2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

Day 16! It’s all down hill from here.

For today’s prompt, write a poem to the world. Maybe all of your poems are already directed at the world, but for me, this is a first person poem directed at a group of people–maybe everyone in the world, but maybe a certain group of people you know. However, even as I type this prompt, I just want to remind everyone–to please poem nicely (aka, avoid politics and name calling).


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Here’s my attempt at a Poem to the World Poem:

“as the sun shines less each day”

as the sun shines less each day
i can’t help burning bright anyway

no one is going to slow me down
or turn my wide smile into a frown

i’m going to be happy right or wrong
& dance my dance & sing my song

in the growing darkness & bitter cold
no weeping or fretting in my soul

so if the world tells me i should cry
i’ll shout hallelujah & close my eyes


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.

He is, at heart, an optimist and person who looks for the best in people and situations.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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235 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

  1. Shennon

    No matter the form
    they take
    No matter the colors
    they reflect
    No matter moisture content
    or lack thereof
    I reverently raise
    my head each day
    to marvel at phenomenal
    ice crystal
    in the sky
    Providing inspiration and awe.


    1. ingridbruck

      “World Nov 18

      the world was very disappointed
      in its experiment today
      the project had turned out poorly
      man was supposed to have cleaned up after himself

      he had failed the appreciation test
      he placed zero value on what he took
      only wanting more than everyone else
      he couldn’t be trusted to respect
      what he didn’t fully understand
      but he didn’t even appreciate himself
      or his miraculous body and life

      the glorification of things
      momentary pleasures filled his time
      then when he had destroyed his world
      into an uncomfortable realm
      he fell on his knees and cried

      turning his eyes to the sky
      praying and making promises
      he wouldn’t keep
      while his true creator
      lay beneath his feet ©”

      Michael Peck

  2. taylor graham


    What was that hoarse cry?
    A ripping of the world,
    the vixen mourning her kit.

    Who wardens the beasts?
    Neighbor’s windmill in drought keeps
    spinning water of thin air.

    Where does it all go?
    The wheel of vanes creaks and thrums
    a cry we heard that’s nameless.

  3. bmorrison9

    My Letter to the World

    Give me more birds:
    cardinals and juncos, finches,
    chickadees, even sparrows;
    I’m not picky.

    Give me more trees:
    white dogwoods in the spring
    summer’s deep green beeches,
    red maples in the fall.

    Give me more shadows:
    shelter from the sun,
    balm to the soul,
    the incubator of dreams.

    Simple things are enough for me:
    the wind’s music in the pines,
    the chance to dance in the sun
    and sleep, finally, in the shade.

    1. ingridbruck


      Let this year of your Jubilee
      which is not your Jubilee
      be a year of joy for you, Jan Phillips.

      May you rejoice as you attend Jubilees
      of Sister friends who entered the convent with you.
      May you be replenished by the vision of peace you found
      on the Peace Journey you took around the world.
      May you wear with pride the rainbow mantle you affirmed
      by writing, Born to Be Gay.
      May you be uplifted by the philanthropic activism
      of the Living Kindness Foundation you created.
      May you feel continued satisfaction
      that African children are learning to read in the school you built them.
      May you receive ten fold the imagination it took to create
      your books, films and music.
      May you and the community of writing and artistic woman
      create new rituals in this anniversary year
      and may the world open to the transformation
      that you express in your life, art and work.

      In your Jubilee year, church sacraments won’t be needed,
      you’ll make your own spiritual practice.
      You write that water is holy just because it is water.
      You comprehend the holiness of water.
      Water needs no blessing, no priest to make it holy,
      it’s life giving and holy, in and of itself.
      All the people in the world are holy water.
      We are the holy water, in and of ourselves.

      May your understanding of water invigorate you,
      you are holy water your convent threw out.
      Sisters of St. Joseph won’t hold a Jubilee for you,
      won’t bless the religious life you live that you learned from them.
      It’s how you live that pours out the holy water.
      And so it is that everyday becomes
      a Jubilee celebration of the holiness of water.

