WD Poetic Form Challenge: Minute Poem

You knew it was coming. It’s time for the WD Poetic Form Challenge: Minute Poem. Find the rules for the minute poem by clicking here. It’s a pretty fun form and only 60 syllables.

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 October 11, 2015.
  • Poets can enter as many minute poems 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  • All poems should be previously unpublished.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@fwcommunity.com. Or just write a new minute poem.
  • I will only consider minute poems 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!


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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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224 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Minute Poem

  1. Jane Shlensky


    The ripening of muscadines
    weighs on tough vines;
    each sun-bronzed mound
    hangs to the ground.

    Blackberries, grapes, and apples chill
    on autumn’s sill,
    caught unawares,
    clumped thick as prayers.

    So God is in the falling leaf
    and man’s belief,
    in fruit and frost,
    gifts gained and lost.

  2. Jane Shlensky

    On the Drone String

    A dulcimer’s chord holds a drone
    of something gone,
    a loss so sweet
    and full, complete

    with sadness, joy, and memory.
    I tune to D;
    the bass string hums
    with hopeful strums.

    So mountain people pick out tunes
    to heal their wounds,
    sing hurts away
    with songs that stay.


    my mind seeks other lives than this
    imagined bliss
    appeals to me

    a flight of fancy alters love
    makes the best of
    assembled flaws
    ignoring cause

    thoughts that can lead us all astray
    will have a say
    or lack of sense

      1. PressOn

        No apologies needed. These are two more gems, in my opinion. Although I am insensitive to music (the Bunkers sounded fine to me), the first one rings so true of authenticity that even I can sense it. As for the second… been there. Masterful pieces, both.

  3. Jane Shlensky


    Tall oak trees rain their acorns down
    pelting the ground
    like missiles hurled.
    Autumn’s unfurled.

    Capped ankle-breakers pop, explode;
    limbs loose their load,
    as nature feeds
    with nuts and seeds.

    On cobbled lawn, deer, squirrels, jays
    enjoy buffets.
    I watch and dodge
    the day’s barrage.

  4. Jane Shlensky


    how long a boring minute is
    bereft of fizz
    buffering fate

    soon seconds seep like clotting blood
    stanching a flood
    and moments melt
    away unfelt

    a droning voice relentless wait
    can aggravate
    the fiercest will
    as time stands still

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Up to the Highest Height

    He blames plowed ground, a childish thought,
    that he feels caught,
    believing skies
    shape how we rise.

    In weightless dreams, he floats so free
    of gravity,
    he’s stunned to wake
    pinned by daybreak.

    Life teaches him to rise and fall,
    walk tall or crawl;
    when hope takes flight,
    he flies a kite.

  6. Jane Shlensky


    We judge so harshly ‘til we see
    tucked into eyes’
    deep pools, soft sighs.

    Memories that we cannot know
    flicker and grow
    from true belief.
    Though life is brief,

    within each shriveled shadow self
    resides a wealth
    of moments sprung
    like pearls unstrung.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Culture of Fear

    a red-tailed hawk atop the fence
    provokes suspense
    field mice huddle
    mass and muddle

    his great wings spread in frilly show
    of fluff and flow
    his mind at play
    no yin for prey

    he airs himself and meditates
    considers mates
    while rodents quake
    he takes a break

    1. PressOn

      The absence of capitals and punctuation lends this a cycling feeling, to me anyway; sort of like the creatures in the wild. I love it because there are many times when, it seems to me, birds are playing with time, as this hawk seems to be doing.

  8. PressOn


    The tales that were to me so dear
    have settled here
    in soft repose
    that no one knows;

    they hold within a copse of dreams
    whose cautious streams
    have turned abrupt
    and given up,

    for they required the thrust of youth
    and now, uncouth,
    must spend their yields
    in potters’ fields.

    — William Preston

  9. Linda.E.H

    Conversation with an Urn

    Oh, why’d you buy the tale she sold?
    Had she not told
    How high the price
    Of her advice?

    The price to pay not yours alone,
    your blood and bone,
    our grief and tears
    for countless years.

