2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Today is a special day for so many reasons, but one in the poetic realm is that today is International Haiku Poetry Day. It always falls on April 17, because of National Poetry Month and the 17 syllables in many (though not all) haiku. This year is extra special because the year is ’17 as well.

For today’s prompt, write a dance poem. The poem can be about the process of dancing or just somehow incorporate or reference dancing in the poem. There are so many styles of dance out there and even more occasions for dancing: school dances, daddy-daughter dances, wedding dances, people who dance when they are happy, people who dance when they are sad, people who dance in large groups, and those who dance alone. And, of course, there are so who just won’t dance for anything.


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Here’s my attempt at a Dance Poem:

“on dancing”

dancing is dancing
whether beneath the moon

in a summer swoon
in june & perchance

as part of a romance
that began with a glance

& ends with a dance
a soft cheek on shoulder

slowly getting older
& bolder dance

into the dark public park
where others avoid

you make your mark
as if on a lark

& back to the streets
on twitterpated feet

under electric lights
& feeling all right

& this is your night
for taking sweet chances

on an innocent romance
that ends with a dance


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 is very good at dancing when no one is watching, just as he’s a very talented singer when no one is listening.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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459 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

  1. Linda Hatton

    No Rest at the Rest Home

    For eighty-five years,
    he showed his contempt
    at those on dance floors,
    until confined to his couch
    where he devoured
    hour after hour of
    So You Think
    You Can Dance

    The series came to a close,
    leaving him inspired
    to do the pony
    and the pogo,
    but everyone else
    reflected he was near
    his own end, so he’d lost
    his chance
    to boogie and bop.

    To prove them all wrong,
    he strained, he stretched,
    he swayed side to side
    in his de-
                     composing sofa bed.
    He then took my hand,
    begged me dance,
    do the hitch hike
    and the hornpipe,
    and then
    of universal peace
    by his side,
    until he

  2. Imelda


    Wallflowers watch from the shadows
    while other girls dance the night away
    wondering who to choose among the young men
    lining up to dance with them

    I was one
    and wondered how it would be like being free
    of my father’s eagle eyes
    Would I be the belle of the ball
    outshining all the other girls in attendance

    My chance came one night
    when my father was not around
    No beeline formed before me
    but for an awkward young man, with gel-glued hair
    I would have made a hole on my seat

    I should have declined the invitation
    than endure holding his sweaty palms
    and the ache in my arms resisting his efforts
    to pull me closer to him
    How I longed for the shadows
    and watch other girls dance the night away.

  3. Domino

    Dancing with a Bully

    A fraught moment, full of fear. Silence. Tension in the air.
    Anger brewing, scent of beer, children cringing from his stare.
    Waiting for the shoe to drop, the strain becomes unbearable.
    He approaches, whispers stop. His expression’s terrible.
    Then he grins and cracks a joke, relief sweeps through the household.
    Til the next time rage invokes, and the fresh new hell unfolds.


    If you are in an abusive relationship, there is help. Please be careful getting that help.

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  4. Maria Grace


    When he played their song
    At the first notes of “Cherish”
    She came out shyly,

    Small and expectant.
    He swept her up in his arms,
    They dance together

    Daddy and daughter
    in each other’s arms, singing
    “Cherish is the word”…

  5. patsyd

    Ask Her To Dance

    “Message to my feet-are you feeling the beat?
    I’m chained to my seat

    Help me move-and ask her to dance.

    I am the lonely wallflower-trying to summon the power
    Desperate to wow her

    I must move- and ask her to dance.

    Struggling to smile- should I beg or beguile?
    Each step towards her will seem like a mile

    Help me to move- and ask her to dance

    Suddenly my body begins to sway-I hear myself say
    “Will you do me the honor- while I silently pray

    Lift me up- let me move- I will ask her to dance.

    The music swells- my inner voice yells
    Hallelujah young man- I’m ringing “dem” bells

    Good move- she accepted- now dance.

