2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

After today, we’ll be 67% of the way through this challenge. Only 10 days to go!

For today’s prompt, write a task poem. The task can be some glorious duty, or it can be a seemingly small and insignificant job. Or the poem can take someone to task. It’s your task to figure it out and write it.

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Here’s my attempt at a Task Poem:

“poeming”

the words come easiest
when i’m working on some
thing completely different

like moving numbers in
spreadsheets or looking for
errors in an index

folding laundry & then
putting away laundry
or washing the dishes

but paying all the bills
that produces the most
poems & here we go

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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 writes poems even when he’s not writing poems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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372 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

  1. Connie Peters

    Desires

    Sometime it seems
    as if I don’t like anything I do.
    I must talk myself into
    making meals, writing an essay,
    or putting my host home client to bed.

    Sometimes I wonder what it would be like
    to do what you want when you want to do it.
    At times, I have a hard time wanting to do anything.
    If I could do anything I want to do right now,
    what would it be? Probably write a poem or take a nap.

  2. Connie Peters

    Birthday Celebration

    The task at hand is strange indeed
    To celebrate the birthday son
    In need of nothing, this he says
    To live life simply is his aim
    Two of each clothing is enough

    I guess at something he might need
    Perhaps we’ll have a little fun
    I’ll only be here three more days
    To make him feel loved is our aim
    A movie and a meal till stuffed

  3. Austin Hill

    PAD #20

    A task is something you ask me to do.
    I may or may not do it.
    I probably will, but I won’t enjoy it.

    A labor of love is something you don’t ask
    me to do.
    I do it anyway.
    And when I do, you tell me
    you didn’t want me to do it.

    It would be so much easier
    if you’d ask me to do
    what I want to do.
    OR
    if I could learn to say
    “No.”

    © April 2017 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  4. Alphabet Architect

    Mama’s Gift

    When life consisted of
    Night feedings
    Diapers and laundry
    Mama would spend
    A whole spring day
    Washing my windows
    A strange choice of gifts
    Perhaps
    But sparkling panes
    Brought light and hope
    Urged me to look beyond
    The confining walls
    Of motherhood
    Out at the birds
    Clouds and sky
    Mama knew what
    I know now
    Clean windows are
    Balm for the soul

  5. grcran

    the non-task task

    American, the task to
    Let go of the impulse
    That drive to keep on pushing
    Be the best

    I’m talking ‘bout the task
    To be a retiree
    And rest upon your life’s work
    Take a rest

    All generations fal-
    ter when that hard time comes
    to pass batons, open the
    treasure chest

    gpr crane

  6. Linda Voit

    April Task 2/3 Done

    Write
    a poem
    a day
    no matter
    what.
    Day 20.
    What
    rhymes
    with
    challenge?
    Has anyone
    seen my line
    breaks?
    Where are
    my
    metaphors?
    Sleep is a kind
    of poem
    isn’t it?

    Linda Voit

  7. Monique

    The Task of Forgiveness

    Forgiveness isn’t just
    saying “i’m sorry”
    or even accepting it.
    It’s a process of letting go.

    It takes time to forgive
    To release the anger and fear
    without collateral damage
    or wishes of revenge

    You have to work on yourself
    and not on the cause of the hurt.
    They may never change.
    it’s your task to change instead.

    Even if you were in the right,
    if you feel like you should hate,
    you can’t hold onto being a victim.
    You have to let it all go.

    It takes a lot of time
    and a lot of detachment.
    Untangling the knots
    of the strangling red strings of fate

    Eventually you get there
    when you’ve got no strings
    to hold you down.
    Forgiveness: the key sets you free.

    1. MET

      I can tell that you have been thru the struggles of forgiveness and you are right… it comes in stages… and really changes you and “no strings to hold your down” I like that….

  8. MET

    The simplicity of life

    The one task we are all called to do
    Is simply to be
    Present in our own lives
    Each moment, each breath, each heartbeat….

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 20, 2017

  9. cobanionsmith

    I Am Workmanship

    Mastered vessel unknowingly
    useful handheld tool
    always and still
    wanted but not
    needed designed for
    mysterious specific tasks
    prepared beforehand purposefully
    equipped and equipping
    useful new creature
    transformed uneasily into
    same new me
    only wanting to
    create new creations
    in time from
    old to now
    You are still
    holding my right
    hand You have
    been all along

    Courtney O’Banion Smith
    @cobanionsmith

  10. cari.resnick07

    Dishes and Laundry

    Dishes and laundry always piled high.
    Dishes and laundry reaching the sky.

