WD Poetic Form Challenge: Descort

Here we are again. Hope you are ready for another WD Poetic Form Challenge: Descort!

Find the rules for writing descorts here. It’s a French form, but it’s kind of also an anti-French form type of poem (if you know what to usually expect from French forms).

So start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on July 15, 2018.
  • Poets can enter as many descorts as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better, but remember: I’m judging on quality, not quantity.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. Or just write a new descort. They’re fun to write; I promise.
  • I will only consider descorts shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your user/screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!


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.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff. He’s also the author of the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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99 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Descort

  1. Jane Shlensky

    Love Talk

    Define love.
    I am proud of you—that’s not the point.
    Think. Not pride, but love.
    No, really think.

    Proud of my God and my guns!
    That’s a bumper sticker.
    Here’s one you’ll like:
    I can’t believe I’ve been protesting
    the same thing for thirty years.
    Bumper sticker!

    Define love from your own self. Dig deep.
    You want this love you’re describing. Got it?
    Now, Sweetheart.
    Do that.

  2. Troy DeFrates

    The Panic Attack

    Cannot be
    Increased blood pressure
    Heart is beating loudly
    I must escape, get away
    Tightness is forming in my chest
    Shallow raspy breaths, I cannot breathe
    Sweat runs down the back of my neck hotly
    There is nothing safe, nowhere to hide from this
    I cannot control, cannot think, please help me please
    My stomach is tied in a knot bending me over
    Everything I see begins to blur before my eyes
    As my body begins to tremble, tremors shake my essence
    Every muscle in my body tenses for the pain to come
    The tendons tear away from my bones as I struggle to stand upright
    Breathe, I must breathe, why can’t I breathe, I feel as if I am underwater
    The pressure behind my eyes intensifies as the thunder rolls in my ears
    Silent blissfulness, brings darkness to my eyes, as I lose consciousness and face plant
    Not a twitch, muscles rigid, I fall as a statue, waking in my own pool of blood
    Racked with pain, I can only roll over, my coagulated blood sticking to me dry

  3. Asha1000

    Ode to Saman Gunan – Former Thai Navy Seal Diver

    Flick, slap, tock,
    time wanders in light years,
    stormy summer daze, mosquitoes buzz.

    Found boys. & coach. Weak but safe.
    Saman loses breath in muddy water.
    Brave rescuers all

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  4. Asha1000

    Cryptic Crossed Words – A Found Poem

    Staghound – a hunter’s dog
    passion fruit swallowed

    Annie’s mad
    she endures after all the others

    cryptic minds of kings & commoners cross.

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  5. Troy DeFrates


    His curfew has come and it is well past his time
    He parks down the street to hide his engine’s thunderous roar
    The sound of which is nothing compared to what he has waiting for him
    As compressed as a spring approaching his home
    Letting out a gasp that produces mist in the air

    The home is well guarded by an alarm
    The tell-tale ping chimes in his parent’s room
    The kitchen window however is as unguarded as two lovers intertwined

    Not the first rodeo

    Sliding through the window like a breeze, he is ninja cloaked in solid black
    Adrenaline pumps as he gazes up the bubble wrap stairs

    Old and creaky
    One foot on the platform, one foot on the train, his ascent begins
    Then he hears the dreaded door
    Footsteps down the hall
    An explosive whisper erupts
    “Late again”

  6. Troy DeFrates

    The Glow

    The sunrise brings with it a fresh start
    The morning dew tickles as you walk with bare feet
    The trees whisper to each, wake up we have a new day to play
    Shivering the cold off, birds stretch their wings preparing for the sky

    Forgotten dreams that felt quite real
    The sleep in the corner of your eyes feel like small pebbles
    Thirst is your first thought, seeking water to slake

    That evening cigar left your tongue swollen
    Dry like fuzz, you lick your lips

    Embracing the sun
    You can now see
    Shadows walk
    No fear

  7. Troy DeFrates

    Over The Edge

    Hemlock and wormwood ate at her mind
    Eating rose petals did not sweeten her words
    Emotions unchecked she became merely a puppet
    Masquerading through her life