  6. briehuling

    como se dice, will you be my emergency contact forever and ever?
    optional titles:
    How Old is too old for Dad to be Emergency Contact?
    Emergency Contact—Burning Man, Set this Shit on Fire!
    Old Maid and Her Ninja Cat
    (a found poem)

    Someone who knows
    you well. It could be
    a family member, friend or neighbor.
    Some people automatically
    put down their parents’ contact
    information because these are the people
    who know them best or, simply,
    because they always have.
    But if your parents are your default
    contacts, you may want to revisit
    that every so often.

    In some cases, adult children
    have removed their parents
    as their emergency contacts
    because they worry
    that their parents may not react
    well to receiving emergency
    news over the phone
    from a stranger, or
    are physically,
    or emotionally unable
    to coordinate care for another person.

    the end.

    Brie Huling

  7. Sarah Metzler

    dance step diagram—
    the newbie
    tears it up

    swan lake—
    the length
    of her neck

    she gets picked
    by a “friend-friend”—

    the warmth
    of a stranger—
    first dance

    he shakes
    his swizzle stick—

    two shadows
    become one—

    so cold
    I do the Hokey-Pokey—
    spring fed shower

  8. grcran


    prance and step
    a happy dance
    a jump a hop a roll

    bounce and stop
    you do enhance
    a run a walk a stroll

    pounce and grab
    a cat attack
    surprise wide eyes watch out

    won’t be drab
    you will go back
    a lively kid no doubt

    gpr crane

  9. Marie Elena


    1. JRSimmang’s “Instrumentals Don’t Distract” is short and packed to the full with mood, endearment, sensuality, and poetic goodness. Oh my, yes.
    2. PowerUnit’s Haiku 17417. This is so well written it leads me to believe the number indicates this poet has had 17,416 practices to get here. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so much story/personality/emotion packed into 17 syllables … and there is no story told, really. Haiku perfection, this. WOW.
    3. Nancy Posey’s “Valentine Date Night” made me laugh out loud, sitting here all by myself. Can’t beat it!
    4. cobanionsmith’s haiku string (17). I’d like to pull out favorite haiku, favorite lines, or even favorite phrases. But I’d have to copy/paste the whole doggone string. Well done.
    5. Tracy Davidson’s “Wallflower” is simply sweet and tender, and leaves one with a good feeling about the world.

      1. Marie Elena

        It’s hard to go wrong out here. 😉 So much talent. Including you, Mary! And it’s all a matter of opinion, mostly. What appeals to me, and what gets my heart pumping may be different for someone else. Much like music.

        1. MET

          and that is so true…. and just like in music I have a very eclectic taste in both to what I read and listen.. usually something that just grabs me…at a particular moment… well I need to dance off to bed.. I am reading these days… Pride and Prejudice… but it is annotated with pages and pages of notes.. and I am loving it and how some words have really changed in meaning… absolutely fascinating…

          1. MET

            the book on trees I read when I go out to eat… since I usually go alone.. I have a good book in my car to read… when I eat out… my face book crowd will a bit of my take on these both when I finish them…

  10. MaggieIrene

    Because this is international haiku day…a senryu <3

    I hope you’ll dance, though
    two hearts can feel loves rhythm,
    lying side by side.

    Senryu for dancing ‘neath the sheets

    Maggie Westvold

  11. E.C

    That day the world danced

    It was the look in his eyes and the flutter in my heart
    There was sun in the sky
    There was grass beneath my feet
    My fingers curled around his hair
    It was the look on his face
    No one could convince me that the world was not dancing under my feet
    We were a picture shot with raw love

  12. J.lynn Sheridan

    Dancing Alone for the First Time

    Every time you trip along a country road
    warmed by your torn sneakers, dusting up gravel—

    ears buttoned up with too much/too little sleep,
    gawking at nothing serious, your eyes too soft
    with hallowed tears, humming some old hymn for comfort,
    as you wander onto the two roads diverging—

    Every time you drift in the dark,
    allow yourself a little mischief—

    Wrap your arms around the grief
    and dance until you love yourself

    for the first time.

