2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

For today’s prompt, write a memory poem. Pick a memory, any memory. It can be a significant event, but sometimes there are beautiful insignificant moments (that ironically are very significant–quite the paradox). Mine your memories to come up with something good today.


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Here’s my attempt at a Memory Poem:

“where are you now”

the day began with a race through the woods
& ended in a random parking lot near the mall

he joked as the incense smoke filled his van
& she shared what she loved & hated & i loved

them both & still don’t know how we got there
or how we got home but that’s how it was

in those days one surprise after another &
feeling like it would never end or begin

every day an adventure that was destined
to end with him laying across the tracks

& she disappeared somewhere in texas
like smoke that drifts out a window


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 loved his high school days and friends.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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395 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. BDP

    Sijo #19: Breakfast

    Boots clicking, sleeves rolled up, vest hanging loose: you stride to the kitchen,
    pull the curtains shut. Take your seat. Apparition at the table,
    come and visit often: east sun blushing the cloth, spoons clacking on bowls.

  2. SharylAnn


    So much of our personal time
    growing up was laced with the
    wonderful smells and tastes of
    favorite foods …

    Last night on my walk smells
    wafting from windows opened
    to the cool Sprig breezes
    reminded me of childhood suppers

    Someone was frying steak or perhaps
    hamburgers with garlic
    That wonderful small awakened not only
    my senses, taste buds, but my memories

    So many fried meals:
    pork chops
    always catfish on Friday night
    Graced with fried potatoes or
    mashed with gravy
    sliced tomatoes
    with catfish always salad or coleslaw
    The Southern Staples

    Food is memory
    Not only tastes and smells
    but traditions …
    holidays …
    birthdays …
    all based on certain
    favorite foods

    Wonderful memories
    flashing from an open window
    As I turned for home I left
    those memories behind
    for my waiting salad

    Copyright © 2017 Sharyl
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Sharyl

  3. hohlwein

    Experiment #16

    I once was a budding scientist.
    Setting the table was my daily chore,
    one which I generally enjoyed,
    but it took time from my experiments.

    I got the placemats
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    And the plates
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    I folded the paper napkins
    then distributed them
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    And then I noticed with renewed interest the centerpiece
    – a high, reaching bouquet of fluffy pampas grass
    arching over the length of the table
    (very much my father’s aesthetic)

    How long, I wondered, would it take
    for it to catch fire?

    I found a box of matches and in a second,
    (or I would say 1.75 seconds), the entire table
    was engulfed in flame.

    It is a good thing I have devoted my life to the arts.

  4. DMK

    regular cold not the flu
    grandma’s house for the day
    flu I was left to be watched
    with ginger ale or 7 UP
    with the t.v. set
    rather be running errands
    or cooking with grandmother
    or art like painting rocks into a pickle
    other than that
    would rather be in school

  5. Valkyri

    catching up after moving. old place cockroaches, new place MICE. thank god for cats!

    second marriage

    second marriage
    no money
    town hall
    grey dress
    homemade everything
    hot glue
    tiara veil
    coral roses
    real bouquet
    one witness
    highway construction
    right outside
    no honeymoon
    drunk husband
    played playstation
    all night
    with witness
    should’ve known
    never got
    any better
    only worse

  6. J.lynn Sheridan


    Once I was a daughter
    with infinite innocent sleep
    playing dress-up and walking on air

    until the day I woke up.

    Then I did what every poet did—
    composed untamed rhyme
    from prayer to prayer

    like a solitaire ceremony,
    rewriting my memory
    without knowing why.

  7. cari.resnick07

    My First Childhood Home

    Orange couch with a plastic cover.
    Gaudy lamps on glass end tables.
    Needlepoint grandfather clock hung on the wall.
    Saturday morning chocolate milk with a straw.
    Learning to sort and count change at the kitchen table.
    Small memories that could fit in a box,
    Memories of my first childhood home.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Golden Memories
      The memories of seeing you my very first time,
      as it and I stood still, taken in by the memory of your face and your suave move across the room.
      The memories stay with me through our talks of romance and tender love making whenever we were out together or alone at home.
      The memories are a part of me that keep me warm in the winter, refreshed in the spring, shaded in the summer, and wrapped in the golden hues of the fall.
      By Pamelap

  8. Linda Hatton

    Hiding out in the Open

    She hoofed it up the front steps,
    but I must have appeared
    as a statue to her, immobile
    in the burgundy chair,
    staring her direction
    out the picture window.
    She cradled an iPad,
    peered into the window
    above me, then glanced
    around for a sign of life,
    finding none.
    She rang the bell,
    but I’d been instructed
    not to open the door
    to strangers. When
    she got no answer,
    she investigated the space
    a little more—and then
    pulled her hair clip off,
    shook her tresses down
    around her shoulders,
    fluffed some tufts,
    admired her reflection.
    Then she headed
    on her way
    to another attempt
    at human contact—
    hers or someone else’s—
    at the next stop.

