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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22

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

For today’s prompt, write a poem using at least three of the following six words:

  • ideogram
  • remora
  • casket
  • eclipse
  • selfie
  • wretch

Use the words in the title of your poem, in the body of your poem, and feel free to play with them (by which, I mean, make them plural, past tense, etc.).

Here’s my attempt at a poem using three of six words:

“Ideograms for the Melancholy”

Replace the casket with a basket.
Put flowers in it. Have the wretch
that you’ve become transform

to a hammerhead. When remoras
come to attach themselves, let them
think you won’t eat them when

they let go. Turn the flower basket
into a selfie and eclipse
the sun, the moon, and them.


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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and decided to add selfie to the word list after it was announced as the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries (read about it on NPR). He’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems, which actually includes a number of selfie poems (or autobiographical poems). He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five kiddos and reminds him to eat every so often (because he really does forget sometimes). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

242 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22

  1. JRSimmang says:


    It has begun,
    we agreed,
    the day the
    language was
    “selfie” to the
    lending it the modern
    day equivalent
    of a crown of jewels,
    poor Webster,
    flipping and flopping
    in his

    -JR Simmang

  2. bjholmes says:

    I poked my head out of my casket
    during a lunar eclipse.
    Feeling rather remora
    just hoping for a glimpse
    of some other poor wretch
    who is in the same situation as me
    stuck in this field with nothing to do
    but stare at some stupid ideogram
    with selfies of I don’t know who!

  3. Glory says:

    Ever Changing -

    I saw a photo of my selfie
    found it in a casket
    was when my hair was ‘mousy’
    but no more- I’m russet
    but want to be, yes want to be
    a wretch – yes, just a brassy blonde.

  4. hohlwein says:


    The remora has figured it out.
    Eat shit. Don’t rock the boat.
    Don’t take too much.
    Swim along, attached, unnoticed.
    Go where the host goes.
    Get places that way. See the world.
    Parasitic, but modest, elegant in its way.
    Become part of the ideogram -
    a flourish, like a tail, or a tale -
    that changes the meaning just slightly.

    Regardless what comes,
    - even as the moon
    blocks out the sun,
    stay there and – gently – take what you can.

    No one will even know you’re there.
    This is one way to make it in this world.

  5. dandelionwine says:


    I keep wanting to say
    it’s a perfect day for

    cloud vaporizing, for
    pouring water droplets

    on cotton candy in clear
    blue while these ashes

    blow past leaving empty
    caskets in the dust of a

    comet and we chase
    our tails up dark stains

    of cave wall ideograms
    eclipsing this dear world

    with what can’t disappear.

  6. Yolee says:

    Closed Casket

    She stands under the big bean in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
    The Cloud Gate sculpture distorts her reflection. She takes
    a selfie. Satisfied with it she heads to her room at The Drake
    Hotel to upload the pic unto various dating sites. After mulling
    over the ideogram, she posts it and then fills in the blanks
    with versions that eclipse wretched parts that
    has her moving every 8 or 9 months to a new town.

  7. seingraham says:


    It is the sound gathering
    them into the rarefied
    space that is her undoing
    Expecting “Ave Maria”,
    or even “Amazing Grace”
    to breach the gap

    between she,
    and the wretch laid out,
    white, wimple-perfect
    in the plainest casket available,
    save the Order’s ideogram
    carved—or is it stamped,
    she cannot decide—on the lid,
    instead it’s Albinoni’s “Adagio”
    that clings to her senses

    invades her every pore
    each note a leech, a remora
    eclipsing her promise to God,
    to herself, to create a calmness
    however difficult
    that might prove to be

    Ah, here come the rest—
    such an obsolete group,
    she cannot help thinking—
    as habit-clad figure after
    habit-glad figure glides
    down the aisles like crows
    or, faces framed white
    with wimples,
    perhaps magpies…
    No, so stern looking,
    ravens surely

    She tries to reel her mind
    back to the matter at hand
    As they perch on the pews
    The music ends,
    the priest intones a prayer
    Beseeches all to consider
    the virtue of the deceased

    She feels light-headed,
    remembers it is her time
    of the month
    Wonders anew
    at God’s cruelty
    Why continue the cycle
    yet insist on celibacy
    It didn’t lessen
    suffering, did it?

