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.


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Here’s my attempt at a What I Learned Poem:


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.


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

  1. MichelleMcEwen

    A to Z

    A is for the aloe vera that mama used
    B is for the blues that mama shoos
    C is for the chicken necks that mama wrung
    D is for daddy’s dress pants that mama hemmed, hung
    E is for Eloise, Miss Faye, Demetra, Loretta ‘nem & the way mama carried on with them
    F is for the fish that mama would gut
    G is for the grits that mama put her foot in
    H is for the Holy Bible that mama read to us at night even though I wasn’t listening
    I is for the ice cream that mama made
    J is for the jazz, the jungle, the juju in mama’s veins
    K is for the kitchen that mama lived in
    L is for laundry that mama was up to her neck in
    M is for the make-up tips that mama never did give cuz mama liked her daughters as is
    N is for the needle that mama used-to-could easily slide the thread through
    O is for the old wives’ tales that mama scared us with
    P is for prophetic which mama is
    Q is for the way that mama’s raised voice could make you quake
    R is for the River Falls (Alabama) in mama’s ways that she won’t ever shake
    S is for the Singer sewing machine that mama made our dresses on
    T is for the burnt toast that mama still ate
    U is for the “ugly” that mama said she sometimes got called to her face
    V is for the vanity that mama displayed anyway
    W is for the way that mama works with what she’s got
    X is for the ox in mama and the fox.
    Y is for all the years that mama had daddy’s food ready, hot
    Z is for the zillion things that mama taught

  2. bmorrison9

    Trash Tree

    There’s this big
    box elder out back.
    Ugly doesn’t begin:
    sprawling limbs
    spotted with mold
    broken off here and there,
    great brown clumps
    of seed pods like dirty
    footprints all over
    the green canopy.
    Then at the end of summer
    The bugs come.
    Black with red stripes
    they pulse in masses
    on sunny walls, scatter
    brown droppings on car
    and plants, and—even worse—
    crawl into the house.

    What can you do?
    my son says. It’s
    a living thing.
    You can’t cut it down
    just because
    it’s not pretty.

  3. tripoet

    Our Call To Home

    We learned at an early age
    that when my dad whistled
    he expected you home
    immediately, even if you had landed
    yourself in a foreign neighborhood
    far removed from our normal play zone.
    Furthermore, only the foolish
    siblings dared say
    they couldn’t hear his blown call
    forceful through his pursed lips
    piercing our childhood world
    that carried, depending on the hour,
    messages like, “Dinner, Bed-time
    or ‘Be prepared to defend yourself,
    cause one of you is in serious trouble’.”

  4. candy

    Heart of Stone

    what i know about rocks could fill a
    or not
    i know they can be thrown
    and skipped
    dug up
    and buried
    sometimes they rock when
    stepped on
    what I’ve learned about rocks
    is that they hold great mysteries
    in their hearts

  5. Walter J Wojtanik


    I’ve learned to speak to the animals.
    It’s a telepathy, you see,
    that isstrickly between
    the fauna and me.

    Each has a language
    that they call their own
    and I’ve learned them all
    the older I have grown.

    I’ve come to understand
    the things that they say.
    It’s a joy when personalities
    come out to play.

    All my furry friends
    understand me too!
    We share the same spirit
    through and through.

    The polar bear
    have a knack for sharing.
    It surely shows in all
    the gifts they come baring.

    And they’ll perform
    whatever I ask of them.
    (But I’ll be sure
    to not be over-tasking them!)

    The walrus and seals
    and narwhals agree.
    It’s such a pleasure
    conversing with me.

    And I must say
    the feeling is mutual.
    I’ll talk to them all,
    that has become my ritual.

    But the animal spirits
    that lives most within me,
    are my reindeer brethren,
    they are akin to me.

    Through all our travels
    we’ve come to conclude,
    that not understanding
    each other is rude.

    It just makes our task
    a whole lot easier;
    the one-night flight,
    is a wee bit breezier!

    And so that you know,
    whether flippers, fins, hooves or paws,
    I’ve learned to speak to all the animals,
    because I am (a well versed) Santa Claus!

  6. taylor graham


    I read that parasites – vital
    to the ecosystem – are threatened now
    by climate change. Even ticks and fleas
    have a purpose I can’t explain.
    So much I don’t know about this world.
    What secrets in my own five acres?

    Just listen to the crickets.

    On our bedtime walk
    my dogs are gone scouting
    down the swale without a moon,
    all the night a-buzz
    with noise but no direction.
    How to keep
    my bearings in the dark?
    What and how to understand?