    Just when I thought my work was done,
    Time to start again-but I’m ready to run.

    Run away from the hamper, away from the kitchen sink,
    The trash is really starting to stink.

    But if I run away, I come back to more.
    I’d rather just stay and finish the chore.

  11. timphilippart

    Five Midnight Tasks

    Sisyphean Tasks

    About mice and clocks
    hickory, dickory, dock
    again from the top.

    Jill’s Corollary

    If my girl Jill said
    I ain’t fetchin no water
    she’d be tumble free

    Their Prey Moves

    See how those mice run
    their task is chasing farm wives
    find my carving knife

    Throw Him A Bone

    That dog could not hunt
    Spot sought something to gnaw on
    Hubbard was no help.

    Tommy Sings the Blues

    Butterless white bread
    he sang his heart out for this
    not even a knife

    1. MET

      love and

      my Gus has a stomach that is a clock
      at 9:45 PM he comes crying,
      carrying a toy until he finds me,
      and all happy that he has found me
      then the annoying cat
      Says, “Feed me.”

  12. Linda Hatton

    Edelweiss for My Father

    As a child I believed you
    embodied life everlasting.
    But, it wasn’t true.
    Your death left me
    stranded, so now my task
    is to unearth you,
    bask in your presence
    just once more. Yet,
    how can I? You thrive now
    only on remote mountainsides
    where lovers die
    to get a glimpse
    of your double-star formation.
    Last I saw you
    was the wee hours
    of early September
    when I snuck away
    from base camp—discovered
    your blooms near the end,
    disinterred you, stole away
    with your white and woolly petals
    that I later placed inside
    my bedside table alongside angel
    cards and the fragile pages
    of an antique bible.
    Your grin has become
    2-D, but the way you lifted
    one side of your lip,
    still thrives
    in my memory,
    and the smell of edelweiss
    envelopes me in a sadness
    that is life everlasting.

  13. pcm

    Amid the Glory of Paris

    Amid the glory of Paris
    I have arrived with dirty laundry
    —not the kind families hide
    the kind you have to wash and fold

    Amid the glory of Paris
    my dog needs to stroll
    to do the necessary on cobblestones,
    by monuments great and small

    Amid the glory of Paris
    I frequent the grocery store
    shopping after a day of writing
    and walking—too tired for night life

    Amid the glory of Paris
    couples kissing on the train sounds sweeter
    getting lost takes me to the eleventh century
    love, not logic, triumphs over death

  14. tunesmiff

    SMALL TASKS
    G. Smith (BMI)
    –·–··–·–
    Simple, little things,
    Like lending a hand,
    Can build up a love,
    That easily stands,
    The tests of time,
    The uphill climbs,
    Give reasons to the
    Many rhymes,

    Simple, little things,
    Done ’round the edges,
    Like doing the dishes,
    Or trimming the hedges;
    Or pouring coffee,
    An extra cup,
    Or filling the ice-tray
    All the way up

    Doing small tasks,
    Without being asked;
    Simple small things,
    Because of the ring.

    Folding the towels
    Warm the dryer,
    Throwing an extra
    Log on the fire;
    Making the bed
    While she’s
    In the shower,
    Letting her sleep in
    That one extra hour.

    Doing small tasks,
    Without being asked;
    Simple small things,
    Because of the ring.

    Waxing the car,
    Getting it gassed,
    Sweeping the porch,
    Cutting the grass;
    A little of that,
    A little of this,
    A touch and a smile,
    And a hug and a kiss.

    Doing small tasks,
    Without being asked;
    Simple small things,
    Because of the ring.
    Simple small things,
    Because of the ring.

    1. Arash

      Interesting how this works, just like your poem, little things, little images and descriptions touch on little memories and how easy it is to relate, accumulating to paint a large picture of care and consideration but also commitment, and that made it a pleasure to read. Good job!

  15. De Jackson

    staying on task

    just ask
    the moon. she’s got a job
    to do, too. wax. wane. balance
    the tide tables. keep that ocean
    stable.

    stars?
    they’re the thumbtacks
    that hold up the sky.
    (they don’t take smoke
    breaks, or wonder why.)

    i’d like
    to have that kind
    of shine in whatever
    i might
    do.

    {writing poems}

                                {loving you}

    ::

  16. deringer1

    THE TASK (a cinquain)

    head bent
    concentrating,
    a complicated task
    before her. “I will conquer this,”
    she said.

    And yes,
    she conquered it!
    It will never happen
    they scoffed, for she was a woman.
    Showed them!