    If she claimed we wouldn’t miss you,
    It wasn’t true.
    Miss Sue A. Side,
    That bitch, she lied.

    Linda Hofke

    1. Linda.E.H

      my computer automatically capitalized some of the starting words. I hate when it does that. Same words but with proper capitalizations:

      Conversation with an Urn

      Oh, why’d you buy the tale she sold?
      Had she not told
      how high the price
      of her advice?

      The price to pay not yours alone,
      your blood and bone,
      our grief and tears
      for countless years.

      If she claimed we wouldn’t miss you,
      it wasn’t true.
      Miss Sue A. Side,
      that bitch, she lied.

  10. Linda.E.H

    Depression is a Dark Voice in your Head

    How cleverly she plays the game—
    she calls your name
    and baits your fear
    then draws you near.

    She makes you think without a doubt
    there’s no way out,
    no turning back.
    You start to crack.

    She plans to take you for a ride
    with Sue A. Side.
    Do go along.
    She’ll steer you wrong.

  11. Beverly Finney


    Emperor’s New Clothes

    His highness sent a broad decree:
    Some clothes for me
    superbly made
    for my parade.

    The crafty tailors laid their scheme,
    to make it seem
    as if thin air
    were stylish wear.

    A peasant child among the crowd
    exclaimed aloud,
    “He’s got no clothes!”
    The Emp’s exposed!

    Jack and the Beanstalk

    The magic beans were tossed away,
    but grew next day
    to pierce the skies
    to his surprise.

    So up he climbed the winding vine
    where he would find,
    once he was there,
    the giant’s lair.

    He stole the harp and magic hen,
    escaping, then
    the stalk he chopped,
    the giant dropped.


    Her magic mom arrayed her fine
    but set the time
    at midnight’s bell,
    the warning knell

    to send the humble servant back
    to ashes black,
    her sisters’ fuss,

    But fate decreed a happy end!
    The prince got wind
    the shoe of glass
    would fit his lass.

    Three Little Pigs

    Their houses built–one straw, one sticks
    and one of bricks.
    The pigs all done
    resumed their fun.

    A wolf came puffing down the trail,
    their homes to flail
    with wolfun breath,
    to seek their death.

    Though straw and sticks he blew away,
    the bricks did stay.
    The pigs survived
    all safe inside.

    Hansel and Gretel

    Abandoned sibs among the trees,
    a witch would seize
    as they did eat
    her house of sweets.

    She caged the boy to fatten him
    but he stayed slim.
    (She felt a bone
    was not his own).

    The clever sis applied her wit,
    her captor bit.
    The witch was toast,
    an evil roast!

  12. rlhZbdPOET

    Forget Those Dreams

    “Hold fast to dreams”—Langston Hughes

    You say I should never forget
    the dreams unmet?
    Should never yield
    that battlefield?

    But should I fight fate forever?
    What if I were
    to waste good years
    on dim frontiers?

    Perhaps, sometimes, a dream should die?
    As years tick by,
    a dead dream clots,
    festers, and rots.

    –RL Hodges

  13. rlhZbdPOET

    Hunting Season

    It’s another hunting season.
    Some use a gun,
    But swords and bombs
    Serve for pogroms.

    Storming across the desert sands,
    Through Western lands,
    This hate obscene
    Slays Nazarene.

    The Juden learned a bleak forecast
    Will come to pass—
    Eyes turn away
    When skies grow gray.

    –RL Hodges

  14. paurry


    She steps gingerly from childhood
    to womanhood,
    leaving freedom
    for things to come

    Anticipating joy not pain
    and love to gain;
    bliss and a ring

    A fairytale story come true
    Charming on cue
    steps up to be
    hers etern’ly.

    –Peggy Urry

    1. PressOn

      For me, the charm of this is edged with a feeling of warming that it might not turn out that way, despite the envisioning. I suspect that that word and some others are placed deliberately.

  15. DanielAri

    “Equilibrium Equation”

    I have walked at night down the beach
    alone, when each
    wave waved for me,
    and I felt free.

