2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

Here we go: A dozen poems (or more for some of you overachievers) in a dozen days! Let’s keep breaking those lines.

For today’s prompt, write a transformative poem. A poem in which someone or something transforms. Could be a physical transformation–emotional, mental, or metaphorical transformation. If you have some other idea, feel free to transform the prompt to your will. And when in doubt, write a poem about Transformers.

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Here’s my attempt at a Transformative Poem:

“In December”

In December, I gave up soda pop,
because I had to make a change, and that
seemed like a simple place to start, or stop
after getting to the place where my fat
made it hard to read stories at bedtime
or climb the stairs without losing my breath,
feeling like an exhausted, wheezing mime
who wondered how close he had moved to death.
I started to run in January,
February, March, and April before
hurting myself and then thinking, “Poor me.”
May through August were an up and down chore;
Finally, I made it to November,
will run a marathon in December.

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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

Though it’s been an up and down, zigzagging journey, he’s physically transformed himself from this same time last year, losing more than 70 pounds, able to climb stairs and read bedtime stories without losing his breath, and even run races again. And yes, he is planning to run his first ever marathon in December (exactly 360 days after taking the first “step” by giving up soda pop).

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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231 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

  1. taylor graham

    revision:

    HOW TO LOOK AT IT

    A cubby
    hacked from alley bed-
    rock: what passed
    last night for
    a mattress – bag of old rags
    battered into bed

    as all things
    must find nouns, their names.
    Grate for an
    open flame;
    it got cold last night here, in
    community with

    heavenly-
    tree –weed that roots where
    it pleases
    blocks away
    from Main Street’s gaud and simper,
    its boutique windows

    glamorous
    with mannekins where
    used to be
    bookstores and
    fixit shops. The alley’s for
    folks just making-do.

    Morning walk,
    it was my dog who
    showed me the
    tight hostel
    hewed from rock; bell-ringer wind
    transforming dawn’s grace.

  2. taylor graham

    HOW TO LOOK AT IT

    A cubby
    hacked from bedrock in
    the alley,
    what passed last
    night for a mattress – bag of
    rags battered to a

    bed as all
    things must find their nouns,
    their names. Grate
    for open
    fire; it got cold last night.
    How to get along

    in spite of –
    community of
    bell-ringer
    laughs, simpers
    and making do, of making
    glamorous or chic

    or funky.
    It was my dog who
    showed me the
    tight hostel
    hewed from rock, each discovery
    transformed by dawn’s grace.

  3. pipersfancy

    Pupa

    You came out squalling, fierce.
    Raven squawking in raucous throat,
    black tufts spiked upon an infant head
    with eyes to pierce a mortal soul.
    I knew you’d change the world, knew
    some day your spirit would create
    a place better than the one
    you’d entered.
    I never doubted this—
    even as I cradled you to my breast,
    even as your father beat me,
    even as you grew to fear him,
    even as your skin split from tension
    and transformed from girl to man—
    and I witnessed your body become
    the living canvas you now create
    a new world upon.

  4. LCaramanna

    Realistic Dare

    I live under
    gray, cold, gathering clouds,
    where bare branches of oak trees
    struggle to hold up the sky.
    I watch first snowflakes pirouette
    in tangled choreography
    against the faded rhythm of my hip hop heart.
    Voices call to me in melancholy melody,
    lyrics urge
    abandon hope for funeral dirge.
    Despair grips my soul with icy claws.
    Anguish breathes poison through my thoughts.
    My battle is lost
    unless
    I dare transform my dreams
    into reality,
    live under an endless sky
    crystal clear, blue, sparkled with sunshine,
    in a daydream of infinite possibilities,
    a nighttime of starry wonder.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  5. MHR

    empty vase on a dresser
    dumped the roses behind a bush
    then i secured the chains on my door
    and this time, the key joined the roses,
    and i became a mansion embraced in solitude
    on a cold frosty mountain with no goats
    but a moat surrounds my black iced fortress
    and when they remodeled this place,
    they found a rusted, decrepit key
    and composed matter.

