2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

Suddenly, we’re two-thirds of the way through this month and challenge. For those of us still poeming, let’s rock these final 10 days!

For today’s prompt, write a “what I learned” poem. Funny thing about being human is that we’re constantly learning, whether the lessons are being taught in school, on the streets, or even in grocery store checkout lanes. This poem should focus on something learned, regardless of the arena.

*****

Master 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 a What I Learned Poem:

“lesson”

two people with joy
can fill one person
with a deep sorrow

she will cry until
she has no more tears
or her own joyful

person to be with

*****

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 constantly learning new things and re-learning old things, often through the eyes of his children.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic goodies here:

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

249 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

  1. Shennon

    I used to spend hours in the sun
    I’d bake until both sides were done
    The day that I burned
    The lesson I learned
    Some sunscreen is better than none.

    –ShennonDoah

  2. LCaramanna

    Young Scholar

    At five years old
    I ditched the mean girls
    and played with boys,
    collected Matchbox cars and baseball cards,
    raced bikes with training wheels.
    My whole life
    I have played with boys,
    gotten in the game,
    taken my swing at bat,
    celebrated the wins
    and ditched the mean girls.
    I have never envied the cheerleaders on the sidelines,
    the achievers who shatter the glass ceiling,
    nor the ladies who lunch
    because at five years old
    I learned
    to ditch the mean girls and play with boys
    and that was right for me.

    Lorraine Caramanna

    1. ingridbruck

      What I’ve learned day 20      November 21, 2017

      I have learned 
      that you can spend too much time learning
      and not enough time experiencing
      which is the best way to learn
      the most interesting
      and most memorable
      you don’t have to memorize
      what you’ve enjoyed doing
      it sticks deeper inside your brain

      I have learned
      you can’t fix your relationship 
      from a self-help book
      you have to use your own words
      not those from a book
      and you have to mean them

      I’ve learned
      that being honest 
      may not be rewarding, just true
      and that the lies you tell
      may not be remembered by you
      but they will be remembered
      by those, you told them to. ©

       Michael Peck November 21, 2017

    2. ingridbruck

       Michael Peck November 21, 2017
      What I’ve learned day 20      November 21, 2017

      I have learned 
      that you can spend too much time learning
      and not enough time experiencing
      which is the best way to learn
      the most interesting
      and most memorable
      you don’t have to memorize
      what you’ve enjoyed doing
      it sticks deeper inside your brain

      I have learned
      you can’t fix your relationship 
      from a self-help book
      you have to use your own words
      not those from a book
      and you have to mean them

      I’ve learned
      that being honest 
      may not be rewarding, just true
      and that the lies you tell
      may not be remembered by you
      but they will be remembered
      by those, you told them to. ©

  3. seingraham

    WHAT I’VE LEARNED

    That education doesn’t necessarily take place in a classroom
    but learning, anywhere – is never wasted.
    That some things I thought I knew for sure, like the loyalty
    of family – I didn’t know at all—and unlearning that has been hard.
    That my love for the night sky, developed as a child at the lake
    has never wavered nor waned; I am as rapacious as ever to know it.
    That math, always a difficult concept growing up, is indeed an elegant
    subject when approached with an open mind, and a patient teacher.
    That my love of words and language has extended itself to reading
    more and writing a great deal more, some of it for publication.

    That in most cases, people are basically good, given the opportunity
    and with the chance to work out a solution, would rather do that
    than have an actual fight – I have learned a great deal about non-
    violent conflict resolution and love that I can practise it in real life.
    I’ve learned that Dr.King was correct when he said: “Our lives
    begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’
    I’ve learned that if it feels like there’s something that needs to
    be said, I should say it. I have become a poet of witness and
    learned that this philosophy permeates my whole life.
    What I’ve learned about this is it’s a good thing and it helps
    me understand why I’m here and why I do what I do.

    What I’ve also learned is a poem can start out being about
    some very basic almost mundane things and end up being about
    the most important stuff you can think of.

  4. Brandi Noelle

    My first attempt at the French form, Chanso. Kind of fun!