    Just listen to the crickets

    telling temperature by the tempo
    of their song – warnings,
    longings without words.
    They know and live our land
    which is their own.
    How much I’ve still to learn.

    Just listen to the crickets!

  7. grcran

    what i learned

    experimented with astros apparel
    had seven different t-shirts, one pair pants
    all gathered over forty-eight long years
    world series victory had best-yet chance

    wore orange astrodome shirt, lost game one
    i coulda shoulda changed it in ninth inning
    (vote Hindsight president in twenty twenty)
    no worries though this series just beginning

    game two tried navy blue it seemed to work
    my wife did scoff hard hitting did the trick
    games three and four flip-flopping what i wore
    showered mid-game five seemed to make it stick

    then dodgers stormed right back in LA town
    tied three games all, was now or never, gramps
    chose logo bottoms, grey Altuve shirt
    woke up to learn that we’re world series champs

    gpr crane

  8. Janet Rice Carnahan


    When we play out our expected roles
    We easily meet other people’s goals

    When we play our assumed part
    People are proud of us at the start

    We’re ok if we color inside the line
    People like us, they say we’re fine

    Yet if we take another form
    They shout at us to conform

    To be our self isn’t always pleasing
    People want us humorously teasing

    To declare a real, experienced feeling
    We can receive reactions, less than appealing

    Manners and politeness aside
    Sometimes the truth cannot hide

    Being real and true to one’s self
    Others may stick us up high on a shelf

    This lesson has been hard to learn
    It’s finding a way through it, I still yearn

    Every time I test it, I hit a stone wall
    It sends me backwards, my ideas stall

    It seems there must be a better way
    I might try it tomorrow but not today

    In the meantime, I’ll just nod and smile
    When I return, it will have been worthwhile

  9. De Jackson

    Making Up for Lost

    Oh, some pages turned
    Some bridges burned
    But there were lessons learned
                      – Carrie Underwood

    She spent a few too many
    years spending it
                (energy, tears)
    on things that didn’t really

    Somewhere, somehow, the
    rhythm of her own drum
    (hum, thrum)
    heart got lost, tossed aside in
    all the noise.

    She forgot to sing, and be, and
    breathe, forgot her thoughts
                (sought, caught)
    counted. That she amounted
    to everything.


  10. Daniel Paicopulos

    Elbows on the Bar

    A thought arises, lingers not, departs,
    as our summer too soon becomes the fall.
    This is true in writing, in all the arts.
    A thought arises, lingers not, departs.
    We must soon act on what is in our hearts,
    lest we would forget, lose our soul, our all.
    A thought arises, lingers not, departs,
    as our summer too soon becomes the fall.

  11. Earl Parsons

    So Many Lessons Learned

    Don’t eat yellow snow
    Don’t touch the cigarette lighter

    Wear your seatbelt
    Wear your helmet

    Don’t stick a knife in an outlet
    Don’t skate on thin ice

    Say please and thank you
    Say sir or ma’am

    Don’t play in the street
    Don’t run with scissors

    Always wear clean underwear
    Always cover your cough

    Don’t worry about tomorrow
    Don’t bite your fingernails

    Remember your manners
    Remember to brush your teeth

    Don’t pick your nose
    Don’t cross your eyes

    Forgive and forget
    Live and let live
    Love with all your heart
    And thank God every day

  12. deringer1

    I HAVE LEARNED (a nonet)

    With determination I have learned
    to do the thing I thought was hard,
    to hurdle all excuses,
    and find the muse each day.
    Sometimes it’s easy
    sometimes it’s hard…
    a poem

  13. KM


    The morning has barely broken, and already the internet enlightens me. Word of the day, ballooning, not blowing air and twisting latex into animal shapes, but the work of a spider, when it throws out lines of gossamer, snags the breeze and sails on silk strands. Is there a name for the spot a spider lands? I try to invent one while I read more headlines: “These popular toys could be putting your child in danger.” Maybe the spot is called a cushion. “Hate crimes in the United States have increased to a point not seen in recent history.” Or the target. “Charles Manson, murderous cult leader, dead at 83.” Perhaps it’s just called safety. “Impact of Arctic climate change being felt farther south, scientists say.” It’s surely not arcadia, but I’ll call it that anyway.

