2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 4

Great job, everyone! It’s been a lot of fun reading everyone’s poems (ok, I haven’t been reading everyone’s poems, but I have been skimming through). Speaking of reading poems, if there are specific poets you really enjoy and would like to read more, try using Anders Bylund’s nifty Poem-A-Day search tool, which he developed years and years ago. You can search by username at the top and even by various challenge years. Check it out here.

For today’s prompt, write a departure poem. Many people depart to school and/or work every day, and they depart on a plane, train, or automobile–some even walk or ride a bike. Of course, that’s keeping things rather physical; there are also emotional and psychological departures. You may even decide to make a departure from your normal writing style in tone or structure today.


2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

Get your poetry published!

Writing poetry is one thing; getting it published is something else. Take advantage of the best print resource for publishing your poetry today with the 2015 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer.

This annual reference includes new articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, explanations of poetic forms, poet interviews, new poems, and hundreds of listings for book and chapbook publishers, print and online publications, contests and awards, and so much more–all for poets!

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Departure Poem:

“i turned my head away”

but you were the one who left
as i tried coming up with something
terribly clever to say & found myself alone

i remember ohio nights at the airport
listening to guster sing “satellite”
& the world didn’t exist

because you were still next to me
& we didn’t say a word
through the arrivals & departures


Today’s guest judge is…

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali runs the Page Meets Stage reading series in New York City. One of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Def Poetry Jame, he’s the author of three collections of poetry, including What Learning Leaves and Bouquet of Red Flags.

A vocal advocate for teachers and the nobility of teaching, Mali is also the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World. Former president of Poetry Slam, Inc., he’s one of the world’s most popular slam poets as well as one of the few who makes a living from his poetry.

Learn more at TaylorMali.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.

Click to continue.


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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959 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 4

  1. ameyer15

    A Mental Departure
    By Amber D. Meyer

    I am going on an adventure
    I know not where it leads
    But it will be a real soul quencher
    Filling all of my needs.

    I think I’ll spend a day in Mandalay
    A fortnight in Brazil
    Then New York for the ballet
    Followed by some skiing downhill

    I can bask on a beach
    I can bundle up against the chill
    You never know your minds reach
    Unless you let it wander at will

  2. Asha1000


    Leave the cherry tree
    pets bid good leave and die

    Mango blossoms sail away
    on an end of March wind
    dashing dreams of juicy fruits
    that quench the summer’s thirst

    Pink poui blooms blanket
    golden leaves of grass

    Film of ashes covers Caroni’s
    banks of burning pyres

    dreams and lives end in fire

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  3. AmyA


    So many goodbyes, but I always come back to this:
    After dancing, mild days, and starry nights in New Hampshire,
    I boarded the bus home to Boston
    Where my parents waited,
    Having inexplicably trusted me
    To visit you
    And they were right,
    We were so young,
    But on that bus,
    I looked out the window
    You stood on the curb
    Your goofy bluejean stance
    Your not really handsome face
    And a giant rubber band yoked our hearts
    Growing more taut with each passing block,
    Till I thought it might snap,
    And spring me back to you.
    I remember thinking for the first time:
    Is this how love feels?

    Amy Appleton

  4. therankspoon

    Bury the Idea

    If you were to bury something, the loose idea is
    that you are trying to remove that something

    from your life for any number of reasons.

    Unpleasantness, decay, moving on…

    It all depends on your station in life.

    What most fail to recognize and accept is the fact
    that to bury something
    is a symbolic act and nothing more.

    Someone is your life dies and, in a sense, their body is buried.
    A falling out happens and the people involved
    realize the silliness therein and bury the hatchet.

    We bury thing because
    the ceremony of the act
    is easier
    than giving yourself

    Matt MacDonald
    “Give me money and I’ll write whatever you want”.

  5. MadPoet

    His Departure and Return

    She stands on the dock
    Her heart sinking like a rock
    Tears streaming down her face
    Already missing his sweet embrace..

    As the ship slowly departs
    With the pieces of her heart
    Her world just sailed away
    Taking him from her on this day.