    And on the shore, I’ve walked with you
    at night, when two
    heart-shaped rocks caught
    us—and I thought

    I don’t know which walks to prefer:
    beside you or
    alone beside
    the cycling tide.

    —Daniel Ari

  16. SilverStrands


    Weak sunshine seared a blur through mist;
    he scorned the hints
    of strokes, of tints.

    Leroy maligned the Paris show,
    called seascape so

    As Whitman broke the bonds of rhyme,
    Monet’s sublime
    command of light
    eclipsed the slight.

    —Judy Whitehill Witt

  17. PressOn


    A smallish apple fell to ground;
    it made no sound
    but flashed its red
    in glee instead

    and I just happened to be by.
    It caught my eye;
    I picked it up
    and made to sup.

    It did not take me long to eat
    this tiny treat:
    this tasty gnome;
    this minute pome.

    — William Preston

  18. TeriBeth


    A sliver of humanity,
    and commonplace,
    in the rat race.

    Weaving moments into a day,
    along the way.
    Finding my place,
    Girl with no face.

    Lonely gaze in a crowded room,
    a sense of doom.
    Until your smile,
    made it worthwhile.

    ~ Teri Liptak ~

  19. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


    I’m feeling generous; it’s time
    I share what’s mine.
    I give to Joe,
    my vertigo.

    I’ve hogged it for too many years.
    To Guinevere:
    My P.M.S.
    She wears it best.

    My hemorrhoids are yours. Enjoy.
    Come! Feel the joy!
    Share just like me…
    … Unselfishly.

  20. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


    Watch as my poem rats on me.
    What secrets she
    will soon reveal?
    My rhymes of steel

    are not that strong. I rely on
    Rhymezone Dot Com.
    My syllables…
    (It’s laughable)

    I count them on my fingertips.
    They don’t have lips.
    (Where is your cat?)
    Poems are rats.

  21. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    This is what happens when writing directly on a tablet…to be revised
    Apologies, all..

    Watch as my poem rats on me.
    What secrets she
    will soon reveal?
    My rhymes of steel

    are not that strong. I rely on
    Rhymezone Dot Com.
    My syllables…
    (It’s laughable)

    I count them on my fingertips.
    ……. posted too soon … revision coming….
    (where is your cat?)
    poems are rats.

  22. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


    Watch as my poem rats on me.
    What secrets she
    will soon reveal?
    My rhymes of steel

    are not that strong. I rely on
    Rhymezone Dot Com.
    My syllables…
    (It’s laughable)

    I count them on my fingertips.
    Unlike my hips,
    (where is your cat?)
    Poems are rats.

  23. PressOn


    On the eve of autumn’s coming,
    crickets strumming
    leathery wings
    call to mind things

    that once brought joy but now bring fear:
    an atmosphere
    of bated hope
    enmeshed in dope.

    But still the crickets chirp along,
    as if their song
    could somehow cause
    the drapes to pause.

    –William Preston

  24. lsteadly

    Fade to Winter

    Geese etch their wings across the sky
    calling goodbye
    to summer’s bliss
    remember this

    As autumn’s splendor fades to gray
    washing away
    the memories
    of our stories

    Watch them vanish in dusky light
    their farewell flight
    quiets the earth
    for winter’s birth

    Lisa L Stead

  25. PressOn


    The little poems that I write,
    I write despite
    their silliness
    for, I confess,

    it is my way to make my day:
    when written, they,
    although sappy,
    leave me happy.

    I write my doggerel to have
    a soulful salve:
    all-soothing save
    for Burma Shave.

    –William Preston

  26. Beverly Finney

    Football Fan

    “A down?” she asked and he explained
    all through the game,
    not knowing then
    how this would end.

    Her ardor grew the more she knew.
    She’d cheer and boo,
    with much to say
    on every play.

    She’d even stand and whistle shrill,
    while he sat still.
    Was not the plan,
    when he began.

  27. TeriBeth

    Trinkets of the Heart

    The wispy curls of baby hair,
    packaged with care.
    Memories dance,
    from one quick glance.