    – Kim Mannix

  14. MET

    Worth the pain

    Hiking up a steep mountain
    Barefoot is not easy,
    But once the summit is reached
    The view is stunning, and
    The joy is quiet and stilling
    Every cut, every stone bruise
    Was worth every step.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 20, 2017

  15. Sally Jadlow

    What I Learned

    In seventy-five years
    I’ve learned to never stop learning.
    Maybe some stuff will fall
    out the back of my head,
    but enough stays in
    to make life interesting.

    Note: I recently finished reading and producing my “God’s Little Miracle Book” series (I, II, & III) for Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Awaiting approval for the last one today.

  16. MET

    Four Lessons I learned as a child

    It is not a good thing
    To pick a fight with twins.
    You lose.

    Eating an ice cream cone
    While riding in a convertible
    While the top is down…
    Is not fun.

    Refusing to eat spinach
    Served in a school lunch,
    And being made to sit
    There until the end of the day
    Was boring…
    But I didn’t eat the spinach.
    Sometimes waiting
    Is a good thing.,
    But not telling your mother
    What happened
    Was not.
    My answer to her was
    It was my battle.

    Not taking the note home
    That said I needed glasses
    And coming home
    With my mother having
    That we “have to talk” look, and
    Her jaw set rigid
    Because she got a letter
    Saying the school
    Would buy my glasses…
    Made my brother laugh, and
    Ma gave me the silent treatment, and
    Told Da I was his daughter.

    Some of the reasons
    When Ma first did not know me.
    She told me to find me
    For I was her most difficult child.
    I laughed for I knew I was.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 20, 2017

    1. Terry Jude Miller

      Splendid poem.

      My favorite bit:

      “coming home
      With my mother having
      That we “have to talk” look”


      My mother was a 4′ 10″ Irish firecracker. We were all big farm boy sons, but we feared that look dreadfully.

      Wonderful poem.


      1. MET

        I swear I got that look more than my brothers…and only one of her grandsons will admit ever having got that look but he lived us for five years… and Thank you…

  17. Walter J Wojtanik


    Things are far too busy when I’m in the throes,
    after all this time you’d think I’d learn my lesson.
    Trying to fit into my clothes and still Ho, Ho, Ho?
    Things are far too busy when I’m in the throes.
    But, this jolly guy has a lot of heart and it shows,
    and you’ve all learned to be good, I’m guessin’.
    Things are far too busy when I’m in the throes,
    after all this time you’d think I’d learn my lesson.

    **Sorry De. Life crept up on me this W.E. Picking up from the 18th if you’ll still have me?

    1. De Jackson

      What I’ve Learned is that You Never Stop Learning

      After all this time you’d think I’d learn my lesson
      but as it turns out, the learning never ends.
      Each and every day, life class is in session,
      and after all this time you’d think I’d learn my lesson
      but after 47 years, I’ve got a confession:
      each day holds more than I can ever comprehend.
      After all this time you’d think I’d learn my lesson
      but as it turns out, the learning never ends.

      1. Walter J Wojtanik

        AND ON, AND ON, AND ON…

        As it turns out, the learning never ends,
        you think you’re a know-it-all, but you are not.
        We still teach each other things, my friends,
        as it turns out, the learning never ends.
        Each person’s level of knowledge all depends
        on what kind of a teacher they’ve got.
        As it turns out, the learning never ends,
        you think you’re a know-it-all, but you are not.

        1. De Jackson

          No, It’s All Still Going

          You think you’re a know-it-all, but you are not.
          There’s never enough energy or time.
          You’ve got to make due with what you’ve got
          when you think you’re a know-it-all, but you are not.
          There’s a time and a place to accept life’s lot
          (but also know that it can turn on a dime!)
          You think you’re a know-it-all, but you are not.
          There’s never enough energy or time.

          1. Walter J Wojtanik


            There’s never enough energy or time.
            I can’t please every bunny!
            But Santa will try, it’s on his dime,
            there’s never enough energy or time.
            I’d get charged with battery if I’m
            found without enough cells, (that’s funny!)
            There’s never enough energy or time.
            I can’t please every bunny!

          2. De Jackson

            Fried Rabbit

            I can’t please every bunny!
            (And trust me, oh, I’ve tried!)
            But I’ve learned something funny:
            hey, you can’t please every bunny.
            You’ll soon run out of money
            and your brain, it will be fried.
            I can’t please every bunny!
            (And trust me, oh, I’ve tried.)