  13. trishwrites

    Waving Good Bye As She Travels the World

    There’s a hum at the gate
    And my breath catches
    And your smile is both
    Innocent and wise
    We wave you off
    to follow
    Your wandering heart
    You flash one last
    pirate smile
    good bye

    We’ll count stars
    Full moons
    Cirrus strands
    Trace the shape of worry
    Waiting until you dance back home

  14. MaggieIrene

    (Look At Us) Having An (Unchained-Melody) Moment

    two hearts can hold one another
    waltz in perfect rhythm and never
    step on the dance floor they danced
    the night they met years later she
    understood he was only making all the
    right moves trying anyway
    neither was known to leave a bar with
    someone just met did not ask til he had to
    (was it the black light made her white
    sweater glow?) said yes after a mutual
    friend assured she’d be safe with him
    (was it true what her mother said
    about red hair?) though no band will
    play at their golden anniversary party
    they’ll both hear strains
    from those melodies:
    God speed your love to me
    still crazy over you

    Maggie Westvold

  15. Nancy Posey

    Wedding Dancing

    The wedding guests, slow to move from their seats,
    looked around, anxious for someone to dance, anyone.
    They knew, as the dee jay did, when the Electric Slide
    played and all the girls, their mothers, their aunts
    would hit the dance floor, a few coaxing husbands
    or boyfriends fueled by lust or beer to join them.

    The groom had survived the first dance, obviously
    practiced maybe even choreographed. Her father
    had invited other fathers with their daughters to join
    him and his little girl the bride for a easy slow dance.

    His mother, ignoring the rule for mothers of the groom—
    wear beige and shut up— had worn her traditional sari
    and not to be outdone, had summoned her family
    to help her teach the bride’s family their dance,
    the one they called “light bulb, door knob.” Suddenly,
    everyone was on e the floor—toddlers and grandpas,
    the drunk and the sober, Bollywood in the Deep South,
    no multicultural directives needed. They just danced.

  16. Jane Shlensky

    Yay! It worked! One more because the last one was so depressing.

    Tango Me

    you always lead
    won’t take a backward turn
    learn a new way’s sway

    but since two tango
    better than one, bending me
    to your will is my will

    music guides us both
    winds us up step by step
    until we don’t think

    push pull knees tease
    lead or being led only
    eyes and sweep of breath

  17. Bruce Niedt

    I almost felt like a “cheater” posting only a few haiku today, so here’s something longer:

    Couch Nocturne

    This spring day is drawing its curtain,
    and a chilly breeze moves in to replace
    the setting sun. Our dogwood is blooming
    early this year, and the neighbor kids
    are still playing street hockey.
    You asked me half an hour ago
    to take a walk with you, but now
    you’ve nodded in front of Dancing with the Stars,
    your head lolling to the left.
    The sun has closed up shop, stars
    are beginning to poke through the purple,
    and you are snoring on the couch.
    Another hard day. Maybe we are walking
    through the neighborhood in your dreams,
    talking about grandchildren, home renovations,
    or how we need to get more exercise.
    I don’t have the heart to wake you.
    We’ll get another chance tomorrow.
    But for now, they’re doing the tango on TV,
    and that couch looks so damned comfortable.

  18. Jane Shlensky

    I’ll try one on my phone


    We dance away
    the sadness like mayflies
    frenzied before the fall

    the moment’s pulse leaps
    cries and sighs, sweat and tears
    mingling loss and gain

    until we don’t know
    past from present, joy from pain,
    dancing on a razor’s edge.