  6. Nancy Posey

    House

    We saw the footings being poured, watched
    the bones rise, that skeleton of raw lumber.
    We walked a plank across mud, where lawn
    would someday rise, smelled the sawdust,
    imagined the rooms. Each step, pink
    insulation, sheetrock—more dust—
    the paint, the tongue-in-groove floor,
    felt like part of the magic, from nothing
    comes a house that becomes home.

    Now we’ve moved into this house,
    bringing what’s left after winnowing
    down to necessities or belongings
    too sentimental to toss or give away.
    We’ll live with someone else’s choices,
    making it our own with paint, new
    drawer pulls, furniture collected
    over the years. Now like cowbirds
    or cuckoos, moving into the nests
    left behind by other birds, we will
    settle in or like friendly spirits,
    we’ll inhabit the body abandoned,
    bending to our will, breathing new life.

  7. cobanionsmith

    Power in the Blood

    Somehow something
    gets in
    direct contact
    or breathed
    gains access
    little white
    soldiers straight
    to work ruthlessly
    attacking invaders
    no prisoners
    no mercy
    a remedy
    a poison
    in the blood
    used to be let
    leeches
    sharp implements
    just as likely
    to kill now
    let a fever be
    to a point
    body transformed
    blood made stronger
    through malady
    death avoided
    germ’s gift
    blood’s remedy

    Courtney O’Banion Smith
    @cobanionsmith

  8. RJ Clarken

    Butterfly

    “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~Maya Angelou

    She flit by: my monarch butterfly:
    she took pains to hide her pain.
    She went through much, this soul, this nonesuch,
    with a magical legerdemain.

    I’ll never know how much she suffered.
    A secret only she knew.
    This soul, this nonesuch; she went through much
    as she hovered ‘round my field of view

    for quite a while, but not long enough.
    Count off time: Ended? Began?
    She went through much, this soul, this nonesuch.
    Is time then measured by a wingspan?

    From chrysalis to a butterfly,
    metamorphosis means change.
    This soul, this nonesuch; she went through much
    but my new sense of longing feels strange.

    ###

  9. Erbiage

    Half this bed is mine, he said
    Half the bed is dead.
    Half the war is time, he’s dead
    Half that life is mine

    Half the life of your inane um
    Your ranting, ranging mum
    Half the bed, dying (lying) geraniums

    Sofa, so good. He’s on it half the time
    Turned off, turned out.  This 
    Half the bed is hers, and the other, too.
    Couched in other terms, he’s out.

    Half the war is mine, she said
    Half my life is dead
    Half the bed is fine, she said
    Half the time is left

  10. KM

    12.
    On our way to art class, my daughter tells me she’ll paint a butterfly. It’s animal day, and though she thinks a butterfly is not really an animal in the same was as the zebra or pig her sister will surely paint, she thinks it will still count. Why do you like butterflies, I ask? Because of the change, she says. Metamorphosis. Our change is slow, she explains, but so much the same. When she sees herself in baby photos, she recognizes the girl she knows now. We grow, she says, but a butterfly transforms. And I admit I had never considered the distinction. Who could ever look at the fat, furry caterpillar, crowded with legs and so bound to the ground, and expect it to sprout wings — ornate, delicate wings — and suddenly know how to soar? And later, when she shows me the painting, I note the bright hues of red and orange, the yellow body, and a small black face, cartoonish and human, smiling in the centre of the canvas. Your butterfly is happy, I say. Of course, she smiles back, what’s the point of changing if you don’t change into something better?

    – Kim Mannix
    http://www.makesmesodigress.com

  11. Jane Shlensky

    After the News

    “He was the nicest boy around.
    He liked the girls and they liked him,”
    she says, shaking her head, disturbed.
    “I can’t imagine how or why
    a person turns to such abuse.
    Is it power or drugs, ego?
    What makes a man persist
    so cynical as if to think no woman
    will report his crimes? Truth,
    like a bird, comes home to roost.
    It always does. It always will.
    What use to say you’re sorry then?
    What treatment makes you well again?”
    She looks older than yesterday
    when the news broke about her friend.
    “He was such a good boy back then,”
    she says and smiles and weeps.
    “Perhaps I was a fool. Still am.
    Such deeds affect us all, somehow.”

