2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 25

What an exciting month! One thing I tried to do this year was involve a few international judges, since we have participants from around the world. Today’s guest judge is definitely one of those: He’s from Canada, based in London, and today is in Paris. But really, every judge–whether here or there–is worth checking out this month; your own poetry can only gain.

For today’s prompt, write an across the sea poem. This could be a love letter, an electronic submission through cyber space and time, or a travel poem (by air or sea, though probably not car). Modern travel or back in the days of rugged explorers. Wandering or wondering, your choice. As always, the prompt is just the springboard to your poem; feel free to bend and break.

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Here’s my attempt at an Across the Sea Poem:

“bottled up”

i don’t know if these words will float
in this small glassy cork-sealed boat

to the intended one i love
but to reach someone is enough

by now i may have reached my end
& you may not see me again

but it’s enough to write this note
because it means i still have hope

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Today’s guest judge is…

Todd Swift

Todd Swift

Todd Swift

Todd Swift, PhD, is a British-Canadian poet, lecturer, critic, and anthologist. In the 1990s, he wrote hundreds of hours of television for HBO, Paramount, Hanna-Barbera, CBC, and Fox, and was story editor for many episodes of Sailor Moon.

Swift is the author of nine full-length poetry collections, including The Ministry of Emergency Situations: Selected Poems from Marick Press, USA, 2015, and When All My Disappointments Came Home at Once. He is Director of the indie press Eyewear Publishing, Ltd., based in London.

Swift’s long essay on British poetry appeared in Poetry (Chicago) in late 2014. He was Oxfam GB’s poet-in-residence 2004-2012.

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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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1,055 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 25

  1. hannahmarie

    Beautiful child
    across the sea,
    the ocean air breathes your cry.
    I’ve heard your song
    riding high on the white caps
    of hopeful waves
    asking if
    the beautiful children
    across the sea
    dream, too, of blue
    uniforms to wear to school.
    If they pray to see their mother
    again when the war is over
    and, like you, dread the long walk
    for water from the river.
    If they listened to your song.
    No, beautiful child,
    not all who listened
    heard.

  2. lawrencek

    Call Me

    Attentive
    boyfriend
    calls,
    daydreams
    easily
    fly.
    Gigantic
    hopes
    inflate
    juicy
    kisses.
    Lush
    magenta
    nipples
    ornament
    plums.
    Quivering
    roses
    spoon
    timidly,
    unfurling
    voile or violet
    wishes.
    Exhausted,
    yet
    Zen!

  3. lawrencek

    TITLE: A Bandit Besmirched
    (With apologies to the genius William Shakespeare, and gratitude for creating many of the words used below.)

    Accused, but arousing pirate and bedrooom
    bandit Billy is besmirched, his rep
    caked with compromise at his
    dauntless and deafening
    excitable exposure.
    Flawed yet fashionable,
    gnarly, and green-eyed like the seas he sails, he
    hobnobs with the hairy, hurried,
    invulnerable and impeding,
    jaded and Judas-like
    kamish keisar.
    Lackluster and lonely he
    mimics the marketable, madcap
    negotiating with noiseless,
    obsequious, and obscene
    pandering. Although puking he manages to
    quip, then quittance on his quillet, simultaneously
    ranting and remorseless.
    Savage and swaggering the
    torture tries to move him tranquil but
    undresses his humanity with unreal,
    varied, and vaulting a
    wall-eyed and worthless,
    X x-rated xanthippe. Barefaced Billy the Bandit ignored their
    yerks dismissing them as merely yarrow younker, and
    zany. Billy’s acquittal is his buried treasure, his Zenith.

  4. horselovernat

    Lost and Found

    I wish I could believe
    that the breeze blew
    just for me.
    That each sunrise was
    a beacon showing how
    good things will be.

    I find myself lost,
    wandering around
    in the weaver’s golden web.
    No decision seems
    to be the right one,
    missing the flow and ebb.

    I think my answer lies
    across the sea of
    dappled blue.
    That if I keep on
    searching, trying,
    all of my dreams will come true.

    Natalie Gasper

  5. Frith

    Flyover

    Eye of storm
    depth finder
    Poseidon’s
    stone brow
    curls a thousand worms
    where blind fish furrow
    burrowed
    in the
    cabin
    of a dream

  6. mmarie

    A is for Africa
    by M. Marie

    Grade 5.
    Library Time.

    I remember the
    muted whispers
    of students
    in the book aisles.
    The soft sound
    of pages turning,
    and kind
    murmurrings
    of the librarians
    moving between
    the rows,
    and sharing their
    warm smiles
    and welcome recomendations.

