2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22

For today’s prompt, write a release poem. Maybe somebody’s being released from prison or a contract. Maybe a person is signing a release form. There’s emotional and physical release. Animals capturing and releasing other animals. Trees releasing leaves in autumn. And so on.


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Here’s my attempt at a Release poem:

“in words, no”

but I’m afraid your actions have
provided enough reasons that I

feel you could never truly ever
care for more than money. I sought

the city for small examples of your
charity, but I found no release.


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.

His golden shovel today was taken from a fairly popular Christmas story (and since I can’t find the book, it may be slightly paraphrased). If you can name the story, you get one point. Two points if you can pinpoint the exchange.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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270 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 22

  1. BDP


    Burst spiders damage you—math friend. They bleed
    throughout your brain, collapse your breath. Wild, loose
    and real. I don’t mean insect bites, but speed
    of movement under cranium, red dose

    of fluid you might not recover from.
    And what is most like dream? Your swift freefall:
    sharp headache, ambulance, ICU scrum
    of doctors, nurses pushing back, a rail

    against you slipping into coma. Gone:
    eye contact. Flatline jumpstart filled with drug
    and eight long tubes that keep you hanging on
    for weeks. You signed the papers for this—plug,

    proverbial but so very true, pulled.
    Transplant. You’re here still. Others’ lives retooled.

    —Barb Peters

    * * *
    Hope it’s okay to submit late. This was written in a 24 hour time frame, though not in November, when several intervening factors made writing impossible on some days. I want to submit poems for all the days, if I can mange, because I want to get poems written. That’s my main goal.

  2. Mike


    With her family,
    church friends
    and card-playing
    friends gathered
    around the bedside,
    one last prayer
    was said.

    My sister let go
    of the hand she was
    holding and made
    that final graceful
    release away
    from cancer,
    pain and

  3. seingraham


    She found it in the tall grass beside the school,
    the place they were using as a dormitory
    for the summer
    Southern Italy swelters kiln-hot July and August
    and the baby bird had been baking to death
    She estimated for a long time —
    But there were many feral cats in the area so
    it couldn’t have been that long
    Or it would have been scarfed for sure

    She made a nest of found feathers, grass, and yarn
    in an old ice-cream box
    And settled the fledgling on her window-sill near a
    fan, behind some chicken wire, found also
    Then searched out turtle dove feeding habits on-line
    It was going to be labour intensive but she really
    had the time so decided to go for it

    How could she have known that caring for a
    baby bird would make her this attached
    She carried it with her everywhere, tucked
    inside a large pocket next to her heart
    It needed to be kept warm and it was the
    only thing she could think to do
    Besides it needed almost constant food and
    water, so she carried eyedroppers
    Of both with her ,and kept them, and it, replenished

    She was amazed at how quickly the dove
    grew strong
    He began purring, the way adult doves tend to,
    right next to her
    One day she decided to take him to a vet, to
    see about his health
    And maybe about releasing him, although she
    really couldn’t imagine life without her
    feathered child

    The vet was impressed with her bird, said it
    was probably ready to go right now
    Gave her instructions for letting it fly on
    a tether until its wings were stronger
    She tried to be happy, but felt her heart break,
    just a little
    Nevertheless, she started helping the bird exercise

    In no time, he was straining against the tether,
    pulling hard
    She began running up a hill behind the dorm,
    with the bird, made the tether a bit longer
    could see how strong it was growing
    When it came back to land, it perched on her
    shoulder now, took food from her hand
    Slept snugged near her head on her pillow

    One morning two adult doves were cooing in
    trees above them
    While she ate breakfast and her bird sucked
    down water and some mealy worms
    It fascinated her still, that it sucked water but
    the vet assured her it was normal for a dove
    She watched it tilt its head, looking for the
    adults and finally, spotting them
    Her dove cooed and she thought it was
    a sound he’d never made before
    The adults swooped lower finally landing nearer

    In moments, another small dove joined them
    And her dove began bobbing and cooing wildly
    The adults purred softly but kept their distance
    The small dove with them shifted from foot to foot
    Bobbing its head, in what looked like a shy move
    Her dove fluttered its wings and stamped its feet
    As if dancing along in front of her; she, however
    Might as well have disappeared, for her dove
    Knew only the shy, beautiful female before him.

    It was time, she knew it; without pausing to think
    She undid the tether, stroked the dove’s tail feathers
    Whispered to it some nonsense words about freedom
    Then backed away to watch it go…
    Without a backward glance, her dove that was not hers
    joined the other small dove and they rubbed heads
    Before flying up into the sky; she smiled, swallowed tears
    Remembered the vet’s words – release was the goal.