  12. Walter J Wojtanik

    THE NIGHT I REALLY BECOME SANTA CLAUS

    I write and speak and tell storiies
    of the gloriies of that jolly man
    that I aspiire to be. You see,
    I am Santa Claus” had become
    my creedo, a seed planted long ago.

    Each year for the past thirty-one
    I had come to dress the part
    when Chriistmas Eve made its rounds.
    I couldn’t be found dressing under the trees
    with gifts and me in my flannel pajamas.

    So I would wear “the suit” and beard.
    As you might have heard, I am Santa Claus.
    I can honestly say, I felt something special
    when I would wear the mantle of the Claus.
    Even as my daughters got older, I would

    soldier on and don the smock and cap,
    making each Christmas as memorable for them
    as I possibly could. Granted, I am sure
    my girls believe that I am the spirit of Santa.
    For sure, they’ve always beliieved iin me.

    This Chriistmas will be one such speciial day.
    I will comb out my beard and in the miidst
    of the trappings of holly, I will be jolly
    (and in a way, a slightly sad dad) I will don my suit
    in preperation of giving a special “gift”

    to a very special fella. I will smile
    as I esocrt my daughter down the aisle
    and place her hand in the hand of her
    fine young man. And in the course
    of holiday cheer, I’ll wipe a tear of joy

    as my baby girl and her extraordinary boy,
    will be the gift each had always wanted
    for Christmas. A gift to cherish and treasure,
    full of a love which is intended to be returned
    as often as possble. And I will be transfomed.

    For, at a time when I come to lobby for my most fervent cause,
    I will be what I have always wished to be.
    I am Santa Claus. Merry Christmas.

  13. seingraham

    THAT WHICH THEY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT

    No-one wants to talk about it – not before
    and not after. Before, when she was crazed
    and doing things that were so bizarre,
    even she knew she was going to be either
    arrested or thrown in the psych unit post haste-
    Friends and family – looked away, they looked
    away as if everything was fine!

    Finally, she ran into her doctor – literally-
    She hit him with her car when she was trying
    to park and jumped the curb – luckily, it was
    a glancing blow – he got right up and when
    she jumped out of her car, he recognized her,
    talked quietly to her until she went with him
    to his office and he had her admitted under
    his care to the Psych ward for a course of
    ECT – something he had always told her would
    be her ticket to transformation.

    He’d never been able to convince her to try it
    but, with the possibility of going to jail
    hanging over her head, suddenly his treatment
    idea didn’t sound like such a bad one.
    After all, it wasn’t like the Cuckoo’s Nest deal
    any more, he told her – she’d be unconscious
    when they zapped her; she wouldn’t feel a thing
    and there would only be minimal memory loss.

    So – other than the fact no-one wanted to talk
    about it – so odd, she thought – this marvelous
    treatment that had made a sane person out
    of an incredibly crazy one – why wouldn’t
    they want to discuss this? She didn’t get it.
    Maybe she just couldn’t recall the reasons.

  14. tunesmiff

    BETTER MAN
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ==≠==≠==≠==
    Way back in those long gone days,
    I used to get around;
    Worked hard every single hour,
    Spent my nights out on the town.
    I never had a reason,
    To find myself at home;
    No one to settle down with,
    Always on my own.

    Then when I least expected,
    I looked up to find you;
    Who’d’ve thought it possible,
    The things that you would do.
    You made me see the future,
    Had a reason, had a plan;
    And you’re the very reason,
    I’ve become a better man.

    Yes, I’m a better man because of you,
    Than I’d have ever been;
    A better husband, a better love,
    A better father, a better friend.
    I was on my way to nowhere,
    And making decent time,
    But you turned around and filled up,
    That empty heart of mine.

    So I look at where we’ve come from,
    I can see where we are bound;
    Heads up in the heavens,
    Feet on solid ground;
    I know without you I would be,
    On the wrong side of the grass;
    I give thanks with every single prayer,
    For the changes in my past.

    Yes, I’m a better man because of you,
    Than I’d have ever been;
    A better husband, a better love,
    A better father, a better friend.
    I was on my way to nowhere,
    And making decent time,
    But you turned around and filled up,
    That empty heart of mine.

    You turned around and filled up,
    That old empty heart of mine.

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