  9. ToniBee3

    not ready yet

    is done”
    et cetera
    out of my
    this absence
    is my guardian
    from what
    cannot be
    at this time…
    not until
    i’m ready

  10. saymwaHolly


    There never really
    was a then; it was only
    a series of nows.

    (Sorry, I got stuck in a memory loop of a New Yorker cartoon I love: “Of course, that was many years ago, but at the time it seemed like the present.”)

  11. Janutty1111


    Around your eyes the flesh crinkles
    as your ancient car flies by the past.
    New structures, old ones gone
    though street names remain.

    My eyes more blurred, more moist.
    Your hands have knobs, mine spots.
    How many dogs ago were we here?
    Now: the bad neighbors gone

    and the new man there now,
    his eyebrows a question. Next door,
    the crumbling crack house sold
    to a young couple, both up on the roof

    with tar and shingles. Where we were
    gone now. But the way you were,
    to act, to take the lead
    decisive with compassion, still there.

  12. drwasy


    When you reach my age
    memory blurs with now
    and feels more real, alive,
    than washing dishes
    or straightening sheets
    or eating a simple bowl
    of garden lettuces.

    Memory crowds dreams
    convolutes truth with
    desire for what happened
    or did not; memory
    makes stories richer,
    sadder, as alive as
    those I write on paper.

  13. Laura T

    On The Map

    It was the trip of a life time
    Around the country in 28 days
    Each child got to pick two stops
    Given the giant map book
    With the route highlighted
    They scoured the red and blue
    Tiny words along the way
    No knowing what is would really be
    No internet to divulge all it’s knowledge
    One circled the impressive sounding town
    Sure it would be a real big deal
    As we rolled into town in our
    Dusty minivan, I wondered
    What we’d do with the rest of the day
    As the truest cowboy I ever did meet
    Greeted us with a true, “Howdy folks”
    I watched the west come to life
    In bullet holes from drunks shooting at flys
    Long wooden tables that doubled
    As restaurant and court house
    And donkeys happy they don’t work as hard
    As their ancestors had
    And in the eyes of my children
    Who had a new hero in the story teller
    That let them, no,
    Encouraged them to touch the realness
    Of the things he recounted
    I still have that map of
    A trip filled with memories
    Shiny, new amusement parks,
    The grandest of national sites,
    But the rusty nails I let them buy for $1
    Remain the children’s prized piece of
    The national treasure of
    Shakespeare’s Ghost Town, NM

  14. pamelaraw

    The Times I Got Stood Up

    He said
    Meet me in town
    So I wear a cute dress
    And wait and wait and wait and wait
    And wait


    I ask
    Him to a game
    Agree to meet at six….
    A friend rescues me from being


    My blind
    Date doesn’t show
    The waitstaff comps my meal
    But it doesn’t make me feel much

  15. Imelda


    A book
    cloth bound
    Palo Alto California
    “My Bible Stories”
    the sole treasure
    of my 6 year-old self
    went to school
    with me
    to show the other kids
    I had something
    they did not have.

    in a glass bottle
    I also carried in my bag
    but one day
    leaked out
    and soaked everything
    I had.

  16. Domino


    Okinawa could be puzzling. Like when
    the hotel elevator stopped between
    floors, swaying, shuddering, then moving down
    again. Earthquakes happen all the time, we’re
    told. We always take the stairs after that.
    Trucks travel the streets, playing merry tunes,
    not selling ice cream, but picking up trash.
    The loudspeaker-voice saying: Yamuimo?
    Selling hot yams from the back of the truck.

  17. Alphabet Architect

    Recalling a Send-Off

    When time came
    To set up the hospice bed
    We willingly but reluctantly
    Went to help rearrange
    Furniture and such.
    One glimpse of our friend
    And we knew it could be our last,
    But of course we didn’t say so…
    His wife knew too, but saying
    It aloud might make it true, so
    We all pretended it was
    Just another visit.
    So bloated, pale –hard not to
    Look away so as not
    To see the inevitable.
    He always tried to put us at ease,
    Make us forget what he was facing.
    But this day his eyes said
    What his lips denied—
    No twinkle, only pain. He was
    Restless and ready to
    Move on; just moving into bed
    Spent him completely. His breaths
    Came uneven, ragged.
    We held onto him and prayed –
    What? I can’t recall.
    But he promised to pray for us.
    How incredibly humbling!
    The next day we got on one plane,
    Then two more. Sometime as we
    Traveled to our mission in Africa
    Steve completed his mission on earth
    And arrived at his final destination –Heaven.