          3. Walter J Wojtanik

            WHAT I WEARNED: THE FUDDIAN SWIP (Heh, heh, heh)

            And twust me, oh, I’ve twied!
            That cuwsed wascawl of a wabbit
            would be bettew to me fwied,
            and twust me, oh, I’ve twied!
            On many hunting twips I’ve cwied,
            but I twy not to make it a habit. (heh, heh, heh)
            And twust me, oh, I’ve twied!
            That cuwsed wascawl of a wabbit

          4. 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!

          5. Walter J Wojtanik


            He’s at it again! It’s akin to treason!
            Who doesn’t believe in the Yuletide?
            Why, it’s the most excellent season.
            He’s at it again! It’s akin to treason!
            You’d think this Scrooge would have a good reason
            or learn to keep his discontent inside.
            He’s at it again! It’s akin to treason!
            Who doesn’t believe in the Yuletide?

      2. Daniel Paicopulos

        An Honest Day’s Work at the Triolet Factory

        Some things simply should never be said,
        no matter how much one wants to reveal,
        should honesty fill a dear friend with dread.
        Some things simply should never be said,
        letters are worse, re-read and re-read,
        No matter how truthful, no matter how real,
        some things simply should never be said,
        no matter how much one wants to reveal.

  18. Walter J Wojtanik


    It’s about time I started getting busy, if I wait too long I’ll get dizzy.
    It’s taken ten months to find my groove
    with all these girls and boys, wanting new toys
    I feel that it’s time that I make my move.

    Check the names twice, this list is nice,
    or else the naughty I’d be sooner forgetting.
    I can sense their terror; there’s no room for error
    and they’ll be changing their ways, I’m betting.

    Their logic and reason, when we get to this season
    just flies in my face; my profession.
    And despite their folly, I’ll still remain jolly
    and hope that they all learn a lesson.

    For goodness sake, be good – make no mistake,
    I have no fear to show you who is boss,
    In my mind, it’s never too late, change your ways and celebrate.
    I’ll be coming ‘round soon. I am Santa Claus!

  19. Walter J Wojtanik


    Like a slap to the back of the head
    the awakening begins. Illusions
    become disillusionment, but
    reality is a great professor.
    The lesson is clear; that my
    expression is mine and I
    am not here to compete. My
    feelings steep within with a fire
    only muse can stoke. The Great
    Tender of the great pretender.

  20. Anthony94

    Like a Memorable Book

    I’ve learned November grass
    is the deepest green before
    its blanket of snow and glitter
    of blown seeds from the dead
    blossoms sticking through.

    I’ve learned kitchens smell
    best when full of food to take
    and share down roads and
    over highways, double batches
    an extra casserole or two.

    I’ve learned to hoard coupons
    against the holiday shopping
    a habit of years and pinching
    pennies in empty cookie jars
    but I’ve learned to tithe, too
    and it’s always returned.

    I’ve learned to spend a stamp
    to send cheer to the housebound
    the homesick, the hurting, or
    just to share a celebration.
    I’ve invested in time, set aside
    moments I’m surprised to get back.

    I’ve learned I’ve a lot to learn
    for sure across the years, each
    season bringing new lessons
    to be dodged or mastered,
    savored like the pages of
    a memorable book, read, reread.

  21. annell

    The Lessons in Life/School of Higher Learning

    the lessons in life    school of higher learning     you ask

    what have you learned    number one    is that the universe doesn’t care

    if you get it or not    unlike school    you will not be held back

    you will not be punished     instead     like it or not

    the lesson will come again     you will not notice     that the lesson is the same

    it might not look the same     still the lesson is there     and it will return again and again>br>

    one lifetime after another     so you might as well     get it

    as there is no slipping by &nsp;   the dress you sew     must fit you perfectly

    November 20, 2017

  22. JanetRuth

    Lessons Learned Through Poetry

    I have learned that writing poems
    Does not get the laundry hung
    Does not dust, sweep, scrub the kitchen
    But oh, it keeps the spirit young


    I have learned there is no fountain
    Filled with youth’s euphoric flit
    But the potion in a poem
    Is the next best thing to it


    He who looks with humble honor
    No matter what he may see
    Finds pure beauty in the common
    Through the eyes of poetry

  23. thunk2much

    Rescue work

    My t-shirt is covered in fur
    and reads Who Rescued Who?
    It’s supposed to be Whom
    but the dogs don’t much care
    and that’s why I’m there
    trying to help the lucky ones
    who made it out alive, although
    what kind of luck is it I wonder
    to be dumped in kill shelters
    or kicked to the curb or just kicked?
    But I’ve learned from seeing too much
    that these are the lucky ones
    and when I look at the people
    wearing shirts that match mine
    I see what hope looks like and sacrifice
    although nobody would call it that
    but do imagine please
    what kind of vacation you take
    when you’re training five dogs
    or wrangling twelve puppies?
    And I’ve learned firsthand too
    that even if you had enough money
    you’d just fix your floors
    so the next batch of rescues
    can wreck them some more.

