2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

Until last week, it had been since before Thanksgiving that I’d submitted poems anywhere. I’d received more than 10 rejections in that time, and well, I’m human–so I was a little down. Decided to submit some poems this month and over the weekend received an acceptance of not one but five poems all at once! Anyway, it just goes to show the importance of perseverance–all writers need a little; it’s just something that should be said.

For today’s prompt, write a poem of what goes unsaid. Maybe it’s unrequited love, a hidden contempt, spoiler to the most recent TV show or blockbuster movie. Whatever goes unsaid, maybe write it instead.


Poet's Market 2016

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Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a What Goes Unsaid poem:


poem on sidewalk
washes away
with april showers


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer has been trying to put the final touches on his second poetry collection, so of course, he’s been writing several poems for the third collection (because he knows how to procrastinate in a productive manner). Anyway, it’s been an exciting April so far.

Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he gets to do a million things to help writers find more success with their writing (including this blog). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

Connect with him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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324 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

  1. PKP

    What goes unsaid

    how could you?
    I do not under
    stand how the
    mutual adoration
    we held for each
    other – “inviolate”
    you said –
    how could you
    change – I think
    that somehow
    you, my golden
    boy, my grand
    loving man,
    do not know
    how you have
    the center of
    my soul – until
    my confidence
    in continuance
    in the legacy of
    of my life – lays
    shaken -shattered
    shards of my rosy
    glasses torn from
    my eyes – flung by
    you to the ground
    spraying tiny
    silvers from
    your grinding
    heel sticking in
    my shrinking soul
    as you turn away –
    again and again
    and return
    to reviolate
    the inviolate
    once again –
    until, my son
    l almost
    almost –
    no longer
    in happy
    endings –

  2. seingraham


    It is hard to believe, she thinks,
    the amount of time that just
    and is gone without her noticing,
    without anything changing
    Or maybe everything changing
    but again, without her noticing.

    Will come a day when, as if coming to
    after being deeply unconscious
    She will realize how much older she is,
    how different the light appears,
    how much life she’s missed
    Hers, theirs – those of the ones
    she loves, but has lost somehow
    and has not been able to speak
    without dissolving.

    She is more inclined to shut
    down completely then think
    about those of whom she
    must not speak
    Those of whom she should
    not think
    Those of whom she cannot
    bear to love.

  3. deborahbgkelly

    The Things Left Unsaid

    We bite our tongues
    And purse our lips
    We might even put our hands on our hips
    But, we don’t dare say the thing our fears betray

    We teeter on the edge of sanity
    Eggshells beneath our feet
    The things left unsaid
    Are waiting to bleat
    Their way out

  4. Michelle Hed


    Words are spoken
    and written
    and some
    if we are lucky
    are left unsaid.

    words have an edge
    to them
    which can lacerate,
    unseen wounds.

    unhealed marks
    only to the soul
    of the wounded.

    Some are better
    when left unsaid.

  5. Kimiko Martinez


    his face droops on the right
    though he doesn’t know it
    he hasn’t looked in the mirror
    for over a year

    of course, when he cocks his head,
    as he often does,
    staring at the world from a
    permanent 2 o’clock tilt

    the waterfall of features
    is less noticeable

    the slope of his eyes and mouth,
    melting like Dali’s clocks
    seem to disappear in some
    off-center symmetry

    as if this change of perspective
    could erase the microscopic clot
    that cut his hemispheres
    right in two

    and my father could no longer
    right his crooked smile

    Copyright Kimiko Martinez 2016

  6. moxiemarie

    Memento Mori

    We sip our coffees and talk and talk,
    Confiding our small stories.
    It feels like courting, consorting,
    These little offertories.
    Given with a certain look,
    A smile or frown of understanding,
    Encouragement, that I mistook
    For something more beguiling.
    His hand reaches out to lift his cup,
    And on his hand as it comes up,
    I see my heart’s memento morii

  7. shellcook

    Better Left Unsaid

    If looks could kill,
    You’d be a dead man , my love,
    Because I know what should never be said,
    Should never, ever be said.

