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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

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

I hope everyone’s having a good experience with this year’s challenge. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with many of the poems I’ve written–and excited by many of the poems I’ve read by others (and I’ve read a lot). I’m hopeful that I’ve made some good progress on a chapbook manuscript myself this time around.

For today’s prompt, write a poem that responds to a statement. You can use any statement, quote, etc., that you wish, but I’ve included a few to make it easier. That said, feel free to find and use a different statement for your poem.

Here are some quotes:

  • “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
  • “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West
  • “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  • “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf
  • “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

Here’s my attempt at a Respond to a Statement poem:

“Amelia Island”

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf

She woke with the sound of steam,
hijacked a plane,
and was never seen again.


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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 a long-time fan of aviation history (maybe because he was born in Dayton, Ohio, also known as Wright Brothers territory). He thinks Amelia Earhart is one of the most fascinating women in history. Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems, and he’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little aviators (four boys and a flying princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

190 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

  1. BezBawni says:

    Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
    ~Vivian Greene~

    dance in the rain

    sprinkling, drizzling, raining, pouring,
    drop, drop, drop, – stream,
    step, step, wet, – scream!
    spinning, jumping, laughing, soaring,

    people staring, gasping, pointing,
    wind – sharp, cold – whip,
    face – hot, skin – slip,
    running, falling, sky-anointing,

    shrugging, talking, arms flailing,
    up, de-fi-ance,
    eyes smile! drink! dance!
    people leaving, you – staying.

  2. Yolee says:


    “All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.” Kahil Gibran

    Much of mine is scooped up by evening’s low
    breezes after the day packs her
    harvest, direct and indirect light.

    They become word of mouth
    with information that expands
    lost lore, silence, and dust.

  3. bjholmes says:

    The man on the corner is standing forlorn
    he is lost looking, shirt tail hanging, and jacket it slightoly worn.
    The man looks both ways when the light signals walk
    and steps off the curb surrounded by unstoppable, chattery talk.
    Opinions on politics, on restaurants, on shoes, and who’s right,
    endless babble, never ceasing, never caring, no one watching the light.
    He notices the change from go to slow down
    and watches as people keep meandering around.
    Standing across from the corner from where he just ventured
    he watches as the pedestrians talk and overly gesture,
    No one paying attentionto their fellow passengers on this earth,
    as if loud spoken words were of anything of worth.
    The man’s shoulders sag much lower than before
    as the light changed for crossing, another large crowd to abhor.
    Same people, same chitchat, same personal gloats,
    they think only of themselves for time to devote.
    The man looses confidence in people of the town,
    really, it’s the whole world that’s bringing him down.
    Is mankind so insistant that it’s their right and opinion,
    that no one really cares if it’s some other’s dominion?
    “We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
    the man pondered secretly, his hopes for mankind deeply distraught.

    Quote from President John F. Kennedy

  4. Glory says:

    “Don’t cry because it’s over,
    smile because it happened.”
    My dream about you.

  5. bartonsmock says:

    was not happy at all with my previous post for this prompt, called ‘segregation’. so I remixed it for the 25th prompt, and replace it with the following for the 24th.

    “Never, a brilliant woman told me, trust a man
    Who has not been beaten.” – Rodney Jones, from his poem Blessed Assurance

    -thunder in a bottle-

    father takes a shower because he feels half full. in order to revere him in a detached way I have to run a hot bath and sit on the floor while holding a bar of soap with a plastic fork stuck in it and I have to be blind not to see it’s a sailboat. mother has to be blind not to see it’s an iron. I lift it to her unnoticed and there is only so long my hand can burn before it feels like a hand again. father makes his hands into bunny hands at his bare chest and hops into my mother who squeals and covers her mouth and allows her face to look as one who’s given up the ex-con. father removes his towel and she whips him with it and he goes naked laughing and swatting at hanging model planes the guns of which he reports to memory. she fixes him a plate of food knowing he’ll throw it from the roof and say he’d rather eat a bullet. when she is outside for the plate my father controls her with a remote he claims doubles as a detonator. she sees me kissing the ex-con and mouths goodbye like a paratrooper.

  6. Lori P says:

    Penny pincher

    “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

    if you work hard
    and save and scrimp
    never spend
    to hide it
    in the garden,
    under your bed,
    in an investment portfolio
    who will take your vacations,
    surprise your kids with time,
    leap into your life,
    learn the lessons
    that are free
    but may not stick
    if you pay them
    good money

  7. dandelionwine says:

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

    We seek our attachment, dismiss
    the music mingling in the moment,
    though we have two hands for grasping
    and sense receptors countless as stars.

