Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 187

Before getting to the prompt today, a few notes. First, it’s the final day to submit a pitch for the 2014 Poet’s Market book. Poets who want to submit poems for the next edition still have until September 1. In both cases, check the guidelines. Second, PA regular Khara House recently shared an inventive way to play with words on my personal blog. Click here to read her Word Play post. Finally, I just received my desk copies of the 2013 Writer’s Market. Click here to learn more about the latest and greatest Writer’s Market.

For today’s prompt, write a poem that includes the following five words: change, wrap, bottle, bargain, bear.

Here’s my attempt:

“For the way you live”

Change everything, the way you wrap your mind
around a bargain, the way you bottle the things
you might have said, the way you verb your nouns,
because I can’t bear hug my way out of that moment
when everything seemed so perfect and true.


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198 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 187

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    and when the change finally comes
    can you truly wrap yourself around it?
    can you spin the bottle, take a chance
    bear the price that follows when you
    bargain with the devil
    just for a slice of that home pie?

    © 2012 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. tunesmiff

    Well, besides being late with this one, it’s late anyway.

    Change the change,
    Bottle the bottle;
    Wrap the wrap,
    Throttle the throttle.

    Bargain the bargain,
    Find the find;
    Bear the bear,
    Mind the mind.

    Drink the drink,
    Dance the dance;
    Free the free,
    Chance the chance.

    View the view,
    Walk the walk;
    Claim the claim,
    Talk the talk,

    Pitch the pitch,
    Swing the swing.
    Name the name,
    Ring the ring.

    Goose the goose,
    Ride the ride;
    Dog the dog,
    Slide the slide.

    Game the game,
    Light the light;
    Drive the drive,
    Right the right.

  3. tunesmiff

    I realize I’m a “week late…” too many excuses, but one reason – packing my 18 year old off to college kept me focused on other things…

    In any event…

    Herewith is my attempt in song…

    The lyrics are largely spoken over a guitar accompaniment as Verlon Thompson has done so well on “The Guitar” and “The Dinner Bell” (to name two).

    (c) 2012 – G. Smith (BMI)
    She worked at the gift wrap counter,
    At Belk’s down on the square,
    And my whole world turned inside out
    When I saw her standing there.

    I was just a farm boy,
    In town one Saturday,
    From our place out in the county.
    She took my breath away.

    She placed the bow where the ribbons crossed,
    And handed me my change,
    While I tried to find something else to say,
    And not feel awkward or act too strange.

    She looked at me and smiled a smile,
    That said she felt it, too,
    And I couldn’t help but look away,
    Her eyes were just that blue.

    I screwed up my courage and asked her name,
    About the time I saw the tag,
    But she laughed and told me anyway,
    As she handed me my bag.

    “A Christmas present for my mom,”
    I found my self explaining,
    I couldn’t bear to think what I sounded like,
    I had to be quite entertaining.

    She smiled again and thanked me
    Saying, “Y’all come back real soon.”
    I thought it was just a part of her job,
    Till she said, “We close at noon.”

    I had two more hours of errands to run,
    I knew Dad didn’t like to wait,
    I told her I would hurry back,
    And do my best to not be late.

    Time dragged by at the feed and seed;
    As we loaded up the truck,
    But it flew when I wasn’t looking,
    And all that saved me was pure dumb luck

    The courthouse clock struck quarter of,
    I know Daddy had to know,
    He said, “Drive on back up to the square, but,
    Take it kind of slow.”

    She’d just stepped out the front door
    As I pulled it to the curb,
    Something said she was used to four doors,
    But she didn’t seem disturbed

    That I was in an old step-side truck
    With bales of hay in back;
    A little rust on the old white roof,
    Gray fenders that used to be black.

    “Just barely made it,” I said with a grin,
    “Can I offer you a ride?”
    She said, “You may,” as I opened her door
    And she climbed on up inside.

    Two blocks over and three blocks up,
    It wasn’t too far a drive,
    But it was a place I’d never been to,
    I’d never felt so much alive.

    And I got more,
    Than I bargained for;
    Walking out
    Of that ten cent store,
    So much more,
    Than I deserved;
    And all it took,
    Was a little nerve;
    A young plowboy
    And a small-town girl
    From opposite sides
    Of the same small world,
    Right then and there,
    At her front door;
    I got more,
    Than I bargained for.

    I walked her to her front porch,
    Where she kissed me on the cheek,
    And slipped inside the house before I
    Had a chance to speak.

    The courthouse clock rang quarter past,
    I knew I had to go,
    Would anything ever come of this?
    I feared the answer: No.

    If I could bottle up that magic,
    I’d be a millionaire,
    And I’d trade it in a New York minute,
    If I could find her standing there.

  4. cstewart

    Go Time

    An old blues song says:
    You got to bottle up and go.
    I guess we all know when change
    Wraps us up in its blanket
    And heads for the door
    Bearing us away physically
    While we bargain for a few
    More moments of bargaining

  5. Bruce Niedt

    Late again – a combination of being busy, a mini-vacation, procrastination and a lazy muse. I love word prompts, and don’t know why it took so long to come up with this – maybe a combination of being busy, a mini-vacation, procrastination and a lazy muse.