        1. MET

          I used to help GReenville County Animal control … but they chose to ban me when I questioned their tnr kittens who weighed under two pounds and turning them loose anywhere…and because they were angry with me and another person… this one cat I helped to get safely out of there and on the way to a sanctuary… this was a 16 year old owner surrender they were planning to kill…and they threatened the person who pulled the cat with having her pets removed… so she has been there for a couple of months and now is going today to the rescue she was on her way to back then… the reason I was banned was I refused to sign papers that would not say anything bad about the shelter… this next year I am going to begin the very uphill battle of changing laws concerning shelters and rescues.. I am tired of bad rescues… look up Julianne westberry… I was involved in that situation… and on you tube there is a video of the survivors of the house of horrors and it was… and put her name in…

  24. Kay Butzin

    What I Learned

    In life’s biggest mistakes
    Lie its greatest lessons

    Could have. Didn’t.
    Should have.

    But another road’s bumps
    Would have hurt no less.

    And I am pretty happy
    Where this one has led.

  25. Jezzie


    Why on Earth do we learn algebra in our schools?
    I can accept we need some geometry rules
    and I’ve used them a little in my life, I’d say,
    but I’ve never used algebra until this day.
    I’ve made use of Pythagorus on occasion
    but what is the use of a quadratic equation?

    Geography, biology I gladly learned
    but physics and (yuk) chemistry lessons I spurned,
    languages were useful but those I rarely speak
    ‘cept for English, of course, in that I’m not so weak.
    I learned lots. Did I use that knowledge in my life?
    I was never taught how to be mother and wife.

    But I was good at maths which served me very well
    in my career, it helped my bank account to swell
    but I wish I had learned more useful things in class
    like how to bring up kids or how to mow my grass
    or how to deal with awkward people that I’d meet
    or how to stand up in life on my own two feet.

  26. MET

    Something learned along the way

    Each Person
    From the moment
    We make our first cry
    We take that last breath…
    Every person
    We say hell-o
    In the journey
    Between those two points
    There is written in that hell-o
    The unspoken good-bye.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 20, 2017

  27. headintheclouds87

    The Illusion of Honesty

    What did I learn
    From being deceived
    At every turn
    By someone I blindly believed?

    I found the telling signs
    Of false, pacifying smiles,
    Tracing a lying mouth’s lines
    And trademarks of a trickster’s style.

    I heard the faint hesitancy
    In forced and hollow promises,
    The all-too familiar tendency
    To project an illusion of honesty.

    This is what I have learned
    From once assuming the role
    Of the trusting lover spurned,
    With a mind fit for control.

    Now that I know the tricks
    Up a deceiver’s sleeve
    I’ll choose what to believe
    And keep my mind unpicked.

  28. MET

    I opened the door to ignorance

    He was patiently trying to teach
    A very uninterested eleven-year-old
    Who wanted to go out and
    Ride her bike.
    It was a lesson I needed to learn, but
    Had no interest,
    Responding, “I know.”
    Da grabbed my shoulders,
    This one thing”
    I was shocked
    For my father
    Was rarely terse
    With us,
    Knowing this
    I froze and listened.
    “When you say, ‘I know,’
    You have shut the door
    To learning more, and
    Open the door to ignorance.”
    He gently then patted my shoulder, and
    Under some weight
    I did not understand, he said,
    “Go ride your bike.”

    I don’t remember the lesson
    He tried to teach me that morning,
    But I heard his words, and
    Never shut that door again, nor
    Opened the door to ignorance.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 20, 2017

  29. AsWritten

    The World as We Know It by Ken Bentz

    Too many goodbyes
    flood our lives.

    People whose faces
    float beyond the reach

    of time or our memories.
    Would you believe

    you had met me once,
    not so long ago?

    I was on the subway
    eyeing the floor.

    You stared straight at me
    but didn’t see me.

    You were lost in reciting
    the important to-dos of life.

    Not one of which involved
    saying “hi”

    or learning why our paths
    had crossed so closely.

    Both of us survived,
    and nothing changed.

    But that’s the point.
    Think of the changes,

    the good and bad,
    lost to our goodbyes.