    A Writer’s Learning Curve

    Writing is a magical gift
    But not one without its struggles
    Mere words have the power to lift
    one’s spirit in times of sorrow

    And, too, reduce someone to tears
    With only a simple story
    Characters whose tale will for years
    Remain in the hearts of readers

    Talents emerged at age seven
    In my soul, a writer was born
    This gift can be made of heaven
    Other times, hell tallies the score

    I have learned many useful things
    Along my own writer’s journey
    Some days the flow of the words sing
    Often, they smack into a wall

    The cure for cursed writer’s block
    I’ve discovered through many trials
    is often just to sit and talk
    with your characters for awhile

    Act out the scenes as they would do
    Their words, actions will come to you

  5. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Education

    The roles switch daily –
    teacher becomes student –
    lessons learned in magic moments
    when least expected –
    life lessons never to be forgotten
    One plus one equals two,
    until it equals three or four
    or more, but there is always enough –
    humans can overcome obstacles
    of great height, weight and dimension,
    when those they loved are in need –
    family are those around you with whom
    you travel through the maze of now –
    desires never die, as long as you keep believing,
    keep moving forward, keep trying –
    then, your hand reaches out
    to help others gain a foothold
    until we all stand together –
    connected by understanding,
    hope and dreams come true.

  6. De Jackson

    Schooled Poem

    This poem knows a thing or
    two, turns out. Doubt
    her if you must, but
    she’s been around the block
    and down the street
    and see that corner over
    there? She ruled it, once.

    She’s once bitten, twice
    shy. She’s been lied to,
    stomped on, left for dead.
    She’s got voices in her head
    that nobody wants to hear
                    (but she’s learned
                        to ignore them.)

    See, the only thing that
    matters is the fire at her
    center. That mangy moon.
    The way the sky slants
    just right when it rains.

    ::

  7. SarahLeaSales

    What I’ve Learned (So Far)

    What I learned from Creative Writing is that you don’t take it with the notion of learning how to get published–you take it to learn how to become a better writer so that you will have a better chance of getting published.

    What I learned from Computer Concepts… Well, that would be nothing. Nothing at all.

    What I learned from Ethics was “The Silver Rule” (or what I call the passive rule, as it concerns not doing something), and that I can Kant.  (I also learned that I love philosophy.)

    What I learned from Poetry was that rhyme is limiting (take that, Robert Frost–I play dangerously without a net!), and that a person who wears a “Make America Great Again” hat wants to discuss more than mere poetry. I also learned that with workshopping, it’s wise to abide by the admonition of Cinderella, which is “to have courage and be kind.”

    What I learned from English Composition II was how to write a research paper on a subject I knew nothing about (i.e. horses) and that Shakespeare is more fun to discuss than read. (I also learned that ratemyprofessors.com is pretty accurate.)

    What I learned from Intermediate College Algebra was that I was not necessarily brilliant, but persistent enough to not allow the fear of algebra keep me from finishing college a second time.

    What I learned from Security Awareness (besides finding a cure for insomnia) was that I could go viral (if not bacterial) on YouTube and make lots of money producing cat videos.

    What I learned from Contemporary Literature is that a playful syllabus is indicative of a chill professor. (And a chill professor won’t take it personally if you kill him off in one of your stories. He just might laugh!)

    What I learned from College Publications, Reporting, and working on the student newspaper is that I can make 24-hour deadlines. I learned that being a humor columnist would be my dream job (as I will never have a passion for reporting “ticker-tape news,” but for what comes after).

    What I learned from medical coding classes what that I hate medical coding, but in learning that, I also learned that no education is ever wasted, for it took a wrong turn to get to the right one.

    And what’s more, I learned that with a career and a family, it will take me longer to finish my education, but that’s okay, for as my college newspaper adviser says, “No one has ever asked me how long it took to get my Ph.D.”

    There is time.

  8. Bruce Niedt

    My previous “facts” poem was inspired by this week’s Sunday Whirl word bank: monkeys, chop, relish, strap, sting, moon, fly, kiss, merge, shimmy, crime, sword. This one uses the same words and was even more fun to write:

    What I Learned about a Barrel of Monkeys

    Almost anything in the world is more fun.
    From the moment Amazon delivered it,
    they emerged and wreaked havoc on my house,
    shimmying up the curtains,
    mooning me from the top of the TV,
    taking flying leaps from my chandelier,
    mocking me with kissy faces.
    One of them took my ceremonial sword
    off the wall and began to chop up my coffee table.
    I took off my belt to threaten them,
    thinking they would fear the sting of the strap,
    but then they pantsed me.
    I need to call animal control
    before I’m arrested for a crime.
    I don’t relish this situation at all.
    Maybe I can sell my house with the listing,
    “as is – pets included”.

