2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Holy (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. I like to think of this as the “Robin prompt” from the old Adam West Batman shows, because Robin would always make exclamations that began with “Holy,” including “Holy Barracuda,” “Holy Happenstance,” “Holy Rats in a Trap,” “Holy Homicide.”


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Here’s my attempt at a “Holy (blank)” poem:

“Holy Poetry Prompt”

Some come easier than others, and then,
there’s still the poem to write. Holy get

started! There is that moment when the mind
searches itself for an idea or some

hot potato memory that bounces
in and out of focus. Holy lack of

tunnel vision! There are times I want to
capture the entire world and every deep

emotion I’ve ever had. But holy
abstraction! I don’t know how, don’t know how.


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 loves older television shows (and movies), especially ones that don’t take themselves too seriously. Favorites include the Adam West Batman, Andy Griffith Show, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Munsters.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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138 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Holy Man
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    On the outskirts of town
    where the heat wavers just above ground
    I met a Holy Man,
    an enlightened man
    with well worn sandals of dust and
    a madrone walking stick in his left hand.

    Free of worldly possessions
    this Man of the Cloth,
    Friar, Lama, Monk
    professes a pilgrimage searching
    for answers to the problems of
    birth, old age, sickness, and death.

    A pious man by birth
    and Shamanistic by choice
    he keeps company with Spirits and Ghosts
    counseling in cemeteries as part of his journey,
    his dreads, the color of human remains
    coiled around his skull like a crown of thorns.

    With humbled shawl the color of terracotta
    and a braid of jute beads around his neck
    this Elder, this Cleric, this Master
    imparts lessons from the great Divine,
    “keep every known commandment, shun every known sin
    but above all, always carry a good walking stick.”

    © 2014 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. still nights

    Holy Nights

    Cuddled against your strong warm back
    like a child against the mother
    I soak in your warmth
    it comforts me
    I breathe in your masculine scent
    and feel my heartbeat slow to a steady rhythm

    You are my night time medicine
    healing my jagged places
    making them smooth
    and languid
    able to rest and stop the flow of thoughts
    that bombard me throughout the day

    sex used to be a pressing need
    that seems so long ago
    now it is an extra
    the sweetness of being close enough
    as my belly swells

    The security of your physical strength
    your presence
    makes this union holy
    a joining together of two
    becoming three

  3. bluerabbit47


    Holy silence,
    the air buzzes
    with it
    here in the canyon
    where not
    even a bird
    stirs this morning.
    The icy blue
    of the sky is its color
    and a whiff
    of dust, settling
    from my last steps
    its scent. Everything
    is of it. Wholly
    holy! Amen.

  4. Domino

    Holy Relic

    Once a minister tending his flock,
    now living under a bus depot;
    not comprehending the difference,
    he still preaches daily, suffering
    over his sermon as he always has,
    pondering deeply the words he will say.
    He hopes to change a life, save a soul.
    His inner self remains the same,
    yet his frame is shrunken from too little food,
    his face gaunt, eyes sunken. He shambles
    about town, seeking simple inspiration.
    Now others treat him like refuse,
    not seeing past the ragged attire,
    not looking into his probing eyes,
    not understanding
    he is the holiest man on earth.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  5. Bhumphreys

    Holy Simplicity

    It seems so basic when considered
    The evolution of self is what is paramount
    A life lived for others to be flattered
    Is a life less lived by many an account
    If I take the time to learn “who am I?”
    Then upon my own instincts I can rely
    But if I live for the sake of society
    What possible good am I to me?

  6. shethra77

    Holy Freaking Monkeys!

    Wallenda walks a tightrope with ease,
    He doesn’t fall, though there is a breeze.
    Just marches across, sweet as you please:
    Holy Freaking Monkeys!

    Robby makes a mess across the floor
    pretending to be a dinosaur,
    kicking aside the blocks with a roar:
    Holy Freaking Monkeys!

    An exclamation situation
    has variants across the nation.
    My go-to statement? I’ve mainly one:
    Holy Freaking Monkeys!

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  7. shethra77

    Holy Water

    Truest holy water
    falls clean from cloudy sky
    refreshing all who thirst
    and none can wonder why
    this water is sacred,
    a blessing to parched land,
    unlike blessed waters
    which, unrefreshing, stand
    fonted, within churches,
    to wet each reverent hand.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  8. deringer1


    When the morning is still and quiet
    I can meditate and pray.
    Then I am alone and it is
    a holy time.

