo.

    And oh ! There’s beauty in
    well-written lines,
    in deep emotions spilled on paper,
    in marvelous music that moves to tears,
    and in your face as
    you look at me with love.

  6. bjholmes

    What’s Wrong

    Words quickly spoken
    with so very little thought
    tend to wound and hurt and sting
    with every little shot.

    With bitterness and hatred
    words are thrown carelessly out
    to fall on our victims
    and cast on heavy laden doubt.

    With every angery word
    of ridicule and blame
    the hearer only crumbles
    in pity and in shame.

    Words used to hurt
    that make one look so strong
    only tend to backfire
    and show the world what’s wrong.

  7. Rita Ackerman

    What If?

    What if the world ended today?
    What if the shootings never go away?
    What if there’s no end to every highway?
    What if no one took time to pray?
    What if our ancestors didn’t labor night and day?

    There’d be no hope to keep us alive,
    Or dreams and visions,
    To lead the way.

  8. seingraham


    In moonlight the scavi is alive with ghosts
    waltzing between eras, sharing secrets
    not normally mentioned during daylight hours
    Luna smiles enigmatically, her knowledge
    as ageless as the silver streams of light
    beaming through the atmosphere
    to the ancients down below

    Shrouds, usually wound tight or tattered,
    flutter like butterflies, shimmering
    surrounding individual skeletons setting
    each apart from the others, giving each
    an individuality not unlike their human
    selves, no longer living

    The thing about archaeology is how the bones,
    the shards, the buried cities
    Unearthed one spoonful of earth at a time
    speaks as eloquently as the most intricate poetry
    the stories passed down through the ages
    The words are not words as such, and they
    don’t need to be, they’re understood
    just as they are

  9. seingraham


    In moonlight the scavi is alive with ghosts
    waltzing between eras, sharing secrets
    not normally mentioned during daylight hours
    Luna smiles enigmatically, her knowledge
    as ageless as the silver streams of light
    beaming through the atmosphere
    to the ancients down below

    Shrouds, usually wound tight or tattered,
    flutter like butterflies, shimmering
    surrounding individual skeletons setting
    each apart from the others, giving each
    an individuality not unlike their human
    selves, no longer living

    The thing about archaeology is how the bones,
    the shards, the buried cities
    Unearthed one spoonful of earth at a time
    speaks as eloquently as the most intricate poetry,
    the stories passed down through the ages
    The words are not words as such, and they
    don’t need to be, they’re understood
    just as they are

  10. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    What Is That Music?

    What is that music
    leaking over the horizon?
    Full of longing, where does it come from?
    I want to understand. I want it to stay.

    What is that music
    murmuring on and on?
    How can it be both clear and dim?
    What is the message it means to convey?

    What is that music?
    It is a secret, but one
    that others hear too — although for them
    it may have something different to say.

    What is that music?
    What is that half-heard tune
    that I can almost catch and hum …
    that makes me want to weep and pray?

    What is that music?
    Does it waft from the moon?
    I know it haunts me for good, not harm.
    I know it needs to come out and play.

    What is that music?
    And where has it gone —
    dwindling gently, gradually dumb?
    It was here, and now it has gone away.

  11. Glory

    What Happened

    I didn’t take to her at first
    why, I wasn’t sure,
    just something about her
    had me feeling . . . insecure

    How wrong can one person
    be? As time passed by
    she was, as it turned out
    a very good friend to me

    And now, although we’re miles
    apart, I find her often
    within my heart, a lasting
    friendship shared,

  12. bxpoetlover

    What Is It Made Of?

    Just before they straggled in, I was halfway through
    my dessert, vegan chocolate cake. Kevin asked,
    “Does it taste like grass?” They laughed.

    Jamyk said, “Miss, you don’t eat cheese? No meat?
    What do you eat?”
    I rummaged through
    my file cabinet for a plastic fork encased in plastic. All gone.

    I took the end of my fork and lopped off part of an end piece.
    Here. I haven’t touched this part. I dropped it gently in Kevin’s hand.
    He sniffed it. Twice. All eyes on his face as he put it in his mouth.
    He paused, then chewed.

    “Miss, what did they put in this? It tastes like regular cake.
    Where did you get it?”
    The vegan joint on the corner.
    “No you didn’t.”
    It’s good, isn’t it?
    “There’s no milk or eggs in it? What did they put in it? This is regular chocolate?
    “I am going to get some after school.”

    I winked and opened the book.

  13. Broofee

    What a day

    Morning starts
    With you in my arms.
    You’re finally here!
    After all those days
    After all those nights.

    I write this poem
    While you’re still asleep
    About how we’ll spend
    Whole Saturday together.

    The lunch
    The book fair
    The dinner
    The evening out

    All those things
    Still ahead
    And another night

    And another morning.

    All those moments I need to catch
    And remember
    So they can keep me
    While I wait to see you

  14. MichelleMcEwen

    What’s Going On

    The dirty south 
    say what it do

    O.G.’s say 
    what it is

    Uncle Freddie 
    say what it be

    Rerun say
    what’s happening

    Boys on the street
    corner say what up

    gangstas say
    what’s crackalackin

    brothas in the hood
    say what’s good

    Marvin Gaye
    say what’s going on

    but you can’t answer that
    with dap. 

    1. MichelleMcEwen

      Oops, left out a sentence. Here it is again. Sorry:

      What’s Going On

      The dirty south 
      say what it do

      O.G.’s say 
      what it is

      Uncle Freddie 
      say what it be

      Rerun say
      what’s happening

      Boys on the street
      corner say what up

      gangstas say
      what’s crackalackin

      Rastas say
      wah gwan  

      brothas in the hood
      say what’s good

      Marvin Gaye
      say what’s going on

      but you can’t answer that
      with dap. 

  15. Walt Wojtanik


    She stands at the end of the bar,
    far off in thought, she ought not
    drink when she’s thinking, she’s
    be stinking drunk before she had
    made her rationalization. Her
    station in life is rife with uncertainty,
    Swilled to the gills, this girl raises
    her head and appears ready to
    TAIL” You wondered “What does
    the fox say?” Now you know!

  16. bethwk

    What Is My Name?

    This time it wasn’t angels riding
    up and down their golden escalator.
    No happy hallelujahs,
    no floodgates of heaven
    opening for my vision alone.