  18. timphilippart

    Five Midnight Memories

    One last memory
    wrapped in punctuated breath
    inhaling darkness

    Smelling memories 
    leads to all the best places
    once you catch the scent

    Select memories
    suited for all occasions,
    break glass if needed

    Do not worry friend
    it is just a memory
    and other big lies

    Good ones don’t linger,
    bad reluctantly leave
    recollection’s pain.

  19. EllaT

    Tempus breve est.

    this evening
    I came upon a grove of cherry trees in full bloom
    branches effloresce
    a gentle wind
    brushing petals into the air
    fragrance swirling
    sun nudging through the day’s drizzling clouds
    as I slowly inhaled

  20. pcm

    Sweet Indulgences of Summer

    Days that began
    with turtle doves cooing
    a metal bucket rattling
    on cobblestones in the courtyard
    far below my bedroom window
    the delicious feeling
    of not having to get up and go
    to lycée as I disappeared into a novel.

  21. Ivy_Lane

    “When We Turned on the Sky”

    We sucked our straws
    to the bottom
    of a hurricane glass
    not knowing
    it would swirl the wind
    into a tropical storm

    Give the waves
    to roll up passion
    and the sky
    to pour wet kisses
    from black
    cashmere clouds

    We were gonna
    get drenched
    hoped for it
    craved it
    almost begged
    the rain to shiver
    down our shoulders
    and remind us to run
    through the sand

  22. Ivy_Lane

    Your Memories

    You tell
    the story
    the same way
    every time

    & I forget
    it happened
    before I
    was born

    That your
    doesn’t belong
    to me

    I don’t
    belong to
    you either

  23. Danielle Robinson

    In Loving Memory II

    They only talk about you in February.
    28 days is not enough for me.
    I celebrate Juneteenth every day
    with Fredrick Douglas’
    struggle and progress
    stamped to my soul.

    Every time I want
    to make a quick
    left or right,
    I think of Garret Morgan.

    Every time I join hands
    with all mankind
    and sing peace,
    King’s dream awakes like
    a reborn, concrete rose.

    Every time I
    sit-in a restaurant,
    I really owe C.O.R.E
    my gratuity
    and southern hospitality.

    Every time I march for
    equality, justice, and peace;
    the NAACP and Black Lives Matter
    stand like steel magnolias,
    revolutionizing minds like X
    and spiritually encouraging souls
    like old negro hymns
    while televising the truth.

    In doctoral regalia—
    let me twirl and honor
    Dr. Ruth Ella Moore.
    When I witness
    a medical intervention,
    let me dedicate my award
    to Dr. Patricia Bath.

    In every moment
    of being a woman,
    I’ll say,
    “I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    that’s me.” 1

    Over a mic,
    I’ll tap twice for
    James West and
    try not to let my
    voice quiver.

    When I feel my
    dreams deferring,
    I’ll jazz up my life
    with Langston Hughes
    and sing Nina Simone’s
    Young, Gifted, and Black. 2

    When I feel chained,
    I’ll unravel fear and flee
    like Harriet Tubman
    to not become
    A Raisin in the Sun. 3

    When I’m ready to return home,
    I’ll thank Marcus Garvey
    for advising me in advance.

    But if I choose to stay,
    I know that I must lead
    like Sojouner Truth
    and remain unbought and
    unbossed like Shirley Chisholm. 4

    —Danielle C. Robinson

    1 Angelou, M. (1995). Phenomenal Woman: Four poems celebrating women. New
    York City, NY: Random House.
    2 Weldon, Irivine. (1969). Young, gifted, and black. [Recorded by Nina Simone]. On
    Black Gold. New York City, NY: RCA Records (1970).
    3 Hansberry, L. (1961). A raisin in the sun. Chicago, IL.
    4 Chisholm, S. (1970). Unbought and unbossed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin

  24. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    I woke up this morning with a memory,
    You and I running downhill in the rain.
    How long ago? We were so young and free.
    I woke up this morning with a memory,
    I could almost feel you right next to me,
    I smiled at the picture all over again.
    I woke up this morning with a memory,
    You and I running downhill in the rain.