  8. MichelleMcEwen says:

    Go Black 

    Say, papi,
    I’m sure you heard

    once you go black
    you never go back

    so let me be

    your afro’d Aphrodite
    your afro’d aphrodisiac

    your black magic
    woman— brown 

    and profound 

    betcha keep comin


    this bush baby
    be made of 

    that can’t-get-enough-

    that so-good-make-


    That Mississippi-goddamn-


    I ain’t jivin, 

    ask any

  9. Missy McEwen says:


    They say
    the blacka

    the berry
    the sweeta

    the juice. I say
    that’s bs.

    I’m bitter
    than an mf.

  10. I’ve Got Eyes in the Back of My Head

    My Mum said that.
    She meant we kids better not
    do anything naughty
    because she would see.

    When I was little
    I thought they were real,
    those eyes, and I didn’t
    know how they stayed hidden.

    Did the lids blend
    perfectly with the skin behind
    her hair, as if invisible?
    How was it possible?

    Why weren’t they exposed?
    Did she keep them closed
    except when checking on us?
    It was most mysterious.

    If they were really there,
    under her hair,
    didn’t her hair spoil the view?
    How did she look through?

    I never solved these mysteries
    but I still believe she could see us
    doing what we didn’t ought.
    We always got caught!

  11. DanielAri says:

    “Cartesian Reduction”

    I think; therefore, I am.
    I am; therefore, I think.
    I drink; therefore, I jam.
    I sweat; therefore, I stink.
    I brink; therefore, I brim.

    I weep; therefore, I blink.
    I will; therefore, I’m weak.
    iamb; therefore, I ink.
    I see; therefore, I seek.
    I sink; therefore, I swim.

    I strip; therefore, I streak.
    I lived; therefore, I grew.
    I spark; therefore, I click.
    I clink, therefore, to you.
    iPad; therefore, I link.

    I am; therefore, I do.
    I dig; therefore, it’s cool.


  12. Margie Fuston says:

    “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf


    Don’t think you can make me
    your angel of the house,
    stick me behind a stove
    in pleated skirts meant to hide
    my body,
    leave me alone at night,
    scribbling poems by kerosene
    only to stuff them in drawers.

    Instead, you can feed me bread
    I’ve won
    spread with butter by your hand.
    I’ll wear jeans that ride my curves
    and write poems about my desires
    and maybe yours,
    but don’t think you can make me

  13. seingraham says:


    “Memory is the scribe of the soul.” Aristotle

    She sits in a chair at a table, by a window in the back,
    a photo album opened on her lap
    Her coffee has long gone cold but she picks it up
    now and then, sips at it, stares at it, sets it down
    again…and again

    She has started a list, another one, it seems
    If only she could remember, but no, it seems
    she cannot; and what of these pictures on her knees
    The people look familiar but does she know them?
    No, she doesn’t think so — why is she looking at them?
    She closes the book and sets it aside

    Maybe if she drinks some of this drink, she thinks
    Oh…it’s so cold…what is it, she wonders
    She’s pretty sure it’s not supposed to be cold
    She sets it down and picks up a pencil,
    sees she has started a list — what a good idea
    She’ll make a list, it’s always good to write
    things down, she thinks and feels a little bit
    better just then.

  14. LeAnneM says:

    “Those high plains people
    They’re different somehow” – John Hiatt, “Circle Back”

    He surprised me by building a deck
    He’d never picked up a tool before
    Never so much as changed the oil

    Then one Saturday morning
    He sketched something on the back of a bill
    And left for the lumber yard

    I helped him unload,
    Held boards, passed tools

    Several times, I said
    “This will not be level”
    “It won’t hold up”

    He didn’t smile
    Although he must have been smiling inside

    I marveled at the work and at the father
    I had known my whole life
    Without knowing this
    About him

  15. LeonasLines says:

    The quote I chose was “Never,never,never give up”–Winston Churchill
    I wrote a Cinquain Rhyme titled “Never Ever”. It is posted on my blog at: http://leonaslines.com/2013/11/24/never-ever


    “Grow old along with me the best is yet to be.”

    by Robert Browning

    Lives lived in separate anonymity,
    you and I are relative strangers
    but there is no danger present
    and the promises of futures shared
    are there for the taking. There is
    no mistaking how we feel. It is as real
    as we’ve ever felt. Having knelt at the altar
    of sad despair, it is there that I begin again.
    A heart full of love, and a friend who
    brings the same to this game. It’s a shame
    we hadn’t met in an earlier time. All this rhyme
    wouldn’t have been needed to seed this heart.
    From the start, our words held sway and
    every day we learn what we want for the rest
    of our lives. A chance to grow in heart and mind,
    and find no fear in growing old together.
    Only the best for us in all ways, in our coming days!

