2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

For today’s prompt, we’re on our third two-for-Tuesday prompt. So pick one, combine both prompts into one poem, or write two (or more) different poems. Here are the prompts:

  • Write a natural poem. A poem about something natural. It could be a natural way of living, something made of natural materials, nature itself, or some other spin. Or…
  • Write an unnatural poem. Take the natural prompt and spin it around the other way. Maybe this means writing a poem about processed food, supernatural apparitions, or some other unnatural object.


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Here’s my attempt at a Natural and/or Unnatural poem:

“Practice Makes Perfect”

My son and I show up at the baseball
diamond with our new ball gloves to practice
the fundamentals of pitch and catch and
swinging the bat. Of course, he wants to bat

first, which is fine, I think, because I can
show him how good a pitcher I was when
I was his age. So I show him how to
stand in the batter’s box and strut out to

the mound before unleashing my first pitch
ten feet above his head or the next one
that travels behind his back or the next
dozen that all miss their mark. When I was

young, I could pick a location and strike
out batters all day. The act of throwing
was always so natural, but it was
natural because practice makes perfect.


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 used to spend hours practicing his pitches, but he really can’t hit the side of a barn nowadays. So it goes.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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107 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Feeding Ducks
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    With a long wistful sigh She said,
    “what could be more natural than
    feeding ducks at the local park?”

    Without missing a beat he replied,
    “a 12-gauge, a good retriever, and a ham
    sandwich by your side doesn‘t hurt neither.”

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. seingraham


    Mornings are a kaleidoscope
    of pills. On the same regime
    so long, I barely need to look,
    I sort and put each dose in nests:
    AM, AFT., PM, and EVE

    Several disorders necessitate a
    specific pharma -cocktail
    Orange and black to stay awake;
    large white keep me sane,
    amplified by tiny whites, to help.
    Long, skinny yellows to prevent
    esophogeal problems, and huge
    milk-white discs curb osteo pain.

    Night-time; a sleep disorder
    demands uninterrupted sleep.
    One butter yellow sphere
    and two tiny burnt sienna –
    all the same class – oddly enough,
    usually for schizophrenics
    – for me, sound sleep ensured.
    Plus, two small orange caps,
    a seizure med that also stops,
    tiny, night-time jerks.

    When I stop to think about this
    panoply of meds, sometimes I
    become impatient or frustrated
    at the time it takes to organise
    Then, I shake my head and remember –
    a whole two to four minutes daily?
    To sort that is – to take? Time is negligible

    More often,I remind myself just
    how grateful I am for all of them:
    these mood calmers, sleep ensurers,
    – literal life-savers –
    Things I can say about my cocktail,
    without a word of hyperbole,
    now that I’ve been level, and
    hospital-free for over a decade.

    I apologise for posting this here (it’s day 13’s – “routine something”) I haven’t been able to get it to post anywhere yet

  3. seingraham


    I remember the first time I dyed my hair
    Eleven years old – what did I know?
    I bought peroxide at the drugstore, snuck it
    upstairs to my bedroom and combed it
    through my dirty-blonde locks
    Next morning I came down to breakfast with
    streaky tiger-orange bits throughout my hair

    “How could you let her do that to her head?”
    the neighbours asked my Mom (her hair,
    already prematurely gray – I wonder why)
    “Let her?” She laughed. “She went to bed with
    her normal hair – woke up in the morning
    with stripes! Let her? Hah!”

  4. taylor graham


    Our 3rd grade class never planted a garden – pumpkin vines and sunflower skeletons still standing in November – in some off-hand corner too small for games. Kids still got recess way back then, to run and swing-for-stars and hang from bars of the jungle-gym. Always at risk for bunged elbows and scabbed knees. I’ve heard – in this modern day of lawsuits – studentss must be slow and careful, technified. There is a school, though – I walk my dog there – with a dirt path through a strip of oak-woods where the kids have made a village in the Miwok style. May they still roam at the edge of wild.

    behind the schoolyard
    one cedar-bark tepee stands
    letting wind sing through

  5. Valkyri

    It’s Only Natural…

    In the closeness we seek
    an unattainable, indescribable
    compression of souls.
    We are heavy with the desire
    to be connected.
    It’s only natural,
    this yearning for contact,
    blood on blood.
    We are selfish for fufillment.
    The power of our yearning
    is formidable, indeed.
    We break through all
    the furrows of concealments
    in order to triumph
    and heart-to-heart.
    The experience of struggle
    is overwhelmed by the
    sweet hug of another.
    In this way, each of us
    is transparent.
    We expose ourselves
    passing over the open channels
    of our urgent proximity.
    The connections are porous-
    flowing both into,
    and through, each
    and every other human being.
    Voids cannot exist.
    We triumph over barriers
    for the consolation
    and solace of friendship.
    Our experiences linger in
    the thoughts and feelings
    of others of our ilk.
    We are legends in the making.
    The intense vitality of
    our connections assure our survival.
    It is only natural.
    Our spirits see to that,
    with fervent enthusiasm.

