2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

I’ve heard from a couple people about a problem with commenting on other poems. I’m forwarding to our tech team in the hopes of getting the issue resolved, because I know everyone can use as much positive reinforcement as possible. Let me say this generally though; the poems I’ve been reading this year have been knocking my socks off. Keep rocking and writing it!

For today’s prompt, write a swing poem. Sure, there are park swings and mood swings; there’s swing music and swing dancing; and there are swingers. Some people swing one way; others swing another. In politics, there are swing votes and swing states. And many people have swung a bat, an ax, and/or a hammer in their lifetimes.


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Here’s my attempt at a Swing Poem:


i’ve been swinging my bat swinging my ax
& swinging my direction on these tracks

tired of going down when i should be up
so i’m going to call you on your bluff

give me your hand or better yet your wrist
we’re going to dance we’re going to twist

electric slide yourself over to me
we’ll do the macarena & shimmy

we’ll swing to the left we’ll swing to the right
we’ll keep on dancing under disco lights

because this is now & you know it’s real
when my dancing feet show you how i feel


Today’s guest judge is…

Todd Boss

Todd Boss

Todd Boss

Todd Boss is a poet, public artist and film producer in Minneapolis. His poetry collections are Pitch and Yellowrocket (both W.W. Norton). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Poetry, and NPR.

He is the recipient of McKnight and Minnesota State Arts Board grants, the Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award, and the Emily Clark Balch Prize from Virginia Quarterly Review. He is the founding Executive and Artistic Director of Motionpoems, a non-profit initiative that partners with major publishers, literary organizations, and film companies to turn great contemporary poems into short films.

Learn more at ToddBossPoet.com.


Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

Poem Your Heart Out again!

The prompts from last year’s challenge along with the winning poem from each day ended up in an inspired little anthology titled Poem Your Heart Out. It was part prompt book, part poetry anthology, and part workbook, because each day includes a few pages for you to make your own contributions.

Anyway, the anthology worked out so well that we’re doing it again this year, and you can take advantage of a 20% discount from Words Dance by pre-ordering before May 1, 2015.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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743 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

  1. lawrencek

    Music Menu

    Apple pie is like jazz
    but peach cobbler is country.
    Coffee beans are my caffeine, strong aroma, am radio fix;
    dirty rice, my bluegrass wow.
    Electronic scatters notes like puns spatter improv,
    folk feels like peanuts in the shell, all salty, and impromptu.
    Green apples are my happiest fruit, electric.
    Home is all purples, joyous like lavender solos.
    Iris bellow, in glorious eggplant robes, my gospel choir.
    Juicy Zoloft-sized raisins sedate me like a tranq,
    kumquats, tingle, effervescently fizzing like pop.
    Legumes, I eat them carefully and seldom, like techno,
    mostly while craving a sweet and familiar musical cinnamon bun,
    nose pinned, I nibble navy beans, trying not to look glum.
    Olives are steadfast, necessary, and traditional like classical.
    Peanut butter is my snappy punk with always delicious chocolate rock,
    quiet psychedelic music swirls like the reflective pools that frame the Taj.
    Rap is a frozen margarita, best spicy, in open air, loud, preferably in a jacuzzi.
    Sweet tea, my soul, my tradition, my standard, my Souza march.
    Toasted cheese, buttery and smiling, personal, smooth, like soul, big.
    Ukeleles bring island music instead, as a Pina Colada, cools me off.
    Victrola arms skim the notes of big band, ballroom, swing dance,
    while their grand kids eat pizza to the sounds of a garage band.
    ‘Xpecting dessert to be the best part of the meal is my rule for music.
    You’ve got to have room for butter cream or cheesecake or sing the blues.
    Zydeco won’t save you. Neither will meat loaf or the filling, predictably polka.

  2. lawrencek

    Tree Swing


  3. marci426

    (Day 17)

    A random mention of your name
    and I pause in recollection
    of Tennessee summers
    hotter than the stifling city
    we fled each June
    to travel south to your
    parents’ farmhouse
    with its wrap-around porch
    and wide wooden swing.