  17. Its a Job being Me

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde quote

    Fallen through
    A trap door
    To be someone
    Else rather than me

    Sinking quick
    In this stinking sand
    Of mine rather than
    Just being free

    I’m the simplicity
    In Simon
    Quirky facet
    On a vast diamond
    Of poetry

    I’m the cat
    With nine lives
    Not sure how many
    I’ve got left

    Still in my write
    Mind to wobble
    Scribble a verse
    With just remnant breath

    I’m a quiet man
    You see
    Who speaks
    In the reckless beauty
    Of the word

    Testifying to the matters
    In life and lived
    What I’ve seen and heard

    Its all
    In a days work
    But sometimes its a job
    Being me

  18. bethwk says:

    “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” ~ Rumi

    Be the spark, the knowingness,
    the mother of the moment,
    be the dream, the home, and the hope.

    Wherever you stand, be the stone
    and the wind. Yes, be the wind
    in the trees of the soul of a place.

    Wherever you stand, be a memory,
    a hope of the future remembering
    we all lived together in peace.

  19. randinha says:

    Uuf, today’s was a little hard! Looking forward to revising all these poems…

    “We do not merely love ourselves more than we love duty; we actually love ourselves more than we love joy.” – G. K. Chesterton


    It seems I love this place.
    It is the default, the space where I escape
    when I’ve annulled the duties
    and canceled the plans.
    I fold into this room—warm, cloistered,
    dry and full of sandman’s dust.
    Solitary, silent, no breath nor voice
    but my own to disturb my dreams.

    The coffee and tea flow from the kettles
    and the cakes and cookies tumble
    from the cupboards like apples from trees.
    All manner of books, read and unread
    lining the walls and tottering on tables.
    All matter I own, gathered about me, mine.

    No office nor laundry nor grocery
    to pull me outside these four walls.
    All I should ever want,
    here inside, festooned with my fantasies.

    I whisper again, I’m happy
    to be here; I can be happy
    again. I’ll be happy
    this time. I’m happy.
    And it’s a happiness full
    of sighs and stares
    outside the small dark window.

  20. Nancy Posey says:

    “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
    C. S. Lewis (Nov. 29, 1898–Nov. 22, 1963)

    November 22, 1963

    When shots rang out in Dallas
    and America’s Camelot
    came to an end, the grief
    and shock around the world
    overshadowed another death
    —not Camelot but Narnia.
    One whose pen wove fables
    and fairy tales for children
    long grown up, parables
    of devils, lions, queens
    and witches, temptation
    disguised as Turkish delight.
    He shared the wisdom
    acquired through love and loss,
    but slipped away, his death
    obscured by another grief
    observed around the globe.

  21. rosross says:

    “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci.

    Painted poetics

    The words did wash like liquid oils,
    across the moment’s page,
    and brushed reality in strokes;
    released the form once caged.

    With light, deft touch and heavy fall,
    poetics painted slow,
    and drew the image full complete;
    each letter truth bestowed.

    In vibrant, rich, raw colourings,
    the energy was born,
    as painted, pure poetics;
    gift through voice transformed.

  22. Earl Parsons says:

    “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” -Thomas Sowell

    Oh, you can certainly fool some
    Sometimes more than others
    Trouble is the day always comes
    When you end up fooling yourself

    The mirror is a dangerous thing
    Like a friend that calls you out
    What you see is what you get
    Not necessarily what you saw

  23. PKP says:

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

    Don’t cry because it’s over as he turns and walks out shutting your front door
    Smile because it happened, even if you are aching for so very much, much, more

  24. “Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.” – Helene Cixous

    I don’t remember when I learned
    to starve for days, deny my body,
    shove my finger down my throat,
    nails scrapping against tongue,
    and wait with my head over
    the toilet for everything I hated
    about myself to come up with the
    bile and acid and, later,
    the blood.

    It’s hard to be a happy girl
    when you grow up with hips
    and breasts and a father and all
    the boys in the world hating the way
    you wear your jeans or mascara.
    I loved pen and paper and words,
    especially my own, but I stopped
    when I began to lose parts of myself
    with every pound I dropped and each
    scream I swallowed in place of

    Even in school they called me a writer
    and some thought I would be great.
    But when you bargain with your body,
    you also swap out your soul for a falling
    number on a scale, and there was a morning
    when I woke up and would rather disappear
    than speak or breathe or even write this
    sad story of a thin woman who had only learned
    how to censor herself well.

    The beauty, though, lies in the truth
    that one stanza of one poem can rewrite
    years of everything I tried to erase:
    I am a woman with round cheeks and
    a cursive belly and my thighs sometimes
    brush against each other when I dance.
    Taste my curves in my consonants, and
    feel my skin in every sentence.
    I will learn to be heard.

  25. bjzeimer says:

    I could not paint a picture
    because that would be
    writing a poem, and I cannot write.

    and I could not write a poem
    because that would be
    painting a picture
    and I cannot paint.

    but I can see with my eyes
    brush strokes in vivid colors
    the artist’s pleasure

    and I can hear with my ears
    words of wisdom spoken
    by the seasoned poet

    and I can share
    in all the wonderful cultures
    of the world.
    and I cannot paint.

