2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Battle (blank);” replace the blank with a word or phrase; make the new phrase the title of your poem; and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Battle Tested,” “Battle of the Sexes,” “Battle of the Bands,” and “Battle of the Bulge.”


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In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

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Here’s my attempt at a “Battle (blank)” Poem:

“battle over the leftovers”

most conflicts in the northern hemisphere
revolve around natural resources
like rubies, diamonds, and soybean patents

that is, we fight over the nouns of life
& the ideas & emotions–the hearts,
the minds–as if we could swallow them whole

in the evening, we sit as if posing
for a portrait of the well-fed couple
then we battle over the leftovers

like there’s something to win: winner, winner
chicken dinner along with mac & cheese
please give me more gravy; give me more, please…


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He does like to eat leftovers…maybe a little too much.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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325 thoughts on “2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

  1. BDP

    “Battle of Extremes”

    With neither cannonball nor gun,
    no matter night or day,
    her cry is heard, identified:
    chase boogeymen away!

    At two years old, she sees a woods
    of legs. The human doe,
    she’s mom. Dad’s fine—he’s not a “him,”
    responds with soft reply

    to spilling Cheerios, voice light,
    no scowls, a father’s glow.
    But what of uncle’s bearded face?
    He’s giant high, and though

    he smiles, she’s close to (frowns) undone,
    unsure of where to head.
    He’s walking toward her, ducks
    to pick her up—their shared

    sweet touch? She howls, a mighty foe.
    He chuckles, gives her time,
    “There-there,” and dries a teary eye
    with gentle, massive thumb.

    Then battle won, her arms alive,
    she gestures: he and I,
    how tall! Her baby looks-could-kill
    now gone, slunk off to die.

    —B Peters

    Endwords from Emily Dickinson, “My Life Had Stood—a Loaded Gun”

  2. DaveIst

    Against the Tide

    Swirling down the river
    Rudderless twigs
    Corical leaves
    Spinning directionless
    Dead and lifeless
    No resistance to the flow
    The currant taking it all.
    It’s the living ones who
    Battle up stream
    Fight the current
    And win the

  3. trishwrites

    It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
    Reveal themselves, one star at time
    —The Tragically Hip

    Everytime I hear
    My heart falls

    Just a little more each time
    Right at the point about
    Constellations revealing
    themselves in a northern sky

    At that bridge in the music
    Where you’d swear
    you’re sitting there
    beside them
    in a Muskoka chair
    Wind whistling
    three syllable song
    The long slow call of a loon

    It’s at that moment
    amid the strain, pain of
    of a sunsetting
    too soon
    That I’m reminded
    Some battles
    Aren’t meant to be won

  4. PSC in CT

    Battle Hymn

    He was wholly combative,
    all dispute and demand,
    commanding complete surrender –
    with no hope of concession,
    compromise, or truce.

    Every little thing
    became an ongoing battle
    (of wits, wills and words)
    until one day (she heard)

    he’d called her water
    under the bridge and
    suddenly she was
    so over the

    dam(n), she declared
    her independence,
    disengaged and
    walked away

  5. agolly

    Battle of the Cars

    Both playing chicken with the other,
    Neither stepping down.
    Waiting for the other
    To step down.
    Not knowing of the other in the road.
    Causes a pile up in the road.

    No one expected to live.
    Miracle if achieved.
    Others join in on the fun.
    Unable to see the jam.

    Big and small.
    One and all.
    Join in the car wars.
    Unable to see the war
    Because of the weather.

    All cars join the war
    Survival of the fittest.
    No one will make it far,
    For another joins
    Making escape

  6. sincerescribe

    Battlefield Acrostic

    Breaking through the fortified barriers
    Aimed to encumber vision carriers
    Torching structures constructed to dismay
    Taking knowledge bounty along the way
    Leaving behind the weight of disbelief
    Entering unknown territory chief
    Facing tough enemies with guns blazing
    Initiating moves deemed amazing
    Eliminating excuses to win
    Lighting a path for success to begin
    Demonstrating bravery with a spin

  7. Nancy Posey

    Battle of Shiloh

    The Battle of Pittsburg Landing
    has long carried the name
    of the church house on the grounds–
    Shiloh, peaceful one—
    long ago soaked with blood,
    which ran red from blue and grey alike.