    We’d sway back and forth,
    catching the breeze
    and drinking lemonade,
    while you played rock ‘n roll
    on your transistor radio,
    daydreaming of the King
    or some Prince Charming.
    Do you remember, Olivia,
    how we talked of princesses?
    How you said you’d name
    your firstborn Elvis?

    We were only
    skinny Yankee girls,
    pretending hollyhocks were
    pink-skirted ladies-in-waiting,
    when you were crowned
    Gibson County’s strawberry queen.
    In the old photograph,
    clipped from the local gazette,
    you forever wear a regal smile.

    The porch swing is empty now,
    your parents gone so many years
    and everyone else moved away.
    Where are you now?
    I only see you online,
    where you are still pretty though older
    than I would have thought,
    yet unmistakably you,
    with your pensive smile,
    looking as if you still dream
    of princes.

    –Marcia Jaron Morley

  4. LDeAngelis

    “So Long As I Go Somewhere”

    It’s the swing vote
    on where these feet should go
    that knocks me off of my base.

    Free limbed
    and flailing
    body without a tether.

    Different earths
    and layers
    cast lots to keep me
    but with no promise of a map.
    Only Cheshire Cat hands to point me
    in the direction of my way.

    So long,
    the ballots are surely still in the box
    preparing for the sway.

  5. barbara_y


    You are here.

    Safe as a car seat,
    feet on the dirt,
    seat on the narrow board
    bird in a cage, bored

    out of your mind.
    You’re born and die
    a dog on a chain
    in a gravity well.

    Might as well be a chair,
    in a shrouded salon,
    horsehair divan
    wedged against a Victorian wall.

    Knowing you end with the dust you began with
    doesn’t mean you can’t thrust yourself upward.
    Children are flying on chains all around you:
    you’ve done it too, remember how it feels to let go.

    Let yourself loose
    and you can stop time in mid-air.
    Try yourself out of the grasp of the earth.
    Reach the place where nothing exists but the choice:

    fall back or fly. Trust yourself as you fall
    with your back to the ground, dropping
    spine-first into your past.
    If you don’t mean to rise again

    what do you intend?

    Barbara E. Young

  6. horselovernat

    Wrong Address

    I walked into the land
    of do as you please
    and found the neighborhood
    of hopes and dreams
    where I came upon the house
    of Mr. Opportunity.

    I knocked on the door
    and a man peeked outside
    to ask who I was, if I please,
    so I said I would like to speak
    with Mr. Opportunity
    since lately, it seems, he’s forgotten me.

    He swung the door shut in my face
    so I yelled and screamed and
    kicked and cried.
    Then three doors down
    behind a blue door
    came a little old man
    who smiled and said
    I think you’re looking for me.

    Natalie Gasper

  7. Sarah Metzler

    Just a Theory

    According to Zeno’s paradox
    I could spend eternity
    Splitting the distance
    Between us

    And never reach your lips
    Lips that Gillespie-Nyholm theorized
    Could never truly touch
    If this were scientifically proven

    Would you concede
    That without imagination
    A kiss from this kind of science
    Has a tendency to suck

    _Sarah Metzler

  8. Janice Canerdy

    The Porch Swing

    The little white frame house sits near the road
    surrounded by the ordinary things–
    A neat, green yard and stately cedar trees
    a narrow gravel drive, the flowers of spring.

    Its most impressive feature is the swing,
    an empty vessel subject to the breeze.
    It moves in creaking rhythm with the wind.
    It has no loving couple now to please.

    This simple wooden structure once held lives,
    once cradled two whose dreams were intertwined.
    Its movements seemed a song of life to one
    whose restless days held little peace of mind.

    For years I saw them sitting side by side.
    My youthful eyes beheld them through the haze.
    While walking by and squinting at the sun,
    I thought of how they smiled and shared their days.