    This time the angel took on gravity,
    grabbed and held me,
    wrestled me to the ground.

    The angel’s grip was like steel,
    like iron, like feathers, ice cold air.
    But I’ve been running my whole life.
    I wasn’t about to let some angel
    keep me from getting away
    and getting my way.

    I have been limping ever since,
    from the touch on my thigh,
    but still I wouldn’t let the angel go.

    “Not until you bless me.
    Not until you tell me,
    until you tell me my name.”

    And here I am,
    building altars in the dawn,
    and tasting those new sounds
    in my throat, on my lips.

  17. Margie Fuston

    What’s on the Other Side of the Mountain?

    I think there might be
    fields dotted with daisies dipped in sun,
    trees with tangled, untrimmed, branches,
    streams that slip around glossy stones,
    flowers never flattened by wayward footprints.
    If only someone would help me
    tunnel through.

  18. julie e.


    I’ll be your Ginger Rogers
    you’ll be my Fred Astaire
    we’ll pretend we’re light as feathers
    on our feet.
    Imagine I’m not clumsy
    I’ll imagine you’re debonair
    You lead, I’ll try to follow in
    pretend heels.
    Let’s make-believe we’re younger
    you spin me a time or two
    and laugh when I get dizzy
    like I do
    I’ll be your Ginger Rogers
    you be my Fred Astaire
    but I’ll grab our reading glasses
    before bed.

  19. Nancy Posey


    Breaking up housekeeping after their parents passed
    one right after the other, as if part of a secret plan–
    If you go first, I’ll be right behind you—they met
    one weekend to clean out, purge, then figure out
    how to divide anything of value—Mama’s dishes,
    the spindle bed in the front room, the mantle clock.
    Long ago, they’d been warned not to let belongings
    come between them, not to stain their memory
    with quarrels over things, just things. Instead,
    he told his sister which of her children needed
    the corner cabinet, and she remembered, without
    his asking, that Daddy’s tools belonged with him.
    One by one, they celebrated the love, the lives
    that shaped theirs own, until only Mama’s shelf
    remained—her whatnots, she called tiny glass
    poodle, salt-and-pepper shakers with Nassau
    written in gold cursive scrawl, a crystal bell,
    the hand-painted china plates Mama painted,
    a hobby learned late. Treasures once mocked
    now held new worth. Suddenly they needed
    to handle each piece, telling stories, confessing
    to breakage they’d denied for years. Laughter
    mingled with tears as their loss felt new
    and love, their true inheritance, felt real.

  20. Julieann

    What’s For Supper?

    The local pizza place
    And hangout is
    Fifteen miles from
    The nearest town
    It is sits across the highway
    From the east-west
    Train tracks
    Suddenly the still,
    Cool night air is broken
    By the sound of
    Air brakes squealing
    Boxcars clanging, rattling
    To an undignified halt
    The freight train stops
    Stone cold dead still
    On the track
    A flashlight shines down
    The steps leading
    To the ground
    We all watch as the
    Engineer exits, locks the cab
    And crosses the highway
    To enter the pizza place
    And pick up his preordered
    Pizza to go

  21. Bruce Niedt

    What My Baseball Card Would Say

    Bruce Niedt – Philadelphia Phillies
    Position: Fan

    Career Stats:
    1960 – Failed to make Little League team

    1960-1965 – Occasional sandlot games
    Usual position – right field

    1970’s-1980’s – A few office softball games
    (averages not available)

    1990’s-2010’s – sporadic involvement in
    computer games and rotisserie leagues

    Career highlights: Watching his team win
    the World Series in 1980 and 2008

    Team’s winning average when he attends
    games at the ballpark: about .300

    BCG (beers consumed per game): 1.40

    FELA (Fan Enthusiasm and Loyalty Average):

  22. Cameron Steele

    What Dream

    Whatever it is
    that’s got her has her
    good enough to leave
    her twitching under
    those cotton sheets,
    a whimper caught
    against the back of her
    tongue that almost
    hooks my heart enough
    to wake her.

    I hover over the small bed
    and wonder what I
    always do: why
    she insists I leave
    her in the dark of her
    own disordered mind,
    why she makes me suffer
    the frenetic seizing of
    her limbs when all I want
    is to clutch her fine fingers
    against my cheek and
    kiss her eyelashes.
    I stare at them when she
    shakes for fear I
    will lose touch with her

    She says she needs
    to sleep through the dreams
    even when it looks more
    like suffering. She believes
    it’s better to get it all out
    when the sun is down
    and she’s not afraid
    of seeing her own shadows.
    I used to be scared
    of them but now I’m just tired
    and threadbare, worn down
    like one of her socks
    from too many nights
    trying to protect her twitching toes.

  23. priyajane

    They say-
    Whatever happens, is for the best
    Sometimes ‘best’ feels like
    having your heart ripped up
    and stomped on
    with high heels, and
    buried, deep in dirt–
    But I guess that’s where
    The best lotus grow —-

  24. DWong

    What I See You Don’t

    I lost my mom
    when I needed her most.
    His wall of steel caged her in.
    His chain, made of hundred pound links,
    was fused to her legs
    and shortened by two
    each time
    she dared
    Now that she’s gone
    her spiky chain lies on the ground
    between me and my precious child.
    I look in those young eyes of hers.
    The chain is starting
    to fuse
    my own
    It will force me
    like I lost
    my mom.
    What I see is you don’t see
    any of this
    from your world of
    If this chain is
    to be a part of me,
    I will take it,
    I will use it,
    rip it from my skin,
    baring flesh,
    shedding blood,
    and wrap it round my neck,
    shortening it myself,
    crumpling the links
    like the paper
    it is

    1. PKP

      This poem is so powerful – that I have read and re-read it three times – I admit that I thought that I was seeing this literally through the eyes of perhaps a pit-bull or other fighting dog – but I believe it cuts far deeper.