  25. Austin Hill

    PAD #19

    The tapestry of a life
    woven in the colors of experiences
    each a defining moment in time
    Days, weeks, months and years
    reflected in the hues of color
    detailed in seconds, minutes and hours
    some major, others minor
    all contribute to the beauty of the whole

    The tapestry nears completion
    stance once narrow,
    now broad
    view once close-up,
    now wide

    the importance of
    thin, black threads
    sorrowful memories
    framing our joys

    © April 2017 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  26. candy

    Our Late Dad

    always late
    we were always late
    late for parties
    late for church (I didn’t mind)
    late for Santa at his lodge meeting
    (I minded a little)
    we knew we’d be late
    and we loved our dad for
    his easy going manner
    but when all the other girls
    in my cabin had been picked
    up after a week at church camp
    I was left, waiting alone
    he was late
    I cried

  27. Marie Elena


    1. Sarah Metzler’s ponytail piece holds a world of memory and emotion in only eight words. EIGHT! SUPER well done, Sarah!
    2. serenevannoy’s untitled poem “It was twenty five years ago” broke something loose in me, and I sobbed. Sobering, powerful, emotive piece.
    3. carolemt87’s “Fruit Cellar” is so gorgeously descriptive. The details filled with so much memory and emotion, I am right there with her. Excellently written.
    4. Michelle Murrish’s untitled piece is simply powerfully written, with soft lovely words and harsh truth. If you’ve not read it, please look it up. And Michelle? I hope you don’t go back.
    5. De Jackson’s “yolks.” What can I say about De’s writing that I haven’t already said? She wields a potent pen, that one. Every time. Every word. No exceptions. And this piece is powerfully poetic, like the rest.

        1. MET

          IT reminded me of my mother doing my hair so tight before school… the poem that mentioned braids by another made me have the same thought also… I very rarely do the small poems… but then when I paint… I do landscapes…maybe it has to do with bad eyes…I want to see big things…

        2. MET

          I fell for you dealing with your mother… I hope she does not have sundowners which my mother did… but I learned a trick from a nurse that helped to calm Ma a lot…I covered the mirrors… Ma did not recognize herself so she thought it was an old hag in her room screaming at her… and that the hag was trying to pull down into a hole… covering the mirror helped a lot…some nights I still had to sit up with her all night and the sitter would come… I would get fired again… and I would head off to sleep before having to run out and get some things for Ma.
          So one night it was like 3 AM and it was just a few days before she went to hospice…and I had read my father’s poetry, other poetry, psalms, sung some folksongs I know, and finally got a hymn book anything to give her peace…I sang thru the many verses of that song and she asked me to sing it again… and I did… when I finished she said to me, Did you hear the lovely lady singing behind you and I said no, and she reminded me of my manners that I needed to say hello.. she described her as being dressed all in white and it was glowing …Then she closed her eyes and said, “Do you hear the music?” and I said no I do not but I don’t doubt that you do, and she said in wonder, “I have never heard music that beautiful. it is so absolutely beautiful.” so as Ma left me… she gave me a gift of a glimpse of heaven…April 29th it will be nine years since she left this life…

          1. Marie Elena

            Mary what a sad-yet-beautiful story. My mother doesn’t experience sundowners yet. I’ve heard that can be just horrible. I’m sorry your mother had to go through that. 🙁 Thank you for sharing. I love hearing stories like yours. It makes me think of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Perhaps you should consider submitting some of your stories. They are lovely. Sleep well tonight. God’s peace.

          2. MET

            thank you both and yes it left me with deep feelings of peace plus knowing she had a banquet for her waiting in which she invited 200 dead people… so when she died we put on the sign at our church… Louise Todd welcome to your banquet and since that day when someone I know dies I tell them in my prayer… welcome to your banquet..

  28. lsteadly

    Weeping Willow (a sort of villanelle)

    We lived in a house in the country
    one you rented, set back from the road
    where we played beneath the weeping willow tree

    Saturday mornings we’d watch tv
    all five us with the dog on the king size bed
    before going out to play under the willow tree

    You would watch my brothers and me
    making sand castles in the giant sand box
    filled with long seed pods that wept from the willow tree

    I was afraid of the pods that you had to sweep
    out of the sandbox before I would play there
    those long yellow tassels the tears from the willow tree

    We moved some years later to another house in the country
    the sandbox sacrificed for a clear running stream
    that catches my tears I still weep for the willow tree

  29. Uma

    I didn’t dare to meet your gaze
    unwilling to let you see
    the longing in my eyes

    I looked instead at your hands
    resting on the table
    but I couldn’t reach out
    to hold them
    for fear I wouldn’t let go

