2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day! It’s a day to pick a poem to carry in your pocket and share spontaneously throughout your day. Click here to learn more.

For today’s prompt, write a poem that responds (or somehow communicates) with another poem. You can respond to any poem. If you’re having trouble figuring out which one, choose a poem from this following list of poems from collections I’ve been reading this month:


Poet's Market 2016

Poet’s Market 2016

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In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Response Poem:

“nothing is explained”

-after Ross Gay

music decorates this siesta

with a sort of precious
scent of delirium
some daydream sestina
digging a small
grave with a shovel

the golden instrument of
isolating pi
as math of the non-
linear anima
ascent before the fall

to her animus’
unanimous no
feasting upon
my open catalog


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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372 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

  1. PKP

    I give you my last breath – Ode to the Flute, by Ross Gay

    As I lay hoarding my last
    gasp – you come to me –
    in supplicated perfection
    and I exhale the wind of
    my life into your prayer
    and hear the perfect
    small final song of
    you … as I drift
    into a whisper
    of wind in air

  2. deborahbgkelly

    Original Poem: “Grace from Unknown Places”
    Paulette Rochelle-Levy

    Fallng into grace
    Surrendering the matrix of Your heart
    Bending closer to earthwomb
    Smelling the scent of Your prayers in soil
    Compost of yesterday’s fragile leaves,
    Tangled roots,
    Seeds of secret promises
    Your longing,
    Your prayers for the miraculous
    Order of things.

    Fingers reaching out to mountain garlands
    You touch eyes with celebrations of purple
    Flags of lupine and larkspur.

    Tree waits here, old and strong,
    Tree absorbing the dissolution of anguish,
    Receiving hunger for you, my Beloved Friend,
    Into the holding of its trunk.
    I whisper. I wait. I listen for You.
    You who speak in a thousand tongues.

    You answer.
    You, God, are laughing
    Answering with a magical joke
    You sometimes pray with gentle and laughter!
    You, tree, you laugh with me.
    Leaves, are loving me,
    Branches are blessing me,
    Sunshine is lavishing laughter on grasses,
    The grasses that perfume the air
    With Your prayers of ecstasy

    Oh, God
    Your love remedies all that is fragile and forlorn
    You lft me
    You hold me
    You turn me around
    You heal me.
    I am Yours.

    My poem: Compost as Beauty

    We take our struggles, our wounds and carry them with us
    But on the wings of Shechinah
    They turn to compost
    Healing the deepest of cuts
    Surrounding us with reminders of their beauty and strength

    Where would we be without our pain
    How would we understand the beauty
    If we had no Source to help us turn trash into compost
    How, then, could we turn compost into growth?

  3. Ency Peterson

    This is a response poem to a poem I had done for the experienced/inexperienced poem prompt

    Time has passed
    some have left
    it’s not so hard to know
    whose new and whose old

    The bumblers and stumblers
    have either left or entertained
    having fun the whole way
    learning as they go

    Experience helped but
    didn’t really matter
    for their enthusiasm made
    it hard to see them go

  4. Thedeb

    Hope Springs
    By Debbie Cerrito

    “Hope springs eternal in the human breast-”
    Words to fill a heart with joy.
    Once again, a chance for
    inspiration to run rampant
    -the mind of a poet.

  5. mschied

    Ars Poemica

    A poet should be as readable and open
    as a coded book

    as a chorus of spies

    Loud as a burbling brook
    rippling and trippling past a fish on a hook

    A poet should be timeless
    like a fine fine wine.


    A poet should be the trumpet of ages
    writing on pages,

    Sharing, as the pen records
    line by line, the might of a sword,

    Sharing, the truth of the centuries found
    Memories of memories without any sound—

    A poet should be a seer for the ages
    writing on pages.


    A poet should be part of:
    Not above.

    For all the sorrows of heart
    An empty crib or a life lived apart

    For love
    The falling petals in a cup of tea—

    A poet should not write
    But be.