    I’ve learned at least one lesson since that time:
    that those who swing on porches aren’t aware
    of folks like me who watch and analyze
    and build them into symbols great and rare.

  9. waplef

    As teens we hiked
    Over the mountains
    To get to the other side
    To a lovely oasis
    Called Maracas bay
    At the top of the mountain
    Between the leaves
    Little glimpse of the ocean
    Draw you close to the edge
    Where the trunk of trees
    Grew branches that extend like a rope
    And there is where the young men played
    A dangerous game
    That they called swing
    The voices began to shout
    And the wager was made
    One person said
    Hold on to the swing
    Swing out and back in again
    If you let go
    You are out of the game
    So the line was formed
    Hold on
    Push out
    And he was gone
    Out into nothingness
    In a fraction of minutes
    All stood still
    Holding our breaths
    He swung back in again
    Young men risking their necks
    In a game, they called swing

    1. Janice Canerdy

      I like it! It reminds me of my childhood when siblings, friends, and I climbed trees, swung on vines over creeks, and slid down banks. No computers, no video games, only three TV channels and an AM radio. I suppose these comments put a date on me. I’m in my sixties.

  10. NSBreen

    by Nancy Susanna Breen

    We always begged for a push on the swings,
    whether we played on the park’s heavy chain
    and metal pipe contraptions or on our own
    flimsy backyard set. As she placed her hands
    on the swing seat and shoved, Grandma
    loved to chant How would you like
    to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue?

    Stevenson’s poem was probably the first
    I ever memorized, although Grandma
    always stopped after the second stanza.
    Up in the air and over the wall,
    till I can see so wide…

    Her voice swept up the waltz
    in the rhythm, giving special emphasis
    to Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
    ever a child can do!
    Even if she recited
    the first line only, my inner voice would take up
    where she left off, my pumping legs carrying me
    forward and back with each line break.
    Up in the air I go flying again,
    up in the air and down…

  11. Khara House

    Hello, Goodbye>/b>

    You took us to the neighbors’ house to play,
    set us on swings rooted in the yard
    and watched from the window.

    I think of this
    in the hum of a world gone silent
    at the news of your body

    found in some shallow west of home,
    an unknown skeleton to all but we
    who knew of your missing.

    The news speaks of your remains,
    but I hear the song we sang
    on warm afternoons flying and dipping on swings.

    Hello as we rose to meet your gaze.
    Goodbye as we sank to earth
    and you floated out of sight.

    1. Khara House

      Oh no! Typo on the html …

      Hello, Goodbye

      You took us to the neighbors’ house to play,
      set us on swings rooted in the yard
      and watched from the window.

      I think of this
      in the hum of a world gone silent
      at the news of your body

      found in some shallow west of home,
      an unknown skeleton to all but we
      who knew of your missing.

      The news speaks of your remains,
      but I hear the song we sang
      on warm afternoons flying and dipping on swings.

      Hello as we rose to meet your gaze.
      Goodbye as we sank to earth
      and you floated out of sight.

  12. MadPoet

    The Old Porch Swing

    The old porch swing is idle now.
    No one sways it to and fro.
    No creak is heard from rusted chains.
    Only an occasional breeze stirs its sleep.

    Peals of laughter from the past
    Echo only in my memory.
    All who shared the pleasurable times
    Have left this world and are at rest.

    Still I remember all those times
    Spent in swinging back and forth
    With loved ones young and old
    On the old porch swing that is idle now.

  13. Anvanya


    Growing older has not dampened my enjoyment
    Of swinging in the park, swinging on the
    Porch swing, rocking gently in the
    Living room as I knit or crochet.
    Or swing dancing with myself to
    Lovely music from my mother’s youth.

    I blame it all on her, and I can believe that
    She, whom I never saw take a dance step
    With my father, secretly listened to the radio
    During the war while she was carrying me.

    That’s why I treasure Tommy Dorsey and Vaughn
    Monroe’s silver tones – and any number of
    Tunes turned this week’s number one – played
    On the radio as I cruise about town.