  25. cbwentworth

    A change in weather,
    from sun to dust
    The heat of summer,
    is laid to rest
    Life is rewritten,
    the season new

    After pain and loss,
    that stole my breath
    The ground releases,
    my anchored step
    The wide horizon,
    brightens my view

  26. taylor graham


    In my email: a cat is lost in town
    near Locust Street, a long block past the T.
    I print the flyer so I’ll know him: brown
    tabby, Mister. It’s Friday so I’m free
    to follow hunches, look for windfall, roam
    with open eyes; peer into every tree
    along the way. Check crevices. Where’s home
    to a lost tabby? Here’s an old rock wall,
    snapdragons still in bloom. A fringe of foam-
    white flowers; foliage red as autumn-fall.
    A penny pressed in earth by passing feet;
    the plainest gray-bird with the sweetest call;
    a sunny wooden bench where friends might meet.
    So many things I never knew of Locust Street.

  27. Cin5456

    What About My Heart?

    What about my heart?
    What about the love –
    Was it fake, a ruse to use
    against me? What gave you
    the right to test its beat
    against your drum? Must you
    thump it about, thumb
    your nose at sincerity?
    Tossed aside, then chastised
    for leaving you, I can’t
    make up your mind for you.
    Either you want my love,
    Or my heart is your toy.

    The rhythm is gone,
    gone from the dance;
    this tango is too tangled.
    You, dancing a caper about
    my prone form from
    dawn to evermore. I danced
    to your piper, followed
    your lead, but stumbled,
    sensing scorn poorly hidden.
    I’m stuck here, bewildered
    in the twisted lines
    of a trap you laid.
    I’ve paid, and played
    your games for too long.
    What about my heart?

  28. Lori P

    What should I do today dot com

    WTF should I do today?
    The computer will tell me.
    Build a stoneage telegraph.
    I don’t want to do that.
    Post cheesy chat up line through people’s doors.
    I don’t want to do that.
    Kiss Jack Howard.
    I don’t… who’s that anyway?
    New tab, Google Jack Howard.
    Wikipedia says he could be a Canadian hockey player,
    a Micronesian sprinter, or an Australian musician.
    I doubt all three.
    Back on Google I find a more likely candidate:
    YouTuber, Twitter celebrity, filmmaker.
    One third of the comedy duo Jack and Dean.
    On second thought maybe I do want to do that,
    Especially since the next thing is just a link to Tumblr

  29. bjzeimer


    What wouldn’t I give
    to see inside
    that house again
    to see if the winding stair
    is still there,
    the picture of a doll
    cut from a newspaper ad
    my brother
    pasted on the ceiling,
    to be five years old
    and rolling down
    the grassy hill
    in the sun

  30. Domino

    What Voice

    What voice is loud enough/
    rude enough/proud enough
    to waken the world?

    Individually, humans are selfish.
    But with maturity (as a person/
    as a species/as a race)
    we can learn to look within ourselves,
    deep enough/thoroughly enough/
    intensely enough
    to see that we are all

    What one does effects all.
    When one is filled with joy,
    all are uplifted.
    When one is brutalized
    all are brought down,
    multiplied by a factor of
    the brutalized times the brutalizing;
    one cannot do harm without
    harming oneself.

    People can learn that the bad
    they are having
    can only be improved by calming/
    the anger/hate/rage/selfishness
    and letting loose the

    1. elishevasmom

      It is easy to point at what ails our culture, our society. But you go the further step of not just pointing the way, but by leading it. Absolutely love it!

  31. uneven steven

    The history of history and the story of religion in 33 words

    What a guy
    what a story
    what a show
    what a crock
    what a goddamn
    butt fucking astrophe
    for all
    this load o’
    what a … what a … what a …
    whichever way
    you turn

  32. Missy McEwen

    What I Know

    I know that
    the earth isn’t flat

    & that
    if you’re born
    you’re doomed.

    If you grow up
    in the streets
    the gangs
    & drugs
    will get you.

    If you grow up
    in the ‘burbs
    & go to college

    nigga hating
    trigger happy
    cops will get you

    & that’s a fact
    of life like death.

    That’s what
    I know.

    1. PressOn

      This is raw, powerful, and the kind of poem that people like me, who know nothing of life on the streets, or the reality of being black, need to read and hear.

    2. Cin5456

      This sounds like the seeds of a poetry slam. You should do this out loud for an audience. You have a statement to make, and it should be heard by an audience. Wonderful.

  33. elishevasmom

    What Today Is
    (A View of Alzheimer’s)

    Even though my dad’s condition
    changes a little every day
    it’s not always a step backward.
    Sometimes it’s a step to the side.
    To be able to stay on an even keel,
    my mom needs to spend every day,
    like she’s standing over a large
    dough, in flour up to her elbows.

    Most of the work is done.
    When you get toward the end,
    you just turn the dough over and
    over, not knowing where the
    flour will stick—allowing it to
    follow it’s own way.

    Ellen Knight 11.15.13
    write a “where_______” poem for PAD 11.13

      1. elishevasmom

        Thank you Karen. I’ve been trying to augment my regular poem prompts for PAD with some from the view of Alzheimer’s. I missed a few days; they all just wouldn’t fit. I’m hoping to work it toward a chap book.

    1. PressOn

      For me, this image of turning that dough brings to mind the brain and its convolutions, which are, in a sense, being turned over by the disease. I think this is an excellent piece of writing.

    2. Linda Goin

      Ellen — this poem is stunning. Your use of the dough helped me feel the weight and work that goes into caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. I’m fortunate not to have to deal with this issue…yet. But, I’ll never forget this image.

  34. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 15
    Prompt: Write a poem entitled “What _____.”

    What Child Is This?

    Not that I don’t consider that He came, all year long,
    but in this season,
    as our Thanksgiving fades into memory’s realm, I begin
    prying boxes off the closet shelf and find the papier-mache
    Santas my mom has given over the years.

    I unwrap the Santa who’s kneeling,
    eyes closed in reverence,
    hands clasped in prayer,
    head bent in worship,
    then the figure to place before him:
    the Child in the manger,
    the unlikely King who refused earthly kingdoms
    and said, “Mine is not of this world.”
    I wonder, and the tears glisten,
    the ones that might well appear on Santa’s cheek.

    The awe of it all,
    Holy Night of His birth,
    holy unholy day of His death,
    veil rent in the Holy of Holies,
    brilliant day of resurrection,
    rendering me also dead, reborn, and one day,
    alive in imperishable body and in His presence forever.

    What Child is this,
    Who did this for me,
    Who walks me through this world,
    Who prepares a place for me in eternity?

  35. Missy McEwen

    What I Know

    I know that
    the earth isn’t flat

    & that
    if you’re born
    you’re doom.