    I remember the
    crack of my
    best friend’s
    bubblegum,
    and the
    feel of her
    wool cardigan
    as her elbow
    brushed against mine.

    I remember
    my contentment
    as we bent
    over an
    encyclopedia,
    flipping curiously
    through the
    heavy tome.

    Our young eyes
    eagerly scanned
    the pages
    as the
    whole, wide world
    was spread out
    across our laps.
    She turned the page,
    and we both froze!

    Vibrant colours
    captured the
    moment of
    foreign joy
    and
    joyous movement

    as a
    trio of women
    from across the sea
    danced.

    Strings of heavy beads
    adorned their necks,
    and bright paint
    emphasized
    the
    exotic;

    in silence,
    we both stared
    a long moment
    at the beauty
    and
    bareness
    of their

    breasts.

    My friend
    recovered first.
    Closing the book,
    she shifted
    to put some distance
    b e t w e e n us.
    As she crossed
    her slender arms
    over her
    budding chest,
    face flushed and
    cardigan pulled
    tightly around her,
    I felt my
    own discomfort:

    not in the
    acknowledgement
    of the changes
    my own
    body
    would be going through,
    but in the way
    that my heart
    had begun to
    h.A.m.m.E.r.
    at my
    sudden
    recongition
    of the
    imminent
    & womanly
    changes

    in her.

  7. laurie kolp

    Lost at Sea

    At the beach, I cry on the shoulder
    of waves, float with jellyfish—
    a near miss, kissing one
    when my mind drifts to you.
    Entangled memories
    like a surge of seaweed
    as I struggle to tread water,
    my weakness a kedge
    pulling me down—
    I drown
    in billowing tears
    once again.

  8. LDeAngelis

    “No destination”

    The waves, well the waves,
    they are where I want to be.
    The waves, swells, the waves,
    they are where I ought to be.

    Out there in the blue,
    shades of water, shades of sky.
    I wash out my cares
    and I lay them out to dry.

    Yonder, the only direction
    that my soul needs to know.
    My map is dotted by the clouds
    and the sun’s all knowing glow.

    The waves, well the waves,
    they are where I want to be.
    The waves, swells, the waves,
    they are where I ought to be.

  9. JPGrimm

    Generations

    With babes in arms and a language they did not speak
    upon the great ark, huddled masses
    two by tow, row by row
    lined up to receive their promises and
    brace for the coming storm
    of new faces, sounds, sights and
    opportunities abound
    to right transgressions and build lives
    across the sea of troubles
    anxiety comes in waves
    as do the multitudes
    reaching the open pores and softer shores of Nova Scotia
    in 1958
    my grandparents arrived

    – Justine P Grimmett

  10. tobysgirl

    The Sea

    Looking across the sea I feel like I can finally breathe. The salt air
    and timeless scene relaxes my mind and brings me back to me
    and who I was before and even before that.
    I am centered and in balance with the universe, and
    I realize that I am okay, if only for this moment.

    –Jennifer McCann

  11. dextrousdigits

    I was born a camels walk from the great pyramid in Egypt
    We lived half a block from the Metro
    Stores of all kinds lined the streets
    Families lived in homes
    one, two or three stairways above the street vendors.
    My playmates lived in the home across from ours two stories up.
    We could stand on our balcony’s and talk to each other.
    We played happily in the street,
    watching the live chickens walking around,
    birds of all sorts sang, chirped and even talked from hanging cages.
    Butchers hung the carcasses of beef or lamb on racks.
    The few mules or carts pushed by people never interfered with our games.
    The smell of fresh baked bread, cumin, sautéed onions & garlic,
    beef roasting on a bit, BBQ corn on the cob filled our nastrils.

    We were happy in the warm sun.
    We played among the daily carnival
    There across the sea and desert
    I played with children from multiple cultures.
    Exposed to foods, customs, dress, music, dance and language of each.
    Welcomed in their homes as they were in ours.
    Never knowing there were differences.

  12. seingraham

    MISSING NO MORE

    They appear in my dreams
    and their faces are so solemn
    but rarely do they weep
    I, on the other hand, often
    wake with a damp pillow
    and my lips are cracked
    And I know I have been
    sobbing for the girls again

    I keep thinking, how hard
    could it be to find these
    girls, tens or even hundreds
    of African girls that keep
    being kidnapped by
    extremist groups,
    to be used in despicable
    ways – raped, beaten,
    tortured – the list of offenses
    perpetrated on these
    prepubescent girls defies
    imagination.
    And when their kidnappers
    are finished with them,
    they are either killed or,
    if still in “good enough”
    condition sold into trafficking.