    She crosses herself quickly
    Says a quick, sincere Hail Mary
    Tries to forget the choice that
    led to the poor thing
    landing in the box…

    However she cannot keep
    from regarding
    Her Saviour on the cross,
    begging him silently
    “Why this dear Lord?”
    Her child was your child
    as was she, was she not?”
    As always, her answer was
    couched in silence

  8. bjzeimer says:


    I shouldn’t be here watching
    this documentary of the migration
    of swans, cranes, and pelicans,

    the largest birds in the world.
    Like I need to know what a gaggle
    of geese is, what flock of birds is called

    a wedge. The biggest birds
    I ever saw were pheasants lighting in an
    Ohio field of wheat stubble,

    Daddy stalking them with his shotgun.
    We had a pot of pheasant
    and noodles for supper that night.

  9. rosross says:

    Soul work

    Soul in suckled sense reveals,
    remora-like the flesh, within
    the casket of the Self ;
    Spirit long repressed.

    Created in this human form,
    an ideogram for life,
    the wretch reborn eternal;
    eclipse in God’s bright night.

  10. Mywordwall says:


    Time brings all to their knees
    in one way or the other
    like the silvery haired figure
    before her love, silent
    in a casket, whispering
    her last goodbye
    as leaves fall
    into a pool of tears
    rising with the wind
    on an angel’s hands.
    Love goes on
    to forever
    lights up her wretched lot
    and eclipses the darkness
    with living memories

    • seingraham says:

      This is just to say…I don’t know where comments go for Robert and I wanted to tell him/you that I think “Ideogram for the Melancholy” is one of my favourite poems of yours…ever. I’m not sure why…it just is…and I’m in awe that you were able to use all the of the words. Talk about setting the bar high.

  11. BezBawni says:

    When you arch your back and gasp

    scribble your love on the walls
    of my aging heart, put it in fine
    calligraphic ideograms, fold it in scrolls
    to be kept in my fleshly shrine;

    shine your love bright on your lips,
    in your eyes, let its light reach
    out beyond all pain and eclipse
    scars of the past, seven lifetimes each;

    leech me with love, let it bleed
    down my spine and stick to me like a remora;
    make love into a casket of shattered dreams,
    whispering to my longings ‘memento mori…’

  12. Broofee says:

    All this makes me feel like a wretch

    A guy gives a Nazi salute the other day
    Full stadium cheers
    And sings along
    And the first person who says that’s wrong
    Gets branded a traitor by
    Majority of people around us.

    A priest gives an online interview
    Says masturbation is wrong
    Says we should abolish liberal NGOs
    Says he can’t wait
    To be penetrated by god.

    Apparently I’m supposed to
    Accept all of this
    Liberal democracy
    That’s what the media says
    Don’t be upset
    Everyone has a right to their own opinion

    Some opinions are not for
    The good of the mankind
    That’s what I say.
    So you better keep them
    Hidden away
    Or you’ll cause an eclipse
    Or even
    Start another war
    And we’ll all
    End up in caskets
    Like all those millions before us.

  13. Day 22
    Prompt: Write a poem using at least 3 of these 6 words:

    Saved a Wretch Like Me

    The cross serves as my ideogram.
    New creation
    find me,
    my sin unlatched like a scared remora,
    laid in a casket, in God’s view,
    so that all I was is eclipsed by who I am,
    who I will be.
    I take a selfie and view a new

  14. Jezzie says:


    You were always the belle of the ball
    giving your man a very hard time
    but your life on earth finished early
    and last year you left him in his prime.

    As you lie sleeping in your casket
    we are all watching your wretched spouse,
    normally eclipsed by your presence,
    morphing into a man from a mouse.

  15. Lori P says:

    selfie of a wretch

    from his casket he saw
    the sun rise forever and blind
    the watchers swimming through a school
    of remoras

    he stored the image in his mind
    determined to review it one day
    when eternity got boring and forever
    eclipsed the microsecond he had spent
    on earth

  16. Cin5456 says:


    We, the wretched souls,
    lament against the tides
    of humanity, and wrench
    a life from the sucking sands
    of time; mock us for believing.
    This remora will not hold
    us back forever. Caskets
    await us, not only the wretched;
    the grave awaits all.

  17. Missy McEwen says:

    Family Reunion

    You come in your oversized Jackie O sunglasses
    that total eclipse your eyes, face, come with your bright
    red lips that can be seen from a mile away. You stay
    selfie ready in a crop top that shows off your flat belly.
    No one would ever guess you just had a baby a few
    months ago although your Instagram bio mentions you’re
    a mother of two. You come without them. You come ready
    for photo ops with family members whose names you don’t
    remember, who talk about all who died and open casket funerals.