  6. Pat Walsh

    Traveling on The Road Not Taken
    (a response to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”)
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    having for so long chosen
    the road less traveled
    the choice by now seems
    hardly a choice at all

    knowing the poet’s jest
    prodding his friend
    with the gently mockery
    of the fork in the road

    I go on without regret
    even knowing well
    how the way leads us
    forward and not back

    with no careless need
    to know how it might
    have gone otherwise
    I arrive just as well

  7. Kimiko Martinez

    Inspired by Julie Otosuka’s short story, which I read for the first time today and was tremendously moved.


    I was in fifth grade
    when I learned what
    it was to forget

    that my grandmother would
    sometimes misplace her keys
    or lose herself completely
    in the space between thoughts

    She once drove a car
    into the side of
    their motorhome when the
    space completely seized her

    my grandfather screamed for
    her to stop but
    she wasn’t present to

    hear him yelling her
    name at the top
    of his lungs, “Whoa
    Tei! Stop, Tei, stop!”

    He raged at the
    damage, the fear of
    losing a woman he’d
    loved for 40 years,

    and at the space
    that stole her a
    little more every day

    a forgetting that would
    not stop or slow
    but plowed into her
    like she had that

    Airstream and that seized
    all of us when
    she could no longer
    remember any of our names

    Copyright Kimiko Martinez 2016

  8. shellkaysm

    . . .to taste your sweet lips–
    carmel-toasted by your smile,
    breathe your warm exhale–
    cotton-crisp, day-lit breeze. . .to
    hold you in our meeting place. . .

    This longing’s mine too,
    victim of your dreamy, dark
    stare, chills invite touch.
    We’ve time, just this briefest dance,
    to groove as one between worlds.

    (Somonka of moon and sun)

  9. horselovernat

    The Lucky Men

    They are the lucky men
    They are the living men
    Returning to homes
    Whittled from childhood games
    And aunties’ sugar cookies.
    They live next to each other
    Build their white picket fences
    Together. Not seeing
    The paint as it starts to crack
    From the sun and rain.

    A breeze, a gust, a gale, a storm
    A rain drop, a sun drop, a snow flake.

    They who get to feel it all
    With golden skin and golden
    Smiles surrounded by children
    With their golden eyes and golden
    Laughs. Laughs. Who can remember
    What it feels like to laugh, except
    For the lucky men.
    The living men.


    We are the tarnished
    The broken, the forlorn
    Looking at our brothers’ names
    That now adorn white stones
    Our minds are the tin man
    Without hope of striking
    Oil. Each day brings a fight
    Between the camo and the tie
    Between old secrets and new lies.

    We wish we could
    Join our men that rest
    In peaceful sleep beneath
    A diamond studded sky
    With a brother to each side
    Never fearing for our lives

    Raise a glass up to the day
    We meet the Big Guy in the sky


    This is a deserted land
    This is an elephant graveyard
    A sloping field, filled with green
    That was built on red, never mind
    The blue and white. Or all those stars
    And thirteen stripes that wave goodbye.

    They dig dig dig and they
    Dig dig dig. Someone’s new
    Forever home sunk
    Into the icy ground
    As a lonely trumpet sounds
    A final, fatal, string of taps
    Day is done, gone the son.


    Eighth grade students mill
    And roam beside the onyx
    Leviathan, engraved with names
    That used to have futures. A doctor
    A lawyer a plumber a teacher
    A father. A mother.

    All they see are empty letters
    All they see are charcoal canvases
    A solemn boy, an uncle short,
    Kneels to leave a daisy, a scribbled note.

    When out of sight
    Then out of mind
    For no one minds
    What they can’t see
    Right before their eyes.
    His hands caress the dusty name
    Of Alexander Tsiro.


    Mine eyes have seen the glory
    As he tramples out the vintage
    Where the grapes of wrath are stored
    With the fateful lightning of His
    Terrible swift sword.