    Tears of absinthe
    She drank from the well
    Filling her with shades from Hell her lips did turn blue

    Screaming, screaming, screaming she went

    No longer hearing, her ears filled up with ash and black soot
    Reality spun away when the fun house floor fell out from below
    Please help me jump
    She whispered

  8. Jane Shlensky


    tires pop on gravel
    whip-poor-will’s lonesome cry
    soughing wind in pines
    fox’s bark
    cat feet tippytapping on hardwood
    owl’s flutter
    trucks grind along a highway
    the house creaks and moans
    seconds sift
    words come and go
    you snore
    sheets strangle me
    a blacksmith is hammering my brain into plowshares
    my lungs billow
    hello moon

  9. Jane Shlensky

    Have a Heart

    Anyone with a heart would take more care.
    A big tender steak medium rare, oh yeah.
    A mile a day, rain or shine.
    Not a fan of oatmeal.
    Who wouldn’t be stressed with all that is happening in this country?
    Money doesn’t go as far as it once did.
    She puts a good face on, no matter what happens.
    Triple chocolate cake, my favorite.
    An apple a day?
    One minute he was up, the next…
    The heart is a muscle.

  10. Troy DeFrates

    Giving Of Oneself

    To give of oneself freely is a gift
    Not only to others but also to yourself

    Helping a neighbor
    Teaching her grandson to fish
    Being a father figure for someone else’s son

    You can feel the joy emminating from them
    Making the world a better place
    Bringing tears to your eye
    Knowing you eased someone else’s pain
    Takes you to a place where you can forget about your own hurt
    Find what it is you can give and the happiness comes back to you ten-fold

    I am always the most happy when I am helping someone else

  11. Jason L. Martin


    Tie your laces, follow the currents below
    and soon you’ll see
    your image magnified upon the river.
    A moment, your eyes the color
    of silver, blue, and yellow,
    precipitating, spoken by a lover

    who wants to tell you, no, don’t leave
    for there’s no one here besides
    fossils who’ve heard old confessions
    skipped like stones to relieve
    walls, where your apology resides.

    If you stay, then swim, and your repressions
    will belong to water
    to flow away, forgive you, yet another day.

  12. Troy DeFrates

    The Boy Needs A Man

    I know a young man that needs a father figure in his life
    With his mother alone he runs around rough shod
    He is like a bear cub with no one to teach
    How to show respect and to have any discipline

    Tomorrow I am taking the boy fishing like a baby seal
    To show him how a man behaves

    When he needs something he is going to address me as Mister Troy

    The poor kid is lost without his father
    There is no man in his life to teach him to fish with skill
    Stepping up

    Waking early
    We shall set out the boat
    Spending the day as a man
    With me as his guide, he will learn how
    He will learn to tie his own knots, catch his own fish, and at the end of the day, clean his catch

  13. Nurit Israeli

    AS IF

    When I am driven onward, beyond
    this beloved earth –


    will still flourish
    after summer.

    Other people
    will love and dream about forevers
    when I no longer

    an arrow
    meant to propel me out
    is making its way,
    in plain sight.

    And I am astounded
    by how profoundly
    I hold on,
    the tricks
    I come up with
    to extend my stay longer and longer,
    the goodness,
    move the end sign farther away,

    hang on –
    as if

    I have time.

    ~ Nurit Israeli

  14. Troy DeFrates

    Serenity Of Silence

    Alone in your mind your imagination swirls
    The rhythmic ticking of the clock reminds you to breathe
    A tap of the moth at your front door
    A fan screaming like a jet engine during the takeoff


    Your heart beat pounds in your ears to the beat of Japanese drums
    A sneeze explodes
    The paper crinkle echoes as your ink fails to produce poetry

    Drip, drip, drip is the torture of the faucet
    The rain on the roof hypnotically mesmerizes you to sleep
    The thunder clasp alarms
    Tidal wave swallows
    Raindrops screech on the window