  18. bethwk says:

    Four o’clock in the morning
    and sleep has dwindled away
    like the last drops of late rain

    and that remora of remorse
    attaches itself so tenderly
    to the soft underbelly of the heart

    feeding on you, feeding you,
    leaving morning’s mark on the soul
    like an ideogram for eclipse.

  19. MichelleMcEwen says:

    No Swimming

    A “no swimming”

    snapped and posted
    on Instagram

    is better than a selfie
    any day

    Little crooked wooden sign
    even lovelier in lo-fi sunshine

    eclipsing the
    unlovely real danger

    of Lake Lillinonah.

  20. DWong says:

    Remora’s Message in a Casket

    Old poems,
    old stories,
    old thoughts
    are stored
    simplified for
    the remora
    that hitches
    rides hoping
    that it
    can keep
    its wretched
    away from
    its casket
    realize the
    has left it
    with only
    selfie that no
    one understands
    but the poor
    little remora.

  21. Julieann says:

    Ideogram of the Self

    We all know one,
    You know, that person,
    Somewhere between a
    Wretch and a total selfie
    Everything revolves around
    Them and when they find a
    Companionable person they
    Turn into a remora, sucking the
    Life from the relationship
    Until the final eclipse that
    Blocks what little good that may
    Have resided inside of them
    And life goes on until the day
    We find ourselves filing past
    Their casket only to see
    A mirror where their
    Head should be and our own
    Reflection staring back at us
    As an ideogram of
    What we could become

  22. Ode to the Remora

    I love the idea
    of this ray-finned
    sucking fish,
    its oval dorsal fin
    with slat-like
    to take firm hold
    against the skin
    of larger mammals.

    They attach
    to some poor wretch
    of shark or whale,
    turtle or dugong
    or mantua ray.
    Holding tight,
    they look like
    little silver ripples
    on its hide.

    That is,
    they hitch a ride.
    I guess it’s faster,
    even though
    they swim well
    on their own
    with sinuous
    or curved

    Many but small,
    they travel together,
    feeding on what
    the host drops.
    Some ride
    in the great casket
    of the host’s mouth

    the host
    eats them!
    It’s a life
    lazy but
    prone to

  23. cbwentworth says:

    A wretched mist,
    hovers nearby
    Gossamer ghost,
    floating awry
    Skyward casket,
    a soul denied
    Heaven eclipsed,
    the phantom sighs

  24. Nancy Posey says:

    Tough list to work in. I think I just alluded to casket. The other words, I’m sure, are scrambled in there somewhere.

    • Nancy Posey says:

      and here’s the poem! Oops.


      She called upon survivors of the dead,
      a veteran of life and loss. Eyeing
      the floral sprays, the roses blanketing
      the casket, she filed away details.
      She’d long ago quit saying how natural
      they looked. It made her children
      cringe. But she made note of how
      she’d like to go. Not for her the fire,
      reducing her to ashes. Fine for others,
      not for her. She had a sense of place,
      of home. She liked to think of burial
      as planting. Using common sense,
      she’d made sure everyone knew–
      No shiny silver casket, silk tucked
      around her, satin pillow under
      her head. Don’t let Sarah do my hair,
      she’d told them. She made them
      promise to hold out for Gene.
      He knows how to hit my wave,
      she said. Insisting on a plain pine
      box , she chose a quilt to line it,
      made by her granny, log cabin, worn
      soft by decades of wash and use.

  25. Nancy Posey says:


    Speed reading’s fine for anyone
    who needs to plow through legal
    documents, dry classroom text,
    but don’t begrudge my pleasure,
    reading syllable by syllable, each
    word sounding inside my head.

    If I’d been born some other place
    communicating with ideograms,
    not alphabet, I might not hang
    on every sound. But I hear words
    like music, taste words like caviar,
    tapioca, habanera, plum. Unaware
    of what they miss, the deaf, poor
    wretches, without the chance
    to rattle off nonsense words—
    remora, selfie, twerk—whatever
    made this year’s new list.

    I’d rather spell out words I know,
    hearing the click, the assonance
    the sibilance of eclipse, every word
    a contestant in my favorite game:
    Which One Does Not Belong?

  26. LeAnneM says:


    On his back
    The Ideogram for wind

    Obscured by the remora
    Of new pain

  27. Siren Bath

    Draw the water hot
    enough to turn your thighs
    red, melt your muscles
    into remora against porcelain
    and transform your very
    body into an ideogram
    of what you are: not
    a parasite, but one
    who feeds on them,
    draws them in by dangling
    a camera phone in the
    air and snapping a selfie
    of the jelly skin around
    your lips.