    If you grow up
    in the streets
    the gangs
    & drugs
    will get you.

    If you grow up
    in the ‘burbs
    & go to college

    nigga hating
    trigger happy
    cops will get you

    & that’s a fact
    of life like death.

    That’s what
    I know.

  36. DanielAri

    #3 I seem to be on fire today. This is not typical for me.
    “Whatever happens”

    Whatever happens,
    let me remember
    the able passions
    that brought me this far.
    Let me keep asking

    even when I hear
    some no repeated—
    and even more when
    full yesses echo.
    My thanks knows no bounds,

    but let me know awe
    and wonder more than
    gratitude. I’ll go
    foolishly dancing
    backwards and forwards,

    sideways, randomized
    jazzed in abandon.


  37. DanielAri



    “What’s that over Gotham City?”

    Some wishes ascend like flares
    on a calm, autumn Friday
    when the whole city’s raring
    to play. Then who could resist?
    We all become scenery,

    willingly, to make Bat Kid’s
    day. We dress up and follow
    pyramid to Bay Burger
    to swallowed up in the crowd
    to live feed in afternoon’s

    backstage mellow—while Bat Kid
    waves to every cheering mob,
    soul-drunk beyond anyone’s
    comprehension, dad sobbing
    through laughter, and Facebook threads

    spanning the globe as far as
    the black-robed vigilante.


  38. Misky


    There are times when I need
    to tune out the world. Dial myself
    between this number and that,
    slip into static and hum
    a celestial buzz.
    There are times when I need
    to only hear time. No sounds
    but a constant and regular
    tick and a tock, a pendulum sway,
    and dropped steps into gears.
    What I need is a proper wind-up,
    pendulum, brass-weighted clock.

  39. DanielAri

    “What would I do without games?”

    In the early years of the Internet
    I downloaded every old arcade game
    I grew up with plus an emulator
    that turned my Mac into the rumpus room
    of my teenage dreams: Tempest, Tron, Gauntlet,

    Punch Out, Black Tiger—free play, all the time.
    And how many quarter-hours had I killed
    already in the video taprooms
    of Orange County? Donkey Kong fulfilled
    his promise with every coin inserted.

    Then came the blizzard of Warcraft worlds, then
    the disposable distraction of apps.
    The trade is too complex to be tallied
    quid pro quo. Tonight my wife snapped at me
    though I did the dishes, vacuumed the rug.

    But the friction sticks in my synapses.
    What makes me happy? What else could happen?


  40. elishevasmom

    What Happened Next?

    Babies have a language
    all their own.
    It’s not just aimless
    babble, (well, maybe at first).

    But soon after, if you pay
    attention, you can hear
    the sounds of syntax,
    inflections of interrogatory,
    conversational pauses—

    almost like eves-dropping
    on a bus in a foreign country.
    Oh, but one more thing,
    we can’t see the other
    party in the conversation.

    What a wonderful place
    to be—innocent, trusting,
    living a simple carefree
    Although having physically
    parted with their mother,
    they are still very much
    linked to that other world.

    A world that disappears
    all-to-quickly, like a puff
    of smoke in a magic trick.
    That is why I love to
    interject myself into the
    conversations of baby-hood.

    The baby gurgles something,
    and I say, “Really?
    That sounds so exciting!”

    To which the baby responds
    with string of unintelligible
    Then I counter, “Wow, what
    happened next?”

    And the baby answers
    (in a slightly different
    demeanor this time) with
    a collection of entertaining
    grunts and chatter,
    animation and a slight
    pause for effect,
    just about midway.

    And then I say something like,
    “That was wonderful! Tell me
    another!” And so on.

    Sadly, once we’re grown, the
    joys and wonders of that
    other world reside within
    us only as a dream-memory.

    But, if we’re willing to stop,
    just sit a spell, and have a chat
    in that language of intuition,
    we may just find a fragrant
    whisper falling gently around
    us—speaking strength to
    those memories.

    Ellen Knight 11.15.13
    write a “What_______” poem for PAD 11.13

  41. Sara McNulty

    Robert, your poem was incredible. I read the last line three times.
    I cannot comment during this challenge, but I will catch up.

    What Transpired Here?

    What have we got, officer?
    New cop on the beat,
    feeling the heat from another
    humid New York City morning.
    Cleared his throat, fair face
    the color of pea soup. He had
    to remove the handkerchief
    from his mouth and nose
    in order to respond
    to this seasoned, cynical
    detective who looked down
    at the victim with just a telltale
    twitch in facial muscle.
    Body lay face down, except
    there was no face, because
    there was no head. A systematic
    series of cuts covered the back.
    Rookie turned, bent over, unable
    to stop retching. You’ll get used
    to it, Detective said, clean yourself
    up, and start searching for the head
    in the nearby dumpsters. I want to know
    what transpired here.

  42. Walt Wojtanik


    Roses smell sweet, and their beauty
    is their sworn duty to nature.
    In any nomenclature, their stature blooms
    filling every room with their fragrant fare.

    Shall I call a woman a rose?
    By any other name she would be as
    sweet and beautiful, a dutiful inspiration
    in any nomenclature. A flower amongst thorns.

    Well worn on a well-worn sleeve, she leaves
    an impression, that says her heart, the blush
    of a rose, has chosen you to be her gardener.
    And you are blessed to hold her bloom.

    Her perfume, like the rose, flows to your nostrils,
    filling you with her heavenly scent, for she was
    heaven sent. She was meant to be nurtured
    and cared for, and what’s more, to be admired

    and loved. Above all else, she will grace your life
    brightening your days as long as she stays in view.
    Just like roses too, a women is most beautiful.
    A woman is a rose. What’s in a name?

  43. Hannah

    What Stillness Whispers There?

    A nest resting on ground,
    found beneath a thorn tree;
    it’s cemented-earthen-solid,
    yet it’s torn in the bottom-
    light shines through.
    perhaps it’s repairable,
    set in a stable nook-
    in the crook of two firm branches;
    I try to salvage swallow’s labor,
    I savor ghost-memories of past-
    last batch that thrived there.
    Speckled eggs sleeping-
    speechless and warmed,
    and held from harm
    in tawny-timbered-arms.
    by this many limbed bush,
    whispered within
    despite the din of a busy city,
    amid all this everyday action;
    a seamless contrast.
    Authentic and alive-
    with a blithely breath
    regardless of human errs
    nature survives still…

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    The nest, a gift of inspiration and reward for raking today! :)’s and happy writing to ALL!