    When I share my heart
    and listen to a friend
    it is a time to cherish,
    a holy time.

    When late at night I hold
    my precious babe close
    to my heart and feel such love,
    it is a holy time.

    And when a life ends
    and loved ones gather round
    to witness eternity coming near
    it is a holy time.

  9. seingraham


    I sit with you so many nights in the Islamic cemetery,
    Outside of town where the silence is profound
    And the night-sky richly dark; there’s so little ambient
    light, the stars tearing the fabric are sharper, more sparkly.

    Had you not died, I doubt I would ever have seen this place
    It occurs to me, I am not close to many Muslims…
    Although I might’ve come here to see where they laid
    the babe…another story…for another time.

    It strikes me often when I visit you at dusk, or in deepest
    night, how sacred I find this place where Allah’s children
    sleep – it has nothing to do with faith or beliefs…but
    everything to do with feeling holy, and when I am here

    That is how I feel, especially as I love the night sky
    and she is at her radiant best here – bestowing shooting
    stars, meteor showers, the Pleiades every summer;
    even the Aurora deigns to dance just for me and you.

  10. shellcook

    Holy Hills

    Holy sky above I see,
    holy hills below
    and in between the two above
    lies an injured land.

    Sweet water flows from rise to rill
    over boulders, rocks, and mosses still,
    stone faced crags pierce high the ridge,
    where once a young girl sang.

    Now the echoes fail to follow
    without the forest’s nestled flow.
    Abandoned echoes fly on forever.
    but hope is not lost.

    Indeed, no it isn’t.
    There will always be one,
    we’ll be waiting for him,
    He who makes the magic,
    wherever he goes,
    here in the holy hills.
    That is where I will be.


  11. Sally Jadlow

    Holy Cow

    Was the little boy’s expression,
    constant, inane obsession.
    Leaving at the end of three days
    my children picked up his ways.
    With diligent correction
    they finally dropped their imitation
    of “Hody Cow.”

  12. Bruce Niedt

    Taking up the obvious (pardon the language):

    Holy Shit

    No one says it in polite company,
    that perfect mix of the sacred
    and profane. Why would anyone
    want to sanctify excrement?
    But it’s the exclamation of choice
    for so many, the ultimate reaction
    of surprise, dismay, delight.
    Batman’s Robin never said it
    back on ’60s TV, but they would
    probably let him say it today.
    You can have your cow, your moley,
    even your guacamole, but for my money,
    nothing says you’re gobsmacked
    like the blessing of feces.

  13. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)

    You quench my thirst,
    You fuel my desire,
    With Your holy water,
    And Your holy fire.

    You bathe my soul,
    With Your great love;
    Your cleansing grace,
    Falls from above.
    I’m washed anew,
    I have all I require,
    In Your holy water,
    And Your holy fire.

    You quench my thirst,
    You fuel my desire,
    With Your holy water,
    And Your holy fire.

  14. Shennon


    No one informed me
    when I took that first bite,
    that this taco was loaded.
    No simple hardshell taco
    half full of greasy hamburger
    mixed with taco seasoning.

    This taco was laden with runny taco sauce.
    Cheddar cheese melted over the spongy mass of taco meat.
    Small chunks of garden-ripened cherry tomatoes
    dripped seeds mingling with shreds of iceberg lettuce.
    Two large dollops of sour cream
    rested atop the vegetable condiments.
    Nestled snugly between the cool white hills,
    a glob of green guacamole
    peeked over the edge of the
    salty yellow taco shell.

    It was my fault for not
    spreading the garnishes out.
    The burning didn’t begin
    until the third bite.
    Nothing prepared me for the
    fire in my mouth,
    the heat in my cheeks,
    or the tears streaming down my face.
    Habanero guacamole
    is a truly evil concoction.


  15. LaraEckener

    I keep going back to Ikea
    on Sunday mornings.
    To lying awake next to you in bed.
    To the steady thrum of your
    all-weather tires
    somewhere between home and Tennessee.
    There’s no grasp to be had
    of forever, if you’re standing
    at the top of your life
    looking down. It was
    the liminal spaces before and behind,
    the blurring white lines
    evaporating at our horizons, that
    prepared me for the steady crash
    of the future and made me accept
    the sloughing off of the past.
    It’s not our inflictions
    that have hollowed me out,
    nor our laughter that leaves me
    so sore, it’s the calm,
    soft feeling of hurtling towards
    always, having tethered my heart
    to a trick of the light,
    and finding it was always a mirage.

