2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 10

For today’s prompt, write a tragic poem. Two courses of action here: Write a poem that is heavy, or write a poem that is light. Or write a poem that could be heavy or light. For instance, a tragedy could be Shakespeare’s Hamlet or a bad hair day.

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Here’s my attempt at a Tragic poem:

“The Tragically Hip”

Are a Canadian rock band.
They have a song called “Poets”
& an album titled Man Machine Poem.
I like to think all the poetry references
make them tragic & hip,
or at least hip. I was

never that hip or tragic
or from Canada, though I went
fishing there for a week once & that week
was one of the most relaxing weeks of my
life. No phones. No TV. Just food,
sleep & fishing. In no particular

order. It reminded me
of trips to my grandparents’
home in the Eastern Tennessee Mountains,
the smell of the red clay in the morning &
clouds along the ridges that
provided them their smoky

reputation. On the final
day, an emergency call made
it through to me all the way from town
& I worried it might be my pregnant wife
or the baby she carried
but it was my grandpa,

the one I visited
in Tennessee & he
died alone & I felt so relieved it wasn’t
my wife or our child & then felt so guilty
that I was haunted
all the way home.

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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.

He never listened to The Tragically Hip before tackling this prompt, but their music is actually pretty good.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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147 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 10

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Cue Pathos
    by Juanita-Lewison Snyder

    She hunts for demons
    where there aren’t any,
    strong in convictions
    that would choke an elephant,
    fixated on conspiracy theories,
    ghost stories, what Death
    must look like under the hood.
    But she’s in full
    Amazon Woman warrior mode now,
    ready to protect and serve
    no matter the costs.
    Her head is buzzing,
    the voices blurring,
    rowing themselves slowly
    through fog out to sea.

    If it weren’t for
    the fear of being left behind,
    marooned with a group of
    non-believers,
    deserters of Life,
    she’d had noticed a family
    silently imploding.

    But her apathy’s too busy
    hunting for demons,
    listening to the tip
    of her sword, dragging
    across hospital tiles
    down a long dim-lit corridor
    to her client’s room.

    © 2016 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Cue Pathos
    by Juanita-Lewison Snyder

    She hunts for demons
    where there aren’t any,
    strong in convictions
    that would choke an elephant,
    fixated on conspiracy theories,
    ghost stories, what Death
    must look like under the hood.
    But she’s in full
    Amazon Woman warrior mode now,
    ready to protect and serve
    no matter the costs.
    Her head is buzzing,
    the voices blurring,
    rowing themselves slowly
    through fog out to sea.

    If it weren’t for
    the fear of being left behind,
    marooned with a group of
    non-believers,
    deserters of Life,
    she’d had noticed a family
    silently imploding.

    But her apathy’s too busy
    hunting for demons,
    listening to the tip
    of her sword, dragging
    across hospital tiles
    down a long dim-lit corridor
    to her client’s room.

    © 2016 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. ToniBee3

    Purple

    purple reign
    purple pain
    entertain

    purple prince
    purple sense
    instruments

    purple gold
    purple soul
    Rock ‘n’ Roll

    purple flips
    purple hips
    showmanship

    purple heels
    purple pills
    Fentanyl

    purple cane
    purple plane
    unexplained

    purple morn
    purple mourn
    unicorn

    purple reign
    purple rain…
    Purple Rain

  4. PSC in CT

    Don’t Drink the Water

    Corporations don’t drink the water
    and don’t breathe the air,
    so why should they care
    if those commodities
    are toxic or clean?

    You know what I mean:
    it’s all dollars and no sense –
    so let’s dispense with the pretense.

    Until they can make more cash
    selling a gallon of water
    or a bag of clean soil
    than a barrel of oil,
    we’ll all pay the price.

    But, that may yet come to pass.
    Seems we’re heading that way.
    And, isn’t that nice?

  5. Kayla

    A Tragic Light

    Burning fire from afar
    Leave on my face an unholy scar
    A deadly poison in my skin
    Leaving the world tragically dim
    Giving all others life
    But leaving me with deadly strife
    My eyes are filled with tears of desire
    I wish to enjoy the ever-burning fire
    Will the shadows ever part
    To let the fire touch my heart
    Burning fire from afar
    Why did you give me this tragic scar

  6. Shennon

    Shakespeare was a master
    And also Sophocles
    Don’t forget John Steinbeck
    Hume and Euripides

    “The Serpent Son”
    “Of Mice and Men”
    “Far From the Madding Crowd”
    Or even “East of Eden”

    Tragic tales flow like tears
    Poor Romeo and King Lear
    Each person with an albatross
    Was sure to reap a tragic loss.

    –ShennonDoah

    1. LadyBug5162

      10. The Tragedy of My Life

      Tags on the wrong vehicle
      Ma’am, I’m having one of those days
      I just put my tags on the wrong truck
      Sir, we’ll have to print you new tags
      One of our clients just put their tags on your truck
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Purse left at the restaurant
      On hood of truck
      In the street after it fell out of car
      At the gas station
      In street after it fell off back bumper
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Took husband’s handful of medicine
      Instead of mine
      Used stool softener in eye
      Instead of eye drops
      (the bottle looked the same)
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Arrived at work with blouse inside out
      Missed numerous appointments
      Because I can’t tell time
      Arrived at meetings on wrong day
      Because I have issues with dates
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Numerous car accidents
      Black dog at night
      On a curve
      In the rain
      Black cow
      In the middle of the highway
      At night
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Thank you so much
      Officer for stopping me
      I can’t find my lights
      It’s my husband’s car
      (Yes, the officer showed me)
      License and registration
      If you can find them
      License is right here
      I’ll look for the registration
      This is the tragedy of my life

      How do you make it through life?
      God takes care of me
      If I weren’t so scattered,
      I might not know I need Him
      This is the tragedy of my life

  7. De Jackson

    The {Un}Tragedy of Shine

    I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend
    the rest of your nights with the light on
    So shine the light on all of your friends
    Well, it all amounts to nothing in the end.
    -Jason Mraz

    Freedom is what you do
    with what’s been done to you.
    – Jean Paul Sartre

    You’ve been given
    the light you’ve been given;
    the life you’ve been livin’
    wherever it may be.