  4. thunk2much

    Catch and release

    Come dancing, they said
    But I was feeling sick
    Worn out on a cellular level
    And in need of time to heal

    I built a fire and sat in stillness
    Until my son came to share
    And we talked about absurd things
    As we took turns stoking the flames

    And I felt better as he made me see
    That every alien abduction on Earth
    Is just another fish explaining catch and release
    To its disbelieving neighbors

    ~ Liesl Dineen 2014

  5. Walt Wojtanik


    My cloud is crowded.
    I ain’t too proud to beg, it gives no satisfaction!
    But, it is all about you. It always is.
    We go around and around and
    the biggest mistake is taking you
    at your word. You’re a dangerous beauty
    with faraway eyes. It’s no surprise
    you leave me standing in the shadow,
    blinded by rainbows. There is no
    emotional rescue for you and your heart of stone.
    I’m headed for a nervous breakdown,
    and nineteen should be the charm.
    I’m out of tears.
    I’m out of time.
    I’m playing with fire with no desire
    to continue. So please go home.
    You’ve plundered my soul and have me
    pretty beat up leaving me between
    a rock and a hard place. I don’t want
    to see your face. Some girls would care,
    but you don’t dare. So I send you away.
    I’ll stay here waiting for a friend.
    You gotta move! Get off of my cloud!

  6. Bruce Niedt


    I show you the paper
    that says I have paid
    my debt with my time,
    and I ask for the money
    I was denied while I was away.

    You tell me I will have to wait
    at least a month.
    Those are the rules, you say.
    There’s nothing you can do.

    I have nothing else.
    God keep me from doing
    something drastic
    to get what I need,
    or I will go away again
    to pay yet another debt.

  7. m_deane

    People are gathering,
    A thousand bits of color swirling around Congress bridge.

    The lake draws the summer sun down,
    releasing a thousand black wings into the Austin sky.

  8. bluerabbit47


    It’s time to let go
    of my stockpiles,
    all the contents
    of cupboards stored
    up for just in case.
    Old extras and
    precautions tumble
    down on me now
    every time I try to open
    a door. It’s time to figure
    out how much
    I will never need,
    bundle the rest up
    and release it
    into the world.

  9. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 22
    Write a release poem.

    People Think of Weddings as Binding

    but a wedding is also a release.
    Release from:
    quest for soulmate
    nights alone
    dateless New Year’s
    playing the game
    being someone else
    living for only me
    following false dreams
    cold sheets
    waking up alone
    a mirror that distorts the truth
    the binding that holds me back from
    being the best I can be
    with the one who accepts and loves
    me, for me.

  10. Shennon

    Twas a little bump,
    More like a nudge.
    But I would not move,
    I would not budge.
    Now I find I’m holding
    A bit of a grudge.

    Black Friday shopping
    Makes my head spin.
    I barely tolerate
    The crowds and the din.
    This grudge is now a badge,
    Proclaiming the mood I’m in.

    That pushy woman
    Just clipped my heel with her cart.
    I’m about to turn,
    Harsh words to impart.
    This grudge is beginning
    To blacken my heart.

    But when I turn
    To face my foe,
    I see a girl
    I do not know,
    Attempting escape
    From this shopping freak show.

    The upon her face
    Caused a sudden caprice.
    My rattled nerves did settle,
    My anger did decrease.
    I take a deep breath,
    My grudge I now release.


  11. hohlwein

    The gate is open
    and you don’t run.

    The gate is open.

    but you don’t.

    Dumb animal.
    You stay.

    You could go.
    You stay.

    And would be beaten.
    Would be left.

    Would be forgotten.
    That’s what happens where you stay.

    But. you are not beaten
    You wait.

    You wait.
    And no one brings you harm.

    The gate is open.
    There is no one even to forget you.

    If the gate closes,
    it closes.

    You are there
    still – still.


  12. TeriBeth

    My Truth

    Regrets won’t own me,
    Endings are mine to choose,
    Always moving forward,
    Looking backward,
    Exhausting to my soul,
    Acknowledging mistakes,
    Shaking them off,
    Easier said than done.

    1. TeriBeth

      Oops. Copied wrong version.
      Here’s correction:
      My Truth

      Regrets won’t own me,
      Endings are mine to choose,
      Looking backward,
      Exhausting to my soul,
      Acknowledging mistakes,
      Shaking them off,
      Easier said than done.

