2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

This is the 10th annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge. During the first one, Tammy and I had to hunt down (and pay for) Internet access in a “cyber cafe” (located in an arcade) to post the prompt and poem. Now, we’re in New Orleans (on our way to Austin for the Austin International Poetry Festival), and we have free wifi. We’ve come a long way since 2008. Now, let’s poem!

For today’s prompt, pick an element (like from the periodic table), make it the title of your poem (or part of the title), and then, write the poem. Anything goes from hydrogen to oganesson.


wd guide to poetic formsMaster 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.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at an Element Poem:


you could say oxygen is great
& there’s no way i would argue
for instance its number is 8
which means that oxygen is great
& there’s very little debate
by anyone who’s not a fool
you could say oxygen is great
& there’s no way i would argue


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 likes oxygen, triolets, and the number 8.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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599 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

  1. AllSwoons

    “Essential Elements”

    I told him how
    the one before
    told me that I was
    his addiction—
    that “he” thirsted for,
    trembled for,
    and had become

    a habit too hard to break.

    He told me,
    “He had it all wrong.
    You should have been
    his oxygen,
    not his drug.
    He should not have seen you
    as his dependency;
    he should have seen you as I do…

    … life-supporting.”

    He taught me what true love is:
    helping each other breathe a little easier—
    smooth and steady—
    instead of dying a little every day,

    choking on being loved as someone’s vice.

    —Heather Angelika Dooley
    © 2013

  2. LCaramanna

    Hydrogen Hook-Up

    Twenty-two hydrogen atoms
    hook up
    with twelve carbon atoms
    on the left
    and eleven oxygen atoms
    on the right
    to produce
    Chemistry has never been so

  3. BDP

    Sijo #5: Element from the Periodic Chart: Fe

    Prospectors seek our Northwoods ore—they wish it cheap for strong steel.
    Children break from school, drift their laughter up stubby Mount Whitlesey.
    We don’t need strangers to tell us how powerful our slopes are.

  4. artifiswords


    It’s only six
    But it mates
    And that’s the problem
    It matches up with many
    A veritable elemental slut
    Breaking up with one form
    To jump in bed with another
    That’s the way the planet goes
    As it circles the drain…
    Do we get global climate change
    Or oceans full of acid rain?
    Can we teach carbon some manners
    Before it’s too late…will we realize
    She’s only doing what comes naturally?
    The problem’s on OUR plate!

    © 2017 Robert Mihaly

    Posted also to:

  5. RJ Clarken

    Hail Caesium

    Reactive? Pyrophoric? Guess
    this sounds like ticked-off folks, and yes
    they both burn blue and hot – a link?
    I made a metaphor, I think.

    This stuff’s non-metal. So are bands
    which eschew most electric brands
    in favor of a natural sound.
    O Caesium, I sound profound!

    Thus, philosophical, I’ll wax
    describing lack of all syntax
    you show when you are blowing up.
    We look, and then we say, “Whassup?”

    Or not. Perhaps I’ve got it wrong.
    Atomic clocks can’t write a song
    despite their isotope-y mien.
    Non-sequitur…I am your queen.

    So here’s back-story I’ll present:
    The boiling point has low intent
    like Caesar’s enemies. Upshot?
    Beware the Ides. What else? Forgot

    to mention, yellow is the shade
    from which this element is made:
    not really blue (see note above.)
    This poem’s symptomatic of

    attempts to seem quite erudite;
    it just meanders on, in spite
    of my best efforts to define
    this Caesium. So asinine.

    Complexes, compounds, halides too.
    It is in all. So, in review:
    It’s science! That’s the takeaway.
    It ends with this: “Et tu, Brute.”