    In my dreams, sometimes
    I am their rescuer.
    I see myself landing silently
    in a huge hot-air balloon
    that sets down in the
    middle of the camp
    and all the girls after
    much urging, rush out
    and climb aboard the
    basket below the balloon.

    The men, secure in their
    hiding spot, have drunk
    themselves into
    a stuporous state,
    and they hear nothing
    as the pilot of my balloon
    fires it up again
    and we take off.
    I pass out blankets
    to the girls who are
    so quiet, I fear
    for their well-being,
    but as I watch
    their wide-eyes
    in the glow of
    the flame over
    their heads, I realize
    they are terrified
    and somewhat
    unbelieving.
    They want to trust
    they are being
    rescued but for so
    long, only terrible
    things have
    happened to them;
    they are
    reluctant to hope.

    Even after we
    get to the airport
    and I get them
    on the plane
    to Canada
    and through
    a translator describe
    where I am taking
    them – how these
    men will never be able
    to get to them again,
    how I plan to reunite
    them with their
    parents as soon
    as possible—
    Even then, there
    is such disbelief
    in their eyes
    I ache with wanting
    to change that
    but know
    what a long
    road we have
    ahead.

  13. JocyMedina

    Off to Caledonia

    Took off to the Granite City
    Where doors are yellow and red
    Where cows are blond sweeties
    And men respect a fine brunette

    I explored the curves of Caledonia
    Reached for her heart (they call it Banff)
    I kissed her skin in my euphoria
    while she played me the guitar.

    Just for fun, I wore a tartan
    and winked at cowboy
    Ended up fishing out a captain
    Of a Scottish fishing boat.

    He sunk me into his Whiskey
    Sang for me in the “Arms bar”
    Magic how someone can turn
    what they touch- into bright stars-.

    We flew where to the Gods of rain
    would sin right in their church
    Had fried pizza with Glenfidich
    and drowned the night in Scotch.

    Midgies, moody weather
    Were the soup of every day
    But the hills brought in the Heather
    and scampies rode the waves.

    I was there Monday to Sunday
    But it was Saturday every day
    I would fly to Hell one morning
    and to Heaven the next day.

    By Jocy Medina

  14. Jemgemini

    Day 25

    Across The Sea
    By Teresa G

    As far as the natural eye can see I kept searching for you
    Through hill and valleys, upon many shores
    I searched for you
    I castes my anchor on many shores
    In search for you
    Over and under in every crack on the floor
    With every squeak of the house I came to
    I searched for you
    Over grassy field through lavender lands
    On top of a cherry tree
    As far as my naked eyes could see
    Through looking glasses on the tallest towers
    I searched for you
    I longed for you I needed you
    I searched for you across the seas over Persian waters
    Into the desert storms on through the lands of Dubai
    I searched for you
    Only to find you hidden within me
    Surrounding me throughout my travels
    You never left my side
    I’ve always had you near me
    I should have looked internally
    I’ve searched for you across the sea
    Seeing our shadows across the sea
    I searched for you only to find
    That you had never left my side

  15. akramer

    Crocuses

    I remember blooming delicately
    on the rugged island coastline
    purple crocuses, cold rock
    Watery salt surrounded us
    Our anger slowly killed
    by spears of leaves

    We did not have to say
    what we meant
    what we did not mean
    I recall we stayed in silence
    sensing this growing truce
    stopping from time to time
    on the cliffside to bend down
    and touch the petals

    -Ariana Kramer

  16. Khara House

    Natal

    Africa: I will never call you home
    even though you run always through
    my veins, ever part of what I cannot
    subtract from my own marrow. Some
    nights I dream you stretch forth,
    baobab limbs aching to touch
    your lost sires, to caress my bones
    back into your womb soil. A taste
    of you lingers on my tongue,
    a secret scorched into my very skin.

  17. MarieJason

    THE SEA CALLS TO ME

    The sea calls to me
    In an ancient siren song
    That mariners subconsciously
    Keep in reptilian archetypes;
    It emerges with each swell’s
    Crest, then echoes at the gull’s
    Call. Its scent is encased in
    Spaces between sand particles,
    And diffuses with the tides. And
    There amongst the kelp beds
    Or strewn with the strand’s
    Seaweed are tresses of the sea’s
    Romantic attempts at luring me
    Into returning to my primordial home.

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