  6. jgweber1221

    Midnight on the Atlantic Shore

    It is hard to tell the difference
    between sand and sea, sea
    and sky. Waves curl in languid
    motions because the tide
    has all night. It sees you
    and knows you and discards
    you. In just a few steps you would
    feel the sand give way, be
    submerged, as simple as one
    last breath. As if there is nothing
    on shore for you. No one arriving in
    your field of vision, arms
    outstretched. No one to stand
    at your back. As if you were
    exposed too long to this salt air
    and surrendered without knowing
    to the tide that creeps in at night.
    Standing on the shore of this expanse
    you feel a tug in your stomach,
    an exhilarating desire for the nothing
    and everything curling towards
    you. A fear that one night
    you may walk out to meet it.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    The Price of Freedom

    Gran frowns.
    “He seems to have
    an unnatural interest
    in destruction,”
    she says, picking up
    beheaded daffodils,
    broken limbs, porch chairs
    overturned, terrorized
    chickens squawking
    across the barnyard.

    They watch as little Henry
    slams a stick against
    the bee hives, his mother
    poised to scream at him
    to stop. “Oh, Honey,
    don’t squelch his natural
    inclinations,” Gran says,
    smiling. “Every child
    needs a long leash
    to learn what nature
    has to teach them.”

  8. Kayla


    Whispering trees
    They whisper against the breeze
    Home to the birds
    Thanks given through song filled words
    Grown for many years
    Sadly their wisdom we cannot hear
    Strong through winds and rain
    Though sometimes they fall their death is sane
    We slaughter for our own greed
    For them alive is what we need
    They seem to forgive
    For us they grow and live
    But when will we learn to love nature
    For trees are symbolic through their stature
    They represent what we do not know
    They show how beauty can grow
    One day soon they won’t forgive
    One day soon they’ll cease to live

  9. RJ Clarken

    Unnatural Hymn

    “Revenge is a fish best left in the igloo.” ~Henry Griffin, Curse of the Rolling Stone (2010)

    It’s actually a dish best served
    quite cold, but this way, you’re unnerved.
    An igloo for a mackerel? This brood-
    ing mood is wackerel.

    And that is just the point, my friend:
    to keep fish fresh until the end.
    Oh wait! That’s not the meaning of this bit.
    Permit my cleaning of,

    or rather up, this poem mess.
    Unnatural? I must confess
    I wrote this in a silly state. It’s not
    (I thought) a wee unstraight,

    unkempt, abnormal, full of fluff,
    unusual. Well, that’s enough.
    I think I’d better end this screed forthwith.
    The fifth is what I’ll plead.

    So, no revenge, ‘cause life’s too short.
    An igloo is for ice, not sport.
    And as for fish, just let ‘em swim. I’m done,
    dear one. Unnatural hymn.


  10. Bruce Niedt


    Supermoon rises this evening
    like a blood orange over the interstate.

    Supermoon follows us to our destination,
    pacing us on the highway.

    Supermoon insinuates itself into our dinner conversation,
    and afterward stares down on us

    through the chilly November evening,
    as we share some red wine around the fire pit.

    Supermoon is bright enough to cast shadows,
    to read by, to hunt werewolves.

    Supermoon has no special powers, other than its glare
    that blinds us to the terrible thing we’ve just done.

  11. DMK

    Arthritic rain
    by Dawn Kvernenes

    Rhythm on the skylight
    registers to the canine
    time to go to cloud nine
    me I ache all night

    no epsom salt today
    rain coming every day
    ran out during bath play
    buy some more if you may

    rain naturally compresses my spine
    epsom salt feels like a jack
    holding up my back
    arthritic dilemma whine

    rhythm on the skylight
    not like listening to rain on a canvas tent
    to the sandman my insomnia sent
    for now I ache all night

    frankincense dulls the pain
    would like to hire a masseuse
    with no money is not any use
    get me away from constant rain


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