  28. Sara McNulty says:

    Up and Coming

    All his hard work,
    eclipsed by that wretched
    new hire, MBA rich kid,
    walk-in arrogant,
    white teeth gleaming
    like a blinding light.
    All he could think about
    was how those teeth
    would look
    after several years
    in a casket.

  29. elishevasmom says:


    In my world,
    talk may be cheap.
    But do I speak
    your language?
    I speak with words,
    expressions, innuendo.

    Your words are threats,
    your expressions come in
    caliber and millimeter.
    And innuendo, I guess
    that’s obsolete.
    Automatic weapons are not
    known for their subtlety.

    You were weened on;
    “If it feels good—you gotta have it.”
    You cut your teeth on:
    “You take it, it’s yours.”—
    “Make it yours – take it yours.”

    In your language,
    life is cheap.
    Your real family
    is the gang
    you hang with.
    They speak your language.

    When life has no value,
    violence can afford
    to be casual.
    You watch that casket
    going down, another
    young life eclipsed at
    a drive-by—just
    collateral damage, the cost of
    doing business.

    You don’t see anti-gun
    ideograms in the ghetto.
    But selifies with Sig-Sauers,
    yeah, those you see.
    Life may be cheap,
    but talk?
    Talk can be real expensive.
    It’s the price you gotta pay
    to belong.

    Ellen Knight 11.12.13
    use at least 3 of “ideogram, remora, casket, eclipse, selfie, wretch”
    PAD 11.13

  30. cholder says:

    Inspired by an article I read about funeral selfies…

    Wretched millennia!
    Narcissistic remoras!
    A selfie is no way to memorialize the deceased
    Tongues protruding from gaping mouths
    Dumbassery on display for the universe to see
    Light a candle in her honor
    Reminisce with family
    Do not disrespect your dear, departed Grandmother
    With another idiotic selfie.

    November PAD Challenge Day 22: Use 3 of these words-ideogram, remora, casket, eclipse, wretch

  31. Wretched Casket

    She slithered in from her room;
    In remoras-like sea-leech form,
    Breeching the inner sanctum of the enemy.

    She knew the drill, but mustered
    enough bravado to ask anyway.
    “Dad, can I go to the party tonight? ”
    Mom tried hopelessly to draw fire….
    but it was much was too late.

    Her question bounced off his chest. All hell broke loose.
    Sirens exploded througout the facility. The entire complex was put on lockdown within minutes.
    Guards erupted at every corner and exit. Helicopters circled above scanning the area.

    Eclipsed by rejection, she bit the bullet, slithered back to her wretched hideout plastered with selfies, ideograms and climbed back into her casket.

  32. Eclipsed

    You eclipsed my view of the stars
    when I put you on that pedestal,

    leeched on like a remora to a
    wretched, self-immolating man

    lost in the sun.

  33. Margie Fuston says:


    Taking one more selfie
    won’t make you feel
    more beautiful.
    Tattooed ideograms
    won’t hide your skin.
    Open up your jeweled casket
    for once and stop
    your eclipse.

  34. laurie kolp says:

    In the Blink of an Eye

    I can’t concentrate.

    An eclipse shrouds my mind
    with thoughts of you
    lying in that bed
    –a casket–
    dying for the chance
    to stand tall
    and walk in charge
    around the dining room

    that just last week
    held the formal table
    where we gather
    for Thanksgiving,
    the grandkids
    taking selfies,
    photo bombing
    family portraits

    but now holds you
    lying in that bed,
    dying– I can’t concentrate!–

    and hands that just last year
    joined side by side in prayer
    now reach for yours
    and won’t let go.


    I am somewhat a remora,
    feeding off the living.
    I radiate an aura
    of terror unforgiving.

    An ideogram of crucifix,
    awash in flowing blood,
    I have the power to transfix
    and bury you ‘neath the mud.

    My casket is my daylight place.
    The sun I must not see.
    A mirror can’t reflect my face.
    There’s no selfie of me.

    There is no evil I imbue
    my charms cannot eclipse.
    So fear the wretch before you
    and beware his blood-stained lips.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  36. De Jackson says:


    Etch your secret id
    -eogram into some
    permanent surface
    (basket, casket, tree).

    Remora that wretch
    -ed sucker, eclipse your
    sacred self
    -i.e., the person you
    thought you’d be.