  9. MHR

    What I Learned:

    embracing myself completely:
    writing down thoughts and pieces of soul,
    inner corners of my mind and i introvert them,
    so you can see inside.

    (if only for a moment)

    leaving my “other self” alone:
    pick apart, drag you down, inner critique;
    screams at you not to be so metaphorical, clone,
    and pushes you down for being “weak”-
    tells you to leave originality & creativity at the door, wrong.
    when i just need to find my style: leave me alone…

    (i work best alone)

    MHR.

  10. Bruce Niedt

    Ten Album Facts Resulting from Random Word Searches on the Internet

    The debut album of Arctic Monkeys was entitled
    Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

    Lambchop’s song “The Saturday Option” contains the lyrics,
    “Do the shabby thing/With you/Separate the wood/From the screw….”
    It’s from their album What Another Man Spills, on Merge Records.

    The Boy with the Arab Strap is the title of Belle and Sebastian’s third album.
    It was a sly reference to a fellow Scottish band, Arab Strap, but they didn’t know
    that it is also the name of a male s5xual device.

    Sting’s 1993 album Ten Summoner’s Tales is play on words
    referring to his given name, Gordon Sumner.

    Superfly by Curtis Mayfield, the soundtrack album
    of a 1972 “blaxploitation” crime drama,
    actually outgrossed the earnings of the movie.

    Moondance by Van Morrison is frequently ranked
    as one of the best albums of all time.

    KISS’s 1983 album Lick It Up is the first cover
    on which they appear without their characteristic makeup.

    “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard, from his album
    Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, contains samples
    of Booker T and the MGs, Stevie Wonder, and Richard Pryor.

    The artwork on Jethro Tull’s 1982 album The Broadsword and the Beast
    contains lyrics from one of the songs written in Cirth,
    a semi-artificial runic script invented by J.R.R. Tolkien.

    “One of Us”, from Joan Osborne’s debut album Relish,
    was her only Top 10 hit.

  11. Nancy Posey

    I have learned simple math
    compound interest
    declension
    conjugation
    the circle of fourths and fifths
    and four-part harmony.

    I’ve learned to knit and tat and smock
    though zipper and buttonholes
    give me fits.
    I mastered the QWERTY keyboard
    and the ten-key adding machine.
    I can make change
    and calculate tips
    in my head.

    I learned to drive a four-on-the-floor stick shift
    though I can’t change my car clock
    for Daylight Saving Time.
    I learned to read a road map
    but not to refold one.

    I learned to play bridge
    but not to love it.
    I learned to distinguish
    the local bird songs.

    Now I must learn
    when to wait and when to move ahead
    when to remember and how to forget.

  12. pipersfancy

    Navigating IKEA

    on a quest to find
    the perfect shelf for my books
    lost between Billy
    and Klimpen, penned note to self:
    next time, leave Swedish fish trail

  13. Sara McNulty

    True Friendships

    A truth that is learned in older age
    regarding friends steadfast for years,
    if learned in youth, would make you sage.

    The time you spend at work with peers
    is when the seeds of friendship are sown.
    That’s why your eyes will pool with tears

    when meeting someone you knew long ago,
    whose life, like yours, took a different path.
    So easy to relight that tarnished glow,

    to realize acquaintances are not the same.
    A history with a friend builds over time
    when nurtured like a fireplace flame.

    This is a lesson you will find;
    seek out an old friend, mend frayed ties.

  14. pipersfancy

    Hard Lesson

    You told me we could not afford to raise this child, then asked of me (although,
    later denied it) the very thing you claimed to hate most—that I should go and
    seek out termination of my pregnancy. I didn’t. So, you set about to terminate
    this child—our child—within my womb (and me, collateral damage I suppose)
    by sticking your foot out as I brought the laundry up from the basement. You
    watched me tumble down the stairs holding my round belly protectively. “Getting
    kinda clumsy” you laughed. And since then, every time our paths have crossed,
    I’ve learned to stop, brace myself for what might come, and wait for you to go by.
    I bet the last time we went out shopping, no one even guessed we were married.

  15. MET

    Forgiveness comes in stages, I learned

    When I stood before the cross,
    And said I believe, please forgive.
    My soul had a burden lifted…
    I was soaring with the eagles.