  17. Maria Grace

    Starting Over

    A task I took unto myself,
    At ending of an angry year
    To turn from mere monotony,
    And Godward set my steps, instead.
    To walk the way of wondering,
    To bide with Beauty, and to be glad
    Of little things, alight with grace.
    To hold my heart in happiness.
    The moments marking mindfully,
    Attending to the need of Now.
    Do the good each day demands
    With no thought of cost nor thole,
    But hunting for Hope, to hold it fast,
    While waiting on the Will of God.

      1. Maria Grace

        Thank you. I have a particular fondness for the little things in nature. One day I hope to write a poem that praises the God of little things, but aside from that line, have not managed to make anything of it.

        1. MET

          St Therese of Lisieux who lived from 1873 to 1897 is the saint of the little ways… she once said that if every flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness… I started reading a collection of prayers in the 90s and got into some very old stuff… but I remember her prayers were simple and lovely…

  18. Sharon

    Planting

    the fragrance released at the turn
    of the trowel in the spring soil
    after the thaw filled with the promise
    of new beginnings and hope
    within the seeds planted

    dig down get your hands dirty
    with new notions new images
    new imaginings and visions
    when all things are possible
    dig deep and deeper dig to find
    truth while you warm back
    toward the spark of innovation
    energized after the deep
    freeze of creativity

    plant fresh seeds into fertile soil
    discover what grows
    a weed or a rose or even
    the very tree of life revitalized

    by Sharon Louise Howard

  19. Joy Stock

    Everyday

    In boring tasks
    Monotony
    Is never bad
    Repetition
    Is comforting
    The surety
    Of what is next
    Feels peaceful
    Like the tocking
    Tick of a clock

  20. MET

    The mountain of slides

    There is under my bed a wooden box,
    That has traveled through living in five houses,
    Of pictures of family and friends.
    Most made by Da and all are _____slides.
    There must be a hundred, and
    If that was not enough
    In my office that used to be his
    Is eleven boxes, mostly shoe boxes
    Of shoes long ago gone, and also in there
    Is three notebooks of more than enough to kill me, then there
    Are those he neatly prepared trays
    To show to garden clubs and
    Occasional colleges on what
    Wildflowers grow in this region.
    Besides wildflowers he loved,
    There is construction of parkways
    And scenic pictures of places
    He planned for the visitors enjoyment.
    There are pictures of the house being built;
    Amy the first to drink from the well.
    Somewhere there is the picture of the goat he fought, and
    Other wild creatures. Among these are photos
    Of all the pets, we loved and along with him
    I miss them.

    An impossible task of monumental size,
    Once when I was small I asked him
    “How do you build a road across a mountain?”
    He said, “Sis, you do it like every other thing
    One step at a time.”
    So today, I began thanks to a niece named Jenn,
    I now have a device to take that first step,
    And today I sat down to begin that big task,
    I think I will be climbing a mountain.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    April 20, 2017

      1. MET

        I grew up in the Appalachians… not the ones that people know today but those in the 50s and 60s before the outside world intruded so much…. I learned early that storytellers were the most appreciated people next to the person who could play a fiddle or the preacher… but in many a mountain person’s thinking those are only really needed at your wedding and your death… even funerals could be interesting… A real mountain funeral will tell your sins and how you came to the Lord and then ask people to dedicate their life to God in your honor.. They can last for hours… sadly most of that is gone.. but I do remember playing at recess at school where one was dead person, another the preacher and the others got to play mourner…but I learned from them that oral history is to be trusted more than distrusted…there were basically three types of storytellers..one who tells the oral history of the area…the tall tale storyteller and then the one with a moral… I am just trying to carry on their tradition…

      1. MET

        thanks and the picture I found today after I wrote this almost made me cry… we moved from Pigeon Forge Tennessee in 1973 and I was in exams the week they moved…it was a strange set up… my parents moved in with me in a house that I don’t actually own but have a lifetime right to it… but my last childhood home… I found a picture my father made of one of the kitchen dining room and it was the first time I saw it emptied…it was bitter and sweet at the same time

  21. seamuscorleone

    Taking to Task

    One of my least favorite tasks is
    Taking a student to task. Why
    Did you not do your
    Homework? Why did you
    Miss class? What else could
    Be going on that you did
    Not meet my
    Expectation?

    The answers are long
    And short and rarely
    Touch on the real
    Reason:
    Life.