    1. PressOn

      You and Walt are neighbors, all right, and that includes your use of sounds, in my opinion: “tawny-timbered”; “blithely breath”; and so on. It feels like you not only commune with nature but are of it. Wow.

  44. shann

    There is no do- there is only over-do!

    American Housewife Haiku #15

    Asked: What kind of pie?
    The Way We Were, then. Now,
    we eat what’s there.

    What say you, daughter?
    So eager for adventure,
    take the best offer.

    Wrapped in endless “What?”
    You should have been listening.
    Now you’re all alone.

    What not to question:
    my girth, hair, choice of clothing.
    And yes, I love you.

    What fools men can be!
    It takes so little to woo,
    then they fart too much.

    What a crock of poo!
    Monkey house shenanigans,
    just drink the Kool-Aid.

    Gimme a what-what!
    On the recovery road,
    life will still kill you.

    Where, why, how, and what-
    Tell the story you have to-
    the rest is writing.

    What time is it now?
    Just fifteen minutes later?

    What else do you want?
    This is my final offer.
    Magic fish wishes.

  45. Earl Parsons


    The doctor’s message is loud and clear
    Lose weight or you’re not long for here
    You thought your health was under control
    He asked, “Do you want to grow old?”

    Six months later you dropped the weight
    The doctor said that you looked great
    But now your cholesterol is say too high
    Get that under control or say, “Good bye.”

    You change your diet and win the fight
    Your cholesterol falls where it’s just right
    But your checkup shows something quite odd
    It’s surgery now or you might meet God

    Surgery’s done; you’re back on your feet
    So many health issues that you have beat
    Your doctor is happy you’re doing so well
    You skipped out the door, slipped and fell

  46. Connie Peters

    What’s Concealed in Ketchikan?

    What’s veiled by the rain?
    What’s hidden by the mist?
    What moves in the depths?
    What’s secreted in old attics?
    What lurks in the rain forest?
    What’s waiting in the mountains?
    What message lies in totem poles?
    What’s in the past haunting the present?

  47. Clae

    What Sharing Means Now

    Facebook helps, I understand,
    stay in touch with long-distance friends,
    Or people with complicated work
    Schedules, send instant images and words.

    What I do not understand:
    Why some think others care to send
    Details like “Going to the store”
    “About to brush my teeth”- who cares.
    Photos of their breakfast cereal- absurd!

    Communication, instantly, for anything,
    They choose to share each triviality.
    That’s just facebook- Don’t get me
    Started on the little blue bird.

  48. Jerry Walraven

    “Whatever happened to truth”

    have formed
    in the flow of time.
    Emergent moments
    in my daughters life
    are causing time to back flow
    making me reevaluate
    the truths
    of my childhood
    and causing me to see
    where once there stood

  49. JRSimmang


    What have I got in my pocket,
    dear Lily Annie Wright?
    Is it your gold necklace,
    burning evening bright?

    It’s been so long since I have seen it
    tangled in your hair.
    Was it I who gave you that?
    If so, why don’t you wear

    it often? Did it slip off of
    your chest so pure and true
    and folded in the brittle ground?
    I guess I never knew.

    Or, could it be a brassen key
    clinking ’round in there?
    It could fit that rusty lock,
    the one that’s standing where

    the rusty door, and hinges too,
    swing on screaming wind,
    and pierce us through our fragile bones,
    and make our dreamscapes bend.

    I must confess, for I can’t lie
    to you (you’re much to fair),
    what’s jingling in my pocket here
    won’t open anywhere.

    Perhaps it’s just a beating heart,
    concealed with lint and change.
    Perhaps it’s just a lonely hand,
    wouldn’t that be strange?

    You see, dear miss, this hand is cold,
    so covet it I must.
    In my pocket, it’s free from harm,
    and free from loveless lust.

    This hand has in my pocket slept
    every day that you go forth.
    It’s dreams are filled with vivid heat
    from our empty hearth.

    Don’t turn your head, dear Lily love,
    look me in the eyes.
    Hear me when I tell you true,
    that this hand relies

    upon your breath and blushing lips
    to cradle it’s deep lines,
    to dote upon the scars and spots
    as if they weren’t confined

    to spend their days ensconced in there
    with nothing but a thread,
    and lead it on adventures grand
    or simply lay in bed.

    Oh dear, I fear I must confess,
    I found another trinket
    keeping this here lonely hand
    good company, I think it’s…

    Yes! It is, a golden link,
    adorned with precious stone!
    On one bent knee, I ask, my love,
    leave not my hand alone!

    -JR Simmang

    1. PressOn

      I simply love this piece. For me, it has an old-timey feel, akin to to the old song, Greensleeves, and feels as if it should be sung at a folk revival. Magnificent.

  50. De Jackson

    what is it?

    manna, we cry
    as it falls from the sky,
    literally, what is it?
    this flurried food fluff
    not too much, just
    enough. exactly,
    precisely what’s needed
    to nourish this day.

    why? we be
    -moan when things tumble
    and groan, raise full hands
    and curse all this open blue
    fray, and forget to remember
    the real question: Who
    has the power
    to help us through.


    1. Hannah

      Oh goodness! This a gut-wrenching plea…pure emotive beauty, De!

      Interestingly, I was watching a show on history channel last night about manna…they were saying it’s made from algae.

  51. barbara_y

    What a Piece of Work Is Man

    The limiting virtue
    of black-and-white
    forcing one’s attention
    toward shapes and angles
    of social contract
    notwithstanding, I am astounded
    and in love with the couple
    ten pews on at the chamber concert.
    The orchestra in black, the church
    is vivid in Egyptian motifs, the couple
    touch one another’s skin constantly
    as statues do: they are young. One
    is pale, almost pallid. The other,
    blue-brown. One is female
    as a carving; the other, perfectly
    (from my angle) androgynous.
    From the ear below planes
    of razor sculpted hair to long hands.
    Angles of complement and contrast,
    they are a work of art I can not
    get enough of, and hurry away
    when the music ends
    rather than see them
    become plain.