  37. shann says:

    not up to the prompt today (though I’ll keep it in mind and see what comes- here’s my JFK tribute)

    American Housewife Haiku

    Who wakes expecting
    to die before the sun sets?
    I don’t, though I could.

  38. LeonasLines says:

    My poem for today uses the words: selfie, eclipsed, wretch–it is titled “Sinful Soul’s Selfie” and is posted on my blog: http://leonaslines.com/2013/11/22/sinful-souls-selfie/

  39. DanielAri says:

    “selfie @ 27”

    A period within an O within an O
    within an O, all red with the penumbra’s light,
    makes Josho and I scootch closer, feeling as though
    we’re in an underground grotto although tonight
    we’re outdoors for this snow-punctuated eclipse

    of the moon. Wet meadow by the lake, a casket-
    shaped stone to freeze our asses as we watch the glow
    stir the puddles into ideograms and roust
    the mythical twelve-headed remoras below
    the surfaces we can barely apprehend, thrown

    by the werewolf light and by the sloe gin fizzes
    we’ve been swilling since early afternoon.
    We watch it go, Josho and I,
    brothers in our lonely
    heroic quests.

    So soon—


  40. RJ Clarken says:

    Tat Typo

    is wretched.
    Your selfie showing that ideogram
    ‘For Peace’ really got lost in translation:
    Your tat says,
    “I’m a


  41. tunesmiff says:

    His casket
    was born by

    His mourners

    were simply
    their sadness

    eclipsed by
    a nation’s
    shared sorrow.

  42. bjzeimer says:


    She takes pictures of the casket
    and every day, thereafter, gets them out,
    spreads them out over the coffee table,

    her jewelry box nearby, hordes of items,
    stacked in every corner
    of the room, memorabilia at hands reach–

    the family crest– and says :
    Come see—pictures of my husband–
    he bought me anything I wanted.

    Using a polaroid camera he gave her, too,
    she puts a ring on every finger,
    takes a selfie holding his photo.

    adds it to the collection,
    as the wretch in me turns a deaf ear, eclipses
    another afternoon of nostalgia.

  43. Domino says:


    A simple soul alone and
    bemoaning his fate,
    the wretched state of his life;
    the electricity is down,
    his phone uncharged,
    a forlorn clown.

    How can he go on, the
    image is dead, the ideogram for
    facebook, unresponsive.
    Head down, he weeps instead.

    His most recent selfie,
    taken on a “whim” at that
    dim new place downtown
    falls as flat as his spirits.
    He stares, grim,
    at the unresponsive screen.

    If he could only post, it would surely
    eclipse his other photos,
    and the real him could come out.
    He knows he is real fun guy,
    and not a remora,
    sucking off the fun of others
    as his ex-girlfriend claims.

    No, he is doomed, his fate sealed.
    He will no doubt be found, a lifeless
    weight in the morning, having pined away
    to that final silent sleep…

    He briefly considers what he should wear
    for when they find his corpse,
    and shudders when he realizes how
    his mother will dress him for his casket.
    He swears.
    This is totally unfair.

    He must survive, somehow.
    He must come through alive.
    He must.

    With a blip-bloop-bleep, power returns.
    He is saved (once more enslaved).
    Head down, face aglow, he
    dives back into

  44. Clae says:

    Another moth flits in to eclipse the blinking fire
    Then falls in ash cremated by its own desire
    No casket or headstone or burial plot
    Why wretched creature could you not
    Identify the danger that drew you so close
    Just like so often I cannot see what I chose
    Can be such a danger the things that I crave
    Could leave me burnt to ash without a grave

  45. Jane Shlensky says:


    I hate to say it, now he’s gone,
    but that man was a waste of a casket,
    already rotten as they come,
    always sucking up to power,
    attaching himself like remora
    to the worst kind of wealth,
    pretending its his, using his pull
    to hurt whoever he liked,
    his big nose and pummeling voice
    bullying everybody here, creating
    more wretches wherever he went.

    I thought he might try to help folks,
    remember where he came from
    with some kindness in his heart,
    shed a little light, a little hope,
    but he just blotted out the sun,
    left us in the dark. It ain’t right
    for me to say so, but I ain’t sorry
    he’s gone, nor how he went.
    Meanness draws meanness to it.
    Wonder who’ll take his place.

    • PressOn says:

      Here’s another one in different voice, though not so removed from your usual styles. I guess this shows how versatile you are. Your piece reminds me of J.P. Morgan,. or caricatures of him, anyway. Well done; you have me hating the guy, and “waste of a casket” is a ringing way to send him off.