  6. jennfel

    Helium Dreams

    The thin float
    Of ideas
    In thought bubbles
    We reach up
    Prick pinholes
    Inhale the gas
    Hear our voices
    Lilt unnatural
    Giggle hysterically

  7. mayboy


    The ancient days of construction,
    lead to new ways of destruction.
    Stil, the tools empower, building
    the bridges, cities, and towers.
    If they collapse for a reason,
    steel can’t support their mission.
    One thing is sure, at least we won’t
    expire for seeking the elixir of the file.

  8. fayina


    A quiet stranger
    at a cafe table
    both young and very old
    holding a silvery sheen under that black tarnish.
    Alkaline eyes behind a wool coat
    and suede shoes as you take the train
    from the suburbs after work.
    An odd birth and an absent father
    don’t manage to disolve you
    as you simmer a bit
    floating in a pool of oil

  9. XinaDarling

    Wolverine had his
    coated skeleton,
    not to mention his
    fast healing factor.

    Then there’s the Captain
    whose shield was made of
    vibranium, an
    to protect him.

    Yet neither of these
    could have prevented
    my heart from being
    bruised, broken by you.
    You’re my kryptonite.

  10. kathyk671


    Some dreams are made of neon,
    Burning through the dark

    Light so bright it guides you,
    Calling you toward a longed-for future
    Of success,
    Of happiness,
    Of love.

    It bends and twists, taking you
    Along until you’re not sure
    Where it leads.

    But beware your neon dream,
    Because the light you follow
    Is just a gas
    That could one day leave you
    In the dark.

  11. James Von Hendy


    Traceries of the Silk Road
    could not be
    less imaginable than you,
    heavy metal.
    How you must have traveled
    through ghosted villages,
    in Kazakhstan, your fractional half-
    life too short
    to measure, too brief for story,
    your decay,
    too, your signal trace unregistered.
    they bombarded you in Darmstadt,
    a mere flash of atoms gone before
    the second hand
    swept past six. They couldn’t find you
    on the road
    winding between Xi’an and Damascus,
    though they say
    you would be silver if they had.
    More precious?
    The dream of you weighted in a table
    among elements
    as if you are always somewhere, failing
    to be seen.

  12. cobanionsmith

    debris of explosions
    under our skin

    stardust reactions
    contained within

    soul connections
    multiverse hidden

    gravity collection
    consciousness riven

    internal combustion
    hearts burn hydrogen

    elemental fusion
    copies in carbon

    divine inspiration
    clay breaths oxygen

    dual creation
    molded and begotten

    molecular evolution
    God’s artwork: human

    Courtney O’Banion Smith

  13. Laura T

    Excitement fills the warm air
    In anticipation of a beautiful show.
    Slicing the dark aquatic home
    Of the phosphorus filled dinos,
    We ooh and ah at the wonder
    That such beauty comes in the form
    Of a pre-historic defense mechanism.
    I wonder now if you will find me beautiful And wondrous when I am stirred into a blue frenzy.
    Will the nature of self preservation be as admired.
    The largest of creatures protect themselves with tooth and claw, devouring what threatens them.
    These tiny creatures protect themselves by startling their predators with beautiful color.
    I hope that I can be bio-luminous when I am startled into protection mode,
    But I fear I am too tiger, to wolf, to bear
    To ever light up the dark night with blue

  14. Jannelee


    He begged me to marry him
    but I refused, so
    he promised me gold rings for my fingers
    silver bracelets for my wrists
    platinum earrings for my ears
    diamonds and pearls
    a big house in the country
    with a Mercedes in the drive
    He knew I was a gold-digger,
    but he married me anyway

    He begged me to marry him
    he thought love would change me
    but what he gave me was
    a gold plated wedding ring
    copper bracelets for my wrists
    nickel earrings for my ears
    a one bedroom apartment in the city
    a rusted out 1960 Mercury Comet
    and a carbon copy of our divorce decree
    With gold-digger highlighted in neon ink

  15. Jane Shlensky


    All night the neon pulses red and green
    staining his tangled sheets in stop and go
    his mattress cornered in the room
    where strains of jazz lift from below
    to tell him what he’s missing now.
    High Life. That’s what the neon says,
    reminding him that he is down
    to a dollar twenty-nine and two
    cigarettes, one canvas, and partially
    used tubes of titanium white, black,
    ochre, cadmium red, and cobalt blue.
    Maybe still enough to make a world.