  26. cbwentworth says:

    “Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart and no one can take it away.” – Ai Weiwei

    A glowing orb,
    we all possess
    Fragile cargo,
    easy to break
    Shattered captive
    reduced to ash
    One word, one fist
    the flame goes out

    The hard won choice,
    is lost to some
    Without a fight,
    the lies survive
    The honest truth,
    hides deep inside
    One word, one stand
    rekindled light

  27. MLundstedt says:

    “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore” — André Gide

    I wrote the following some time ago, actually, but it’s all I have to share today:

    “Man on the Move”

    A Viking wind brought him over here–

    Seeking adventure and something new.

    A beat from the Heartland made him stay,

    And life took on a different hue.

    Knowledge bloomed in the Garden State,

    With all the work that school demands.

    Then the Land of Lincoln called again,

    And placed him in Illini’s hands.

    The Great Lakes State nearly flooded his mind,

    With all things just and fair;

    But in the Free State he found relief,

    Soon after being tested there.

    A bite of the Big Apple suited his taste–

    It was busy, big and fun.

    But, Charm City was tempting him,

    And in the end it won.

  28. bartonsmock says:

    “After having been fired from the office where we last saw him he is offered a job in Cleveland, where the rumors of his weakness seem not to have reached.”

    “He thinks of his father with pain.”

    (both from John Cheever’s ‘Characters That Will Not Appear’.)


    - segregation -

    stillborn, the boy is pulled from the tar
    formerly stung
    by god’s

    to see the boy, the boy is lit
    from above
    by the three teeth
    since knocked
    from his father.

    memory does not serve.

    the body soaks the body
    then bathes.

    the woman
    out of labor
    is given a make-up
    kit, a red
    kerchief, and a map.

    uses a water fountain when no one is looking.

  29. elishevasmom says:

    The Power of One
    “Whether you think you can or think you can’t you are right.” – Henry Ford

    Okay, call me a spoiler.
    I’m going to tell you
    how the story ends.

    I have become
    who I thought I was.
    I shall become
    who I think I will be.

    There are no complicated
    philosophical principles
    determining my destiny.
    It is all up to me.

    Am I unhappy with where
    I am right now?
    I can blame no one else for
    my current turn of events.

    I thought myself into
    this very situation.
    But I needn’t stay here.
    I can think myself into

    a different one. All
    Dorothy had to do was
    to think, “There’s no place
    like home.” And the thing

    is, it was right there all
    the time. It all depends
    where I want to be. It all
    comes from the Power of One.

    Ellen Knight 11.24.13
    respond to a statement, PAD 11.13

  30. Bruce Niedt says:

    Oops! HTML fail.

    Between Starts

    Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments.
    The intervals are the tough things.
    - Robert Frost

    Four days rest is an eternity.
    I worry about starting this next poem.
    Do I still have my best stuff?
    If I do, I can blow readers away
    with a fastball-metaphor so clever
    that all they can do is watch it
    whiz by them and mumble, “Wow.”
    Other days, I’ll struggle to get
    anything across the plate.
    Confidence is like a pitching arm –
    when it’s strong, you’re unstoppable.
    But if it stiffens up, you can barely
    hold a pen. But I’m not out to win
    a Cy Young or a Pulitzer. I’d be happy
    just to win more than I lose.

  31. Bruce Niedt says:

    Between Starts

    <i.Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments.
    The intervals are the tough things.
    - Robert Frost

    Four days rest is an eternity.
    I worry about starting this next poem.
    Do I still have my best stuff?
    If I do, I can blow readers away
    with a fastball-metaphor so clever
    that all they can do is watch it
    whiz by them and mumble, “Wow.”
    Other days, I’ll struggle to get
    anything across the plate.
    Confidence is like a pitching arm –
    when it’s strong, you’re unstoppable.
    But if it stiffens up, you can barely
    hold a pen. But I’m not out to win
    a Cy Young or a Pulitzer. I’d be happy
    just to win more than I lose.

  32. Sara McNulty says:

    “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”
    ~ Mae West ~

    At Isabel’s Grave

    Hair in pewter curls frame a face,
    faded and pinched. She tsks, tsks
    to her friend, as they stand
    gravesite at Isabel’s funeral.
    “How unseemly,” she says,
    waving her arm at Isabel’s choice
    of jazz musicians playing, children
    tossing balloons in the air,
    and the horror of having
    all attendees arrayed in red.
    “Maybe she wold not be gone at such
    an early age, if she had behaved
    with a bit more restraint.” Across
    from the two women, a hodgepodge
    of characters from Isabel’s life–
    artists who had painted her,
    actors, authors, and a flock
    of lovers–stand reminiscing,
    smiling. The second woman nods
    wistfully, says, “Yes, but remember
    the fullness of her days, and that never
    faltering twinkle in her eyes? Always
    seemed she had a secret.”