  46. Jane Shlensky says:

    South Side

    JoJo the only fearsome one
    he scary fierce sometimes
    won’t quake at no casket
    won’t retch seeing blood
    even his own. Them others
    like remora, sucked onto him
    snapping up crumbs, riding
    the wake of his power, showing
    they gums every time he bare
    his teeth. Heads latched onto
    every idea he give ‘em.
    If not for the little shadows
    they cast, he’d eclipse ‘em
    completely. He the Word to
    they ideograms; he the Chosen,
    the Mover and Shaker ‘round here
    JoJo, King of the Wretches

    • PressOn says:

      Wow. This is a much different voice than I’ve heard from you, but it fits so well. Your “south side” makes me think of Chicago, but this could be a city anywhere in the United States, I think Excellent. Again.

  47. priyajane says:

    If only

    She lives in a casket
    that she decorates
    with re-moralized threads
    She foolishly flashes her selfie
    with fake, bold ideograms
    To make up for her eclipsed dreams.
    If only she could hang on
    thro the wretched darkness
    to see the new moon appear
    round the bend
    If only—-

  48. candict says:

    22 casket eclipse wretch
    in wretched weather
    we the few, the brave
    gather around the casket
    stars and stripes
    eclipsing the dark wood

  49. bartonsmock says:

    - a. -

    the name must be shorter than a pastoral. the baby must outlive your father’s car. asking for the possibility of good sex must not be compared to anything. the person father is underneath must be from your past, your mother. the casket must be a rumor, and open. rumor must be definitive, like eclipse, like eye patch. the door must be placed on the back of a military mom and a photograph is preferred. the doorway must become addicted to selfies. dear boy, humiliate the right dog. tether dog. eat so much my girlfriend says dear boy, dear sea, stomach. you can’t hate poetry and the world. Bob is secretly a soccer mom rubbing a lamp in public and is also sometimes Jesus trying to step on a scale.

  50. Hannah says:

    Singing Still

    How I long to capture your song
    carry it in the ornately carved casket-
    the ivory-ribbed basket of my chest.
    I’ll allow your simple message,
    a promise of sweet weather
    to eclipse the deepest days of winter;
    I’ll hold it securely in my soul
    as an ideogram for strength.
    I’m pierced by your persistence
    infected by your melody
    sung despite the ice
    as watch you flit untiringly
    from branch to bough
    faithfully foraging,
    singing still.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    The black-capped Maine State bird is the Chickadee and its song has a distinct sound.

    Their “feee-beee” song is a harbinger of spring even though it might be heard as early as the last week of January. Some people have thought the “feee-bee” song to sound like “sweet weather” or “spring soon.”

  51. Linda Goin says:


    According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
    the word spelled i-d-e-o-g-r-a-m is a written sign
    or symbol that represents an idea or an object,
    like a number or like the red circle with a bar
    that renders the idea of “no,” or “not allowed.”
    That word becomes a problem when used in a poem,
    because two ways exist to pronounce it.

    The British say a four-syllable dactyl,
    pronouncing all letters, including the e,
    with an emphasis on the first part.
    DA-da-da-da. Ideogram.

    Americans say a three-syllable dactyl,
    eclipsing the e, with emphasis on the first part.
    DA-da-da. Idogram.

    How to work with that word in a metered poem?
    It’s not as simple as using the phrase,
    “Can the poor wretch’s corpse tell us anything?”
    It’s more like a child who moves with her family
    from Virginia to Pennsylvania, and she learns
    how to say “five” with the long i,
    rather than “fav” with the soft a,
    and when her mother hears that tongue twist,
    she throws pans across the kitchen, yelling,
    “We’re not going to stay here that long!”

    There it is! That red circle with a bar, stamped
    with metal banging on walls, clanging in ears,
    molded across a mouth and on a voice,
    silencing that one-syllable mistake, that one word
    that took so long to learn, that one time
    added to so many other times that
    versed that daughter on what was allowed
    and not allowed in her mother’s world.

    Forgiveness is an amphibrach in many dialects,
    As for i-d-e-o-g-r-a-m?
    Please pronounce it any way you want.


    When she left so unexpectedly, Aunt Ed
    (she hated Edna) left (she hated to use
    the same word twice) a small casket of not rings
    and jewels but ideograms collected
    all her life, and nothing to tell (now she’s dead)
    what they meant; a key; a selfie (of all things)
    of her wretch of a nephew – why, who would choose
    a suckerfish-remora to dote on? Bled
    and breathless, she lies as if in state, pursed lips.
    The nephew sits shuffling ideograms in
    senseless piles like telling fortunes. Holds one up,
    then another. Flying horse. A filling cup.
    Then runs to the window that lets night begin –
    at noon. Aunt Ed’s gone. Who cares for an eclipse?