    The other names less peaceful still—
    Hornet’s Nest, Bloody Pond.

    Monuments now mark the battle lines.
    Families picnic on the fringes
    of the field where both sides
    believed they won, feared they lost.

    The august names fill
    history books—Grant, Sherman,
    McClelland, Buell pitted
    against Forrest, Johnston–shot to death,
    perhaps by friendly fire–
    then Beauregard took charge.
    Lew Wallace lived
    to write of chariot battles.

    Three Confederate soldiers
    missed it all. Finding themselves
    near home, convinced
    they had time before battle,
    using watermelons for floats,
    forded the river for a visit.

    Returning too late to do more
    than identify or bury the dead,
    most sharing a common grave,
    they headed back, believers
    in fate or luck or prayer,
    believers in home.

  8. seingraham


    First notice of spring is the honk-honk-honking
    of flocks of Canada geese flying low over the house
    to land on the lake just north of here
    We try to make it over there sometime in the next week
    to watch the fights

    It’s a city lake and as such there are platforms set out
    for the geese to use for nesting, but only a couple
    They’ve also learned to build in some of the mature
    bulrushes on the shore but there’s always some fierce
    arguing before it’s settled who gets to stay on the lake

    Canada geese are fierce and fearsome fowl – you don’t
    want to mess with one for sure, especially during nesting
    season after their eggs are laid or the goslings are born
    A nip from a goose can easily break a finger and I’ve seen
    some nasty gashes on legs as well

    This year was the oddest, I think – winter couldn’t seem to make
    up its mind to go and even after the geese arrived, the lake
    kept skimming up with ice – not ideal for nesting
    Many of the early arrivers flew off to who knows where to wait
    it out. Some of the stalwarts acted like polite friends, or so it seemed.

    We sat on a bench one afternoon expecting to see the usual
    battle but instead, we saw geese barely acknowledging the platforms
    They honked softly at each other and occasionally one would go out
    and sit on a platform, then its mate would join it –

    They made chuffing noises for a bit, then appeared to be honking
    at other pairs as they departed the raft-like wood. We decided they
    were telling each other, “No – you take it. We insist.” No one pair
    seemed too eager to take over a platform. In fact, by the end of the day,
    all the geese left the area. It was the oddest spring on record.

    It’s been several weeks already, and winter is still clinging to this area
    with an icy grip, especially up at the lake; we’ve heard the geese more
    than once but they’re flying high and we think they’re just glancing
    at the lake, not coming in yet – I hope we get to see them have their usual
    brouhaha when they finally do come here.

  9. candy

    Battle Scars

    He was the old paladin
    Of the neighborhood
    Belonging to no one
    And everyone
    Prowling the trees and bushes
    For unauthorized chipmunks
    And mice
    You knew you were one
    Of the privileged few if
    One of those offenders showed up
    As an offering on your porch
    He was fierce and fluffy
    Stray dogs did not stray this
    Way more than once
    And pesky possums learned
    To avoid our backyards
    He was a hero with the
    Battle scars to prove it

  10. azkbc

    Battle Numbers

    which are too large
    to be understood
    by most people
    provide information
    about battles
    and the destruction
    they have wrought
    in human history.

    The worst for killing people were
    World War II,
    the Mongol Conquests of Europe,
    World War I,
    the Manchu Conquest of China,
    and the Napoleonic Wars,.

    One estimate is that
    up to one billion people
    have been killed in battles
    since the beginning of time.
    And yet they rage on.

  11. Angie5804

    Battle Scars

    Gray hairs, wrinkles, sad eyes looking out
    Mark the one who wove the braids,
    slathered the sunscreen,
    watched and prayed
    These facets of parenthood are there for all to see
    For all to judge
    Snaggled fingernails, stooped shoulders, a weary walk
    Brand the one who scrubbed the dishes,
    carried the burdens of a broken heart,
    tried to walk away
    These marks of a mother, marks of a soldier
    Are reminders of days gone by
    Indicators of what’s ahead

  12. Brandi Noelle

    Battle of Wits?