    I am the lost one
    I am the forgotten one
    Forever without name
    Forever in an unmarked grave
    I am without home
    The watch-fires of a hundred circling camps

    Passing years brought
    Company, a group of three
    All just like me adorned
    In white and marked
    By wreaths
    They have built an altar in the evening damp

    The Old Guard
    Keeps their watch
    Like an arrow
    Hitting true.
    Through rain sleet
    Snow and heat
    My bones, they’re sworn
    To keep.
    He has sounded from the trumpet that shall never call retreat

    Now to await
    His judgement
    Seat, what’s left
    Shall fly on swiftest
    Feet, one last
    Eternal march.

    As He died to make men holy, so we died to make men free

    (In response to T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”)

    1. horselovernat

      The formatting of my last section didn’t copy/paste well. The first stanza should be italicized, the last lines of the second, third, and fourth stanzas should be a separate line that is aligned farther right and italicized, and the fifth stanza and last line should be italicized.

  10. Azma

    The Horse responds to Robert Frost

    After a journey so steep
    Sinking hooves into snow so deep
    You stop at an unlikely place
    In the sort of woods that no one would keep

    The wind is building up a haze
    Giving twigs a frightening chase
    But your reason to be amused
    leaves me in a daze

    The journey has gotten us bruised
    Yet, you stand here fused
    Admiring the aggression of nature grow
    While our own vigor is removed

    The fiber of humans, I will never know
    They make plans for an upward go
    With determination you think would never blow
    And then they stop to see what they left below

    -Azma Sheikh

  11. LCaramanna

    The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe leads to:


    Once upon a February midnight,
    While I hovered, not letting you out of my sight,
    There came a tapping at our bedroom door;
    I was filled with holy terror, terror I had never felt before,
    As an intruder tiptoed silently across our bedroom floor,
    You whispered, “Nevermore.”

    I gripped your hand, implored you, speak to me once more,
    But my pitiable pleadings you did ignore,
    Instead you flew as other loves have flown before;
    Death came knocking, knocking at our bedroom door,
    How I cry, consumed with grief to my being’s inner core,
    Doomed to hear your voice nevermore.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  12. 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.


    Thoughts On Aubade

    Bombs bursting in air.
    Our flag is not there.
    This occupation, woven knots in sails,
    struggling just to breathe

    through each bitter day.
    Waiting for the epitome of this dichotic
    situation to reveal itself , though it never will
    to the dissatisfaction of nameless souls

    who’ve died on such foreign, foreign soil.
    We’ve mucked this one up, for sure.
    What of the piper, who will be paid…
    The cost, unrest and distress, each and every day.

    Living on the edge
    of the last Christmas,
    that, almost and never, got away.
    Vietnam, the anguish of the name

    will be unknown to our grandchildren,
    but for us, who lived and loved and lost,
    the razor’s edge, dulled and frayed,
    will never fade away.


  13. Asha1000

    Starry Purple Night

    For Van Gogh, post-impressionist
    The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
    there is a sunflower
    bigger than my palm, in the garden

    The earth is scarred with drought
    all around this flower.
    She will drink rain
    even purple rain
    to burst and scatter her seeds
    like the sun’s scattered light
    on the rounding moon yellow-shine

    There will come a night, not starry
    when my earth garden will be flooded
    with rain as if all the stars are weeping
    for the flowers we have lost

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  14. Brian Slusher


    Nothing depends anymore
    On a wheelbarrow

    Most of us live in concrete
    Enclaves, so we don’t need

    To haul earth or stones or
    The load of a hooting friend

    Pretending to be a charioteer
    Galloping to victory

  15. Shennon

    At the Theatre: To the Lady Behind Me
    by A.P. Herbert

    Dear Madam, you have seen this play;
    I never saw it till today.
    You know the details of the plot,
    But, let me tell you, I do not.
    The author seeks to keep from me
    The murderer’s identity,
    And you are not a friend of his
    If you keep shouting who it is.
    The actors in their funny way
    Have several funny things to say,
    But they do not amuse me more
    If you have said them just before;
    The merit of the drama lies,
    I understand, in some surprise;
    But the surprise must now be small
    Since you have just foretold it all.
    The lady you have brought with you
    Is, I infer, a half-wit too,
    But I can understand the piece
    Without assistance from your niece.
    In short, foul woman, it would suit
    Me just as well if you were mute;
    In fact, to make my meaning plain,
    I trust you will not speak again.
    And—-may I add one human touch?—-
    Don’t breathe upon my neck so much.