    Since i dont have any super powers,
    You are here, as always,
    Loved and hated in the same breath.
    Can i explain that?

    Definitely left unsaid.


  8. Catherine Conley

    What’s Left Unsaid

    An open sore pains and pusses,
    It oozes and hurts,
    But left alone it often closes over
    And seems to heal.
    Yet appearances deceive;
    Inside it festers, and before long
    You find yourself picking at the scab
    Until the initial sore is
    Much more serious than before,
    Perhaps even

    Catherine Conley

  9. Valkyri

    Work in progress, posting a day late due to unavoidable circumstances. Normative free verse, four word count per line…

    of what goes unsaid

    I would take all
    of the harshness back
    and leave the romance…
    Constantly my thoughts turn
    to what went unsaid.
    It comes on during
    a cool long midnight
    swirling over and over
    in a strange disconnect
    between reality and melancholia.
    Thoughts (a siren’s song)
    which call you back
    into my lonely arms,
    beside these serious shadows.
    You’ve gone too far
    away… for time infinitum.
    There are no inner truths
    left inside to tell,
    love of my life.
    Dreams of the future
    recall what’s been unsaid;
    those targets I missed
    by swift passing time.
    Take it all back.
    Get a do-over.
    But not a chance
    to tell you everything
    or to change anything-
    no, not ever again.
    I delve deep thinking
    of what goes unsaid
    except in the hallowed
    shadows of long midnights
    when thoughts swirl incessantly
    of chapels and vows
    of rain and unbrellas
    of you and me…

  10. Yolee

    Clean Whistle

    I communicated to you, after we showered,
    that we need almond milk, butter, jasmine
    rice and bananas.

    My day reels with people
    like movie credits.
    You get home.
    I don’t see the red recycled bag.
    “Didn’t get a chance to stop at the store, babe?”
    I didn’t know we needed anything, you say.

    I forgot to crank up the volume
    in my words
    Maybe they whirled down the drain
    and met up with the wild cherry
    blossom shampoo.

  11. stargypsy


    What was left when you disappeared…
    What remained when I asked why…
    What hung deep and heavy between
    us for months…
    What was on my phone that
    never rang…

    To this day …
    I still do not

    Copyright © 2016 Annie Original Poetry
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Annie

  12. Sharon


    Sometimes I write poetry
    to stem the flow of anger,
    unspoken, swallowed whole,
    burning like coals
    in the pit of my gut.
    The pace and phrasing
    give me pause,
    and I heal in ways
    I no longer feel

  13. Tracy Davidson


    Some things are better left unsaid,
    as thoughtless words can cut so deep
    and turn one’s love to hate instead.
    Some things are better left unsaid.
    The truth can be a tangled thread,
    once stirred cannot go back to sleep.
    Some things are better left unsaid,
    as thoughtless words can cut so deep.

  14. drwasy

    What goes unsaid

    behind the closed door
    is between you
    & your therapist,
    your god, & you.
    What I say behind
    the closed door
    to my therapist
    is my hopes/dreams
    for you & that you
    aren’t playing a game
    to get through the hour
    so you can hide
    behind the closed
    door to your room.

  15. sima

    Light light lightening light
    Come spend with me a night
    Become my knight
    Give me your sight
    So that my wings catch a flight
    Discovering the wrong and right
    Illuminating my inner lamp bright
    Light Light lightening light
    Come spend with me a night
    Become my knight

  16. C. Kess

    brought my toys with me
    down from that attic
    slung over my body
    in sacks

    little paper airplanes
    cars with no engine
    action figures without heroes

    i carried my toys with me
    but i left my childhood
    locked away upstairs
    in the carpet and wood floors and
    sheet rock
    even after the sheets
    and scars were sanitized

    mama asked if i was forgetting
    I never told her all i was leaving

  17. Alpha1


    My lifestyle reveals
    One foot in the blues
    One foot in the grave
    Be brave.
    First star I see tonight
    Will make a secret wish
    To get my life set right.
    What did the bright star say
    This too shall pass your way.