    Remember the days of Cary Grant
    a man of wit, charm, and sophistication?
    He may have had his opinions on life
    but avoided its altercations
    There were scandals behind the glitz and glam
    just ask any of Liz’s husbands
    Best friend Debbie Reynolds knew betrayal’s sting
    Heavy secrets plagued heartthrob Rock Hudson
    Blonde bombshell Marilyn was proof
    that sex always sells, even then
    Men clamored for box office tickets
    to watch Italian siren Sophia Loren
    Class and romance were the theme
    in old nightclubs of glitter and swank
    The sweet crooning of a favorite baritone
    made one forgive infidelity in Ava and Frank
    Indiscretions and personal struggles aside
    in one way they were all the same
    Patriotism and respect for the stars and stripes
    Held more value than the jewels and the fame
    Some left the comforts of Hollywood
    to save Europe from a frightening fate
    Jimmy Stewart was a decorated war hero
    upon which there is no debate
    Easier, those days, in which celebrities
    awed, inspired, and made us proud
    now its hate and ugliness spewed
    on a forum that is much too loud
    Social media has become a portal in which
    all are compelled to bare their souls
    hiding beneath entertainment’s illusion
    the harshness of reality takes its toll
    Those who once brought us joy and laughter
    now engage in vulgar verbal attacks
    cursing, demeaning, and calling names
    alienating fans as they grind their ax
    Foolishly they believe this bitter rage
    to be an intelligent battle of wits
    a shocking revelation it will be to most
    when the shine of their star is no longer lit

  13. MaggieIrene

    Battleship In Sixth Grade
    …for Kay Woodhouse

    Sixth grade indoor recess,
    when it was twenty below outdoors
    and a teacher grasped for sanity straws,
    taught us a game her husband Johnny
    played on board a real ship while he was
    a sailor; had us pick partners, draw grids
    on paper, locate seven ships at sea
    on the page, then go after one
    another; more fun than history
    or math, hands down; and once
    all competition was underway,
    she was free to focus on other
    stuff at her desk, maybe even
    daydream of how sweet
    their days and nights
    were when Johnny
    landed back in port,
    returned to play
    house with her
    in their cozy first
    apartment, love
    and war but
    mostly she
    had let

      1. MaggieIrene

        Thank you, Angie5804! Kay Woodhouse. My 6th grade teacher who helped us understand many things that year, when in Little Rock Arkansas a little black girl was walked into an all-white school. She also said to us one day that it seemed to her that when a white woman would marry a black man, there must be a very real and lasting love between them, to marry while knowing what society was going to make them live through. I never forgot her. And she was young, pretty, and pregnant. A benchmark in my school years, for sure.

  14. Brian Slusher

    So we decided to break into the old battle tank

    that served as a martial lawn jockey
    at the Guard Armory, and we pedaled
    through the Independence Day dusk,
    ditched our bikes beside that tracked monster

    and climbed onto its turret to lever
    its spot-welded hatch with a crowbar
    we took from Marty’s house. As Jimbo
    monkey-swung from its elephantine gun

    the rest of us pried and planned what we’d
    blow up: the school (of course), then maybe
    the church, next Tony Hick’s house, but then
    came the crack of the re-broken latch.

    We peered into maw of Shiva. An odor
    of piss arose. So we decided to ride to the
    fairgrounds to watch the controlled
    explosions, the beautiful abstractions

    of blood and destruction boom and
    bloom clean in the July night.

  15. Pat Walsh

    Battle bot
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    poor little battle bot
    built to destroy
    big tough mechanicals
    like bullies to boys

    poor little battle bot
    what would it seem
    if you wound up instead
    in an old bot museum

  16. mattmacd

    Battle Cat

    One of the first things
    that I had ever gave my wife
    was a kitten. It was our first birthday
    under the same roof.
    We were young and I was a hopeless romantic.

    The cat grew up fast and didn’t waste
    any time
    in showing us
    how it viewed the world.

    Since it was our first apartment, we didn’t mind all that much
    when it shredded our hand-me-down

    We reconsidered our point of view when
    it ruined our first Xmas tree, and

    when it ran head first
    into and through our screen door temporarily becoming
    an outdoor cat, and

    when it brought home fleas that we wouldn’t be
    officially free from
    until we had moved into our next apartment.

    This feline has since been shuffled on to the afterlife,
    it’s final resting place being
    my mother-in-law’s backyard.