  13. annell


    release from all outside expectations requests obligations

    it is freedom in a way release from imprisonment

    live as you wish please yourself

    we all want to get there after all

    become the adult in one’s own life but even then expectations may be high

    November 22, 2014

  14. Benjamin Thomas


    I’d rather be a island float
    than dance in a nation of thieves
    I’d rather extricate all emotion’s growth than have you see me grieve
    I’d rather have a day of rain
    than hope for a searing ray
    I’d rather witness blooms unfurl
    with fruits in lavish green to stay
    I’d rather be well known by others
    than swallowed whole by unknown
    I’d rather sport a genuine frown
    with my brothers than don a smiling mask and crown
    I’d much rather be built up with others
    than suffer alone as a rolling stone

    Benjamin Thomas

  15. MichelleMcEwen

    _Letting Go_

    Sun down
    and somewhere
    a petunia
    is releasing
    its scent

    Sun down
    and somehow
    knowing this

    crying over you
    suddenly doesn’t
    make any sense.

  16. Pat Walsh

    Before the Wind
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    in the still of September
    the wind stands undecided
    at the precipice of seasons

    unconcerned with the colors
    of change and the needs
    of the trees shedding leaves

    wary of the distorted virtues
    of summer’s fading pulse
    of warmth and blue sky

    the wind simply waits
    tipping slightly forward
    toward its moment of release

  17. Xairos

    Gwenllian (1282-1337)

    Some of us are born
    captive to our parents’ genes.

    Princess Gwenllian of Wales arrived as her mother died
    and her father battled the English invaders.
    In six months they carried Prince Llywelin’s head,
    taken from the shoulders where his baby Gwen
    might have snuggled while he sang to her,
    and mounted it in London, the king’s trophy.

    When brwynddail y mynydd bloomed in Cwm Idwal,
    Gwenllian’s uncle was captured, along with her and his sons.
    The toddler frightened King Edward. Uncle Dafydd he killed —
    people understood adults as enemies. But the little one:
    she could bear the next Prince of Wales.

    The English king ordered the babe confined in England,
    in a priory full of nuns, walls high enough to block all distractions,
    the order of bells ringing, and none of the sounds spoken
    she had heard from her cradle, no “Gwenllian,” “bach”
    no mention of “Yr Wyddfa,” no clouds to spy on its peak.

    Did this release you, little one, from fearful times,
    passed from one set of arms to the next?
    Or were you a captive among stern women,
    silent in their cells? Did you know you were
    a prisoner? Did you wait, those 53 years
    to be free? You chose, finally, to be one of them.

    Did the murmuring sound of prayers warm you in winter?
    Did the chanting of the psalms, of the mountains around Jerusalem,
    of Mount Sinai, of Mount Hermon, give you names for peaks
    hardly remembered, but perhaps waiting for you?

    Or was it only finally, when your last moments came
    that the war of your father and uncles, King Edwards’ fear,
    the high walls, your captivity, all fell away?

  18. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    I signed on as cabin boy when I joined the ship
    Looking for high adventure.

    When you infuse the solution the flavour is released
    Then melds into the whole.

    The tea clipper speeds across the world
    Battered and bruised by the waves.

    The odours of the brew rise as the released flavour
    Permeates the liquid.

    Fully loaded we head for home across the stormy sea
    Facing harsh rigours and enduring deprivation.

    Bone china teacups are a must, with a silver tea-strainer
    To allow the flavour to be released.

    The crew get by, working hard, chasing the horizon
    Filling their bellies with rum.

    The infusion is perfect if the pot is left to stand
    Allowing the fullest flavour to be released.

    We arrive in port and I jump ship, never to return
    The experience and the flavour of a sweet release.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.


    by John Yeo

    The tea clipper speeds across the world
    Battered and bruised by the waves.
    I signed on as cabin boy when I joined the ship
    Looking for high adventure.
    Fully loaded we head for home across the stormy sea
    Facing harsh rigours and enduring deprivation.
    The crew get by, working hard, chasing the horizon.
    Filling their bellies with rum.

    We arrive in port and I jump ship, never to return.

    When you infuse the solution the flavour is released
    Then melds into the whole.
    The odours of the brew rise as the released flavour
    Permeates the liquid.
    Bone china teacups are a must, with a silver tea-strainer
    To allow the flavour to be released.
    The infusion is perfect if the pot is left to stand
    Allowing the fullest flavour to be released.

    The experience and the flavour of a sweet release.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

    1. Xairos

      I like it much better with the interlacing of the tough journey to deliver the tea, the sense of impact on the workers, with the sense of delicacy of drinking the tea, product of the harsh journey, “properly.” And, at least for me, it also has sets off some “delicate overtones” of the cost we still expect others to pay for having some of the things we want.