    Then my heart felt the tug
    That forgiveness is not one way…
    It was to be passed onward…

    Some hurts take a lifetime
    To forgive… there is the moment
    Of sweet first relief
    Of the anger carried like a stone
    That started the landslide down
    Upon my way.
    Forgiveness comes when
    It came time to forgive
    One stone at a time removed
    Until the path was cleared of rubbish.

    The scars are there, and always will be.
    Not all scars are ugly…
    Some became places
    Where once the anger chained me,
    But now I am free, and
    They are scars of forgiveness.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 20, 2017

  16. tunesmiff

    GRADUATE
    G. Smith (BMI)
    =≈=≈=~=≈=≈=
    I’ve learned,
    You can’t put back the toothpaste;
    I’ve learned,
    You can’t unfire the gun.
    I’ve learned,
    There’s things you can’t unsee,
    And that one and one make two,
    But sometimes it makes one.

    I’ve learned,
    You can’t unstrike the match;
    I’ve learned,
    You can’t do nothing ’bout the weather.
    I’ve learned,
    You can’t uncrack a mirror,
    And if you break a heart there ain’t no way,
    To put it back together.

    Yeah, I’m a graduate,
    From the school of hard knocks;
    Not the brightest,
    Bulb in the box;
    I’ve learned a few things,
    That I should and shouldn’t do,
    But I didn’t pick it up in time,
    To keep from losing you.

    I’ve learned,
    Practice makes you better,
    I’ve learned,
    Perfect can’t be had;
    I’ve learned,
    Where there’s life there’s always hope,
    And there’s almost always good days,
    Right behind the bad.

    Yeah, I’m a graduate,
    From the school of hard knocks;
    Not the brightest,
    Bulb in the box;
    I’ve learned a few things,
    That I should and shouldn’t do,
    But I didn’t pick it up in time,
    To keep from losing you.

    It don’t take long to handle hot horseshoe,
    And you don’t learn nothing from,
    The second kick of a mule.

    Yeah, I’m a graduate,
    From the school of hard knocks;
    Not the brightest,
    Bulb in the box;
    I’ve learned a few things,
    That I should and shouldn’t do,
    But I didn’t pick it up in time,
    To keep from losing you.

  17. Jane Shlensky

    A Few Important Lessons

    When Pa’s plow horse kicked backward
    that time, I learned the importance of
    proximity and speed. Also heads, not tails.

    When Mama told me I could drive her car
    if I didn’t go fast without naming a speed
    in particular, I learned I should try to think
    as she does. Also that it takes a long time
    to earn the money for a new fender.

    When Angelina made that cherry pie for me
    and asked me honest if I liked it, tell the truth,
    I learned that there are harsh truths and
    kind lies and that humans are always confused.
    Also that girlfriends need a sense of humor.

    When I punched that guy for groping my sister,
    and then she punched me even harder,
    I learned not to jump to conclusions and that
    women want to take care of themselves.
    Also that humans are always confusing.

    When she said she loved me, I should have asked
    her what she meant by that. Later I learned
    that she used that word a lot, mostly for
    football players and rich guys with cars.

    When Mama got Alzheimer’s and repeated herself
    dozens of times, I learned to live in the moment
    and laugh at her jokes every single time.
    I also learned a self is a terrible thing to lose.

    When my son came back from college
    looking like a pierced and tattooed vagrant,
    I learned to look in his eyes for the little boy
    I raised and smile before I spoke a word.
    Also that he still has the same hug.

    I reckon I’ve learned something significant
    every day though I’ve forgotten a lot.
    I’ve learned that I don’t know everything
    I’ve learned. Also that I can’t write down
    everything I know, and that makes me
    feel pretty good.

  18. De Jackson

    I’m Such a Fudd-y Duddy

    That cuwsed wascawl of a wabbit
    he’s at it again! It’s tweason!
    I can’t give him up, he’s my habit,
    that cuwsed wascawl of a wabbit.
    He’s my favowite hunt on the planet –
    even though it’s (Daffy) duck season.
    That cuwsed wascawl of a wabbit
    he’s at it again! It’s tweason!

  19. PowerUnit

    My bosses were slick
    got things done on time
    and under budget
    underpaying the best
    promoting the useless

    Myco-workers with heads down
    made the most of not enough
    and stayed below the axe
    got their projects completed
    with dissatisfied reaction

    I learned nontransferable skills:
    how to do things wrong
    with no C.V. acknowledgement
    of how to manage under stress
    and survive idiocy with the best

COMMENT