  33. Day 24
    Prompt: Write a “respond to a statement” poem.

    A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.
    –C. S. Lewis


    The sun will rise.
    All my willing it not to
    will not dampen its flame.
    My refusing to acknowledge that day has dawned
    nor to give credit to the day star for casting my shadow
    means nothing.

    The Son rose.
    All my disbelief cannot change that death is vanquished,
    all my questions cannot quell
    victory over life and death that could be mine,
    did I not live in ignorance or stubbornness,
    unable and unwilling to grasp
    His stubborn refusal to give
    me up.

  34. Julieann says:

    Lincoln’s Dream

    “A house divided against itself cannot stand…”
    said Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858, in his “House Divided” speech

    “Four score and seven years ago”
    We were a house divided
    Patriot and Tory
    Build a new America or
    Follow British rule

    Seven score and ten years ago
    We were a house divided
    Confederate and Yankee
    Fighting for a oneness
    A United States

    No score and no years ago
    We are still a house divided
    This time with nothing to unite us
    We fight among ourselves
    Jeopardizing Lincoln’s dream

  35. Hannah says:

    There was nothing to color the content and the words boldly held their ground on their own.

    While I’m so grateful that women now receive the recognition that they deserve for their work, I find the concept of Anonymous and what that really means, (on so many levels), very intriguing.


  36. Cin5456 says:

    “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

    Rough Roads, Bad Weather

    I, the perpetual pessimist, discovered
    the oddest phenomenon about living,
    stranger than I ever expected.
    Through years of adversity, I learned
    to expect the unexpected; cliché, I know,
    but the unexpected was always bad.
    When life gives me lemons and
    the lemonade sours, I’m supposed
    to be thankful for the vitamin C,
    but puckered lips are not attractive.

    When I thought I found love,
    it turned out to be sorrow and pain.
    When I thought I’d found a calling
    it turned out to be a dead end.
    When I expected friendship I
    discovered the knife in my back.
    When I forged ahead, determined,
    I discovered I was moonwalking.
    When I gave up and sat down in misery,
    someone gave me a lift to the next level.
    As I climbed, cautious and wary, many
    barricades stood between then and now.

    So much has gone wrong, so many losses,
    So many dreams abandoned.
    But as I think about where I am,
    as I think of what I am and why,
    I don’t believe I could have gotten here
    by any other road, by any other means.
    Without all I’ve been through my words
    would ring hollow, my meanings meaningless.

    That is not to say I’m happy.
    I mean, I’m still alive, and that I suppose
    is something to be thankful for. But beyond
    the clichés and homilies, I’ve discovered
    the pain is not so bad now that I’m acclimated,
    and now I have a reason to continue living.
    That, I think, is all I needed, a reason.
    Isn’t that strange?

  37. priyajane says:

    “In the book of life, answers aren’t in the back”– Charlie Brown

    I’ve searched for answers
    to questions unknown
    And travelled in circles
    to places I’ve known

    Now I’m changing my tune
    and relearning the questions
    As solutions they say
    will show their direction

    Each day is a school
    with lessons to learn
    There is no pass or fail
    just a growing discern

    So don’t look for answers
    at the back of a book
    They are cleverly hidden-
    If only you’d look! —-

  38. gl86 says:

    This sonnet really got away from me. I initially intended it to be inspired by Tolstoy’s “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself,” but then it became too cynical for me and turned into more of Gandhi’s “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Anyway, I’m not satisfied!

    What wondrous words we spew, what air exhaled,
    What hollow gusts of wind our words can be!
    Ideas of mixed intentions born, assailed
    by dreams that daunt us to passivity.
    We want to solve the civil strife abroad
    and bring our brand of life because, well why?
    To try to change the world I’d feel a fraud
    when there’s privation under our own sky.
    It’s easy to complain when life is hard,
    But hard to be the change you want to see,
    so when my heart feels heavy, worn and scarred
    I feel the weight of my humanity.
    Most want to change the world to leave their mark.
    Why seek to join a fire? Be the spark.

  39. Jane Shlensky says:

    One of Them

    “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

    What will people say,
    what will they think?
    It matters, let me tell you.
    They can make you sorry
    if you’re not, and everyone
    you love besides. Just think
    before you make a choice;
    pretend your ears hear
    every voice that gossips
    over every fence, in every
    line, school, or office.
    She rightly fears majorities,
    opinions rife with righteousness;
    she wants to spare me
    rips and tears, the malice
    of the mass, claws bared.
    How dare I cease to
    give a damn when they
    prove that they don’t
    love me! I look into
    her frightened face.
    I care for you,
    I say it plain, but tell me,
    are you one of them?