  16. Catherine Conley


    March babies gravitate to threes,
    But lithium is a conundrum.
    The least dense of the solid elements,
    It speaks of your substance
    And perception,

    But it is also highly reactive and flammable
    Which portends a negative reception
    Of this poem,
    But since it usually occurs in compounds,
    Perhaps you will stick with me yet.

    Though lithium itself verges on instability,
    It balances others’ anxiety
    Just as you bring a calming presence with you.

    But your bright lustre shines
    Whether or not you are broken,
    Nor does it corrode quickly, and so essentially
    You rise above your element.


  17. Mariya Koleva

    Einsteinium (periodic number 99)

    I can’t help but wonder
    How Einstein must have felt about this naming,
    And if he was flattered.

    It’s all so easy to admire an object famous,
    Better dead.

    I always wonder how Einstein must have felt…

  18. Shennon

    Carbonite, by Han Solo

    If I never see
    That stuff again
    I’ll be content
    I’ll never spend

    Another second
    In a frozen shell
    As Jabba’s trophy
    In sheer living hell.


  19. ToniBee3


    It’s the sniveling plea
    of her fauna and flora,
    her sky and loam,
    and bounteous waters

    that ought to pause
    the thoughtless thoughts
    of thieves of blight
    who steal the first frost

    and maternal glow
    from her identity…
    deplete her coal
    and antimony…

    pollute her breath to
    a gasp and wheeze.
    Does she not erode,
    crack, and bleed?

    It should ne’er be
    beyond the wise to see
    and follow the lead of
    her ants in harmony:

    how they reform and sculpt
    their bridges and mounds,
    and protect their queen
    collectively from esteemed ground…

    just as Queen Earth
    ought to be cherished
    and spin delightfully
    around her axis.

  20. Joseph Hesch

    Dulling Our Edges

    For years, the river and I,
    its surface like chipped obsidian,
    would ramble side by side
    along its banks, carrying on
    the kind of harbor-deep and
    meaningful conversation
    I, with my carbon-black hair
    and moods, wished I could enjoy
    with a human companion.
    But when a fellow Homo sapiens
    would join me (and river)
    on one of our midday sojourns,
    they’d seem as shallow as
    the Hudson’s shoreline
    tidal pools whenever
    the Atlantic would steal
    from me its fluvial profundity.

    It drained me, as well,
    sending me away from
    the river and it from me,
    Instead, I’d limp round
    and round a small pond,
    which, while framed in
    arboreal beauty, sat like
    a vapid coquette, basking
    in any compliments sun
    and sky would shower upon
    her jejune mien. Its placid,
    flaccid demeanor, bereft
    of any downstream gravity,
    not only reflected how life
    dulled since sharing black edges
    with the Hudson, but how much
    I’d turned pond-like, round,
    soft-sided and silver on top.

  21. mswunion1976

    An Elemental Story

    Mercury moved swiftly to Californium.
    Berkelium to be exact. Escaping
    Bohrium and a Tungsten lashing
    From Rutherfordium
    Who thought he was Einsteinum.
    Also he wanted to avoid paying Antimony
    And as he learned from Polonium
    Never a borrower
    He ended up in Silicon Valley
    Thinking of fleeing to Europium
    But he would miss Americium
    And leaving would be a Hassium
    Which Lead to his stealing a Nickel
    From an Iron vault
    Someone pressed a Neon his chest
    Taken in by a Copper.