    She slowly turns to leave ,
    Grief deeper than she can believe.
    Her feet plod down the concourse
    With heartache gaining force.

    Sitting alone on the bus
    Would it ever be thus?
    Him sailing across the sea
    Her, alone and longing to be,

    In his arms, by his side
    Waiting for his return on a distant tide.
    Waiting and longing †o cuddle him near
    For him to dry each and every tear.

    Finally the day has come
    His ship returns with the sun.
    No longer just to dream
    She again knows joy supreme.

  6. Andrea Z

    Goodbye to a Friend
    by Andrea Zaccaria

    My eyes dart away
    and in a split second,
    there’s a deer, then a mailbox,
    and my car stops in a culvert.
    After my brain registers
    what has just occurred,
    i turn to the carrier
    in my passenger seat.
    my cat is looking up at me,
    scared, but all right.
    little do I know
    this is the beginning of the end.

    Looking in on her
    while I wait for help,
    I notice her looking sickly.
    She is moving in the carrier,
    so I show her I am there,
    and sit with her
    until help arrives.

    An anguished cry
    tears my heart in two.
    I quickly pull open the cage
    and the cat lets me handle her
    without a fight.
    I pull her to me,
    and her body goes limp.

    She buries her head
    in the crook of my shoulder
    and I rub her,
    and let her know I am here;
    the anguished cry
    happens once more
    and I can feel her breathing
    fading, getting slower with every breath.

    I put her into the carrier
    and set her gently
    into the vehicle
    that will take us home.
    when we arrive, I set down the carrier,
    and open it up to let her out.
    She does not move.
    My cat departed this earth
    in my arms
    on the side of a dark road,
    and for that
    I will never forgive myself.

  7. kimberleetm

    Von Shtupp

    (…coming and going
    and going and coming
    and always to soon)

    The Sheriff is gone
    and Lili Von Shtupp
    is back to bad caberet
    a bath of caberet,
    she’s drowning in wrong notes
    and ham-fisted cowboys.
    Ain’t it a crying shame,
    except for all the laughter
    as Potemkin’s Western village
    tumbles into a French Mistake.
    Again and again, Lili warbles the worst
    tune pitched on cable
    so often that she can say
    she’s tired of playing the game.
    But she does it better than anyone Kahn.

    Kimberlee Thompson

  8. stepstep


    Goodbye – To negative thoughts and actions
    Hello – To positive ideas in deep traction.
    Goodbye – To everything that deems wrong
    Hello – To every special song.
    shake off the nonchalant attitude
    shake off the crazy, nasty mood;
    bring on all that’s good and nice
    bring on the fun without the heavy price.
    Goodbye – To all that’s meaningless
    Hello – To all of life’s test;
    take in the good, leave off the bad
    take In the happy, forget the sad;
    say no to being insane
    say yes to bring it back again.


  9. deborahbgkelly

    Departure: Crossing the Red Sea

    Departure from tradition
    Missing the old
    Welcoming the new

    As children we followed the ways of our parents
    Now we make our own way
    Rather like the Exodus story
    That we read on Passover

    People feared leaving Egypt because it was all they had known
    Despite the cruelty they endured
    The uncertainty was what really scared them

    There is no cruelty in my story
    But my story also has fear and uncertainty
    Will my Seder be accepted?
    How will people react to my spin on tradition?

    But, you know what?
    On the other side of the red sea
    Is a beautiful Seder
    Full of loving people
    And new traditions
    Welcomed by all

    -Deborah B. G. Kelly

  10. ToniBee3


    I bid adieu to that process…
    hot combs, scorched scalps;
    and curtsy to the challenge…
    au naturel fluffs and puffs
    to grace my dome in grandeur.
    A quotidian kerfuffle, I know;
    these labyrinth locks that could be
    uncooperative perhaps… are free;
    That commonsensical audacity
    to bid adieu to that process… is me.