  16. JohnLY

    by John Yeo

    The call is as strong as ever,
    The urge to travel together.
    A wave of people, moving
    To follow traditions of old.

    Thousands join as we travel
    Nearer to our goal.
    A mass of pilgrims follow the path
    To the holy shrine of God.

    The self-styled sinner for forgiveness.
    Sick people travel with hope
    Some travel to follow a dream
    To visit the holy shrine.

    Exploitation and sins are committed
    Many thieves follow the band
    Joining the flock as they follow
    The pilgrimage to the shrine.

    The holy men in colourful costume
    Seek to convert with mystique
    Stirring the holy imagination
    Preying on the fears of the weak.

    The goal is reached at the holy shrine,
    Miracles are seen to be done
    Sick are cured, sinners forgiven
    Happiness achieved by some.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo, All rights reserved.

  17. Arash

    Robert, have you ever done a prompt brainstorm thread?

    I think it might be interesting. Maybe you’ll end up with a few hundred prompts from the regular visitors to your site, and you can select the most interesting ones, the ones you haven’t used yet, for some of the future prompts. I would be interested in contributing to such a thread, if you ever decide to do it.

    Just a suggestion,

  18. James Von Hendy

    Holy, Those Whom I Have Touched

    It’s not that they open themselves to me,
    with their willingness
    to face uncertainty, the hurt and joy

    of lies and truth, the depths of their desires
    given me as if
    they are my gifts to receive. That and fear,

    the heaviest box, sealed against too soon
    a revelation,
    and lent me for safekeeping, nor that they

    travel lightly down roads of discovery
    because they are not
    alone. Rather, it’s because unencumbered,

    They place their spirits in my hands and close
    My fingers around
    Their souls as if I, too, deserve such grace.

    1. grcran

      beautiful and insightful description of what it means to love and share! I reckon you do the same for them and that, in doing so, you do deserve that grace… rusty

  19. Pat Walsh

    Holey Moley
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    Holey Moley
    my friend said
    when I tripped
    over the sprinkler

    that’s the kind
    of thing he used to say
    whenever he caught me
    acting like a doofus

    Holey Moley
    what an expression
    I wonder where
    we ever go that one

    maybe something
    we heard on TV
    or from someone’s Dad
    with some sort of rodent issue

    Holey Moley
    sounds so funny now
    even after
    all these years

    and I still remember
    how the sprinkler looked
    spitting water in all directions
    it was actually kind of groovy

  20. grcran

    Wholly Enthused

    Holy cowbird! Geez Louise! Wish that we could swear!
    You’re the super-est surprise you’re hardly even there
    Coming out of nowhere from some asteroidal place
    Guess I’ll get dressed up go out let loose behold your face
    Telling tale of friend connection you come on to me
    Email only so far behind blinders soon we’ll see
    Looking to the meet of you… my shoe, where did it go?
    Holey sox and darn it, baby! Wish that I could sew!
    How could this be so? I don’t know when we’ll get together
    Maybe it’ll fly by virtue of one holy feather

    by gpr crane

  21. Jane Shlensky

    Holy the Flow

    Of waters
    salt and sweet
    rivers’ ripple
    life’s blood

    Of air
    into my lungs
    wind’s sweep
    its change and range

    Of light and sound
    beams and waves
    of warmth and voices blended
    eyes and ears manifested

    Holy the fire
    of spirit that informs
    of energy that empowers
    of thought and word

    Holy the flow
    of minutes, hours, and years
    of mercy and grace and love
    the flow the holy flow
    Of being

  22. m_deane

    Holyrood Cemetery, Washington D.C,

    Death has mingled both the free and slave.
    The seven thousand sleep on.

    TIme has eaten the names from the stones,
    The seven thousand sleep on.

    Nature has claimed the graves of beggar and patriot..
    The seven thousand sleep on.

    In the halls of power, no man dares to look to that hill.
    The seven thousand sleep on.

  23. Heather

    Holy Crusade

    Say what you will
    about my Holy Crusade.
    I believe in a whole world
    at peace
    where everyone is equal
    no one above another.

    Say what you will
    about my means to an end.
    I believe my dream
    so strongly
    that unfortunately
    sacrifices must be made.

    Say what you will
    it’s not up for debate.
    I believe to achieve
    one opinion must
    take precedence.

    Say what you will
    about my Holy Crusade.
    I believe you’ll find
    your opinions
    will align with my own
    for your sake.

    ~also published at http://heatherbutton.com/2014/11/15/holy-crusade-a-poem/


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