  22. Shaindel Beers


    My son is obsessed with the science of life
    and death. His six-year-old brain is sure
    he can live forever if he asks the right
    questions. After he asks what the blood
    does in our bodies, we practice saying,
    Ox-y-gen because he says, Osk-y-gen.
    He lists everyone he knows who at one
    time had oxygen carried to their cells
    and now doesn’t. He recites the litany
    of pets we’ve lost; then, he comes to
    my grandpa, dead long before my son
    was born, but still a fascinating figure
    to his child-mind – that I had a grandpa
    once, and now I don’t.
    I remember
    my disbelief that other kids could memorize
    the periodic table. I would sit in Mr. Cooper’s
    class and picture myself crawling in and out
    of the O. So many letters, it overwhelmed,
    but the O seemed designed for mental
    gymnastics. It invited, Climb through.
    I’m a portal to another world. When
    I was a waitress at the sports bar owned
    by an NFL player, I felt incredulous
    that the shorthand on our tickets for water
    had to be H20. Chemistry in the sports bar—
    a code for everything. Like computer-
    programming, human interaction, everything
    where you get one symbol wrong, and nothing
    works. I wish life were elemental.
    breathing. Just cells carrying what they need
    to one another. I think of all the things I’ve
    never learned to do—swim, play well with
    others, why my brain won’t work like anyone
    else’s, why I can never figure out how to save
    myself. Don’t mind me. I’m over here—
    So beautifully drowning alone.

  23. woodpeckerduo

    Chemical Transitions

    Hair once copper flecked with gold
    Has now gone silver.
    Muscles once made of iron
    Now feel like lead.
    Just please don’t let my wit, light as helium
    Ever contain an element of boron.

    DA Crane

  24. Beth Henary Watson


    This dish calls for cardamom–
    That’s not one I grew up with,
    Sounds like it’s stashed somewhere
    Between the iridium and the osmium
    On the Periodic Table, rather than
    Shoved behind the saffron and cumin
    On the spice rack, rarely called upon
    In this land of Lawry’s and BBQ rubs,
    Distant as a 9th grade science lesson.

  25. drwasy


    We are but a network of interlacing nerves
    tangled beneath a veneer binding
    tendon to bone muscle to mind
    the kinetic charge quivers
    through blue-veined rivers
    and crimson corridors
    to spasm in synaptic bliss…
    but those of us gifted
    with silver-sheathed
    neuronal highways
    hum along thrum along
    rapturous in our super
    sensitivities each hedonistic
    spark a celebration
    an electric riff of zapping
    exuberant exaltation
    of sentience
    unsullied by any
    elemental metal
    we soar
    higher faster

  26. Megan

    number forty-one
    is niobium
    myth meets
    mineral. Sharp-tongued,
    lording her queendom,
    Niobe weeps
    her seven slain sons.
    limestone illusion –
    rain seeps

  27. Linda Hatton

    Neon and Nitrogen: A Love Story?

    He took my breath away . . . but he always
    thought he was so important—needed (or used)
    practically everywhere. I’d always thought
    it was flattery when he said I was a noble
    gas—a rarity on Earth. Later I heard
    he’d referred to me as “Neon the Volatile.”
    But really he didn’t know me very well—
    non-toxic, illuminating, slow to react.
    At least no one could ever call
    me burnt air. After we parted ways,
    I read in the newspaper, he’d died
    from self-asphyxiation. Yes, it turns out,
    he also took his own breath away.

  28. Danielle Robinson

    Neon Lover

    At night,
    You shine brighter than the day.
    Your fluorescent heart
    becomes my disco ball—
    I dance rainbows
    in memory of your boldness.

    Your love is a glow stick
    that I wave like a white flag in
    your electric field of condruit loving.
    And every time you glow me a blink,
    I beam too.

    your plasma illuminates
    and gas-up my soul.
    I flash psychedelic halos
    in the custody of your love —
    that burns with desire
    in the center of my heart,
    for us to glow
    through the dark together.