  19. Danielle Robinson

    Black Swan

    Time to raise the bar.
    Point my shoes in faith.
    Pull and tame the
    curtains to the left,
    out of fear.
    Balance the stage of America
    for the welcoming of my
    invisible wings of courage
    and moonlight skin that
    bare stars in its pores.

    Let the symphony synchronize
    with the thumps from my
    chest as I classically walk
    this life, rounded and strong.
    With the world keeping me
    on my tippy-toes,
    let me turn piques on
    this sphere of emptiness
    without falling or
    losing elegance while
    spinning and splitting
    from the history
    of bondage
    into leaping liberty
    with grace in
    my tulle of life.

    —Danielle C. Robinson

  20. Jane Shlensky

    Friends, I haven’t forsaken you this challenge but I’m experiencing more annoying challenges now. I’ve been hacked twice in ’17 on two different computers. This time erased the entire C drive of documents, pictures, all recent work, everything. I’m not defeated but I’m damned discouraged and just sort of stunned. Like in a house fire, I can’t remember everything that was there. I rely on my longhand versions of work and will be trying to post my daily contributions later in the week. I’m sorry I’ve been unable to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading you on my phone. Robert throws a great challenge every year. My best to you all as we write toward May.

    1. MET

      Oh I hate that for you… last August my computer died and fortunately I was able to copy all my writings before it totally died… I took mine to a computer place and they were able to retrieve some of my work and pictures…

  21. Rie Sheridan Rose

    Shall We Dance?

    “Shall we dance?”
    you said–
    holding out your hand–
    and I took it.

    We whirled,
    like snowflakes
    in a gentle breeze…

    One bright pair
    in a maelstrom
    of butterflies
    waltzing in time.

    All night we danced…
    and then I awoke–
    with only the memory
    of three-quarter time.

  22. CameronYee

    The Dive

    What is it that keeps us alive
    When we’re at the top of a tall building
    With just a ledge between us and the wild winds?

    Have you ever felt yourself leaning forward
    Your heels lifting off the ground, arches stretched
    Until you’re on your toes like a dancer,
    Center of balance shifting
    Past your knees,
    Arms in fifth position en haut,
    Fingers plucked and lifted by swirls of air,
    And the silence in your ears sounds like music?

    And then you stumble
    Into that concrete barrier
    That was built to save us from ourselves.

    Time resumes,
    All grace gone,
    You back away
    From the wall, from the wind, from that moment
    Of suspension
    When you imagined yourself a swan.

  23. Jerry Walraven

    Here are Greta’s poems for the last 4 prompts:
    “One Day”
    by Greta Walraven

    Feb. 8th at 11:57pm
    I was exactly ten
    Only once this will happen
    For one minute only I will celebrate
    My tenth birthday

    by Greta Walraven

    Hop pop
    Tip tap
    Dancing all around
    Dancing with my dad for fun
    Dancing on the stage
    And dancing on the floor

    “Solar System”
    by Greta Walraven

    Pretty planets
    All about
    Stars and comets
    Not really knowing
    What is out there but there is
    So much to explore

    “Time Waits For No One”
    by Greta Walraven

    In one straight line it goes
    On and on it flows
    Never stops for you to go back
    Sadly sometimes losing track
    But you can’t go back
    In one straight line it goes

  24. Alphabet Architect

    Three haikus for today, the first one actually fitting today’s theme…


    Smooth three-four time steps
    Left right close back together
    Whisk weave rise and fall

    Mixed Emotions

    Shining like silver
    Raindrop gems glisten on grass
    Too merry too pert

    My April Haiku

    Utter poetry
    Delightful lyrical belle
    Sweet granddaughter Claire

    (Today -Haiku Poetry Day -is also her birthday)

  25. kimberleetm

    Pear Tree Promenade

    Cowbirds, swing your girl to the right
    seeds are scattered, check your sights.
    If she cackles, feed her well
    as the chorus starts to swell.
    Birdsong sounding all about
    as the blue jays start to shout.
    Squirrels corner all the feed.
    C’mon boys, get ‘em treed!