    If our lives are a
    Puzzle that we have to
    Put together from
    The pieces we are born
    With and that are given to us
    When we are young, then
    The last thing we need is
    Some jerk that does
    Not understand us to
    Come over and knock
    Our fragile puzzle to
    The floor when we
    Are all out of
    Glue.

  22. Arash

    My Task

    by Arash

    She quoted someone whose name I forget,
    something about her tasks being akin
    to the torture of…someone…Sisyphus!
    Speaking of endless repetitions, clean
    becoming soiled and then the soiled made clean
    over and over and over again….
    Staying in Germany then with kids,
    still in my 40s, she in her 30s,
    one of us had some growing up
    to do and now I know it wasn’t she.

    1. Arash

      Sorry, posted the draft, here’s the final:
      My Task

      by Arash

      She quoted someone whose name I forget,
      something about her tasks being akin
      to the torture of…someone…Sisyphus!
      Speaking of endless repetitions, clean
      becoming soiled and then the soiled made clean
      over and over and over again….
      Staying in Germany then with the kids,
      still in my 40s, she in her 30s,
      one of us had a lot of growing up
      to do and now I know it wasn’t she.

  23. MaggieIrene

    To The Little Red-Coated Hen And Your Drake Beau

    Each morning your smallish comma body,
    trench-coated in bright red, trails your trusty
    wheeled walker, as you move with purpose
    across the floor of the exercise lab, thin white
    fluff atop your charming crinkled face,
    ocean blues sparkling, as you come my way:
    Good morning, how are you? I say.
    Waddling! (You give me a wily smile.)
    You’re one of my heros; I like your grit.
    She smiles, slowly shakes her pretty head
    and turns toward her husband, always
    at her side. Got HER fooled!
    His soft eyes say to her: I love you
    and your lovely waddle!

    Maggie Westvold

    1. Arash

      Not sure if based on a real person or not, but if it is, I wish they knew. I think we’re surrounded by heroes, except that often we don’t know it…and they don’t either. Good poem.

  24. Tom Hayes

    Let it Go

    Letting go
    of buried anger and feelings
    is a tedious task.
    The one causing pain
    may have nothing to gain,
    and they may never ask
    for forgiveness and healing.
    Even so,
    Let go.

  25. Janutty1111

    TASK

    Things seem limitless,
    the surface of them,
    but I swing open the storage room
    (having paid a sturdy man
    to blow the lock to Kingdom Come)

    and there are just a few boxes of broken toys,
    a chess set, a chair with frayed cane
    and flaking paint (but I remember
    Grandfather sitting on it with his pipe,)
    boxes of LP’s (Goodwill? Ebay?)

    And I wonder: is it like that too
    in my heart?
    When they blast the lock,
    what will they find?

  26. Asha1000

    THE MISSION

    For buildings
    is to save
    energy

    automate
    turn off lights
    power down

    My mission
    power up
    work heart pump

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  27. Angie5804

    The to do list
    A blessing and a curse
    Sometimes keeps me on track
    Sometimes shows my lack
    It never ends
    For just around the bend
    Something needs doing
    When there’s no more room
    On the paper
    The contents are rewritten
    More tasks fit in
    Now that some are done
    And it’s one by one
    Blessings to do
    Curses to change
    To blessings

  28. barton smock

    ~infancy~

    who is my brother?

    a boy
    fishing
    from a ruined
    helicopter

    where is my sister?

    being seen
    by a ghost

    am I alone?

    dumbfounded
    by rest

    has anyone called my mother?

    these tracks belong to the animal

    drinks
    from your father’s

    bowl

    is there a name?

    for some
    words

    tell me there’s a church.

    small to a turtle

  29. PowerUnit

    Forced Rhyming

    Nobody wears masks
    in Saskatchewan, everybody
    knows their neighbour
    a vast land
    where flasks tip back
    and casks never last
    with churchgoers on task
    to quell unrest
    aghast, nobody rests on their past
    or casts wax on historical plaques

  30. PSC in CT

    Housekeeping

    Tasked with this poetic endeavor,
    she strews her thoughts into the wind;
    watches them flutter, spatter,
    splatter to the floor,
    lets them curdle, congeal.

    She blots up the watery,
    sappy streaks,
    vacuums up broken motes,
    dusts betwixt the debris,
    sifting carefully
    through the remaining spilth
    for succulent tidbits –
    any fragment, flyspeck, scintilla
    that might be scrubbed and
    scoured free of stains,
    buffed and polished into a poem.

    Dissatisfied with the salvage,
    she sweeps the whole
    of the remains
    into a dustpan and dumps it
    into the rubbish.