  11. Poet Ariel


    I miss that floating boat;
    my house floating on the gentle waves.
    With a railing across all the shelves
    I didn’t have to worry about things falling, crashing;
    books stayed stacked
    knick knacks stayed knacked,
    crystal sat on the sideboard without danger.
    Dinner was linen tablecloths,
    pretty china with a garden pattern –
    a wedding gift we found in an antique store –
    I loved that set. A shame that most is now broken.
    In the portage the master bed rode high,
    drawers tucked in at the base,
    crystal on the nightstands.
    There was a pride in standing just outside the door
    water reflecting off the fresh white paint,
    a tidy knot leading to the pier.

    Now the water is choppy and deep
    and there is no cabin down below;
    life traded me down, you see –
    who needs shelves with railings
    when you don’t own a thing.
    No knick-knacks to get knicked,
    no china or crystal to ching.
    An aluminum Grumman, 17 feet
    a luxury with three available seats;
    it’s from the 1980’s, only banged up at the nose.
    There’s two paddles to work with
    and I’ve two hands –
    But I’m tired
    And I’ve stayed too long in the storm –
    I cannot bail fast enough
    paddle fast enough.
    Can’t be enough.

    April 4, 2015

    1. lavendertypeface

      Hey! Hope you like this! Everyone keep up the good work! (You don’t need me to tell you that! Hahaahahahaa.)

      “Departure: Some Things You Want To Leave. But Like Rain, They Don’t Always Stop Coming.”

      Sin, sin go away,
      come again another day,
      goodness doesn’t want to play,
      so go away and never stay

  12. SGKilbride

    M I L E S O F M Y E L I N

    I left her on her birthday
    Like I was trying to make a point (to hurt her).
    I left Boston but it never left me.
    I still see her in everything about D.C.
    (Georgetown is Cambridge,
    National Harbor is the Bay,
    Everything is interchangeable these days).
    There is no such thing as foliage in a swamp,
    No such thing as chowder coming close to crabs,
    No such this as a family to come home to.)

    I left my mother on her birthday
    Because I was running away
    And my type of soul is meant to
    run far, run fast.
    Like a sprinter, when the neuro-signals
    Launch down dendrites and after miles of myelin,
    I have to go when I have to go,
    And that’s the problem with Polaroid’s isn’t it?
    So quick to develop, so quick to leave.
    And that’s the problem with multiple sclerosis isn’t it?
    So slow to develop, so slow to leave.
    And that’s the problem with me,
    So lost that I can’t be found.

    S. G. K I L B R I D E

  13. marcy r

    Departure poem on a day of returning

    For every return there is a departure:
    You leave where you were to get back
    to where you were before.

    But in the interim
    you miss the little shifts
    and something’s always different
    when you return—the roses gone
    from buds to blowsy, the mesclun from
    seedlings to salad size in just a week
    of unseasonable heat, and the bottom
    lock on your front door doesn’t yield to
    your key. There are other ways in, but
    you know now that every departure
    is for good.

  14. pipersfancy

    I’ll Miss This Place

    I’ll miss this place, once I’ve grown old,
    once life’s been lived and stories told,
    when time’s no longer bound by years
    but metered out in smiles and tears.

    And Time will lean t’ward me and say,

    Remember when?
    Remember all the goodness then?

    Remember when, long years ago,
    our kids all chased the firefly’s glow,
    caught toads and frogs in Tupperware
    and laughed and lived without a care?

    Remember lazy afternoons
    for reading books or strumming tunes?
    Each day at four we’d make our way
    to water’s coolness where we’d play.

    Remember sounds at evening’s fall:
    the crackling fires and loon’s sad call?
    For summer’s end, not yet in sight,
    will change mid-summer’s endless flight.


    I’ll miss this place, once I’ve grown old,
    once life’s been lived and stories told.
    But, in my heart, mem’ries remain
    so in my heart, I’m there again.

  15. mschied



    “I’m leaving in fifteen minutes,
    there’s nothing that needs doing
    that can’t be done on delay”


    “I wish they’d leave, but they are talking
    and laughing, and pushing
    and sticking, and so I must stay”


    “I might as well look at the poems,
    oh am I behind – well this is a haiku
    and now I’m on my way”


    five poetic exercises later
    I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve wondered
    “I’m leaving – I emphatically say”


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