    Since then I have concluded that
    life wouldn’t have ben as interesting
    if I had gotten my wife a piece of jewelry
    for that birthday

  17. Linda Voit

    Battle Bubbles

    the trigger
    of your breath
    to a light
    to shards
    of grass
    they all die

    Linda Voit

  18. Jane Shlensky

    Battle for the Bluebird Boxes

    At winter cleaning, I can see the signs
    that blue birds have been losing real estate
    to chipmunks, squirrels, field mice, varied snakes,
    to titmice, cowbirds, finches, wrens, and more.
    In some the stacks of nests are true and blue;
    in others rodents left pebbles and shells,
    a sediment of nibbling muck and mess.

    Before I pull the pin on one, a shriek,
    and sundry noses poke form out the hole
    enlarged by excavation: flying squirrels–
    the mama stands her ground, wanting to fight
    to keep her pilfered home, stolen outright.
    In one, the front is almost chipped away
    by sapsuckers who needed extra room.
    It seems we need a wild thing seminar
    to teach the lot what bluebird boxes are.

    I clean them just the same, patch as I can
    and purchase more with metal ‘round the hole.
    I know it won’t deter a bandit long;
    no home security will keep them safe.
    But when I hang new boxes, it’s a joy
    to see the bluebird couples shop for homes.
    They go from box to box, hop in and out
    before they build a nest and set to work
    imagining the eggs kept feather warm,
    the fledglings they will raise, the turns they’ll take
    bringing them insects so they will be fed.
    They are a team, these bluebirds; this is home
    and I am party to it for a while.
    I am their secret weapon, if they choose.
    I will make sure they gain more than they lose.

  19. Jane Shlensky

    Custody Battle

    She keeps the dog; he takes the cat.
    To her, the beds; to him, the couch.
    It’s divvy, divvy—that was mine
    before we met—just take it, go.
    Boxes of objects, reminders, pall
    of all that’s gone, of all that’s kept.
    The friends will go to here or there.
    The families will always care.
    Each will give up on anything
    except the kids. The kids, they need–
    proof that once something was right,
    second chances, third, and more
    and something neither one can name
    but call it unconditional love.
    An unconvincing argument
    for any child: “we no longer love
    each other, but we will always
    love you.”

  20. Austin Hill

    Battle Creek

    Rafters of barns must be overflowin’;
    Wonder where all the plain cereals are goin’?

    Every one’s gone hog wild with flavors,
    Chocolate, cinnamon among the major players.

    Even shredded wheat, quintessential source of fiber,
    Has gone pure rogue to satisfy its subscribers.

    All the colors and tastes make my stomach ache;
    I want nothing more exotic than Frosted Flakes.

    © April 2018 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  21. deringer1


    He said, “I’m King.”
    She said, “I’m Queen.”

    Both insisted on having their way,
    not hearing what the other would say.

    Vows to love, respect, and cherish,
    in the heat of battle were soon to perish.

    Their love began at their first kiss,
    and life together promised bliss.

    But egos soon began to battle
    and days became one long kerfuffle.

    As in most wars, there’s no real winner,
    so they kissed and made up and went out to dinner.

  22. Joseph Hesch

    Battle for the Heart and Mind

    I armed myself with a bottle of water,
    eyeglasses, computer, and absolutely
    no advance intel. This is no way
    to face so cunning an enemy.
    A few years ago, I’d attack these sessions
    like a free-writing commando.
    Sure I parachuted into the dark,
    but I knew my target, its flat white topography
    and the objective: break another prisoner
    free from the prison of my heart.
    I’d toss some metaphors into that
    hardened space (like I just did),
    set off a smoke grenade to hide
    my true position and maybe bring a tear
    to anybody who thought to watch,
    and make the snatch and run.
    I almost always extracted a prisoner,
    though sometimes they had nothing to say
    when I got them to my lines.
    But somewhere along the way, I lost
    my sangfroid in a story over New Mexico,
    or maybe it was that poem about
    how she made me a prisoner in the darkness
    of our own making.
    Some days I fear I no longer have
    the thirst for battle, finding the pen
    too heavy for the old parry and thrust.
    But I can’t let those prisoners rot in there.
    So I guess I’ll jump again tomorrow.


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