    Grasping to know where the time went

  15. Troy DeFrates

    Corporate Enslavement

    Dress codes
    Denied vacations
    Advancement through marriage to the company
    Political correctness
    Manicured personalities
    Your electronic presence is constantly monitored
    Abandonment of individuality
    Constant threats of lack of security
    The ladder climbing protagonist
    Spending more time tweeking PowerPoint slides than actually working
    The offensive brown nose
    Human Resources are there to protect the company and not the employee
    Please do not let the door hit you in the arse on the way out
    You not salaried, rather you are slaveried

  16. Troy DeFrates

    Friday The 13th

    The King decided to make a claim
    The Templars had created too much power
    Overshadowing everyone else and the Monarchy
    The creation of the original banking system applied
    Jealousy of wealth

    Tortured confessions obtained
    Heretics found guilty placed on public display

    The disillusionment and abandonment of a dream had
    Total commitment to a cause and not to the King

  17. JayGee2711


    Like so many grey wings beating
    against the sky,
    circling around until your name, quiet as feathers,
    drifts down to land among
    the breadcrumbs scattered on the cobblestones.

    Julie Germain

  18. Troy DeFrates

    Misty Love

    The lake looks like a sauna with the misty steam drifting as soft as pollen
    The fish are basking in warmth

    The dark sky begins to turn an azure blue
    As the sun’s rays begin to burn the blackness of night
    Awakening the hunger within all of the fish

    It is magic hour as all prepare for the morning buffet

    Hungry are the babes
    The fish are thirsty for some light
    Snug under the blanket of white mist
    The fog takes on an ethereal glow
    Going as fast as it came with the rising sun
    The mist vaporizes into the day distilling pure

  19. PressOn


    tension pulls the clouds
    back to starshine,
    birds still follow magnets and sun;
    why, then
    may not I?

    — William Preston

  20. Michelle Hed

    The Clash

    a bird tries to take a short cut through glass.

    The gods are fighting in the heavens,
    trees expose their roots;
    broken nests.

    Yelling drifts through the screen,
    doors slam and the pain is hidden
    between the fibers, filaments and cement
    of painted on emotions.

    A doorbell rings,
    a string blowing in the breeze is snatched up by a low flying cloud
    part of a new home
    where we
    wait for the eggs to hatch.

  21. Michelle Hed

    One Day

    ocean breezes
    the jackhammer starts it beat
    headaches bloom

    a cool drink sits waiting
    but no one comes to buy the puppies

    more licks
    easing the anxious soul
    jacked up on love and the surreal moments in time
    quitting time arrives none too soon

    two glasses sit alone in the setting sun.

  22. Michelle Hed

    One Night

    The wind howls
    as coins jingle in his pocket.

    The rain beats a tattoo on the pane
    with the resounding crescendo of coins falling;
    Jeans dropped.

    The bed springs sing a tune
    with the soft chuckles
    and murmurs of caresses…
    whisper through

    the moonlight suddenly dancing on the dying wind.

  23. Troy DeFrates


    Verbally slapped back to reality
    In order to instill a righteous and moral path
    Walking on eggshells
    Scarlett and Rhett Butler
    Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn

    Driven to the point of losing yourself to the ideals of others
    The return to morally based behavior
    Their morals
    Their set of values instilled

    Chastisement into submission
    The atonement of instinctual behavior
    The nail that sticks up on the deck is the first one pounded
    The dog was beaten only to save its mortal soul from Hell

    The castigator is morally superior than you are

  24. Troy DeFrates

    Deer In Headlights

    There is a phenomenon when a deer gets caught in headlights
    Frozen is the ground
    Stuck on the flypaper
    When you hear the ice cracking under your feet


    Do not blink
    Not a single muscle twitches in their entire body
    I am invisible, you cannot see me now

    Nothing here to see folks move on

  25. Troy DeFrates

    Embrace Within

    I am finally learning to embrace my inner pain
    I recognize it as a demon within
    It has taken hold as part of myself