  40. Cin5456 says:

    “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London


    Tamp it down to a sizzle.
    Concealed embers draw no ire.
    Choose through careful artistry
    words that reveal little yet
    unveil more than you desire.
    Be wary of expressions that
    spark into bright flames lest
    someone suspect a firebrand
    not disclosed by a name.
    Let passion recline on
    sublime framework and
    turn raging tides aside.
    Channel inspiration to
    set the foundation such
    that conflagration may
    reside within without
    exploding out in words.
    Tame it to your magic
    and spill the pattern in ink
    onto a white clean sheet.
    Let it run wild and free
    tearing through convention until
    inspiration creates or destroys
    as it chooses, drawing images
    anyone can see. There is
    no right or wrong way.
    Say it how you please,
    just Write.

    • Cin5456 says:

      I must add another inspiring quote to this poem. I had both quotes in front of me as I wrote.
      “Words are only painted fire. A look is the fire itself.” Mark Twain

  41. gl86 says:

    This sonnet really got away from me and is disjointed … It was initially meant to be inspired by Tolstoy’s “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” but turned into more of Gandhi’s “You must be the change you want to see in the world” at the end. Anyway, I’m not satisfied at all!

    What wondrous words we spew, what air exhaled,
    What hollow gusts of wind our words can be!
    Ideas of mixed intentions born, assailed
    by dreams that daunt us to passivity.
    We want to solve the civil strife abroad
    and bring our brand of life because, well why?
    To try to change the world I’d feel a fraud
    when there’s privation under our own sky.
    It’s easy to complain when life is hard,
    But hard to be the change you want to see,
    so when my heart feels heavy, worn and scarred
    I feel the weight of my humanity.
    Most want to change the world to leave their mark.
    Why seek to join a fire? Be the spark.

  42. JRSimmang says:


    “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.”

    It’s not like I believed you anyway,
    but when you asked,
    I gave you my heart willingly.

    Things changed, though,
    didn’t they?

    You didn’t get any better
    at honesty,
    and I never grew
    out of my
    childlike wonder,
    sipping down my gullibility.
    I prefer(red) to be
    found guilty
    of naivety,
    serving my time for that
    and not for blindness.

    But that old familiar bile
    kept riding up throat-wise,
    strung to a balloon,
    sticking to my tongue,
    making it infinitely
    harder to speak on your behalf.

    There are only so many times,
    like my mom told me,
    I can be a bridge
    on fire,
    each board turning
    to ash.

    ash floats just the same.

    -JR Simmang

  43. Jezzie says:

    Elephant Skin Armour

    “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs</em

    I've tried all my life but I've never got to the top.
    I've crossed my T's and crowned my I's with a dot
    I've had a good time, enjoyed what I've done,
    and basically have been pleased with my lot.
    I've gone with my gut, against all odds,
    I've trusted in destiny and karma,
    but what has helped me best through life
    is my elephant skin armour.

  44. Broofee says:

    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough

    You only live once
    So they say
    But if you do it right
    Once is enough.

    Same old line
    I know
    You’ve heard it all before
    Same as I did.
    Who the hell said it

    You only live once…
    But how?
    Where’s the rule book?
    Where’d they hide it?

    If you do it right…
    But they never said what’s right
    And what’s wrong.

    Once is enough…
    But is it?
    If you lived a good life
    Maybe you’d like some more
    Or perhaps you need
    A second chance
    But there are
    No second chances.

    You only live once
    Do it any way you can
    And hope for the best.

  45. Michelle Hed says:

    Humorous Longings on a Sunday Afternoon
    “The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” ~ Douglas Adams

    I spiced my tea
    with a bit of humor
    and giggles floated
    out of my nose.

    I tickled my daughter
    and her laughter
    warmed me
    right down to my toes.

    I envisioned throwing
    myself at the ground
    but I never missed,
    I always went splat.

    Except in my dreams
    I fly quite well,
    know how to swoop,
    turn and all that.

    So when I awake
    it’s attempting as hell,
    to throw myself down
    but I know, it won’t end well.

    So I throw myself at other things
    and some succeed and some fail
    but at least I tried
    and I didn’t need no bail.

  46. cholder says:

    Poetry is what gets lost in translation. ~Robert Frost
    -a nod to his melodious form

    Poetry is what gets lost in translation
    Words wilt on weathered tongues
    Understanding dawns on enlightened minds
    Though Monthly turned you down
    Those who inspired your greatness
    Found America’s laureate renowned

    Do not fret over translations lost
    Roads diverged or less traveled by
    Those reluctant to accept
    The ones who did belie
    The likes of TS Elliot, Edward Thomas and Ezra Pound!
    Who were they to deny?

    November PAD Challenge Day 24 – Respond to a statement, quote, etc.

  47. Rosemarie Keenan says:

    “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.” Raymond Chandler

    SET UP

    The blonde
    her tears a lie,
    her lying there a lure.
    You know her man is just outside

    She cries.
    The sound rings false
    as yellow pin curls paired
    with brunette brows. A creak of wood.
    You turn.