    I know that Daddy relished music on the radio;
    I have that photo of him at a young age,
    Crouched in front of the huge wood case,
    Tuning a station – hoping for rhythmical news.

    The official version of their love story is all about
    Her playing the church organ while he sings;
    Or her accompanying his baritone on the piano
    During vocal contests – we have the old records.

    Yet I know that Momma must have bounced a bit
    To Hoagy Carmichael or Dinah Shore, Bing or Gene –
    She wasn’t a soap opera fan, after all – and my love of
    Tunefulness, soft harmonies, and full, rounded
    Vocal tones make for great background music in my
    Ears as I swing through my days at home or on the road.

  14. mschied


    My life should exist on a merry-go-round
    neatly divided in to the appropriate number
    of wedges for all aspects of life
    getting outsiding

    A swing, you see
    would be very impractical
    a seat on two strings
    with only two options
    back or forth
    up or down
    high or low
    what a boring life
    to have only two choices

    I prefer life as a carousel

  15. Linda.E.H

    On Dying

    Some believe it all goes dark in an instant,
    a departure with no connecting destination;

    others speak of the separation of body and soul,

    floating high above your own earthly form,
    watching the scene unravel, dream-like,

    before a glorious, glowing light leads the way.

    I’d like to imagine that God is more creative,
    that he pulls out wishes buried deep and plays

    them out, each journey somehow personalized.
    Perhaps I will go back to being six, swinging

    as high as possible on the playground, legs
    extending and falling in a steady rhythm,

    pumping harder, faster, trying to touch
    the tip of my toes to the corner of a cloud.

    When the light appears, I’ll let go, propelling

    myself upward, soaring higher and higher
    into a world of white, wings forming in the mist.

  16. LeighSpencer


    Shiny and round
    some were gold
    some silver

    Distorting my face
    beady eyes and huge nose
    close to the glass as it could get

    Tick and tock
    Back and forth

    My favorite was bronze
    with an antique patina
    delicate carvings of flowering thistle

    The sides of that one
    were all glass
    so you could see the inner workings

    Cogs and catches

    Intricate mechanism like its own universe
    lovely saddle harnessing time itself

    I begged to sleep in that room
    when I was little

    No one else would

    They said the noise would keep them awake


    For me, a chorus of voices
    reminding me I was here
    every hour on the hour
    and some on the half

    Small couch in the center
    eyes above the blanket
    watching the rhythmic swinging

    Back and forth
    Tick and tock


    It was never the sound
    that kept me awake

    Just the beauty of the pendulum
    and being an integral part
    of time

  17. LCaramanna

    Swing-thing Going On

    The neon lights of Broadway
    shine not my name or photograph,
    but without me
    the show does not go on.
    An understudy of sorts,
    hard work and dedication
    prepare me to fill in
    absence of any member of the ensemble.
    Ready on moment’s notice,
    different role any night
    I swing on Broadway stage
    the final ovation is mine
    I’ve got that swing-thing going on.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  18. faith85

    My Someone

    at 11 pm
    i talk him into walking
    several blocks away
    to swing at the park
    he puts up with a lot
    and watches me swing because
    that’s not really his thing
    but swinging is my thing
    i’ve been swinging between extremes
    for as long as i can remember
    at 3 am i find myself painting on the door
    cleaning the house
    rearranging all of the furniture
    and then i don’t get out of bed
    for 3 months
    except when i absolutely have to
    some days i refuse to speak to him
    until past noon
    when i can finally feel myself begin to breathe
    the next day
    i call him
    five times
    in thirty minutes
    but it’s okay because
    he’s used to watching me swing now
    it doesn’t even make him dizzy anymore

    Faith Owen

  19. JayGee2711

    Porch Swing

    I feel like I walked here
    with someone who is about
    to die, he said.
    You did, I thought.
    I let him lay his head
    on my lap, and we stared out
    at the summer grass
    until it turned brown and
    dry, the red wagon lost
    on the lawn
    where the children
    used to play,
    buildings growing
    into a city around us.
    He asked me, what sense
    does it make? And I wanted
    to say, it doesn’t make any.
    Instead, I sat silently swinging
    and watched him walk away.