  52. bartonsmock

    -what embraceable body-

    a flood rescue
    tracks above
    a submerged

    a shepherd leaves his field
    while quoting
    his dead wife-

    ‘one anxiety
    under storm…’

    keep secretive
    as a soup kitchen
    the third act
    that are
    your children.

    a horse has nerves of horse.

    grief is a manger.
    I set it down.

  53. alanasherman

    Day 15
    What? Crow in a Tree

    What is more
    emblematic than
    a huge crow
    on the top
    branch of a dead tree? He flies
    away. I feel better.

    This landscape.
    Wind northwesterly.
    Waning light
    streams into
    the woods, another footpath
    to a lake—all routine. Gnats

    swirl around,
    let us know we are.
    Sun at just
    the right slant
    exposes fine weavings hung
    in the tall grasses.


  54. writinglife16

    Whatever possessed me?

    Whatever possessed me to
    eat that last cookie?
    And then sit in Auntie’s antique chair.
    The chair collapsed underneath me.
    Auntie screamed.
    She moaned to the heavens.
    Why did you do it she asked.
    I responded it was the devil in me.
    She prayed loudly.
    Did the sign of the cross and she’s not Catholic.
    I was telling the truth.
    I had eaten eight Red Devil cookies.

  55. Kimiko Martinez

    What child is this

    For all the homeless kids in Hollywood

    Who are you
    that send your lambs
    to slaughter

    The City of Angels
    is no place
    for children with dreams

    Hope litters the sidewalks
    like shards of
    the broken bottle laying

    at your baby’s feet
    as he sleeps
    on the cold stoop of the YMCA

    dreaming of a place
    and face that he used
    to call home

  56. RJ Clarken

    What We Already Knew

    “Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” ~Amanda Cross

    us, dust
    motes caught in
    rays of light would whirl and become golden.
    We found glamour in the everyday.
    I miss you.
    I miss


  57. noni

    What Happens When You Meet The ‘One’

    When God puts the ‘one’ on your path
    suddenly understanding complex math
    You think the sun shines even on rainy days,
    And you are enchanted by his unusual ways.

    There is a deep, soothing melody, playing,
    Your hearts embrace in rhythm swaying
    The smile on your face, freezes in place
    You feel as if you have won the ultimate race.

    When a soul mate stumbles into your life
    desire rises to be the fairly tale wife
    takes over, love consumes the being
    this miracle that is so darn freeing.

    You learn to compromise and communicate
    If you don’t then you will be tempting fate
    Hold on tight, fight, defend, don’t become undone
    That’s what happens when you meet the one.

  58. Linda Goin

    What Happens Across Rose Street?

    What time does our niece push the baby buggy
    that carries her stuffed rabbit?
    What noise do our nephew’s roller skates
    make on dry cement walks?
    What smell emanates from momma’s
    windows when the stove is cold?
    What color is the sky when your sister
    dies from pnuemonia in Roanoke?
    What yearning rises from this barren
    breast when her baby cries?
    What will happen to this baby
    when your rent check bounces?
    What do we discover as we age, and
    what names must we forget?

      1. Linda Goin

        Thanks, PressOn — I’ve already changed the title to, “What Did Ida Ask That Day on Rose Street?” The list probably will go on during Draft Revision December. =)

  59. laurie kolp

    What You Do With Your Life Is Your Business

    Two men in scanty gowns and hooked to IVs
    (I wonder where there scrub hats are)

    stand 25 feet from the ER, which happens to be
    the parking garage holding my car.

    I hold my breath as they light up, exhale
    smoke a death curse, a slow suicide.

    Even though I’d like to hand them coffin nails,
    I know “there but for the grace of God go I.”

  60. gl86

    I wrote this after reading about the first responder may lose his job because of his PTSD.

    “What the first responders saw
    we cannot imagine,” I hear
    and yet we can,
    but do not want to
    What the first responders saw
    amidst winter crafts like
    popsicle ornaments
    fluffy cotton snowmen,
    made for a
    Mom and Dad
    waiting at home
    for the proud artist
    who would never come
    because their child was
    part of
    What the first responders saw
    when they came to save
    a school
    a school,
    a place where children go to
    Learn and Grow
    lest we forget
    like we choose to forget how
    acute our pain was that day
    like we choose not to
    What the first responders saw
    because we cannot fathom,
    cannot cope
    and yet the first responders
    are expected to
    heal, move forward
    after seeing what they saw
    and what they still see.

  61. Dare

    What I Didn’t Know

    He never felt he belonged
    Apart and different

    He never learned to relate
    With others or himself

    He only knew how to fight
    It’s how he survived

    He honestly didn’t know
    Any other way

    He did the best he could
    But still felt guilty

    What I didn’t know is
    It hurt him more than anyone

    What I know is
    I’m just like him

  62. Walt Wojtanik

    ALFIE (What’s it All About?)

    What’s it all about, Alfie?
    What is it about life that drives us to another?
    Is it just for the moment we live?
    Or does all future hope become our main focus?
    What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?

    Are we meant to take more than we give
    or should we prescribe to a give and give, equally?
    Or are we meant to be kind?
    True kindness is an involuntary act ingrained,
    and if only fools are kind, Alfie,

    then I guess it’s wise to be cruel.
    But logic plays this part. It is that sense that drives the heart.
    And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
    my strength will lie in the passion of a love shared by two.
    What will you lend on an old golden rule?

    As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,
    I know we are earthbound until we are called home.
    I know there’s something much more
    to this life, so sharing a heart with another is
    something even non-believers can believe in.

    I believe in love, Alfie.
    It has become a prize worthy of giving up everything.
    Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
    We pass our days in a hazy shell of what we could become together.
    Until you find the love you’ve missed, you’re nothing, Alfie.

    When you walk let your heart lead the way.
    It is love that powers our steps straight and true.
    And you will find that your mind can envision
    what your heart cannot always see. But stay strong,
    and you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

    Written with great help from Alfie Songwriters: BURT BACHARACH / HAL DAVID

  63. annell

    “What the Day Brings”

    The day begins
    Like a wonderful
    The sky like
    The inside of a shell
    Soft pinks, to blues
    Birds traverse
    The open space

    It is reported on TV
    Art is selling very well
    Best ever
    For the big boys
    The President
    Can do no right
    For all his efforts

    It is just the first chapter
    Early morning
    Who knows
    What the day
    Will bring
    My guess is
    My day will be better
    Than his

  64. JanetRuth

    What of This Vast Unknown?