  48. Clae says:

    •“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

    After all what else
    Are memories made for but
    Reliving moments


    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin

    in the safety
    of limited boundaries
    enables fear of the unknown
    to leave roads unexplored.

    cannot be found
    behind closed doors or drawn blinds.
    To disable apprehension,
    it must first be engaged.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  50. laurie kolp says:

    Role Reversal

    (“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West)

    After the fire you came and stayed with me
    in a hotel. We ate Chinese, bought wine
    and bubble gum, discussed the freakiness
    of life, which you said would be alright
    as long as I have faith, and now I’m
    telling you the same, our hands entwined.

  51. Domino says:

    “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”
    Mark Twain


    Does the devil have a heart?
    Does he love, does he grieve?
    Does he miss being apart
    from God? Long for a reprieve?

    Does the devil ever pray?
    Does he whisper holy psalms?
    Does he view hell with dismay
    hoping Christ will send him balms?

    Does the devil ever quake
    with pure sorrow and pure shame
    wishing he could make a break,
    knowing he bears all the blame.

    Could the devil e’er repent?
    Could he bend his knee and pray
    for forgiveness and ascent
    back to heaven’s glorious day?

    Could we humans e’er forgive
    or would we hold a solid grudge?
    Could we just live and let live?
    Truly, who are we to judge?

    This might be our greatest test,
    seeing how well we resolve
    to truly love, to do our best
    when God forgives can we absolve?

  52. De Jackson says:

    Broad Appeal

    For most of history, Anonymous was a woman. – Virginia Woolf

    Ah, Anonymous.
    Thank you for Miss
    -behavin’, and makin’ history.
    Thank you for the mystery
    of phrase unfazed by name.

    Thank you for spilling
    your words
    and sharing
    your most secret song.

    Thank you for craving art so much,
    so long, you didn’t care whose print
    it bore, or whether your face
    was known;
    for carving out
    some small bloom,
    some room
    of your


  53. Dare says:

    “Gnothi Sauton” “Know Thyself”
    (The source seems unclear, often attributed
    to Thales or Chilon and used by Plato in his
    “Socratic Dialogues” :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself )
    Anyone here know the source?


    Seeking himself in others’ eyes
    He wandered nameless
    through the years

    Lost within the arms of nature
    He sought not a name
    And found

  54. De Jackson says:

    Old Salt

    The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea. – Isak Dinesen
    (pen name of author Karen Blixen)

    Weep with me, stars,
    for some of you are not meant for sky,
    but for greater depths than you can ever fathom.

    Groan with me, tears,
    run down these cheeks at full speed and
    marathon your way to some brighter bit of hope.

    Fall with me, wave
    goodbye to all things made of sand.
    We’ll find some higher rock on which to struggle, stand.


  55. Linda Goin says:

    The House on Rose

    Emerson once said
    I’m a quote out of forests,
    mines, and stone quarries.
    I am a thing that begins
    with the tapping of hammers.
    A gray ghost in the wind,
    I’m a window that opens
    to beginnings and ends.

    I phrase you with timber.
    I mimic full features.
    As my characters grow,
    I’ll whisper those names.

    But no one can know me
    like the man who creates me,
    and I bend to his wishes,
    my hip in his hand.
    I bear children and raise them,
    I wear sickness with worry,
    I hold bodies in death
    with a bone-chilling sigh.

    I read you and recite you,
    I’m beside and inside you,
    I’ll recall you until
    I’m no longer called home.

  56. Sharing

    Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’. Bing Crosby

    If all my blessings were snowflakes,
    I’d build a family of snow people,
    set them around a dinner table
    and give them long wooden spoons,
    and the only way they’d be able to eat,
    would be to feed each other.

    (Long spoon allegory from Rabbi Haim of Romshishok)

  57. PressOn says:

    No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. William Blake


    One hawk
    in one thermal
    does more to approach heaven
    than all the prayers ever said.
    I must shut up, and watch.

  58. barbara_y says:

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

    North of Folly

    Raw-edged to yesterdays of losing something sweet
    –homemade swimming, apple pools
    dogs, good dogs, muskadines
    fallen as the stems change gray

    a marquee wind
    gust, rain rates: Think flood-bucket rates,
    gutters–think sidewalks, swimming pools and
    movie stars; dark-righteous good fools.
    Southern Thanksgiving umbrellas pushed
    as paper mockingbirds
    I’ve a bar squad, lonely to lip-syncing
    an oven shot to raincoats
    watching fishsticks burn
    here’s ugly
    in a mouth
    victim murders taste

    my raw sweet taste

  59. writinglife16 says:

    Write on, Jezzie, write on. :)

    “Let your mind alone.” – James Thurber

    Under the oak lie countless tiny acorns,
    and here’s a perfect fallen leaf, and a twig
    with three empty cup-shaped crowns.

    Which oak? Check the field guide. Oregon
    White? leaves too small. Blue? its twigs
    are hairy. Gambel? doesn’t grow here.

    From the treetop, Hawk stares down at me.