    At the Theatre: To the Lady in Front of Me

    Old lady, I have seen this play
    It left me filled with deep dismay
    It lacks a solid theme and plot
    But let me tell you what its got
    There’d be a solid murder case
    If the killer kept a straight face.
    For the author, I care not
    His murderer will be caught.
    The actors in their hapless way
    Cannot tell jokes about foul play
    I really care not if they amuse
    For they do so little to enthuse
    The merit of the tension hides
    Behind bad acting, and besides
    Forgotten lines, forgotten cues
    For tragic flaws, there’s no excuse.
    The old man who sits by your side
    Is equally as rude and snide.
    And you won’t understand this piece
    Without significant increase
    In knowledge. You’re behind the times
    Characters need not speak in rhymes.
    In fact, to illustrate my case
    Just shut your mouth so you’ll save face.
    You may still learn, despite your age,
    So turn around and face the stage.


  16. Austin Hill

    My Stash Poem

    It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day,
    a first for me, for sure.
    It didn’t take long for me
    to recall a poem that had endured.

    My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
    was the first poem I ever learned.
    The words of which came right to mind,
    their memory immediately returned.

    A grandson says to us all
    he’s really afraid of his shadow.
    So it’s Mr. Stevenson’s words
    that I thought that I could borrow.

    I searched the net, looked high and low
    for that favorite poem of mine.
    Only to discover we’d learned only half,
    there are two more stanzas to rhyme.

    Some fifty years or so later,
    I’ll put my brain cells to work.
    And finish what was started
    long ago as my homework.

    © April 2016 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  17. Yolee


    Dear Naomi

    Your poem was considerate. It urged me to look at the 8mm
    video when my family home was just a cinder block on gravel
    and sand. Your poem held the door opened to crystal memories
    soon to be boxed like dishes, photo albums and shoes. The bank,
    dyed-in-the-wool of fraud, remortgaged facts. Saw myself
    in homeowners bewildered by court proceedings in khakis
    and pale button shirts. They too whacked the gauntlet at
    institutions prostituting defaults and legal lingo. Roots
    were yanked like the witchgrass. Yet kindness left a trace
    of its livelihood like the scent of water near the dying lemon
    tree. It was there in the shake of soft hands.

    The sign I painted and hung over the kitchen patio door reads:
    Great Expectations Café est. Aug of 99. Ah but the future does not
    float in an insipid broth. The horizon looks like an altar to the displaced
    whose stain-glassed eyes can still make out that kindness is in that breath
    of morning caressing dreams: the long forgotten and suddenly remembered.

    Kindness is up the road apiece and in the realtor who looks over at couples
    staring at For Rent signs, knowing there are swamps and lagoons behind
    antecedence and consequence.

  18. samisal

    There is too much sadness here
    Lettuce wilts as he walks by it
    And fluorescent lights flicker
    Tile floors are not comforting
    And he does not belong here
    He walks through crackers and yogurt
    He misses something he never had

    Where are you going, Walt Whitman?
    Why are you following him, Allen Ginsberg?
    You know his rise and fall
    You engage with it anyways
    His beard is graceful;
    His beauty is enticing
    There is too much sadness here

    Automatic doors open to a warm gust which tickles his crying eyes
    He smiles
    And so do you
    The moon is half full
    And you march on
    Soon you will reach the river
    And together you will plunge, its glassy surface uninterrupted

  19. Tracy Davidson

    The Owl and the Pussycat – The Sequel
    (with apologies to Edward Lear)

    The Owl and the Pussycat found a leak
    In their rusty old pea green boat.
    They used a plaster to avert disaster
    And finally got it to float.
    The Owl looked up at the puss on shore
    And sang to an old refrain:
    “O boring Pussy! O Pussy you bore,
    I’m leaving cos’ you’re such a pain,
    A pain, a pain,
    I’m leaving cos’ you’re such a pain.”