      And so as you did for me at Transformation Workshop,
      Jan Phillips, I sprinkle your head, your hands, your feet
      with clean water taken from the tap,
      may this holy water refresh you in mind, body and spirit,
      and may you find new sacraments in water.

  4. seingraham

    Dear Mama,

    I know – it’s been so long since I’ve written
    eons of time gone, and, after promising to be
    in touch more regularly; I’ve let you down.

    That’s why I haven’t written; I just
    feel so bad for backing out on all the things
    I said I’d do, so many things I said I’d do.

    Like saving the animals, I tried to do that
    I did – but so many are bound bent and
    determined to go, it seems, and humans,

    other humans, don’t care – they just keep
    hunting and killing, did you know that?
    Animals are harder to save than I guessed.

    And saving the waters, and the land, or
    stopping all the wars – I do march, I do.
    That probably makes you smile, doesn’t

    it – you know it doesn’t work, does it?
    Oh, it makes some of us feel good,
    but it doesn’t really do anything.

    Oh, Mama – I don’t want people to be
    Scared, or hungry, or to live in poverty.
    But what should I do? I’m not very resourceful.

    I’ve failed- you, and everyone … but mostly
    you, and lately there’s so much hate going
    around, I wonder if you’re as angry as me.

    Do you think we should even bother
    saving you, or would you like to just shake
    us all off and start over – I’d understand that,

    I really would. When I consider the number
    of hurricanes and earthquakes you’ve sent
    this year – are you just giving us a taste

    of what’s to come? Maybe we are just
    too blind to see the way ahead,
    I’m sorry that it’s been so long, I truly am.

    Love one of your many children

  5. headintheclouds87

    To the Rude of this World

    To all of you who don’t listen
    Or just shrug and callously ignore
    The likes of me when I try to implore,
    To say the simple, perhaps smallest things
    You may choose to scoff at, or guffaw,
    I would just like to share with you
    Just what I think of your sneers,
    Your condescending little quips
    That impress no one, frankly, dear!
    I think beneath that vexing exterior
    There is a timid, pissy little mouse
    Who uses cutting words and glares
    To conceal the tiny rodent squeaking
    Behind the bullying brashness,
    And to hide the pitiful truth
    Of your own self-inflicted sadness.

  6. Holly

    To see a world…

    Infinity’s in the palm of my hand
    Distance is nothing but air
    Far is made near by a grain of sand

    The world is closer than I had planned
    It surges in to meet me where
    Infinity’s in the palm of my hand

    Never would I in my dreams command
    A tour du monde without leaving my chair
    Far is made near by a grain of sand

    I don’t pretend to understand
    As I look and click and Facebook share
    Infinity’s in the palm of my hand

    Still time is ever in demand
    Even though here gets mixed with there
    Far is made near by a grain of sand

    And now I wonder if they should be banned
    These screens that draw my constant stare
    Infinity’s in the palm of my hand
    Far is made near by a grain of sand.

  7. cobanionsmith

    “The World Is Too Much With Us”

    Would William Wordsworth still say that today?
    It’s defense was us. Poems and placards
    weren’t enough. New phrases like “tipping point,
    climate change, environmentalism”–
    greasy tools too slippery to work with.
    Preachy to boot. We worked to break the world
    we were given almost as soon as we
    got it. But it’s ours, by God, and we’ll get what’s
    coming to us. Failed stewards, repentant
    caregivers, curate despair long enough
    to see what’s left. It adapts, never
    needing us like we need it. We still do,
    to know, to ever grow beyond what we
    must see–this world’s place in eternity.

    Courtney O’Banion Smith

  8. KM

    Dear world, thank you for sharing your work with us. While we have enjoyed exploring your great wonders — the ones we love to take photos of, and the mysterious ones we can only tickle the edges of when we are deeply dreaming, or have just fallen in love — we regret to inform you that we have not chosen to include you in our forthcoming preservation anthology. Members of our collective take into consideration many factors when deciding what is worth protecting, including whether or not it serves a particular hobby of our sons’, how much it strokes our ego, and how much profit we might lose were we to deem this particular part worth saving. As you can imagine, we have to make some very tough choices, and many stunning creatures, or life-sustaining elements, such as air or water, are often left out. Please trust us when we say this is no reflection on your work, but rather an indication of our own moral bankruptcy. We acknowledge that in many ways, your work is what allows us to continue, and we thank you for that. Best of luck in your sustainability pursuits.