  53. Michelle Hed says:

    Trips Through the Self

    Ideogram memories
    flip through your mind,
    some eclipsing others
    so quickly,
    while some memories act like
    morass remoras
    drawing you back
    over and over again,
    tickling the nuances
    of suspended time.

    While some,
    some are just
    and you turn away
    as if scalded
    and you try to close
    the casket lid
    but it acts like
    an overstuffed suitcase
    that won’t close…
    you finally throw
    some metaphoric dirt
    over the top and
    walk away.

  54. barbara_y says:

    Oh, the dead.
    Look. I loved him like a brother, but
    he was a
    he was a
    Look. If he’d been
    a singing cowboy, he’d
    have played an upright bass.
    And wanted it buried with him.
    Am I lying? He’d have taken it
    everywhere, too. Donkey for it.
    If he had been a pharaoh
    his mummy casket would
    have been done up
    in ideograms of his middle finger.
    Am I right? If he had been Tut?
    If he had been a viking, his pyre
    would have fizzled, soggy,
    and remora-slowed. Dead,
    he’d have blocked the harbor
    for a week. If he’d been Caesar,
    instead of et tu Brutus, we’d
    have selfies of him going down.
    Look. I loved him like a brother.

  55. Dare says:

    A bit of a twist on today’s prompt: :-)

    Memory Salad

    Memories, viewed through the prism
    of ba”re mora”l judgments
    A v”ideo, Gram”ma smiling
    Then, a wido”w retch”es
    In the Garden alone
    Smart-al”ec lips e”ager to kiss
    gather ’round a dam”sel, fie”nds
    circling to devour her,
    An Angel plays her harp
    the strings, through
    musi”c ask et”ernal Questions

  56. Hannah says:

    Too Soon

    Atop mahogany carved casket
    I placed your best selfie,
    (complete with remora fish kiss),
    a wretched attempt
    to eclipse the grim reality within.
    I secretly prayed over your name,
    hoped gravely that it would become
    a widely known ideogram.
    Its direct yet abstract meaning
    would be a reminder
    to look carefully
    at our actions,
    peer deeply
    into the eyes
    of a teen child
    about to choose.
    You left too soon.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    This is written for a local fourteen year old youth who departed from this earth too early. I pray the peace and comfort of our Creator to cradle her family through this very difficult time. I pray for all parents, that we guard our children from poorly chosen actions and that we are attentive to their emotional stability.

  57. alanasherman says:

    Selfie Eclipsed

    under the
    ideogram for
    remorse a
    casket rests
    the foolish wretch within it
    suitably alone


  58. Bruce Niedt says:

    Awesome! I love “word bank” challenges.

    To a Superstar

    To you, they’re remoras hanging on
    to your hide, along for the ride.
    They’re always requesting your autograph
    on a program or a ball, always asking to take
    a selfie with you. Necessary evil, you think,
    signing without a smile, posing with a forced one.
    You may think your face, your number,
    your signature are ideograms for fame,
    but someday when your records are eclipsed,
    someday when you’re closer to the casket
    than the cradle, someday when you feel like
    a broken-down wretch, you will miss it,
    and appreciate everything they did for you.

  59. PressOn says:


    I spied, atop a mining dam,
    that big black bird, death’s ideogram.

    It perched next to an old rock basket
    that looked, suspiciously, like a casket;

    below it, close as a shark’s remora,
    an oriole foraged in the flora

    but its bright colors could not fetch
    my eyes from fixing on that wretch

    whose beady orbs placed in eclipse
    all thoughts of gay and witty quips.

    Instead I felt a clammy gloom;
    a premonition of dark doom.

    I knew I had to leave that place
    and give myself some breathing space

    but took a selfie before I left
    to show I had left death bereft.

  60. Michelle Hed says:

    Really Good Books

    A good book
    can be like a remora,
    sucking you in so deep
    you forget…everything.
    Eclipsing daily chores
    and life in general
    until those that know you
    wonder if they should order
    a casket
    because it’s been so long
    since they’ve seen you
    and when you do finally surface
    you feel like a wretch
    for ignoring life
    and causing worry…
    but not really,
    because books that good
    are hard to find.