      1. Jolly2

        Thank you for your constructive comment Xairos~ I tend to agree that the interlacing version is the best, I have put all three on my blog and a lot of people have preferrd the contrasting complete version.

  19. shellcook

    Release Me

    I’ve been back to the memories
    that won’t let me go.
    I have washed the walls
    and swept the floors.
    Any lingering smells have been
    whispered away,

    but like smoke,
    they hide in the folds of fabric,
    and get lost in the waves of time.
    Replaying the same stories, forever, it seems
    has not changed the outcome, of course,
    just given me time to adapt.

    Release me, please.
    I am ready to let you go.
    Let me let this history go.
    The pain is old and worn with time,
    the ache I need not live again.
    I call you out to say goodbye.

    I don’t know where it goes from here,
    I have no plan, nor map,
    but to live with belief
    that you are released.
    Goodbye, my painful and beautiful, friend.


  20. dub


    I release your face—
    the line of your nose I follow

    to the curve of your mouth,
    two plump pillows

    you press into mine
    before morning, you

    can have it all
    back, the cocoa rings

    you drift down
    the length of my body,

    the just-beginning hairs
    of your sandpapered cheeks—

    but I’m keeping
    your hands, rough

    calluses, broken blisters,
    thick knuckles,

    worn skin from work
    you put into us,

    the dark water
    in your voice,

    washing over me
    like cellos

    calling me into
    someday’s sunrise.

  21. Tandac

    Redwood Rain

    The fairy fog whorls through the forest
    Wetting crowns of giant trees, but when
    Fey fog plunges upon the crown’s
    Sharp blades, never to be fog again.
    The ungodly mist, weeps. Who weeps
    when the forest releases the rain?

  22. LaraEckener

    Stepped off the cliff and found
    that falling isn’t at all like how I imagined flying.

    Swallowed Neptune’s sword and found
    that drowning is impossible with no water in your lungs.

    Crushed stained glass with my palms and found
    that not even the saints can paint with the light.

    Breathed the spring in deep and found
    that my insides still aren’t large enough to hold the sky.

    Sped into the fog and found
    that crashing isn’t anything like beginning again.

    Ever since they uploaded me I’ve found
    that experience is shallow if you take away the fear.

  23. Domino


    Seated in the car
    tears still flowing
    it’s really over.

    No condition to drive,
    weeping still,
    seeping sorrow
    and the rain begins.

    Love’s loss has such power
    to pain a heart.
    Falling apart.
    Time to start the car
    and go.

    Release the brake.

  24. Sara McNulty

    Airplane Agony

    plummets, plane
    nose dives Oh no.
    Swerves her head to look
    around; others seem scared.
    Turbulence. Can that be all?
    Shuts her eyes, thinks of family.
    Hears wheels touch tarmac. Breath rushes out.

  25. Benjamin Thomas


    Hopeful thinking
    tumbles astray
    pokin’ in the dark
    and fishing for the day
    of relieving itself
    from toil and pain
    discard all worries
    flush em’ down the drain
    to rid the bowels
    of conflict
    and finally abstain
    from suffering
    Wishful thinking

    Benjamin Thomas

  26. PKP

    Pirouttes of Pain*

    We search for the cloudy moments’ shield in the glare of
    the too bright skies of yesterday. As the parade begins still
    through our resolute commitment to contain the yet
    un-forgotten memory-spills.
    Those pirouettes of pain painting our miserable past – tiny
    children, marching, damp-hand–in-clutched-hand through
    the flutter-flotsam of one after another, poor parental decision
    crying, calling, falling one into another –
    until we
    neglected as tossed dominoes
    tumbling in the stains of then
    stumble finally into the future
    of now

  27. Consuelo Montenegro

    The Squirrel

    We awake to
    scratch, scratch, pause
    and ferocious barking,
    barking that reaches
    a crescendo
    as we both yell
    into the darkness
    to be quiet.

    And the barking
    skitters down to high pitched whine
    and then
    QUIET again.
    and we wait
    with wide-awake anticipation
    for sleep.


    And the nightly
    terrors begin.
    protects it from
    my nightly rage.

    Moon cycles
    twicely pass
    the dark-circled eye
    ever open
    to hear the…

    (not scratch!?!)
    The hated…squirrel?
    Yes, the cutest, little

    Hate released
    into its cage on high.
    And exhaustion
    into a deep night’s sleep.


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