    We balance on a fulcrum twixt
    What is to come and what is past
    This paper cup that we lift up
    Will snare wee drops of unknown’s cast
    And then we drink; Unknown to known
    Our footsteps fraught with faith or fear
    From mystery to memory
    While still the Unknown hovers near

    Perception’s possibilities
    Inspires us to dream, explore
    We paint the passion of our pleas
    On castle wall or prison floor
    Yet, we are never nearer to
    Unknown’s elusive clarity
    Confined it seems, to dream our dreams
    On what is past and what will be

    What of this vexing, vast Unknown?
    Its fantasy perplexes thought
    Yet, we are ever poised upon
    What yet will be and what can not
    Fear would persuade my dreams to die
    Save for our God upon His throne
    Therefore, by His blessed Grace go I
    Into the vexing, vast Unknown

  65. Jane Shlensky

    What Feeds at Night

    Owls, possums, crows,
    raccoons, shadows,
    the night’s alive
    beneath the moon.

    There are a few
    like me and you
    who will connive
    with dark to wound

    those innocent
    of violence,
    those still surprised
    that darkness feeds

    on things of light
    that walk at night
    who realized
    too late to heed.

    1. PressOn

      I love that you included “shadows” among those that feed at night. Your lines, on things of light that walk at night,” are memorable; I surely won”t forget them, and might steal them. Thanks for posting.

  66. Jane Shlensky

    What Child is This?

    He kicks my chair and runs away;
    he’s searching for a little fun.
    I try to let my vision stray.
    Does he belong to anyone?

    He might be four, not many more.
    It’s hard to tell with children now.
    And no one’s frantic, searching for
    a little boy, wondering how

    they lost him in a public place.
    Will they believe I led him here?
    He trusted something in my face;
    I’ll give him mints and quell his fear.

    If no one comes after a while,
    what should I do, abandon him?
    Report him to police and smile
    as strangers reach to handle him?

    I know I am a stranger too,
    but one he chose to be his friend.
    We play a game of who are you
    and have a juice box and pretend.

    I lost my grandson years ago.
    He might have had such dimpled grins.
    Maybe this small one comes to show
    that love is universal, mends

    the giver and receiver too
    that there are angels in our midst.
    Sometimes I quite forget that’s true.
    He climbs into my lap and sits.

    I think I’ll while the time away
    singing him songs, holding him dear.
    I’ll pray a little for this day
    to bring his worried parents here.

    1. PressOn

      I love this, just love it. The rhymes work so well, partly, I think, because the short lines and rhyming fit the association with a tyke, but mainly because they help fix the images in my mind. The tenderness with which you write is palpable.

      1. elishevasmom

        I agree, the rhyming felt so natural, that I was coming to the end before I even spotted it. There was nothing contrived about it. No doubt, also, because nothing can contrive emotion. hugs

  67. AdamTedesco

    What Freedom Rings?

    The crinoline quill strings
    Of scalloped daybreak ghost
    White ribbons hem edging
    These temporal points




    In the nightwinged waterdance
    Of ctenophore womb masks
    We don’t need to be anything
    So relinquish them from




    Scattershot dissolves fascia
    Into oceans of certainty
    Backless black slackens
    Damascus mandible masticates




    Temporal suspension ends
    Coma coming cognate
    They’ll comb you from
    White sand tornadoes




  68. uneven steven

    What a land!
    What a country!
    They are not one and the same
    you know.
    A land divided on paper
    is not the land
    and neither is the mind a country
    to be owned by another
    but its own land
    to be cultivated.
    What passes for men these days
    and women –
    the world a mere window
    viewed through
    sideways, skeptically –
    and yet we live
    as we always have
    simply and plainly
    on the earth.

  69. MLundstedt

    Based on a true story . . .

    What Have You Done!?

    I looked away just briefly,
    But that was all it took,
    For you to whack the dog,
    With your little storybook.

    Why must you abuse him?
    He’s only kind to you.
    I hope when you get older,
    He eats your favorite shoe.

  70. Andrew Kreider

    Life lessons

    What on earth do you think
    you are doing with my
    best hair brush in front of
    the bathroom glass, swaying
    while you sing “All my love?”

    What on earth do you think –
    that you’re going to be
    a pop star like Miley?
    Not on your life, missy,
    while it depends on me!

    What on earth! Do you think
    your father and I gave
    our lifeblood so that you
    could humiliate us?
    Listen, you’re only two,

    what on earth do you think
    you know about the world?
    Take it from me: dreams are
    like drugs. They make you think
    you’re better than you are.

  71. JanetRuth

    What Is It?

    What is this thing that drives us to
    The tarmac of another day?
    A desperation gentle, true
    That drives us to our knees to pray
    What is this force that rushes through
    Our beings; violent, soft as dove
    Compelling us to hold, let go…
    Oh, I think it must be love

  72. PressOn


    With the flowing of snow in the sky
    life seems pleased to retire, by and by,
    but all the chickadees dispute the freeze.
    These bright mites can stand it; so can I.

    1. Linda Goin

      My mother watches all the birds in her backyard from her kitchen window. She’s dying of Stage IV cancer, and she’s said that if she can’t sit and watch her birds in the morning, then it really is time to go. Exquisite little poem.

  73. Michelle Hed

    What If You Directed Your Metamorphosis

    From my palette would come wings
    (like a bird, not a butterfly)
    and a bit of a pointy ear
    (always have been fond of elves).

    Raven tresses would fall to my waist
    (who doesn’t like long hair?)
    and eyes the color of a frozen lake
    (since I’m directing, why not?)

    Intelligence is key
    (who wants to be lacking)
    and a sense of humor a must
    (you live longer if you laugh).

    Kindness will be a strength
    (don’t take advantage of me)
    oh and just a bit less of being an introvert
    (it’s just so exhausting).

    Oh, you say I can’t do that
    I’m just having a bit of fun
    (kill joy).

    But really, I don’t need any of those features
    (yes, I’m lying)
    except of course the wings!
    (let’s negotiate a bit).

    If I directed our metamorphosis
    we would look like elves…with wings.
    (I can dream if I want to.)