  61. Earl Parsons says:


    The incident eclipsed all others
    As a wretched self-serving soul
    Hurried our best into a casket
    And the world mourned

  62. writinglife16 says:

    It takes one to know one

    The wretch died on the day of a
    Solar eclipse.
    It figured.
    His evil spirit would try to
    block out the sun.
    I went to his viewing.
    Not many visitors.
    Not surprising.
    I sprinkled salt around his casket.
    Just to make sure no badness
    could linger.
    He used to call me a witch.
    I laughed and asked
    how would he know?

  63. JanetRuth says:

    Beneath Time’s Evening Bell

    Earth, like an umber casket
    Has cradled every bloom
    November mourns, its heavy robe
    Enshrouds each stricken plume
    For nature’s fairer filament
    Has fallen; flow’r and leaf
    Slumbers where wretch and prince preside
    Bound for its steadfast sheaf

    Moment folds over moments
    Ephemeral eclipse
    Of petals, poems and parting
    And then its present slips
    Into the crypt of ‘bygone’
    An unrelenting plot
    Of had and held remembered
    And none exhumes its lot

    The remora of hours
    Does not release its prey
    It drinks a field of flowers
    And turns raven to gray
    November’s stark procession
    Bows where its laughter fell
    Its dirge, a somber silence
    Beneath Time’s evening bell

  64. PKP says:

    Once upon a midnight not quite so dreary
    lied in a satin lined casket a girl so weary
    feeling as though teen life one long wretch-eclipse*
    longng for a cadre of remora attached to her hips
    She called them to her as with a teen Siren song
    Clicked a selfie tweeted – waited – smiling sure all change coming before too long

    * whoops had left out wretch – slipped it in … Happy poeming <3 Fun prompt…

  65. PKP says:

    Teen Ideogram

    Once upon a midnight not quite so dreary
    lied in a satin lined casket a girl so weary
    feeling as though teen life one long eclipse
    longng for a cadre of remora attached to her hips
    She called them to her as with a teen Siren song
    Clicked a selfie tweeted – waited – smiling sure all change coming before too long


    Wretched beings
    sucking the life from those
    unable to resist -
    eclipse the light of kindness
    until nothing is left
    but casket and grave -
    ideogram of selfish love

  67. Funeral Selfie

    The selfie of me
    standing by his casket
    served as an ideogram
    for what a wretch I am,
    practically a remora—
    along for the ride
    and fed by his scraps,
    his life eclipsing mine.
    No more.

  68. Why I cannot say selfie

    This focus on brand
    from cradle to casket
    eclipses humanness.
    Snap another photo
    of yourself and
    make it your avatar.
    This ideogram you
    lacks substance
    and only serves
    to attract remoras
    as they feed
    off the wretchedness
    of this focus on brand.

  69. Eclipsed

    Wretched man that I am
    Eclipsed by grandma’s casket
    A dark day in history
    With no remnant light
    Not even a tight crescent
    Selfies contraindicated

  70. gl86 says:

    Just for fun:


    Part I – The pose

    The pose – an ideogram – on the street,
    at the beach, all made up, while you eat:
    puckered pout, sultry stare
    one arm raised high in the air,
    the other resting on your hip,
    teapotting (a red carpet tip).
    Skip the “cheese!,” just raise your chin,
    and suck whatever you’ve got there in
    before the momentous thumb click
    that confirms your perfect selfie pic.

    Part II – The posting

    Now that you are looking gorgeous,
    where will you post this staged self-portrait?
    With all the social media options avail
    your publish simply cannot fail
    to reach a quota of thumbs ups and likes
    But not before you type a caption: “Yikes!
    Me looking wretched at a party last night”
    is self-deprecating enough to write
    to ensure that friends will disagree
    and instead, lavish praise on your beauty.

  71. bxpoetlover says:

    My Ideogram Looks Like A Light Bulb

    I thought selfies were stupid, until I realized
    we all lie in our caskets alone. If we are lucky
    we will be surrounded by loved ones,
    and the merely curious remora,

    those wretches who attach themselves
    to their subjects of envy, sucking
    details of their lives
    and weaving negatives narratives.

    Eclipse the naysayers–
    Purse lips/bend hips
    Celebrate each weight loss
    birthday and night out.

  72. With the right frame
    a window
    can be anything
    even a casket
    the ideogram of your life
    a sun kissed remora
    of remorse
    hanging from its hide
    selflessness turning eclipsed
    and eclipsing
    by a wretched wrenching
    your self
    in an instant
    lost on the other side

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