    Julie Germain

  20. Jane Shlensky

    One Morning

    She watches from the kitchen window how
    he lifts each round to split, his movement smooth,
    a graceful dance—set log, heft ax, arch swing,
    crisp crash for splintered chunks and kindling.

    Again, again, his breath clouds in a puff
    at each stroke’s chuck; she feels him in her bones.
    She polishes a teacup ‘til it squeaks,
    matching her breaths with his, graceful and calm,

    wash, rinse, and dry, her hands a mindless waltz.
    She sees that he has taken off his coat
    and stands wiping his face with handkerchief.
    She bets that soon his shirt and vest will go,

    and he’ll stand bare-backed, muscled round and tight.
    Anticipating heat makes her face burn,
    and somehow sensing her, he stops and turns
    to smile, his little wave tossed in the air.

    She almost drops the cup still in her hand,
    but blushes, nods. The coffee is still warm.
    She may as well help him to take a break,
    wait while his swallows ripple down his throat,

    stand near him with her hand along his back,
    drink in the morning, quiet by his side,
    warmed by his heat, the dishes mostly done.
    He’s lost his concentration anyway.

  21. Jane Shlensky

    Swing Me

    We didn’t care that joints could pop,
    that we could lose our grasp—fly—drop.
    We’d rather that they never stop,
    our Daddy’s swings.

    He grasps our ankles, waists, and wrists;
    his arms are taut, his hands in fists;
    we rise and float, light as a kiss
    on Daddy’s swings.

    Sometimes I feel them in my dreams,
    his arms around me, trust unseamed,
    and love flies free, a wondrous thing,
    from Daddy’s swings.

  22. missfortune


    inhaling paradise, it was a small wonder
    no one gaped at goddess, clothed only in
    talaria and too sweet springtime intoxication.
    a balanced practice torn asunder,
    left to blow away without a trace
    under waves of her jubilant thunder.

    mortality reclaims lost ground as flood,
    rotting the fruits of maniacal conviction,
    exposing the impermanence of erudition,
    wit steals off to oblivion, tracks lost in mud.
    the lightest pen strokes easiest to erase, efface.
    confidence crumples, kneels to praise ground with a
    resounding thud.

  23. JocyMedina

    The loner’s swing of bliss

    He climbed the highs of bliss
    and used too many ropes to swing
    He missed the grounding fields of love
    And got his roots pulled out by all the lust.

    He craved amazing sex
    And missed amazing human beings
    He never stayed long enough to know
    The best rides came after the cigarette.

    He looked for perfect
    and found a perfect knot
    He said “I love you always”
    but always meant, “I love you not”.

    By Jocy Medina

  24. foodpoet

    The swing of a bat
    the haft of wood never
    ceases to bring spring alive
    baseball to others a rite, a game.

    The pull of an oar
    sending shells through
    a swish through summer heat.

    All games to make one sane
    if not lean remain undone.
    I desk bound grow older, wider
    not wiser.

    My mood swings lower
    each day as I paper hunt
    and paper bury.

    Even my dreams are negative.



    I chose to swing free up
    toward the sky.


    I choose to swing free
    of negative vibes surrounding
    me filling my head with
    lead cotton.


    Megan McDonald

  25. Domino


    Come, swing dance, twirl with me,
    throw me on your shoulder.
    Toss me to the ground with glee,
    save me with a smoulder.
    Spin me round the room with you,
    never make a blunder
    lift me, swing me, fly with me,
    spread your legs and pass me under.
    I will keep up, step-by-step,
    I’ll bounce and sway and dance, dear
    I’ll keep up with your quicksteps, too,
    with no pause, doubt or fear.
    I just want to dance with you,
    Can’t you see my soul is bopping?
    I want to dance the whole night through
    and never dream of stopping.

    Diana Terrill Clark


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