  30. RJ Clarken

    What I Learned…About Chewing Gum

    “I learned how to make an endoscope using a Swiss Army Knife, a cell phone camera, cell phone, and chewing gum.” ~Lucas Till

    Don’t pop too loudly. It’s annoying!
    Some people chew for relief.
    Some like to chew it. Bubbles? Blew it!
    It soon gets quite hard. That’s my one beef.

    If you laugh, don’t leave it by molars.
    You run the risk of a choke.
    Bubbles? Blew it! Some like to chew it.
    That’s the trouble with gum and a joke.

    Eating? Don’t stick it on the table.
    A really disgusting trick.
    Some like to chew it. Bubbles? Blew it!
    And, who knows where it next might just stick.

    Last point? Tossing gum out a window
    of a moving car? So wrong!
    Bubbles? Blew it! Some like to chew it.
    It could end up where it won’t belong!

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this.
    MacGyver sure liked his gum.
    Some like to chew it. Bubbles? Blew it!
    It can be used for a great outcome

    like endoscopes and other things which
    require some sticky sludge.
    Bubbles? Blew it! Some like to chew it.
    Might sound weird, but who are we to judge?


      1. MET

        and the lesson I learned from a teacher who would pop you with a ruler if you chewed gum in class was to swallow it quickly before she got to your desk… one reason I don’t chew gum is because I sometimes forget and swallow it…

  31. Pat Walsh

    what I learned
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    in those first few days
    and nights by the river
    I worried the dawn
    with thoughts of
    what might be done
    to help
    based on what the
    doctors had told me

    it wasn’t until the end
    of that last night that
    I finally realized
    that all that talk
    made no difference
    to the night
    and the dawn and
    the river of what will be

  32. Eileen S


    Liars will always lie. They can’t be trusted.
    The best way to handle a liar is to listen to
    them and not take any stock in what they
    say for it is in their inherent nature to lie.
    Don’t get angry. Just ignore them and
    forgive for forgiving is not for them
    but for you.

  33. Daniel Paicopulos

    Have I mentioned how much I hate not be able to edit my mistaken posts here?
    I meant to praise a Terry Jude Miller’s post, while the anti-war post is my response to the prompt. Here’s another response:

    Waiting for perfection:
    That is a good way
    to not enjoy my life.


    1. Daniel Paicopulos

      Sadaam’s Statue Falls, 4.9.03

      Years ago,
      I felt an odd guilt
      about invading Iraq.

      Years ago,
      I feared that,
      for one modern-day,
      Arabic-speaking FDR,
      the first dropped bomb
      marked our own day of infamy.

      Years ago, I was also sad,
      sad for the loved ones
      in San Diego,
      in Karbala,
      in Twenty-Nine Palms,
      in Des Moines,
      in Al Kut.
      I was sad
      for the children of Basrah,
      released from years’ captivity,
      only to rejoin a world of
      looting and vengeance.

      So, what have I learned?
      What have I become today?

      Today, I am grateful,
      that scores of humans,
      for at least today’s few hours,
      will not be torn apart by
      screaming metal,
      searing fire.

      Today, I am sad for
      the well-meaning anti-war souls
      whose legitimacy can be somehow
      toppled like a statue.

      Today, I am sad
      for the young warrior
      who will be the last to die
      in Iraq or Afghanistan.
      What will be his name?
      What will be her legacy?

      Today, I am worried.
      I am worried that Pyrrhic victory in Iraq
      will inspire more preemptive strikes,
      when what are needed are
      preemptive education and
      preemptive medicine and
      preemptive food.

      Today, I am aware,
      once more, yet once more,
      that wars are fought
      by our children,
      and by theirs.

      Today, I know
      that thousands will die,
      more will be crippled,
      When then,
      yes then,
      there will be
      another war.

      Today, I am reminded
      again, yet again,
      how no one
      hates war more
      than the warrior

      Today, I am alone,
      aware that I have learned too much,
      trying to not think of it,
      any of it.

  34. Terry Jude Miller

    What I Learn
    by Terry Jude Miller

    from the rock
    I tell to the tree
    and then the tree
    shares something new

    what the tree tells me
    I share with the frog
    in the pond
    who ponders for a bit
    then expounds
    on some amphibian philosopy

    that I share with my sheltie, Strauss

    and, Strauss, being the empath he is,
    takes my words and rolls them
    around in his soft dark eyes

    then nudges my hand
    to pet his head
    to tell me

    we’ve learned enough
    for one day


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