    Images of your pouting face,
    time won’t erase.
    Your first haircut,
    with eyes squeezed shut.

    Your furious indignity,
    cured quite quickly.
    How did it stop?
    Red lollipop.

    ~ Teri Liptak ~

  28. TeriBeth

    False Image

    Canvas stretched tight, skin over skull
    off white and dull.
    Splashes of paint,
    without constraint.

    Transferring the scene in my mind,
    two worlds combined.
    Calling my muse,
    chaos of hues.

    A beauty in the abstractness,
    conceals madness,
    they do not know.
    Turbulent flow.

    ~ Teri Liptak ~

  29. SheepCarrot

    Grasping For Truth

    From my childhood I learned the way
    of how to pray.
    Evil and good
    we’re understood.

    Religion was so black and white,
    what’s wrong from right.
    Clear to define,
    Don’t cross that line.

    Cynical eyes now search for truth
    not felt since youth.
    Rules are shaded
    for hearts jaded.

    —Eliza Winkler

  30. taylor graham


    The two of them at attention –
    did I mention
    they’re dog and pup?
    Four ears straight up

    as if waiting for fireworks.
    In their eyes lurks
    the age-old urge
    to let blood surge

    to the rescue-search, and the find.
    They’re of one mind,
    old dog and pup:
    Let’s go! Hup hup!

  31. PressOn


    The species perching by the tarn —
    the tree, the barn,
    the cliff, the bank —
    arranged in rank,

    appeal for warming of the sun
    to start their run
    on bugs and flies
    in rising skies.

    The vapors linger in the chill
    and we are still
    as tombs. We wait
    at morning’s gate.

    –William Preston

  32. Azma


    Forks and knives are given no chance
    hands do a dance
    on bread and rice
    slathered in spice

    The chilly is too much you’d think
    breathless, you blink
    Give it a rest
    two beats at best

    and slowly the taste will set in
    Love the feeling
    your sense beckons
    go for seconds

    -Azma Sheikh

  33. Nancy Posey

    Classic Moment

    The ’57 Chevrolet
    back in the day—
    Son of a gun!
    How she could run!

    Six-cylinder, the blue flame six,
    knew all the tricks
    riding through town
    low to the ground.

    A buxom lady–wide chrome grill,
    14-inch wheels,
    tailfins ablaze—
    Those were the days!

  34. candy


    Rise up brave and nobel poet
    If you feel it
    Shout with your ink
    Make people think

    Speak about injustice and pain
    Ill-gotten gain
    Hunger and death
    Air without breath

    Speak about beauty in this world
    Flowers unfurled
    Sun, moon, and stars
    Peace without wars

    Candace Kubinec

  35. pipersfancy

    Taking Root

    We bloom on branches high above
    the roots of love
    once planted here
    by forebears, dear.

    Shared memories recall a past—
    achievements last
    in silver frames
    and offspring names.

    Great-Granddad and his bride still smile
    (though, gone awhile.)
    How did they know
    this tree would grow?

    -Christina Perry

  36. pipersfancy

    Cat Tale

    My wicked little feline purrs…
    she grooms her fur
    conceals sharp claws
    in velvet paws

    She’s caught a mouse and ‘done him in!’
    contented grin
    on whiskered face
    (enjoyed the chase)

    And now her playful work is done.
    a spot of sun
    eyes still agleam
    but soon, she’ll dream

    -Christina Perry

  37. Beverly Finney

    Steven McCurry’s Photographs

    His photographs capture the heart,
    for more than art,
    each human face
    helps me embrace

    what makes us all of one accord,
    a truth ignored
    by blinded eye
    and willful lie

    that those whose skin and faith not mine
    can be assigned
    a lesser worth
    than I by birth.

  38. PressOn


    The reds and oranges fly here
    and all is sere
    and amber tints
    yield umber glints

    and purple asters vie with white
    and all delight
    in cooler air
    that whisks the hair;

    the season favors cider sips
    and cheddar chips
    as time declines
    like savored wines.

    –William Preston


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