  31. mapoet

    Preventative Maintenance

    I fixed the weed trimmer.
    I happened upon a Q&A
    on the manufacturer’s
    website that told me
    what to do.

    The solution was simple-
    clean it, which is
    another way of saying
    take better care of it.

    By Michelle Pond

  32. trishwrites

    There is a mountain
    If I stop long enough to
    think of what must be done
    this continuum
    windmill of waiting
    breath
    of hands
    of lists
    Time forever slips
    From my grasp

    But this
    This penning words to page
    Is pure escape from all that waits

  33. Nancy Posey

    Tasks

    I dream of nails between my lips
    the hammer in my right hand,
    chair after chair in my left, one
    no different from another to me.
    I smell the sawdust, the wax
    on the wood floors for sliding
    each chair and sofa down the line.
    Someone’s transistor radio plays,
    loud enough to hear, to soft to tell
    one song from another. I’d sing
    along but for this mouth of nails.

    I wake unsettled, remembering
    the way my days have changed—
    pencils, paperclips, notebooks,
    me and other old dogs learning
    new tricks at Caldwell Tech.
    Sooner or later, I’ll trade days
    on the line for days at a desk,
    just as mundane, just as routine.

    In the evenings, though, we play
    out on the porch, even before
    my lessons are done. I savor
    the feel of the pick I hold lightly
    between my teeth. Calluses
    on the fingers of my left hand
    feel like hope, like home to me.

  34. DaveIst

    BATTLE AT THE RANCH

    Marked with the stains of encounters of old
    From previous skirmishes torn and holed
    Our armour is ready to face the foe
    You and I off into battle we go.

    Taking up weapons, the tools for the fight
    Freshly honed blades we are holding them tight
    Implements of warfare lined up prepared
    There before us the battle sheet arrayed.

    The stage is set, it’s time for our onslaught
    We venture out, against the foe, distraught
    It’s time to be conquered or to conquer
    The legendary DIY monster.

  35. Kjean

    When I consider all
    the works [my] hands
    have made,
    I’m stunned to discover
    the truth
    that all the tasks
    I have ever
    labored over
    are nothing
    compared to
    You
    turning Your life
    giving Your life
    to those who
    split your heart
    with one swift
    slice of a jagged
    sword
    so that both
    water and blood
    would shed,
    raining over
    and cleansing me
    of my sins.

  36. michaelharty

    A Penny a Weed

    I remember how my mother turned evil
    when the garden needed weeding.
    There would be no ballgames
    in the yard, no library books, no expeditions
    to collect lizards or bird nests
    until the job was done. I would sweat
    among the cantaloupes, suffer the prickles
    of furry bean leaves, choke on the green
    swampy smell of tomato vines. I knew
    hiding places, could stretch a half-hour
    of work over a whole afternoon, but still
    she watched, she expected. Enough stalling
    and she might resort to bribery,
    a penny a weed; but even then
    I could barely wait to reclaim
    my freedom, be a kid again.

    I’ll think of her this afternoon
    as I write my yearly rental check
    for a garden plot where I can get away –
    spend spring and summer rummaging
    in the dirt, planting and thinning, pulling weeds.

  37. leatherdykeuk

    Osteospermum

    Bright flowers
    almost artificial in the trolley
    outside the supermarket.
    I buy two, take them home
    a delicate operation to dig
    two holes with a trowel,
    add compost, bonemeal
    puddle them in.
    Bright spots of colour
    counterbalancing black tulips.

  38. Imelda

    A MOTHER’S TASK

    Our dirty dishes sit in the sink
    The older boys’ lessons will have to wait
    my time goes to the baby who is sick

    My shoulders are sagging under his weight
    Crying, he refuses to go to sleep
    Alas! Lunch will be served a little late

    In the garden, the first lilac buds peep
    at last, the first blooms after years of work
    by the window, we watch the hours creep.

    I will hold my son until the day is dark
    and watch over him through a sleepless night
    To love is a mother’s unending task.

  39. Tom Hayes

    Tough Task

    These are tough days
    for task masters.
    No room for making mistakes
    to avoid disaster.
    Positioning pieces on the board,
    drawing a sword,
    and rattling sabers.
    When we could be
    tackling the toughest task
    to ask
    for peace.

  40. qbit

    I am tired,
    If I may.

    I keep swimming
    Backward in time
    To try and plant the seeds
    Of a different future.
    If I can just fight the current
    Hard enough,
    Dive and hold my breath
    Long enough.

    Sometimes I have the bends
    From regret.

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