    – Kim Mannix

  9. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    More people have crosses to bear than you know,
    And they carry them with quiet dignity,
    Too proud to let their burdens show.
    More people have crosses to bear than you know.
    Sometimes all it takes is reaching out, so,
    Lend a hand, lean in a shoulder, bend a knee.
    More people have crosses to bear than you know,
    And they carry them with quiet dignity.

  10. lsteadly

    Dear Mother

    I’m so sorry it’s come down
    to this fragmented bliss
    where so few own
    up to their part
    played in your crisis

    I wish I knew
    how to heal you
    but it appears not
    many hear your winds
    blow, feel how your core
    shakes, your skin aches
    for gentle touch

    I’m so sorry that my kind
    has taken so much
    hasn’t given in return
    only burns through
    what they find

    My only hope is to teach
    kindness towards all
    I can reach with my words
    we’ll grow strong, and right
    all that we’ve wronged

  11. Marie Elena

    Dear Humans of Earth:

    I think what we need
    is a nice, gargantuan
    family photo.


    And here is one I previously wrote, but it’s still my heartfelt message to America. I use it as my facebook cover:

    Kind of simple.
    If we are kind people,
    we’ll live in a kind nation.

  12. LCaramanna

    Five Thousand Feet Closer to Heaven

    This world is a mountain of challenges,
    a steady climb
    of daily problems in varying proportions.
    Some days a gradual ascent allows time to breathe.
    Other days the trail is relentlessly steep and rocky.
    Step by step, onward and upward,
    there is no turning back.
    Those who persevere reach the summit
    and conquer the world
    five thousand feet closer to Heaven.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  13. Sara McNulty

    To Those Who Should Care

    Note to those not doing their part:
    Look around you, look in your heart.
    Streets are strewn with waste, with litter,
    earth is tarnished, losing glitter.

    Nature existed before us.
    Do not let grasslands turn to dust.
    Mother Nature can turn bitter.
    Earth is tarnished, losing glitter.

    Climate change is real; spread the word
    to nay-sayers who have not heard.
    Home to trees, flowers, and critters,
    earth is tarnished, losing glitter.

  14. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    We Are One

    Sunrise, moonrise,
    the cycle of days wraps around us all.
    Each of us, like strings in a tapestry,
    are connected, one way or the other.
    Close connections are obvious…familial.
    Distant connections can feel abstract and remote.
    But, as night turns to day,
    the moon I look up at is the same
    as millions of others, who paused to wish
    upon a star, telling Bella Luna
    their deepest dreams.

  15. MET


    Dear God,
    What was that strange
    Insect on the gate
    That I needed to close
    When I left today.
    It was grey,
    As my thumb…
    Creepy, and
    Blending with the grey,
    And I thought
    It was a leaf
    Hung on the latch
    Where my hands
    Would have gone…
    If its head had not turned
    To look at me
    What alien
    Creature I was.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 16, 2017

  16. Nancy Posey

    Into the Woods

    If not Eden, then Arden, this little world
    to which I fled has been a home to me,
    not banishment but respite
    not shortage or excess
    but contentment.
    Just enough, I whisper.

    Here I join others seeking
    just for a time, this other world,
    leaving behind confusion,
    useless striving, the race to be first
    with most. If I’ve learned one lesson
    from the first fall
    it is this:
    Take what is offered,
    but do not covet the forbidden.
    This world has love enough,
    sustenance, enough rain
    to make me love the sun,
    enough sun to bless
    the showers.

  17. MET

    Writers and poets and artists

    Years ago, I went to hear
    An older woman read
    From her writings…
    She spoke first of her passion
    To stop the practice
    Of growing calves
    For veal.