    Pussy said to the Owl: “You ungrateful fowl!
    I’m fed up of hearing you sing.
    O I’ve had enough, so you can get stuffed.
    And guess where I’m sticking your ring,
    Your ring, your ring,
    And guess where I’m sticking your ring!”

  20. RJ Clarken

    But I Love the Title

    Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amis</b?

    It was a dream I had last week
    And some kind of record seemed vital.
    I knew it wouldn’t be much of a poem
    But I love the title.”
    ― Wendy Cope, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis

    Eating People is Wrong (A book.)
    The title screams, “Come take a look!”
    Engraved upon its cover, spine…
    an accident, or by design?

    How to Poo at Work (It’s real!)
    Alas, this hasn’t much appeal
    for readers like me. Must decline.
    An accident, or by design?

    The Sausage is a Cunning Bird
    You have to wonder, word for word,
    how this strange title did align.
    Just accident, or by design?

    And, Eeeee Eee Eeee – It’s a title!
    (Rather like a screech recital.)
    These titles all are asinine.
    But…accident, or by design?


  21. drwasy

    Winter and All
    (A play on William Carlos William’s Spring and All, and a reflection on leaving the safety of a psychiatric facility

    Across the river from the nuthouse
    under the gush of grey
    sodden sky flirting with the
    sun—a fickle breath tumbles
    autumnal leaves through the last gasp
    of meadows, golden and rusted

    larkspur and rusted ragweed
    the glimmering of winter berries

    All along the river the reddish
    brownish, leathery, stubborn, snaking
    stuff of vines and other creepers
    once verdant, pernicious leaves crawling
    over hapless ground—

    undead in appearance, lively
    chilling winter approaches—

    They leave the old world hospital,
    warm, unsure of all
    save that they leave. All about them
    the cooling, southern wind—

    Yesterday the grass, now
    the lace of frost tracing maple veins
    As one nature reduces—
    It lessens: obscurity, shadows of leaf

    Tomorrow the stark solemnity of
    leave-taking—Then, the end
    creeps upon them: surprised, they
    tread through the building snow.

  22. briehuling

    Day 21

    the florist’s paper
    in response to Primo Levi

    I cut myself into a paper doll
    a her form and then you a him form
    hung them side by side on
    the sorry tree in the backyard
    in earshot of the ocean.

    I thought I’d lost you
    for a minute,
    our cardboard clothes
    whisked away by wind
    watered by lawn sprinklers
    gingham pant-tabs soggy.

    The bluejays, voyeurs
    heckling from their branches
    at our two-dimensional life
    our adventure in flat fashion
    and manual dexterity—
    all the undressing.

    Sometimes it feels
    like the sea’s only gifts
    are harsh blows again and again
    that a cutout without a heart
    doesn’t stand a chance
    all way up here when it storms.

    Brie Huling

  23. Anvanya


    The very first time I saw Puget Sound
    I was driving to Edmonds for a conference.
    I thought, how could I have been
    Deprived of this ineffable sight
    For so many years. My heart
    Recognized the great beast.

    I felt driven to park in the railroad
    Lot and to walk down to the beach
    Just to breathe in the tang of salt air
    And feast on the colors of the water.

    Now we live in Everett, the Sound
    Is only a mile from the front porch.
    We picnic on Port Gardner Bay –
    I continue to be amazed at the
    Pebbles and rocks and log jams.

    Toss my ashes into the drink
    When I’ve crossed the bar.

  24. Alpha1


    I must say so myself that
    Your message has been well
    Received for it is true that
    When dreams die
    It’s like a broken wing bird
    That cannot fly it’s pretty much
    A wrap and a backup plan
    Is essential to keeping dreams alive


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