2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14

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For today’s prompt, write a follow poem. In middle school, I remember running for student council and my campaign manager said something to the effect of, “Vote for Robby, because he’s a follower, not a leader.” First thing, yes, they called me Robby in middle school. Second thing, yes, I did not get elected. Third thing, yes, this story is completely personal and pointless. Don’t follow my example.


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Here’s my attempt at a Follow poem:

“Follow the Leader”

He talked the loudest and knew how
to snap his fingers, so of course
he was their leader, and they would

follow him everywhere, which was
usually nowhere, but it
didn’t matter: He said, “C’mere,”

and they’d come. He’d say, “Jump,” and they’d
ask, “How high?” Which was their downfall,
because when he stomped to the top

of the highest building in town
and tried to see if he could fly
all the others tumbled after.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He believes in following your dreams, following your gut, and following one good line with another. And, then there’s Twitter. Speaking of which…

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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227 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    all of my life i was never much of a follower
    …but i’d follow you to the ends of the earth,
    unstrap my shoes, walk daredevil along the edge,
    long flowing dress and chestnut tresses trailing behind
    then slip quietly over the side after you
    cuz that’s what loyalty looks like
    with her dress hiked up…

    © 2014 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    all of my life i was never much of a follower
    …but i’d follow you to the ends of the earth,
    unstrap my shoes, walk daredevil along the edge,
    long flowing dress and chestnut tresses trailing behind
    then slip quietly over the side after you
    cuz that’s what loyalty looks like
    with her dress hiked up…

    © 2014 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. Domino


    Mamma duck, shooing her ducks in a line,
    they take to the water, hurry, have fun.
    Mamma bear watching as cubs play and tumble,
    she lets out a rumble, they turn tail and run.
    Mamma bird hunts for her babies’ dinner
    while pappa takes care of the chicks in the nest.
    Mom otter playfully swims in the sea,
    sleeps holding hands, her babes on her chest.
    Good parents always take care of their young.
    They love them and hold them and tend their needs.
    Our children will follow these loving examples
    of kind, loving parents, and copy our deeds.
    Never fear, parents, you’re doing it right.
    Just love your kids and the future is bright.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  4. Bhumphreys

    With fates predestined by society
    Sent forth to become a novelty
    Pathways straight and assuring
    With bountiful hopes of enduring
    They become what they are told
    Watching another stale victory unfold
    Just another cog in the machine
    Their wants and their needs careen
    Each self sacrificed at the altar
    In the chase of the almighty dollar
    Blindly in the pack of lemmings,
    Just another sorrowful ending.

  5. Sally Jadlow


    Some skip to fame and fortune played by the pied piper.
    Others dance to the siren’s song of popularity.
    Many choose the chants of druggies and rappers.

    I will follow in the footsteps of my Savior
    who knows be best and loves me most.
    For He sees ahead and will never lead astray,
    even after this earth is destroyed.

  6. seingraham


    There are so many
    maxims regarding
    the word “follow”
    From when you’re
    very little – you hear:
    Follow me, follow mommy
    follow daddy, and you do
    Follow the leader
    Follow the teacher
    Follow that tune
    Follow the work
    Follow the sun
    Follow the game
    Follow the money
    Follow the yellow brick road
    Follow the drinking gourd
    Follow your dreams
    Follow your heart
    Follow your head
    Follow my lead
    Follow that car
    Follow the faith
    Follow the rules
    Until the end of your life
    when you’re in the lead car
    and everyone else is told to
    Follow the hearse.

  7. Meriadoc


    Followed in the Wake
    of what has been before
    We stumble in the footsteps of old forgotten lore

    Until we come to what we are,
    what we were born to be
    That wondrous inner Knowing what we came here for to see

    That instant we are certain
    With no doubt we are wrong
    That Coming Home of Spirit, winging Destiny’s Sweet Song

  8. PKP

    To Follow
    As a small child she sat and
    stared at the ceiling painted
    with the clouds of heaven
    The men around her rocking
    and nodding, singing and sighing
    in fervent prayer and she
    Prayed that in time she would
    be filled with the grace of “He”
    As a young girl she studied hard
    squiggly letters in a language she
    could read but not understand and
    waited open-hearted for the grace
    to pour into the readied space that
    Waited – waited with the passionate
    promise of servitude and goodness
    Once – walking in the gardens in
    Brooklyn – under a long archway
    white chestnut blossoms blowing
    Softly – she saw in resplendent
    solitude two nuns approaching
    hands hidden in their sleeves and
    Wondered if that were to be her way
    though she wore a Star of David
    upon her unburst pounding bosom
    It was not to be – nor the call of the
    Buddha – though he seemed kind
    Years tumbled – sometimes banged
    into one another and she continued
    Connected to the legacy – connected
    to a people –year after tumbled year
    She continued to walk the same path
    in honor of all who had marched before
    into glory and into ash she continued
    for them – and then somewhere along
    The way –
    For herself –
    In a tapestry of together –
    in her own fashion –
    without awe but with
    The power of unbroken tradition –
    To follow –

  9. Mike

    The big yellow dog was a follower.
    The little white dog her leader.
    And when we found them,
    they were three cornfields away.
    The leader urged on by her nose.
    The follower happy to comply.

