2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

After finishing today’s poem, we’ll be half-way through the month. Let’s do it!

For today’s prompt, write a ritual poem. Getting up to write a poem each day is a sort of ritual, but most folks have so many others. For instance, a morning ritual of getting ready, an evening ritual of getting to sleep, and maybe even a daily ritual of interacting with the world. Write about your own rituals or the rituals of others.


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Here’s my attempt at a Ritual poem:

“Mornings With Clara Moss”

When she wakes up, she checks her phone for any new news
about someone. Then, she closes her eyes and stifles back
the tears she wants to cry. She’s alone without her someone
any more. Every morning now, she can’t help but think about
what happened to her guy, the one with the hypnotic eyes.
She brushes her teeth and brushes her hair, but she feels
as if she is not there, because he’s not there. He won’t be there

driving his car, like he used to do, to pick her up on their way
to school. He would play his music real loud, and she was
proud to be his girl with the windows up and her hair in
the wind as they flew around the Witch’s Bend and the Carter
house, no one telling them what they should do or never
should do. She’s losing her mind and her soul somehow,
and she’s really crying now. O, where could Jesse be?


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 and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

This is his eighth year of hosting and participating in the November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. He can’t wait to see what everyone creates this month–not only on a day-by-day basis, but when the chapbooks start arriving in December and January. Fun, fun, fun.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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124 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

  1. PSC in CT

    Next to Normal

    There’s a comfort
    to be found
    in familiar rhythms;
    a certain solace
    that resides in reiteration.
    Our habitudes
    define us, sustain us,
    preserve and protect us.
    Tasks repeated
    time and time again,
    become routines and rituals
    enveloping us within
    their duplicative patterns.
    The more we are mislaid,
    the more we need rely
    now and then,
    on some safe regimen
    to descry our-
    selves once again.

  2. carolecole66


    Each morning I bring my coffee to bed
    with the crossword and sip and doze
    and work through clues, feel the neurons
    fire, then sputter, then catch the rhythm
    of the day so I can rise and piece the edges
    together, line up the torn edges of the paper
    which mark today, not shredded or unraveled
    but a smooth sheet I can write on, gather
    the words scattered through the night and line
    them up into the narrative, conflict, complication,
    crisis, resolution, each day a neat story
    that I can write myself into being, into meaning,
    into cause and, perhaps, a small effect.

  3. Valkyri

    Mother’s Day Ritual

    It is Mother’s Day again.
    The side table in the corner is all set.
    A glass of red wine.
    Chicken parm with sauce straight from Little Venice.
    Clams casino, all bacony with garlic butter dressing.
    Her picture, my favorite one.
    It is black and white, and she
    is smiling, head tilted back,
    resting on a plastic lounge chair
    up at Grandpa Timber’s cabin.
    A white, button-down shirt.
    Her long brown curly hair
    and smiling brown eyes look back in the photo.
    She couldn’t have been more than 25 then.
    I remember that day.
    I know why she I smiling.
    The candle is lit… white for purity and peace.
    Karen. Mom. My best. My love.
    Happy Mother’s Day, mommy.
    Welcome home. I miss you.

  4. Pat Walsh

    A Ritual of Leaves
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    leaves dance differently
    each autumn
    when the cold approaches

    falling in ones and twos
    in the brightness of the sun
    or in clumped torrents of color
    when the wind shakes them loose

    but they fall
    without fail
    as days grow short

    and we pile sorrows high
    as we watch the glittering dance
    wondering if the day will end
    a warm blanket or crazy quilt

  5. tobysgirl

    Good Times

    We would all start showing up as soon as it started to get dark.
    Knock twice,
    enter quietly into the cold kitchen,
    then push the blanket aside to step into the warm living room.
    A muffled “Hey” was the greeting and
    we would all take a seat in one of the several chairs or couch.

    Someone would start rolling a joint, usually one of the guys.
    It was rare for any of the girls to even try, although I did, and
    not very well, I might add.
    We would pass the joint around, tossing insults at each other.
    The guys did all the talking.
    We girls basically rolled our eyes
    and watched TV and took the joint when it came to us.

    At the designated time we would all say loudly,
    “Wheel of Welfare!”
    as Pat Sajak came on the screen
    and we’d play the family game with our own little “family”.