  26. Uma

    In your arms
    I hear the music
    even in the silence

    your breath sings
    in my hair

    the beat of
    your heart
    serenades me

    I hold a song
    on my lips

    it echoes
    in the stillness
    as we sway

    to a melody
    that plays
    just for us

  27. Missy

    Prom Queen

    You got to wear the sash and crown.
    Looked like the real thing in your gown.
    Was it everything that you’d dreamed
    BHS ’93 prom queen?

    Everyone knew that you would win
    with your long hair and your light skin.
    You belonged in a magazine
    BHS ’93 prom queen.

    When you danced you floated by us,
    the regular girls, the jealous.
    Who knew you’d be a pregnant teen
    BHS ’93 prom queen?

    Our mamas said that you were fast
    but we just shook our heads and laughed.
    We wanted to be you, nah mean
    BHS ’93 prom queen?

  28. MET

    Mikhail Baryshnikov

    I remember when he defected, and
    Dreamed of seeing him dance.
    Then one November
    He was on Magazine cover.
    It was pure perfection.
    I hinted that was the perfect Christmas gift,
    Took twenty years but a niece obliged,
    And in a restaurant, I screamed
    The request had been granted.

    A friend of mine
    Had heard this story, and
    Said to me, “I can do one better.”
    She sent to me his autograph,
    And made my heart dance
    To touch indirectly a master.

    So, to my niece Kelly, and
    My friend Paula
    This poem is just for you
    For making an old gal happy.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 17, 2017

  29. MET

    The Tango

    I danced the first steps I walked
    Barefoot across the floor.
    Desperately wanted dance ballet,

    I taught myself steps from a book,
    Found jazz and let the moves slide over me
    At the end of the day, before I slept,
    I could be found dancing…

    I traveled to places
    No one knew I had gone
    To escape the reality.
    Once I found a little jazz club
    Down on the waterfront…
    I danced to the music
    Smokey and sweet
    Until the sunlight came calling.
    I remember the kiss
    From a man, I didn’t know,
    But could dance like a sinner
    We parted, as
    The sunlight sliced the water edge and
    The smells of the morning sea
    Mingled with the sweat of a tango.

    It wasn’t love that I found;
    Just someone who probably like me
    First steps were a dance
    Barefoot on the floor.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 17, 2017

  30. Beth Henary Watson

    Dance baby

    With you we will
    Dance dance dance
    Til you spin yourself
    Into a tangent
    And forget what
    We were doing;
    Then tomorrow
    We’ll start the party
    Up again–shake
    Shake shake, twist
    And groove with
    All our hearts until
    That too-soon day
    When you’re just
    To cool to dance
    With old mom and dad.

  31. DaveIst

    They’ve always been dancing
    Together in harmony.
    They’ve always been moving
    Working in unity.
    They’ve always been sharing
    Receiving and giving life.
    They’ve always been loving
    Pure without any strife.

    As they danced they made the stars.
    As they danced their words made worlds.
    As they danced their breath brought life.
    As they danced they brought colour and joy.

    Their dance is reflected in what they made.
    Their dance is echoed by family and friends.
    Their dance is displayed in love and marriage.
    Their dance is mirrored in humble service.

    So close they dance
    Its been declared one.
    But approaching the dance
    Its seen to be three.

    The dance is not closed
    Nor is it ended
    And you are invited
    Come be united.

  32. Connie Peters

    Dancing with the Stars

    On a Caribbean cruise,
    my daughter and I
    danced with the stars.

    We looked like two
    of the three stooges,
    but we had fun.

    We had our picture taken
    with Florence Henderson
    before her star went out.

  33. Connie Peters

    Break Down
    By Lori Peters

    Filed under “kids these days”
    Expression of tumultuous triumph
    Acrobatics for a sports-led generation
    Translating a new standard of discipline and creativity
    To keep the streets off the kids