  10. James Von Hendy

    Dark Beauty: Anne Sexton, 1973

    She had gathered darkness around herself,
    a numinous cloak
    of seduction, long before that autumn

    afternoon. Sunlight filtered through windows
    somewhere, but she sat
    in shadow and drew shadow to herself.

    I sat at her feet, enthralled. What, really,
    is there to recall
    beyond the halo of her dark, dark hair,

    her throaty voice rich with cigarette smoke,
    her lips pursed around
    her words, the way she tossed her head and laughed

    when she spoke to death as if to a friend,
    her awful roving,
    a radiant shimmering, black with desire?

    And is that why, smitten at sixteen, still
    I recall long legs,
    and black stockings, and I was gone, gone, gone?

  11. Bruce Niedt

    Rick’s Band

    We’ll follow this guy as far as he’ll take us.
    We heard he was a sheriff once – now
    the only evidence of that is his tattered,
    greasy khaki shirt, and the hat his son wears.
    We move as a group, using any weapon
    available – guns, when we can, or knives
    (one of us handy with a samurai sword),
    anything that can pierce or split a walker’s head –
    an axe, a baseball bat, a sharpened stick.
    Civilization hangs by a bloody thread
    and real leaders are hard to come by.
    There are times we’ve wondered about him,
    whether his sanity is as slippery
    as the puddles of gore we’ve had to cross.
    But he’ll do for now, unless someone
    even stronger comes along.

    1. BDP

      You paint this so well, I thought of “The Walking Dead,” though I’ve never seen a full show and have only seen snippets (though I can’t remember how or when). So I looked up Rick, and sure enough, your poem’s about the show! Good job.

  12. Sara McNulty

    The Shadowy Redhead

    Private Detective shadows
    curvy redhead, tails
    her to suspected spot
    of secret meetings.
    Gets his camera ready.
    Steady, focus. Ah, there
    she is embracing her lover
    right in the front window.
    Piece of cake. He takes
    several incriminating
    photos. This is the final
    piece of evidence that his
    client requires. The P.I.
    makes his call. He will be
    there as soon as the film
    develops. Heeding all
    precautions of his new
    dark room developing,
    he watches the photos
    come alive. Just one problem.
    Rubs his eyes. Can’t be.
    There is no redhead in
    the photo. She has substituted
    her shadow.

  13. Kasey

    Man’s Best Friend

    Toenails across the hardwood floor
    follow behind each step I take,
    from the first moment that I wake
    until I’m walking out the door.

    She’s starting to slow more and more.
    There’s no more swimming in the lake.
    Toenails across the hardwood floor
    follow behind each step I take,

    reminding me of what’s in store.
    With melancholy I can’t shake,
    I know my heart is going to break,
    The day I don’t hear any more
    Toenails across the hardwood floor.

  14. Connie Inglis

    Follow Instructions Carefully

    Somewhere in my house I have manuals for
    the washer and dryer, for the TV and
    the DVD player, even for the coffee

    “Follow Instructions Carefully”
    they tell me.
    I wonder where I put the manual for my

  15. barbara_y

    and it must, as the night the day

    it follows…as the night
    the motel room has paper-thin walls
    they cancelled the flight
    the ketchup comes out in one big *splurt*
    no toilet paper in the stall
    orange spots on the white pleated shirt
    a glaring typo
    it was a telemarket call
    ads show up for liposuction
    they used to be married
    the pants have become too small
    the toddler wants to be carried
    what you break, you buy
    but the guests all had a ball
    looks just like a black eye

  16. Danielle Wong

    Heart vs Head

    I didn’t go wrong
    when I followed you
    to every place
    you would call home.

    I didn’t go wrong
    when I followed you
    in adventures
    in places unknown.

    Life, it fell apart
    when I followed cold
    hard money
    to make you proud.

    Life spiralled away
    when I lost myself
    in vortices
    that spun me around.

    But I didn’t go wrong
    when I followed you
    to every place
    you have called home.

  17. TeriBeth


    Where you lead, I will follow.
    My faith in you complete.
    My heart is in your hands,
    I trust my needs you’ll meet.

    My love for you is unconditional,
    Together until the end.
    For you are my master, and I am yours,
    your dog, your friend.

  18. JohnLY


    by John Yeo

    The trail is very obscure,
    Many twists and turns
    Billions have come this way
    The path is very well worn

    Across the seas, another shore,
    There are many signs,
    Many corners, many directions,
    Many examples to follow.

    One door unlocks another door,
    The instinct quickly learns
    The only way is forward,
    Be kind, be gentle, be firm.

    Your trail began at birth,
    Already the myriad clues and signs
    Were building a pattern to follow.
    The learning never ends.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo, All rights reserved.

  19. LaraEckener

    Majesty makes mistakes.
    I do not call them into question
    because I am without mark.
    We shadows also prey on the young
    just as Majesty preys.
    We pluck eggs from nests,
    eat the squalling newborns, then relish
    in the their cries and the blood
    that dries on our beaks.
    Gone again before we
    see the mothers mourn.