    —Danielle C. Robinson

  29. Austin Hill

    PAD Day #5

    Brave the elements



    FINe LiNe

    YeS No

    YIn Yang

    HeRe TheRe


    ONe OThEr BOTh

    © April 2017 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  30. Maria Grace


    For Purchase:
    Shaeffer Tuckaway
    Lifetime Edition:
    White Dot too.
    In good condition,
    Some slight scuffing:
    Prussian Blue.
    Fine, gold nib tipped
    With Iridium
    Nearly New.
    (I Buy it, Of Course.)
    How strange the wedding
    Of two metals
    Now at hand:
    Softest and densest
    Set to one purpose…
    I intend
    Upon good paper
    To set down poetry
    From that pen.

  31. pcm

    Dubnium as a State of Mind

    Without my Cracker Jack secret
    decoder ring I am lost
    when I see a periodic table

    I want to read left to right
    for sense not status so
    Nitrogen plus Oxygen means “No”

    Phosphorus plus Sulfur makes “P.S.”
    Lithium plus Beryllium spells “Likable Bear”
    and so forth

    Abbreviations of elements
    that form the world I inhabit
    appear disguised as aliens

    their images blur from solid
    to sinuous liquid
    then gaseous vapor

    as my eyes glaze
    over into white noise
    switch cognition channels

    to penetrate the mystery
    so the strangeness might
    take a familiar form

    my numb brain grows a snout
    starts poking around
    like an old hound dog

    snuffling autumn leaves
    to decipher the scent of calculus
    when the jonquils of high school algebra

    have long since fallen
    and confused summer yellows
    with dew wrapped plums

    quiet in dappled shade
    plump and smooth
    glistening soft

    with promise
    on a blue checked cloth
    over a worn oak table

  32. Dini

    Au Ag Fe
    Partying wildly, deluded by gold,
    quaffing wine from temple vessels old,
    praises of gold, silver, and iron spill from Belshazzar’s lips.
    Knees and legs tremble, color from his countenance slips
    as human hand and fingers write upon the wall
    foretelling devastating, unexpected fall.

    Gold, silver, and iron all filled his greed.
    Yet tonight he’s doomed to lose his life by Darius the Mede.

  33. Ivy_Lane

    Fe, mujer de hierro

    Tal vez es así por haber nacido
    en el medio del ventarrón
    su primera palabra era fuerte rugido
    Tal vez es así por haber nacido
    a dos que nunca se dan por vencido
    a un mundo giratorio matalón
    Tal vez es así por haber nacido
    en el medio del ventarrón

  34. Alphabet Architect

    Iron Clad Truth

    We humans are plentiful
    and common as a populace.
    Though we have many
    Desirable qualities
    Strength isn’t our greatest asset;
    But being connected –
    In community, in relationship –
    Strengthens us like nothing else.
    Weakness make us vulnerable,
    But hardship begets resilience.
    Feet to the fire
    We become pliable;
    It is there, at our most vulnerable
    That those who have been similarly
    Challenged shape and
    Encourage us to be everything
    Our Master Craftsman intended.
    Iron sharpens Iron;
    One person sharpens another.

    (based on Proverbs 27:17)

    1. ppfautsch24

      Silvery Lining
      Chromatic moon luminates the night that I wish upon beyond the stars whose lustrous glow lights the way for my incipient desire to find you, among the moon and stars.
      By Pamelap

  35. grcran

    iron and gold

    last Saturday
    the golden boy
    showed up
    he stayed behind

    he went ahead
    he played around
    he must have
    changed his mind

    the park was clean
    that boy was fast
    and fun
    his hair was mussed

    when Summer sat
    upon the swing
    his golden
    turned to rust

    the rusted steel
    developed holes
    it cracked and
    fell apart

    when Summer looked
    for golden boy
    she found her
    locked-up heart

    the iron chains
    were make-believe
    they vanished
    in the air

    her heart was great
    and big and bright
    with all the gold
    in there

    gpr crane


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