    As she began to read
    From her printed manuscript,
    I closed my eyes and
    There I saw the calves
    In the farm beside my forest
    Cavorting in the field
    Playing a game of chase…
    It was spring
    And the world
    Like them was new…

    Her words invaded
    My thoughts and
    Instead of cavorting calves…
    I felt the picture of them
    In tiny cages
    They could not stand up
    Fed only milk
    To keep their muscles weak and soft.
    These newly born
    Calves taken
    Before they could stand,
    And kept in box like cages…
    Their big dark eyes
    Becoming liquid
    In their sadness, and
    The day they died
    They were carried
    For they could not walk,
    Set free from the torture
    For the palates of humans.

    Guilt ruptured my mind
    For I had been guilty
    In my blindness to the cruelty
    Done to calves
    Who should have been cavorting.
    I made a promise that day
    Never to eat veal.
    I went up to the writer, and
    Told her how she changed my life
    With the story she had read.
    I kept that promise.

    The work of writers, poets. and artists
    May not appeal, may anger and
    Frustrate, but
    Sometimes that work
    Changes one heart.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 16, 2017

    1. lsteadly

      It’s amazing how an experience can be life changing. Words really do have power. Like you, I do not eat veal, or any red meat for that matter. The book “Mad Cowboy:Plain truth from the cattle rancher who won’t eat beef” did it for me. Your last stanza rings so true.

      1. MET

        I would probably completely give up meat except my body does not absorb iron as it should and I get into trouble and I am allergic to fish and seafood… but I do understand wish I could… but I will not eat veal… ever

  18. Anthony94

    You’ll Know When

    Free, yet intentional, it only takes
    a few muscles to make the upturn
    you don’t even need to show teeth
    just the twinkle in your eyes that
    means it’s real, perhaps the dimple
    in a cheek that you can’t help when
    you’re happy or happily sharing.

    Today, traveling between cities and
    burgs and on through the countryside
    traipsing to and from doctors, I
    chose to continue to share what
    may be the easiest connection
    between us as humans, no hand
    shake needed, no hugs, not even
    stopping really, but just a smile,
    sincere, eye engaging. The OR
    nurse, the waiter, the woman
    racing down the hall, the man
    behind the wheel at the four-way.

    You’ll know when and how and why
    but don’t be afraid to be unexpected,
    surprise yourself and share that
    unique light you bring to the table
    and light up another. Your smile
    can ignite even the tiniest flame.

  19. MET

    Animal abuse and Domestic violence…

    The woman did not leave
    Her home though
    She knew her partner
    Would hurt her.
    She knew the shelter
    would not allow
    Her Pookie,
    the one creature
    Who comforted her
    When she laid wounded
    Curled and sobbing…
    But quietly so not
    To wake the angry
    Beast who was human…
    If Pookie was her child,
    She could come with her,
    But she was her tuxedo cat,
    And not live out the night…
    If she left to go,
    Pookie would suffer
    In her place.
    She knew because she left once
    And Pookie has limped ever since.
    She stays and will stay
    Until Pookie is no more.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 16, 2017

    One of the chief reasons women gave as not leaving their abusive partner was that their pets could not come with them….65% of women who reported domestic violence also reported that the pets in their home was also abused; 75% of the children who are abused reported animals in their home are abused; almost all the serial killers abused animals as a child or teenager…In the last year the FBI has begun to monitor animal abuse cases… yet throughout this country … the cost of hoarders, animal abandoners, abusers, and bad rescues cost almost every county in this country much money… and that is not even getting into the dog fighting rings where they still pets from yards to use as bait and get dogs and cats on craigslist that are listed free…also used as bait….I chose to write only one aspect of this…..and I am not starting with the county shelters which some have cruel people working in the shelter…

      1. MET

        Thank you I worked foster care and the facts are things I was taught… then about 2010 I did cat rescue after a cat named Abbey was killed…then I learned the darkside of animal rescue…. a woman in my county took in over 800 cats from 15 shelters in four states… of which only 100 were found…but only about 45 survived and she got only four years probation it really affected me.. this is what I wrote

        Herod’s Babies

        The stories I heard wretched my heart;
        The pictures seared my mind, and
        The faces of the survivors scarred my soul.
        It is the pictures I see when I close my eyes
        Of tiny kitten feet lying in the rooms,
        Alone and how their mothers must have hurt for them.