  74. PKP

    What “Daisy” Knew

    she watched them
    In the dining room
    light spreading cross
    still frozen faces
    she watched him
    the paper crack-snap open
    as mother tap tapped on her egg shell
    tiptoeing through her paces in
    all that marmeladed shimmered light

    knew in her tiny bones
    love between them faded
    and all had finally gone to hell –
    soon the heat would thaw the
    silent sentinel, the scythe would
    fall and commence the
    final to-the-finish-fight

    for this moment
    she could sit in her chair-between
    feel the sun warm and sweet
    shining warm and pure through her
    tendriled tousled sleep-tossed hair
    soak in their joined breath
    and forget in each sweet-small-morseled- bite
    of toast, and jam and honeyed-tea
    all that she knew of the coming fight
    she had seen with sparkling
    crystal clarity
    all that was to be
    close her eyes face to
    the sun and filter
    what she knew was walking-coming
    hold them still – all in suns’ sweet smiling face
    for just a few moments longer
    together –
    a family –
    her family
    together in the folded arms of love’s embrace

        1. PKP

          Thank you Wiliam. Again personally evocative comment – my father was an artist of sorts. I am delighted you enjoyed and what a wonderful job you are doing as PL – cheering everyone on … Thank you!

  75. Cin5456

    What If I Explained?

    What if I explained what came to me
    as I sat down to write my poem?
    Would you understand and forgive
    the seemingly obscure
    grouping of words?

    “Haze grows bright in memory.”

    In memory, the haze of a misty dawn,
    seems brighter than when it occurred.
    We recall the haze as a shining
    moment that heralds a new day.
    In memory, most things are
    more significant than in reality.

    “A pulse awaits the answer.”

    A new day brings awareness
    of new possibilities, new solutions
    to old problems. The pulse is the shock
    of awakening, and the answer is
    whatever we discover during the day.
    This represents a person’s awakening.
    The heart quickens at
    a moment of discovery.

    “One grows weary of the dawning,
    unfolds in hunger.”

    Laying in bed for too long
    grows tiresome so we unfold
    our slumbering limbs and get up
    to feed our hunger for new activities,
    new answers, new knowledge.
    It could also represent a flower
    like the morning glory
    that opens as the sun rises,
    hungry for sunshine.

    “Reach for the moment when mist becomes dew,
    and thirst holds a bead of moisture poised.”

    There is a single instant as the sun rises
    when mist condenses into dewdrops on grass.
    That instant expands into a minutes as the dewdrops
    collect on a leaf and slowly drip lower,
    ending up poised at the very tip of the leaf
    and stays there, suspended in time
    as the insects below wait for the nourishment
    brought to them by the miracle of the sunrise.
    It also represents the moments of realization
    we experience as we are poised
    between dreaming and waking,
    that inspiration so difficult to recall later.

    “Threads skein across a pattern..”

    Spider silk lain loosely across the web
    collects moisture into speckled strings of light.
    Similarly, activities begun with little thought
    yesterday, bring jewels of wisdom to us today.

    “Uncertain forms drift away
    before eyes can know them.”

    Drifting fog that hugging the ground
    assumes vague forms that remind you
    of something, but before you
    can figure out what they resemble,
    they are gone, morphed into something else.
    Fears we once had prove baseless,
    and sometimes, inspiration proves elusive.

    “Change comes in silence,
    rushing forth too fast.”

    Dawn comes silently, changing the world
    from one reality into another, and quickly,
    the night no longer enfolds the world in silence.
    Too soon the new day has begun, with
    all of its expectations and responsibilities.
    Also, too soon, we age, and youth is gone.
    We have married, raised a family, and retired
    before we recall that we once had dreams
    and expectations. Life moves too quickly,
    even though it seems to drag on too long.

    “Expect a truth that flees from seeking.
    Accept the gift that avoids your grasp.
    As a haze, it touches only in leaving.”

    This part I hesitate to explain.
    First, a haze only touches when
    it condenses to water. When you
    feel it, it is no longer haze.
    It is too easy to say you seek truth.
    Truth comes at its own pace.
    The best gifts cannot be touched
    nor handed over like a glass of water,
    The gifts of love, compassion, understanding,
    support, reassurance, or just a smile
    that acknowledges honest effort
    require more from within oneself
    than from within one’s pocketbook.
    The more you seek to own these things
    the harder they are to achieve. The best
    gifts are not something we realize we have given
    until it is over, and we see the results in
    someone else’s smiles, and achievements.

    So, here is what I wrote. What if
    you didn’t know the thoughts behind it?
    Would you recognize that all of these
    lines refer to things we can’t grasp?


    A haze grows bright in memory.
    A pulse greets the answer.
    One grows weary of the dawning,
    Unfolds in hunger.
    Reach for the moment when mist becomes dew,
    And thirst holds a bead of moisture poised.
    Threads skein across a pattern;
    Uncertain forms drift away
    Before eyes can know them.
    Change comes in silence,
    Rushing forth too fast.
    Expect a truth that flees from seeking.
    Accept the gift that avoids your grasp.
    As a haze, it touches only in leaving.

    1. PressOn

      This is utterly fasci9nating work, at least to me. It attempts to explain the thoughts and feelings thqat go into a poem, and I don’t think I’ve seen the like of it before. I think this is superb.

  76. PKP

    What is it all about

    As children run through
    Streets and fields
    Shining without care
    In twenties and thirties
    Stride with purpose plan
    Running quickly there
    forties and fifties
    pinnacle spans
    career, and or
    children bloom
    sixty hits and there
    a moment to pause
    and look about the
    global room
    and ask in seventies
    eighties nineties and
    as long as one can wonder
    where one fits in the shimmered
    Jigsaw of it all before
    Looking up from under

  77. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    In the wee hours, a light shines
    high at the top of a house.
    The early morning jogger wonders
    who could be up so early?
    Imagination begins to run
    cadence with each step –
    a new mother swaddling
    her hungry infant? Or,
    an old man, bent on remembering
    a past that has forgotten him? Or,
    children up before the dawn,
    quietly inventing adventures
    their parents will never share?
    Running through the empty streets,
    the images of what might be
    just beyond that window,
    never reach their final conclusion.
    No one ever imagines a poet
    struggling to weave words into something
    that would touch even the heart
    of a singular jogger as he or she
    runs in the early morning.