    I have been changed by events out of my control

    I once had a family now they are estranged to me
    My wife wanted more than I could give
    Nothing was ever good enough
    Less than a man

    It has taken a year to make it finally clear to me it was both of us involved
    She could not see my changes
    I could not accept hers
    Settling on a divorce that was long overdue for us
    Now she hates
    Now she uses every hook, every scheme to cause me pain
    I am strong enough now to embrace the pain that she wishes to inflict

  26. Troy DeFrates

    Basking In The Mourning Sun

    With my heart shattered I wake each day mourning the loss of what I had
    Everyone tells me that time will heal my wounds
    I feel as if I am living in infinity
    Time stands still

    I am emotionally depleted and do not care for myself
    I have stopped bathing
    My stomach feeds upon me
    I just don’t care
    About anything at all

    Lies have created a rift in my house
    I am so sensitive I burn in the morning sun light
    In my mourning the rays pierce my heart

    I have no defense left

  27. Equalized Grey Matter

    Zone Rouge
    By Stefon Colbert

    Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    Reflect upon my course of actions prior to this point
    7 aspects to 1 existence
    Accomplishments, Blessings, Trials, Sins, trends, Character, Faith
    This revolution shall not be televised
    Radioactive in nature
    Safety is a figment of the imagination here
    Casualties continue to build as lasting toxins lace this presence
    Unsuspecting but lethally explosive
    My existence on this earth has taken major turns
    Skeletons…..turn in their shallow graves
    The sun shines
    My trees grow once again rooted in knowledge
    Maybe…Just Maybe
    In due time and effort this forest will flourish again
    Then even the world would see my most important aspect

  28. Troy DeFrates


    Only a maiden pure of heart and spirit
    Could dance with the pixies
    In the twilight the forest was lit with tiny lights
    Moving in a circle with the rhythm of Earth

    She was adorned with a festoon
    Wearing no cloak her dress it did swirl
    As she danced, she bent to the rhythm and smiled with great joy

    Dance of the forest
    A celebration of life


  29. Darlene Franklin

    Unbeknownst implies the opposite
    But beknown isn’t known, left for me to define
    How about
    “Beknowing me, okay?”
    The oldest tale in the world:
    One man,
    One woman.
    Or A casual greeting:
    See you around.
    Better yet, from Avatar:
    “You are beknown to me.”
    I see you.
    What if
    is short for before
    To beknow is to foretell?
    The best beknown of the bunch is the boast of the psalmist:
    “Your ways may be known on the earth”

  30. Troy DeFrates

    The Waking Dread

    I have a burden in my mind that keeps me from sleeping
    Sometimes I wake in a full sweat
    Other times I just lay and stare at the ceiling
    When I dream, I dream of the walking dead

    These are the ghosts that haunt the keep in my mind
    I feel as though I am swimming with a boat anchor

    My mind drifts cold like the snow in a blizzard freezing all that it touches
    Torment keeps me awake
    As I move through the fog of exhaustion I stumble back down
    Spiraling, endlessly, abruptly
    My eyes burn without blinking

    As I wander lost through the forest of my mind I cannot find the path to happiness again
    I can feel it there
    Before I became one of the walking dead I have traveled this path

    No inner peace

  31. ChristyWeber

    The Beckoning
    By Christy Weber

    How soft the bed on platform stands,
    come hither, you!
    I will give you rest this night
    and away, away
    You shall go
    into the loving arms of Morpheus
    and you shall find respite from the toils of day.
    Come now and close your eyes.

  32. Daniel Paicopulos

    Life Sentence

    It was a day like any other –
    get up, stretch, urinate, stretch some more,
    feed the cats…
    …whoa, how’d this old man get in my body?
    Blessings and Grace, here to help life
    go well for everyone.
    This might take some time.
    When the time is right, someone said last night…
    …ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
    Tomorrow is a huge stressor.
    Love won’t save me. I have to save love.
    We are just passing through.
    Everything passes, and
    some obstacles are simply obstacles.
    Last dance, so let’s…
    …even moderation can be excessive.,
    yet doing good feels good.


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