    So I let you walk away

    But the memory
    will stay with me forever

  30. grcran


    computer lost its brain main cpu
    victim of a virus from the deep
    cell phone fell on pavement oh boo hoo
    photos gone no contacts left to keep
    no contact content conked out gone you see
    another human lost all memory

    gpr crane

  31. Asha1000


    Mangoes, little packets of golden joy
    felled by raindrops in a morning shower

    splashing in the cool emerald pool
    watching sky for silver specks of planes

    Dripping days of summer games
    hopscotch, jacks and marbles too

    Sinking teeth into pink guava flesh
    spitting out seeds too hard to swallow

    Some memories of childhood
    summers are easy to treasure

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  32. Nurit Israeli


    “The past beats inside me like a second heart.”
    John Banville, The Sea

    Don’t blame the years.
    With your eyes closed,
    move inward.
    Retrieve the image
    of the place we loved
    and meet me there.

    Don’t flee. Stay. Relive.
    Pull memories out
    of embers of pain.
    Hold onto the parts
    of us that were magic.
    Feel earth move again.

    Don’t blame luck.
    Or me. Or you.
    Or the ways of the world.
    Dive beneath the ashes
    to recover the beauty
    you still remember.

    Let longings linger.
    Arrange memories like
    a curator. Hold dear.
    Let imaginings move you.
    What is remembered stays.
    Savor the offerings of the past.

    ~ Nurit Israeli

  33. carolemt87

    Fruit Cellar

    Under the basement stairs I crept
    book in hand to the fruit cellar
    at the back of my father’s workshop
    thick rough-hewn cedar shelves
    displayed jars of homemade pickles
    and canned tomatoes, chili sauce
    and jeweled jams.

    A single bulb with a pull chain
    hung from the ceiling. A thin layer
    of dust and silver cobwebs corniced
    sharp corners and draped over the shelves
    and I would drag my father’s workbench stool
    or a webbed lawn chair along with an old
    woolen Navy blanket into my sanctuary
    turn the hasp on the inside of the door
    and almost disappear.

    My younger brother’s foot stomps
    pelted the ceiling and fine chalky dust
    drifted onto the page. I went on my own
    adventures here, graduating from Nancy Drew to
    The Drifters by James Michener’s
    in this cool dusty sanctuary
    behind that little wooden door.

    I traveled to exotic lands
    to places I’d never see
    near the ticking dryer and
    swishing washing machine
    the muffled noises of
    my energetic siblings
    almost always nearby.

    Carol Carpenter

  34. Maria Grace

    The Sea of Tiberias
    Wednesday in Easter Week, 2017

    I remember once before,
    A morning like this,
    And against the sunrise,
    A Man upon the shore.
    His voice on the water
    Bidding, “Cast thy nets again.”
    And once before,
    This miracle of fish,
    And water at the gunnels,
    As the nets tore.
    I let them fall
    Stunned with sudden joy
    Remembering that once before.
    Nor could I bide to wait,
    But fast a fish, swam to meet
    My Lord upon the shore.

  35. De Jackson


    we have carried these things
    far and wide, worry
    stones in storied pockets.

    we are still sifting
    the things we saved,
    the things we lost;

    our memories heavy.
    boulders we can no longer
                         nor toss.


  36. Sharon

    Always the New Girl

    always the new girl in a new school
    competing with cliques in place
    since kindergarten not the least bit
    interested in the new girl
    shy in the back of the room
    never raising her hand but to go
    to the restroom who said she didn’t
    care about making friends
    she’d be leaving again
    in a couple years or so and do
    it all over again in a new school
    in a new town wanting only to have
    a place to call home
    a place that would answer:
    where are you from
    a place where she wasn’t always
    the new girl

    by Sharon Louise Howard

  37. PSC in CT

    The Lottery

    We didn’t win.
    We were close, yes, but
    just not that lucky.
    Still, we spent

    the entire afternoon
    tumbling on to twilight,
    spinning into nightfall,
    moreover moonrise, just
    conversing. Lingered,
    bantering over dinner.

    Tarried. We two
    (contentedly married)
    imagined a million ways
    to spend and share
    those fanciful winnings.
    (What fun it would be.)

    What fun it was – just one
    of those singular evenings,
    spent together, doing nothing
    really remarkable, and yet,
    in the final analysis,

    Funny, we
    didn’t know
    how lucky we were
    we didn’t win.

  38. montespoet

    “Ice Cream Bowl”

    I’ll turn my back 5 minutes,
    to sip the coffee,
    steaming hot on the porch,

    drop the spoon
    to place a pen in hand,
    write something for “day 19,”

    and I’ll forget the time
    or day, name to a face
    or Mom’s middle name,

    but even with eyes averted,
    my brain remembers
    how much ice cream is still in the bowl.

    Barbara Montes


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