  18. _Kirk_


    We wore the mosquito summer skies like garments,
    gloried sunset colors grading to blue.
    Entangled on the tier below the willow tree,
    candle wax in pools kept the time
    until sometimes the sun came up on our dreaming
    and shrugging at the momentary night
    we made wishes before we left,
    forming other forevers, lying there,
    and above, the willow wept.

  19. Ben G.

    “Norfolk, Virginia”

    The little girl called my name, so
    I knelt down again

    and stared into sparkling sapphire eyes
    as she laughed and jumped and danced
    on the kitchen floor

    like a spinning top

    while dusk’s thick rays poured
    through whitewashed blinds

    like honey

    and I prayed
    she could live
    without growing up,
    or, if that failed,
    that at least she wouldn’t lose
    her joy.

  20. Austin Hill

    Strength in Silence

    I’ve got the gift of gab; both a blessing
    and a curse to me.
    So I left a few things unsaid between us,
    just as it should be.

    If I had really spoken the words
    that were truly on my mind,
    Only good, and kind, and encouraging ones
    would have been left behind.

    A piece of my mind was going to be
    a gift to you – No fee.
    But the chunk I’d planned to give to you
    wouldn’t have left much for me.

    As if your words in person
    were not caustic enough;
    Those last two electronic correspondences
    made it increasingly tough.

    My lips turned in. I held my breath.
    I turned the other cheek.
    I reminded myself that quiet strength
    is what is meant by meek.

    And with this thought the right words came.
    I knew what I would say.
    Nothing. Nothing at all. Things won’t change.
    I’ll just walk away.

    © April 2016 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  21. P.A. Beyer

    There’s Always a Song

    There’s a always a song
    Playing in my head
    From springsteen
    To Dvorak or
    The Roots
    To Bjork
    A radio roulette
    Inspired by a word
    A time
    A smell
    Or a moment
    And I cherish it
    Like a secret lover
    Appreciating each beat
    With the knowledge it
    Could never last

  22. Angie5804

    So many tweets were left unsaid
    Brilliant words were never read
    Chatty texts were never sent
    Nothing told that wasn’t meant
    I forgot my phone at home

    No charming comments or replies
    No clever words that sound so wise
    No rings and beeps and no voicemail
    If someone called I could not tell
    I forgot my phone at home

    Surprisingly I did survive
    In fact I may have even thrived
    Lifting eyes up from the screen
    With the world I reconvened
    I forgot my phone at home

  23. pipersfancy

    Birthday Greetings

    I met the Queen, and wished her well
    with many happy returns on her special day—
    of course, not on her actual birthday,
    but close enough—she had just
    turned sixty and I was twenty
    (give or take.)
    We had all been briefed beforehand in
    the proper forms of address should she
    stop and speak to one of us while
    going on her walk-about
    when last the band had played
    (not likely!)
    So, it caught me well off guard when,
    while standing at attention,
    she approached and stopped and spoke
    (to me!)
    “My goodness! You’re a young lady!”
    said she, and all that I could muster was,
    “Yes Ma’am!”
    (Perhaps, this year I’ll send a card.)

  24. KatesBookshelf

    The Things We Left Unsaid
    by Katie Lyn Branson

    The things we left unsaid
    are read between the lines
    or in the pauses of words
    said in a moments confined.

    Things said in passionate heat
    I know I said them to you
    But you didn’t understand them
    I will not explain them true.

    You can go your way unknown
    And I will go mine in pain
    I can’t make you know these things
    Only frustration remains.

    I thought you once understood
    these things I pleaded to you
    in the silence of the space
    It is clear that we are through.