    They’ll give you a bushel to hide
    under, a gray sky
    for muffling your song.

    They’ll give you a reason to run,
    a reason to stay
    behind, a reason to wish you
    were someone
    else. Someone new. Someone
    different
    (or not so different).

    They may tell you
    you’re too bright
    or too strong
    or too black
    or too white
    or too much
    or too little
    or too
           nothing.

    They’re wrong.

    ::

    1. LadyBug5162

      10. The Tragedy of My Life

      Tags on the wrong vehicle
      Ma’am, I’m having one of those days
      I just put my tags on the wrong truck
      Sir, we’ll have to print you new tags
      One of our clients just put their tags on your truck
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Purse left at the restaurant
      On hood of truck
      In the street after it fell out of car
      At the gas station
      In street after it fell off back bumper
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Took husband’s handful of medicine
      Instead of mine
      Used stool softener in eye
      Instead of eye drops
      (the bottle looked the same)
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Arrived at work with blouse inside out
      Missed numerous appointments
      Because I can’t tell time
      Arrived at meetings on wrong day
      Because I have issues with dates
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Numerous car accidents
      Black dog at night
      On a curve
      In the rain
      Black cow
      In the middle of the highway
      At night
      This is the tragedy of my life

      Thank you so much
      Officer for stopping me
      I can’t find my lights
      It’s my husband’s car
      (Yes, the officer showed me)
      License and registration
      If you can find them
      License is right here
      I’ll look for the registration
      This is the tragedy of my life

      How do you make it through life?
      God takes care of me
      If I weren’t so scattered,
      I might not know I need Him
      This is the tragedy of my life

  8. terri9869

    TRAGIC MEMORIES

    Tears of grief
    subside within

    Engulfed with memories
    of laughter that once
    echoed
    thru the house

    It’s now replaced
    with dead silence

    Locks now keep the
    family out

    Once was able to be
    opened with a key

    Signs now say
    “Not Suitable for Living’

    Just how long
    should one wait?

    It’s been two
    years that I’ve been
    stuck in probate

    Lawyer telling me
    “Not time yet”

    Tears just mask
    the torture of past
    and present

    With excess of
    “It’s not Time Yet”

    Copyright © TMC 2016

  9. Pat Walsh

    incidents and accidents
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    in the brightness of
    the chilly afternoon
    the glint of sunlight
    rolling gently across the
    surface of the water
    bears no hint of the
    thousands of little
    incidents and accidents

    that over the years left
    scars that were only healed
    by having outlived their
    usefulness as reminders
    of those things that once
    went wrong during all the
    long days we spent
    along the water’s edge

  10. seingraham

    WHERE WERE YOU FIRST?

    When they came to apprehend,
    the neighbours told Children’s Aid
    they’d heard him crying “non-stop”
    for at least a day, maybe two
    A baby crying continuously for a day?
    Before they thought to call emergency?
    It doesn’t bear thinking about

    An infant less than a year old
    was the estimation
    Left alone in a crib, with a bottle,
    unchanged, for at least a day
    – probably longer given how
    long the neighbours said
    they had heard him crying

    Try to imagine – a baby boy crying
    to be changed, to be fed, to be
    picked up
    After a couple of hours, in the
    middle of the night in the dark
    when all he can hear is his own
    voice: crying and crying

    He falls back to sleep, hungry,
    soiled, exhausted
    Only to wake up again when
    it is daylight – how confused
    must the starving baby be?
    He begins crying again but
    this time, he can’t stop –
    he’s hysterical with hunger,
    with needing contact,
    with confusion

    Where is his mother?
    Why isn’t anyone
    coming?
    His crying has a
    screaming quality to it
    and he can’t stop himself
    even though he’s
    almost making himself
    sick …

    It is starting to get dark
    again when he hears
    the doorbell ringing
    and he screams louder
    Finally, he hears footsteps
    on the stairs
    and his light is turned on
    He is standing in the crib
    and when the women
    come into his room,
    even though he doesn’t
    know either of them,
    he holds out his arms
    to be picked up
    Once one of the
    swoops him up,
    he clings to her
    tightly and sobs
    into her shoulder
    It is a long time – hours
    actually – before he
    will allow her
    to put him down.

  11. taylor graham

    BELOW THE NISENAN VILLAGE

    The creek cuts serpentine under bedrock
    mortars of Indians who ground acorns here,
    and miners come-and-gone searching for gold.

    The history-haunted watershed still runs
    with tragedies buried, long-forgotten.
    The creek cuts serpentine under bedrock

    where we hike, remembering a woodsman
    who left his cabin and never returned.
    Mortars of Indians who ground acorns here

    tell tales, but creeks and ridges keep secrets.
    Heart of a once-live creature turned to stone
    and miners come-and-gone searching for gold.

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