2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

If we were running uphill for the first half of the challenge, we’d be running downhill from here on out. I know writing is a different process, but yeah, we’re getting through this month. Let’s keep it going!

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) System,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: “Weather System,” “Solar System,” “Writing System,” “Ecological System,” or any number of other takes on systems.


writers_digest_guide_to_poetic_forms_robert_lee_brewerMaster Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

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Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Blank System Poem:

“i don’t have a system”

i don’t have a system that works for me
at least i don’t have one that always works
but i don’t think you can blame the systems

i try sure but i can’t deny that i’m
consistently inconsistent with them
despite my best intentions i’m just not

a person who works well within systems
you can blame it on the rain my lousy
childhood or the ever changing market


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He spends about 5-10 minutes on each of his example poems, and sometimes it shows more than others.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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239 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

  1. LCaramanna

    Dewey Decimal System

    A journey by the numbers
    through library books galore
    leads readers to categories
    accessible to explore.

    Books organized by numbers
    consistent and true,
    the glory’s in the decimals,
    making topics easy to pursue.

    Begin, of course, at 000s
    with general information.
    Pour over periodicals or encyclopedias
    for factual clarification.

    Move right on up to 100s
    where philosophy sits refined.
    Psychology and logic
    test the workings of the mind.

    The books in the 200s
    have a religious point of view.
    On a shelf sits the Bible and
    Christian doctrine to wade through.

    300s hold social sciences,
    all topics quite extensive,
    economy, law, education, folklore,
    cause readers to be pensive.

    Spoken languages congregate,
    400s keep them all in line,
    English, French, Italian, Greek,
    Hello, bonjour, the pleasure is all mine.

    500s contain math and sciences,
    Physics, Earth, Life, Botanical,
    so much to read about,
    the knowledge is astronomical.

    Technology and applied sciences sit
    with 600s on their book spines,
    Medicine, engineering, agriculture,
    all topics a professor might assign.

    700 leads to books about the arts.
    where drawing, painting, photography,
    give avid readers super power
    to develop artistic ability.

    Literature owns the 800s
    here’s the place to curl up with an old book.
    And poetry lovers, don’t pass by,
    give the 821s a lingering look.

    Geography, History, Biography
    settle together in the 900 section,
    places, people, events that happened,
    all can be found in this collection.

    The Dewey Decimal System,
    an ingenious creation,
    classified library books
    and set the standard for organization.
    Lorraine Caramanna

  2. hohlwein

    Limbic System

    It is here that I know this thing beyond words

    That dimension
    are more like an onion, onions
    and less like a box
    or a box opening, flattening with time
    Four dimensions, as we know them: height, width, depth, change

    Here – the scent of the tiny, plucked jasmine
    is a skin of a world
    in which there are creatures
    procreating and shadows. from a light somewhere,
    next to a skin of something
    like water
    like memory
    and one, or many,
    transparent dimensions,
    a millimeters distance from each other
    that ripple, each, with laughter
    with the physical tremor
    that comes
    with a kiss.

  3. RJ Clarken

    Equations System

    A system of equations is
    a puzzle for this non-math whiz.
    In solving for the unknowns, I
    have no clue what will satisfy.

    No matter whether linear
    or not, I’d need a djinni or
    some magic intervention to
    just solve for x or y or q.

    But ‘they’ insist there’s value in
    the matrices. O such chagrin!
    Blast Gaussian! I hate to graph!
    And substitution? What a laugh.

    There’s madness in each method, right?
    But no way to just expedite
    the ways to answer. Think I’ve missed ‘em.
    Lord, I loathe equations system.


  4. DMK

    prayer system

    cast my cares
    cast your cares
    throw cares at him
    like a hot rock
    prayers for today
    prayers for tomorrow
    prayers for relief of all
    the world’s sorrow
    prayers to become part of
    the healthy marrow

  5. Michelle Murrish

    Nightly System

    First the front door
    Then the back
    Open the back door because I forgot to lock the screen
    Is the bathroom window closed? Check
    Now all the other windows too
    Was the back screen really locked? Check
    Then the back door
    Last the front

  6. Linda Hatton

    Provisions for a Disorganized System

    In my pantry where cans
    of green beans dated
    1989 have been kicked
          into place
    underneath dried lentils
    and other leg-
    and held prisoner
    by some vile,
    salad dressing, and questionable
    soda crackers
    in a box with one torn corner,
    you’d agree that I never
    managed to become
    I am not
    part of the living

  7. ToniBee3

    natural hair care system

    beauty and love and rhythmic care of…

    cucabugs, naps, and snaps in wraps
    sky-high ponytails; twists in gel
    flocculent whirls; coarse curls and swirls
    roller-set fros, locs, braids, and cornrows

    is critical, spiritual, and political…

    at times insane and hard to maintain
    the diverse and brittle… part it down in the middle
    scalp-crust on chronic… needs some aloe and tonic
    barely there or long… finger-comb the dome

    explore in the toil… tightly coiled in oils…

    jojoba and tea tree and sage from the pantry
    honey-myrrh moussed… hang lush and loose
    no need for dryer-blow… just sport the wash and go
    in whatever style whether wild or mild

    mastered hair sessions are artistic expressions…

    celebrating shapes, textures, and napes
    asymmetrical lines that can’t be defined
    the movement and prance-dance that beckons a second glance
    a natural system that encompasses freedom

    1. ppfautsch24

      Beauty System
      At my vanity early morning
      putting on a good face.
      Lips pouted naturally from
      my diverse heritage.
      Brown butter skin, almond shaped eyes
      contoured cheekbones from my
      Big Momma’s Native American side.
      What do I need to take off at the bewitching
      hour when all the makeup holds no candle
      to my natural beauty; it only hides.
      My family beauty system comprised.
      By Pamelap

  8. Catherine Conley

    Fool-proof Filing System

    Each cog in the machine must
    Fit smoothly and cleanly into the next
    Or the gear grinds to a halt.
    So too the desk must be a clean space
    With files neatly organized and in reach,
    Or the work grinds to a halt.
    Each item has its place, each file its purpose,
    Neatly labeled, well thought out
    To find again on a moment’s notice
    A fool-proof system with one draw back:
    I am no fool.


  9. Connie Peters

    Religious System

    Religion is a systematic way
    to approach God
    like a vending machine.
    You put the change in and hope
    for the blessings to pop out.

    Christianity is an adoption
    into a wonderful family
    that brings change and blessing.

  10. Connie Peters

    Security System

    My daughter has a security system
    that makes me feel insecure.
    I never can remember the number
    or what buttons to push
    and I don’t know if I can leave the house
    without setting off the alarm
    fetching and annoying police
    and costing an extra fifty.

  11. Connie Peters


    S o you have a routine, So
    Y ou have a procedure
    S o you have a logic you can’t shake. Your
    T echnique of living gets old. You
    E xpect more in a day, but practice makes perfect. There is a
    M ethod to this madness. Having a system makes sense.