    I hope that once the air clears
    I’ll explain myself right there
    to put our anger aside
    and to end our love affair.

    What’s said between the unsaid
    between the lines of love
    it is sometimes left unknown
    and I’ve said this all above.

  25. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    I’m up every morning,
    Well before dawn;
    Feed the dog, get the paper,
    Put the coffee pot on.
    When it’s ready, she’s up,
    And pours a cup of her own,
    Without speaking a word,
    Like she’s home all alone.
    Then I’m off to work,
    I tell her, “Have a great day,”
    “You, too,” is about
    The only thing that she has to say.

    I come in from work
    Sometimes she’s not there;
    I chase the dog down from
    His favorite chair.
    When she gets in, she’s tired,
    And worn out,
    And doesn’t want to tell me
    What it’s all about.
    When I tell her I love her,
    She just nods, and may choose,
    To respond with just two words,
    “You, too.”

    Just because she doesn’t say it,
    Doesn’t mean it’s not so;
    We’ve been together long enough
    I guess she thinks that I know.
    Sometimes she’s so quiet,
    It makes me wonder, even though,
    Just because she doesn’t say it,
    Doesn’t mean it’s not so.

    By nine-thirty its bed time,
    She’s asleep before ten,
    No “Good night”, no, ” Sleep tight”,
    Just quiet again.
    If it’s unsaid, is it unheard,
    Is it assumed to be so?
    I know what I think,
    But it’s still good to know.
    I get up every morning,
    Well before dawn;
    Feed the dog, get the paper,
    Then the coffee pot on.

  26. Sara McNulty

    A Boy In Love

    He could never say it aloud
    for fear of starting to stammer.
    Instead he lived under a cloud,
    depressed but ever enamored.

    He sat down and composed some verse.
    Emboldened by words, he conversed
    with his love by baring his soul.
    He won her heart, as was his goal.

  27. Jane Shlensky


    He screwed up again.
    She doesn’t say a word.
    He makes a joke.
    She doesn’t laugh or register his presence.
    He apologizes, asks for forgiveness.

    Without a word, she pours coffee
    into their cups, stirs in sugar and watches
    the steam rise, removes the spoon,
    shakes it twice, and lays it on his hand,
    her eyes meeting his.

  28. Jane Shlensky

    Bite Your Tongue

    I do not call an ass
    an ass
    lest I find droves—
    asses en mass

    I do not say just what
    I think
    since thoughts that are not
    red are pink

    My Pa said idiots
    there in the mirror
    one’s been found

    what goes unsaid is
    likely true
    our actions speak
    for me and you

  29. Jane Shlensky

    Naturalist on a City Sidewalk

    gum gumgum gum gum
    buttbuttbuttbuttgum flyer
    flyer flyer gum

    can cancan water bottle
    bottle gumgumbutt
    I’m cursing in my mind


    But They Don’t

    If thought bubbles rose
    above my head for all
    to read, I’d stay in trouble.

  30. Jane Shlensky

    Without a Word

    Without a word, wind whistles up
    a sea of grass hissing, a stand of pines
    soughing, hardwood leaves rustling
    like ladies in taffeta dresses.

    How blue the sky that holds
    a wedge of geese, a circling hawk,
    the flit of songbirds, a waxing moon,
    a plane’s glint slicing through cloud.

    The scurry of chipmunks, the pillaging
    of squirrels, yodel and rivet of woodpeckers,
    shuffling leaves beneath the feet of
    deer, foxes, coyotes, possums.

    Whirr of tree frog, croak of frog,
    tweet of bird, scrape of cricket,
    humming bee, noiseless patient spider web,
    far away a truck motor scraping gears.

    Is this the silence I love? Prick of thistle,
    dandelion star, greening moss and clover,
    sprout and bark, drip and trickle,
    surge and rush, life runs to plunge us.

    Breathe in and swallow colors colliding,
    merged emotions, Mass for moments.
    I am moved to say nothing, but to feel all
    that life is move like a song in every breath.