    Towards the end of the night,
    tired and smelling of the sweetest weed possible,
    we would all partake in the “remedy”.
    It was a sweet treat that could cure one of all ails,
    a recipe passed from mother to son,
    as we sat in his house and got high.
    Cherries soaked in some sort of alcohol.
    It was delicious and taboo and we loved it.

    They were good times.

  6. SarahLeaSales

    November’s Daily Writing Ritual

    I log onto Twitter,
    writing my daily six-word story
    while I munch on ham on toast.
    I need coffee.
    Hannah comes in,
    bringing one of her balls.
    It is playtime in the hall,
    where the floor is hard,
    where the balls roll better
    and make a really cool noise.

    I sit back down to write my daily poem
    for the Writer’s Digest PAD competition,
    trying not to come up with an idea,
    but let it come to me.
    When it comes,
    Hannah comes in,
    handing me the bubble vial,
    a pink magic wand;
    I am the fairy godmother who
    blows out balls that float like
    little Cinderella coaches.

    I still need coffee.
    I work on a scholarship essay,
    a short story,
    or some other small project,
    trying to get the creative blood flowing.
    Hannah comes in,
    slamming her rotary toy telephone
    in my lap.
    I make a pretend call to Dada,
    or Grandma,
    performing really bad improv while
    reciting the phone numbers
    so that one day she’ll remember them.

    I finally open up my NaNoWriMo novel,
    no longer resisting my obsessive compulsive need to edit,
    even though doing so
    is like making sure each brick has been laid straight,
    so I can keep driving on this road to the finish line
    called “The End”.
    Hannah comes in,
    handing me a toy,
    and we go play.
    Maybe by relaxing my mind,
    reading a bedtime story,
    I will become unblocked.
    I forgot about needing coffee.

    At then, it is the end of the night
    that the words come,
    and I borrow time from sleep,
    stealing from the day that needs it.

  7. seingraham


    Every evening at about half past House of Cards,
    I tell the pugs, “Crate Time” and they don’t move
    They’re cute little dogs but stubborn as glue on glass
    after it bakes in the sun all day
    And it doesn’t matter how cajoling I am, how sweet,
    I always have to forcibly move their rumps over
    until they can’t balance on the couch any longer
    And they tip onto the floor and then they’ll
    bounce down the stairs like rocking horses
    To their kennels where I settle them for the night

    I’d let them sleep upstairs or wherever they want
    but I’ve tried that and they don’t stay put
    They get up and wander about and get into things,
    always different things – they’ve eaten CD’s and
    garbage, and all manner of stuff and it’s just
    easier if I know they’re in their crates
    And besides, I have hideous nightmares if they’re
    not crated – I think the house is burning down
    Or floating down the street and everyone I ever
    knew is in it, drowning – including me

    I don’t know why the crating and the nightmares
    are connected, but they do seem to be
    No, there’s no doubt in my mind at all – they are.

  8. browdd22


    When I wake
    I make certain
    Paris, Africa
    Man, woman
    Fowl of the air, creature of the sea
    That they hear my prayers
    Believe or not
    I hope my words reach and cover
    The world should have it
    Not just in the face of tragedy
    But daily as tragedy could come any time

  9. Nancy Posey

    Despite my usual writing ritual, I just couldn’t make the words come yesterday.

    Breaking Habits

    Always looking down,
    I found them with ease,
    all those four-leaf-clovers
    hiding in plain sight.

    My decades of harvest
    I placed between pages
    of all my books, so I could
    discover them again.

    I couldn’t stop myself
    from looking, knowing
    I would find them there,
    but somehow luck eluded me.

    Only when he made me turn
    my focus upward did I see
    what I had missed—the birds,
    the meteors, changing clouds.

    What luck.

  10. Stuart Peacock

    The Ritual of a Restless Writer

    A fix of caffeine
    To charge the creativity
    That supposedly lies
    In my porridgey brain.

    A notebook laid out
    That steadily streams
    My quirky consciousness
    In form of sketchy ideas.

    Some music to inspire
    And ignite a passion
    That impels my itching pen,
    The soundtrack of persistence.

    All of these I need
    To begin the grand ritual
    Of unleashing the words
    That I wish to share with the world.


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