    I am not without mark,
    because I was beaten.
    I am not without mark,
    because I was saved.
    I am not without mark,
    because when I went to retrieve
    my stolen crown
    they could smell your green flames
    as if they were presently
    singeing my feathers away. Disgraced
    for not eating my mother’s corpse.
    Turned away until I can swallow you.
    Abandoned to memory. I know
    what it means to want back
    what you’ve lost.

    Majesty’s mistake
    is in not knowing that crippling
    others will not make her whole.
    Majesty’s mistake is in becoming
    a pyre. Majesty’s mistake is in
    the pulse that thuds beneath
    Majesty’s skin as I trace it
    with my thumb, unnatural, un-tethered,
    except by debt and by something
    my kind never thought to name.

    All majesty breathes. And all
    majesty makes mistakes.

  20. shellcook

    Always And Again

    Do not ask me to be the leader.
    I don’t want the job.
    I tried that once.
    It took my joy and cost you friends.

    Do not ask me to follow.
    I will follow no man.
    I tried that before,
    and just felt foolish in the end.

    Walk beside me, friend.
    Hold my hand.
    Listen with me to the song of the wind,
    we will walk this way always and again.


  21. shethra77

    My nephew is also Robby. Nothing wrong with that. 😉

    For Robby, Who Loves Ants

    He bends his small body,
    crouching low as he can,
    studying the dark specks
    flowing over the sidewalk.
    “What are you looking at, Robby?”
    He points.
    “Ants, Sheshe!”
    His eyes open wide,
    face glowing with wonder,
    he traces their footsteps
    into the grass
    where the tiny stream is swallowed
    by the grass blade jungle.
    It flows invisibly as
    he attempts to follow,
    a two-year old
    who needs to know,
    or a giant with
    thunderous feet—
    a God of Ants.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  22. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    Where You lead, Lord,
    I will follow;
    I will keep
    My eyes on You.
    Where You lead, Lord,
    I will follow;
    No matter what,
    All others do.

    You are worthy,
    Of Your glory;
    I will always,
    Sing your praise.
    Where You lead, Lord,
    I will follow;
    All my days, Lord, all my days.

    Follow, is all You ask, Lord;
    Follow You, and You alone.
    Your love lead You to the cross, Lord,
    And it rolled away the stone.

    Where You lead, Lord,
    I will follow;
    I will keep
    My eyes on You;
    Where You lead, Lord,
    I will follow;
    No matter what
    All others do.

    No matter what,
    All others do.

  23. Tandac

    Fleeting Arrowhead

    A lone
    Black bird
    Leads the arrowhead
    Like swift moving hoards,
    Their wings of black veering
    Fluttering,soaring fleeting arrow
    Eschewing nearby fields
    Of golden grass, ripe
    With grain. They fly
    Miles to eat, that
    Mass across sky
    Of ocean blue.
    Far from home
    Home, they
    A lone

  24. Heather


    Dream on brother
    she used to say
    the world can be better
    we can make it that way.
    Mercy handed up
    to people in need
    believing the power
    of a good deed.
    Then one dark night
    she saw him there
    shivering quietly
    in the frigid air.
    She bent down to
    help him, she trust.
    Her life he changed
    just with a thrust.
    Immobilized for
    the rest of her days
    she communicates
    with only a gaze.
    Following morals
    true to her name
    now I fight injustice
    in Mercy’s name.

    ~also published at http://heatherbutton.com/2014/11/14/mercy-a-poem/

  25. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 14
    Write a follow poem.

    Follow the Child, Follow Your Friend

    Usually the wedding comes first,
    then the child, but best intentions
    don’t always pave heavenly
    ways. Thus baby confirmed
    what he was always afraid to admit,
    what she knew in some secret
    place from the beginning. Now
    their lives intertwine, not
    only around a daughter’s laughter,
    but the way they take care, loving
    care of each other’s tender hearts.
    Old song, same refrain:
    How to make one true love of two
    best friends.

  26. dub

    Things We Did

    I used to follow your voice in the dark,
    my hands pushing forward, looking
    for your body to press into, stepping on your toes,
    walking too far in your space, closing
    the gap between our faces, we spoke
    the same words, pouring out like sand
    from an hourglass, I used to listen
    to your fingers on the strings of my guitar
    in our sleepless room, jolting me,
    lulling me, soothing me, I used to follow your voice
    in the dark, you used to call my name.

  27. De Jackson

    Following Her Home

    He is left wanting.

    It’s haunting,
    the way her skin changes
            the sky,
    the forces of nature held by
                       her smile.

    He feels as though he’s
    somehow trailing tomorrow,
          and yet leaving
    everything be


  28. Pat Walsh

    by Patrick J. Walsh

    if you could follow back
    the pings and peals
    of that jangly bracelet

    to the days before
    it hung precariously loose
    on that little girl’s wrist

    you could feel the love
    of a grandmother’s gift
    in the faltering mists of age

    and smell the morning coffee
    in the office off the main room
    of a factory in Brooklyn in 1939


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