  31. Sally Jadlow



    It is said that fifty-five percent
    of all language is telegraphed
    in body language.

    How much of what you say
    is understood by crossed arms,
    averted eyes,
    and tapping toes?

    Be careful your body
    doesn’t betray
    what you really think.

  32. MichelleMcEwen

    What We Say Instead

    We tiptoe
    around I love you

    as though it would
    kill us

    to say it
    out loud

    instead I say
    I love how

    your shoulders are

    and instead you say

  33. mjdills

    I Would Have You Again

    I walked away.
    You think I never looked back?
    I did.
    I watched the Caller ID
    I almost picked up many times.
    There were so many things I wanted to ask…
    But I knew the chances of getting truth out of your mouth was as
    likely as
    unpaid debts to the collection agencies of our youth
    getting paid.
    We burned each other
    and left scars that make modern day tattoos look like
    a redheaded boy’s freckles.
    Your jagged smile wakes me at night from solid sleep…
    I would have you
    I would definitely have you

  34. b_kelli


    I wrapped up those words
    a revolting bundle of remorse
    Hollowed out a perfect space
    between my ribcage
    and the center of earth
    And laid it to rest among ruins
    of leftover love, irrelevant dreams
    A heap of a hurt so offensive
    it had to be camouflaged with fiction
    and feathered with white lies
    To quietly slip into the comfort
    of the whole of me
    so as not to create a hole
    you see
    Somethings are better left

    -Kelli Schmidt-Bultena

  35. mswunion1976


    The ramblings of families
    Through sweet summer grass
    Winter’s sharp and crystal air
    In a darkened looking glass

    In passing years I’ve seen you
    In the gambol of high tide
    I never tried to reach you
    Careless penance, heedless pride

    In rolls of backwards memories and all that’s left unsaid
    In clouds of dust and well-worn rust, the skins that we have shed

    In receding waters I hold out my hand
    Wind spray and poetry in fine grains of sand

    Fading echo voices
    In a twilight gold and red
    Backyard wars and silent scars
    And all that’s left unsaid

  36. LCaramanna

    Bite Your Tongue

    Runaway words
    tumble off your tongue
    in reckless abandon,
    out of control,
    with a complete disregard for consequences.
    Runaway words,
    tumble off your tongue,
    taste bitter regret when eaten,
    are better left unleashed,
    so bite your tongue.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  37. kglass75

    In open meadows
    where wildflowers grow wildly,
    I feel the denseness of You
    pressing in on all sides.
    You are the sun,
    warming my winter skin.
    You are the wind,
    whipping around me,
    enveloping me with the perfume of flowers.
    Religion has chased You to the open spaces,
    back to the beginning of things.

  38. Beth Henary Watson

    That thing we leave unsaid

    That thing, the one you keep unsaid,
    The one we cannot verbalize
    Even though we both are aware,
    It leaves a widening cleavage
    Not meant to be between our souls,
    Which in turn further constricts all
    We permit ourselves to speak of
    Into an ever-smaller space,
    Glacially shrunken over years,
    In the end still catastrophic.

  39. cbwentworth

    my new recipe
    worse than bad
    you ate every bite

    twenty years married
    there’s not much to say
    we still know

    clad in black
    mourners leave roses
    silent widow

    the day dies down
    birds circle the feeder
    in silence

  40. qbit

    This clam’s
    Long foot –
    Easily mistaken for a tongue –
    Still expresses its will
    With a soundless wag.

    This whale’s tale –
    A slow swimming elegy –
    Read silently in water rhythms
    And salted rhymes.

    Yet you –
    So beautiful to watch
    In your full-throated glory –
    Your fury a Nantucket sleigh ride,

    My heart, roiled in the surf,
    Sand that sticks in its bifold valves –
    Growing one day a pearl for you
    Of mute, of perfect anger.


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