        I saw the eyes of the mothers who grieved their little ones.
        The depth of their loss was so deep
        I could not perceive.
        I thought of a story I heard- some say it is not true,
        These forlorn mother cats and their lost kittens
        Reminded me of the baby boys that King Herod killed.

        King Herod heard that a new king was born;
        He could not have that happen.
        He sent his men to make sure that it did not occur,
        For if this king dies as a toddler or a baby.
        He could never be crowned king,
        But he forgot about the mothers.

        Mothers can be fierce when their children
        Are at risk. The soldiers did not expect this-
        Women obeyed and did what they were told,
        But these women fought because they were mothers.
        We never hear when the story is told
        Of how those mothers had fought.

        Those mothers whose infant sons were ripped
        From their arms, and killed before their eyes.
        Mothers who died trying to guard
        Their toddler sons from the slicing swords of men.
        Men who grew sicker of their task,
        And just wanted it to be done.

        When it was done the soldiers rode from town
        With images of mothers weeping over their tiny boys,
        Of mothers lying dead beside their infant prince
        For in a mother’s heart her son is always her prince.
        They reported the job was done but in their heads
        The images never went away.

        It is the images of those kitten feet
        And the eyes of their haunted mothers
        That stay with me and make me wonder- what went on in that house?

        Mary Elizabeth Todd
        July 1, 2014

      1. MET

        There are very few battered women shelters who will take animals… and I have an idea for a compromise… either the county have the shelter keep the animal in their shelters until the woman gets on her feet… or have fosters to keep the animals during that same time frame…

  20. Pat Walsh

    whisper to the world
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    shining in its hours
    the day asks
    can you see me
    can you feel my warmth
    and see my light

    and walking along
    I whisper
    to the world
    do you see the day
    do you see the light

  21. MET

    Look to the wonders….

    The sun, a star
    To those places far away,
    Resides glowing
    And powerful, but
    Only when it rains, or storms
    Or is too hot
    We notice and complain…

    The earth
    Travels around that sun, and
    As it does -whirls
    On an invisible axis…
    There are seas, deserts, forests and
    Prairies, tundra, ice caps, mountains,
    Rocks and plates that move, but
    We do not see.
    We vacation at some
    Of these places…
    Take a few pictures,
    May even get close, but
    Do we really know this earth
    That is our home?

    The moon which was placed
    To reflect that light
    Like a mirror to the sun…
    Its light born of the sun…
    It pulls the waves of the seas,
    And pulls the hearts and minds
    Of those who live on earth…
    We visited it a few times…
    I remember that first step…
    We were in awe for a moment, and
    Then it was oh I have seen that.
    Still the moonlight sonata plays
    And I am standing on a hill
    Watching the moon move
    Across the sky
    Romantic, and mystic, and
    The stuff that poets write.
    It seems to touch us more
    Than the earth or the sun.

    The play begins;
    The moon gets between
    The earth and sun;
    The light is blocked away.
    The primeval part of us
    Is drawn into the omen
    Indicating we are not in control, and
    People flocked in a migration
    Just to see the moon block the sun…
    The majesty of that slow progression
    To the coronation of the eclipse
    Held us for a few minutes
    Spellbound in an ancient
    Universe dance…

    I was alone in the forest,
    Deep within my woods…
    I saw the trees with their leaves
    Create the crescent shape
    Of the waning moon…
    The sounds of silence
    Invaded, and
    Not sound from a bug, bird,
    Or animal did I hear…
    As the light was blocked
    The leaves of the trees
    Did not just get darker
    For green will get bright in twilight…
    The leaves turned black as soot,
    And those that know how color works
    Know the meaning and miracle
    That is the spectacle of light.

    Then we returned
    To the days of not seeing,
    The days of blocking
    Out the gifts
    Around us…
    I want for you
    And wish,
    That in quiet moments
    You will have small joys
    Of wonders you encounter,
    Amazed at
    (and I borrow part of a phrase)
    What a piece of work
    Is all that is surrounds us.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 16, 2017

  22. Valkyri

    each other our world

    share with each other
    your hopes and fears
    your failures and dreams
    your knowledge and wisdom
    this is what it
    means to be alive
    find truths in others –
    for in their reflections
    you will see yourself…


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