  61. writinglife16 says:


    “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.” Pablo Picasso

    Picasso was right.
    And wrong.
    God is an artist.
    An amazing artist whose messages
    were very subtle.
    Stand tall.
    Dream big.
    Just be.

    Picasso did not get that God’s
    most amazing gift,
    the yearning to create,
    had nothing to do with style.
    It just is.

  62. RJ Clarken says:


    “There’s no half-singing in the shower: you’re either a rock star or an opera diva.” ~Josh Groban

    I have to say, I like to sing.
    I belt out tunes with precision
    and soon, those raspy notes take wing:
    just like on the television
    or Broadway stage. I’m Babs! I’m Bing!
    Bon Jovi! What a decision.
    I take a bow. My ‘fans’ scream, “More!”
    as I steam up the shower door.


  63. annell says:

    “We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”

    ― Henry James, The Middle Years

    Henry James Speaks for Me
    Up early
    The artist
    Goes to work
    In the dark
    All is quiet
    It will be the
    First time…..

    In the dark
    The artist finds the
    Brightest light
    Begin day
    In a blaze

    Some will say
    I bet
    It is fun…
    I say
    Fun has nothing
    To do with it
    It is work
    One must do
    Hard work
    And when you
    Have finished
    You must begin

    Give all that you have
    Hold nothing back
    Make each idea
    Look for new ways
    To say it

    Some days
    You will doubt
    Your work
    You will wonder
    Doubt is your

    There will be days
    Filled with disappointment
    Things will not work out
    Frowns all around
    Feel small
    Razor blades cut
    Small nips
    Swim in blood
    Lost in the
    Maddness of art

  64. RJ Clarken says:

    The Going

    “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” ~Steve Wright

    we have
    the time to
    take a walk? Even a short one? Distance
    doesn’t matter; it’s ‘the going’ that does.
    Take a step:
    it’s a


  65. RJ Clarken says:

    Not Too Somber

    “Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it.” ~Langston Hughes

    find I
    often laugh
    since the alternative is just too sad
    to contemplate. And anyway, life is
    much more fun
    when you


  66. “poetry is painting that is felt
    rather than seen”

    the slant light
    of a coming storm
    behind double panes
    always running
    to close windows
    when it rains
    never thinking
    to open them

  67. Marie Elena says:

    Robert, I have such a passion for saying much with few words. Yours today totally WOWS me. Powerful, powerful stuff.

  68. Marie Elena says:

    Potty-training quote:
    “Hey Nonna, do you know what?
    Poop isn’t chocolate.”

    ~Sophia Rose Mavis


    If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’
    then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
    ~ Vincent Van Gogh

    It all started in childhood,
    as innocence melted to shame,
    that little voice of complaint.
    “Why can’t you be good?”

    By the time the angst of teen years
    came roaring in on a wave of hormones,
    the voice had become a shout.
    “You Can’t Do Anything Right!”

    As adulthood settled in
    along with serious responsibility,
    the voice was a raging roar.

    reading the words Vincent wrote,
    the light of self-recognition filled
    the darkness of doubt and self-loathing,
    opening windows and doors long forgotten.
    Words came tumbling out,
    at first in a frenzy, but eventually,
    in patterns that could be shared -
    patterns that made sense -
    patterns that said,
    “You’re a writer! Good for you!”

  70. Cin5456 says:


    My words, my words,
    these precious words,
    not mine. A name,
    a name, what name
    to give, not mine.
    A poet, a prophet,
    a writer, this inventor
    is someone else, not me.
    Ink bleeds from fingers
    sorrowed, mocked for
    holding a pen too long.
    Hear these words
    written for deaf ears
    bled from lips cracked,
    dried by shouting in silence.
    Anon, anon, I give
    nothing to posterity
    that is not obscurity.
    Anonymous named
    for a gender’s shame,
    I’ve forgotten
    what shamed us.
    I am not her,
    whoever she once
    might have been.
    Don’t look at me.
    Look at my words,
    my words, my words,
    these precious words,
    signed in secrecy
    by anonymous.

  71. bxpoetlover says:

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ― Oscar Wilde

    After My Last Breakup

    I analyzed every aspect of my past
    promised to make better choices
    lowered then raised then lowered my standards
    tried every hairstyle and shade of lipstick and nail color
    bought new clothes and restyled my gait
    I make eye contact
    I smile showing off my perfect teeth
    I speak
    but there is still just a place setting for one
    in the meantime
    I could just sit at my desk and cry in my journal
    but being with family and friends
    going to school/reading books/writing poems/seeing shows
    dancing a little and laughing a lot
    is a hell of a lot more interesting than
    reading yet another article or blog post
    another article asking Why
    So Many Women Are Single

  72. Jezzie says:


    I wish I could paint,
    but an artist I aint,
    so I guess I’ll just write
    and describe a sight
    that delights me
    or invites me
    to express

    “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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