    For an Ailing Friend

    It’s more than you ever bargained for,
    almost more than you can bear.

    I don’t know how I would handle it
    if I were in your place.

    You have few options left,
    there’s not much you can change.

    If I could bottle strength and courage
    I would give you a case.

    If I could weave a blanket of acceptance,
    of peace of mind, I would wrap you in it.

  6. Kate Livingston

    For my grandma

    I want to wrap my lips on the lip
    Of that beautiful bear shaped bottle
    sitting in the window
    allowing the suns to pass through
    its orange blue or green
    self confident glass
    I ask the lady at the desk what
    she’ll take for it
    she says she’ll give me a bargain
    “Change back time,
    remove the dust from this house,
    fill it with the smell of bacon and coffee,
    and it’s yours for free.”

  7. foodpoet


    A bottle of change, bitter wine of rumor,
    innuendo and bargain computers wrap
    Their way around the room. We open the bottle
    only to find nothing has changed
    and what we bore yesterday
    we will bear today as another
    Work Gremlin Genie
    is free to sever hopes and dreams

  8. zevd2001

    Before leaving the car they prepare themselves
    that in a park they bear burdens that lay large
    on them, the objects of which they are in charge
    putting together on the campground, like elves
    industrious, everybody engages at some task
    they know what they’re doing, quietly efficiently
    complete their work. Relaxing under a tree
    gazing at their creation, what more could they ask

    how much better than this can a life become
    on a gentle day together lying in the shade
    as the traffic on road whizzes by, they laid
    back with a bottle of brew, peanuts, and some
    ambience thrown in to sweeten this
    time out from under the grinding day to day.
    Ah! there’s more to do, it be’s that way
    sometimes, still, like puckering for a kiss

    a little effort to get there is worth the time
    to requite the wish that waited in the wings
    the package of hours spent, the bell that rings
    that closes out necessity. Sublime
    walks down to the river, to dip their feet
    into the water, returning barefoot, gaze
    at the sunset, watch the heavens phase
    into evening starlight, wrap them, greet

    the passions that unfold as the moon appears
    as the music of nightfall hovers over them. Here
    these bargains don’t come every day, costs mere
    pennies of thoughts that shower the mind, and clears
    out the warehouse of visions washes the eyes
    opening up a permanent sound and light
    show that nothing stays the same, bright
    but accessible, soft, they begin to realize

    that change is something that happens all the time,
    no matter, even when you sit tight. the hands
    of the clock move from second to second, lands
    onto somewhere new, either flowers climb
    or wither and drop to the ground. Each minute
    like a diamond that rotates, that spins, that shines,
    elucidates them, tells them who they are, refines
    them. They return, taking the lesson with it..

    Zev Davis

  9. taylor graham


    A long climb to the pass between watersheds,
    a dusty trail flecked with granite.
    My dog’s saddlebags are full of hikers’ litter.
    Granola wraps, one dried-out, muddy
    sock; shards of broken bottle; sunglasses.
    From a fire-circle by the lake, a frying
    pan without a handle; I sling it in a Woodsy-
    Owl sack over my shoulder. One more
    reminder of my fellow man. We haven’t met
    a hiker since we crossed the divide.
    Now, a thousand vertical feet of switchbacks
    to the river, down a snake-winding path
    between volcanic peaks. Not a human
    sound. How many men once made a home
    here, mining the mountain – then
    left the canyon to its sun and stars. To wind.
    How things change.
    My dog lifts her nose, sniffs the air.
    She sparkles. Her eyes say “someone’s
    to be found.” She lies. There’s not another
    soul for twenty miles. She’s crittering –
    shoving her head deep in sagebrush.
    Ground squirrel? What can I trust, if not my
    dog? And there, tucked under gray-
    green leaves, an OD-green commando
    sweater. It still bears human scent.
    One more mystery the canyon keeps in its
    long memory of water bargaining
    with rock. Its river is a flowing well
    of stars. Ancient and forever-present ages
    with man, or without.

  10. tunesmiff

    This is a little more seriously taken than my last posting… and I ramped things up a notch or three to include:
    * Using the word in order:
    * Using the words as either a noun or a verb in one stanza, and then as their “alter ego” verb or noun in the second stanza;
    * Not changing their tense or endings

    That said, here’s my…

    I’m gonna change the way I look at things,
    Not wrap myself around my troubles anymore;
    Start seeing the bottle half-full and not half-empty.
    Break my bargain with the devil, and stop
    Being the grumpy old bear you think I am.

    This change is gonna take some time,
    The wrap is wound so tight around my soul.
    It’s hard not to bottle up those feelings,
    When you bargain for release, you keep things close at hand,
    But I know I can make it if you’ll just help me bear the load.

  11. slayerdan

    Ignorant masses clamor for change
    A bargain expected
    Truth is so strange
    Wrap your reality like
    A tightened coil
    All smoke and mirrors
    Bottled snake oil
    Future to pass
    That we cannot bear
    Minds so blank
    We sit and we stare.

  12. Penny Henderson

    Ha! finally figured this new (to me) system out! I know–not really that difficult. No comments on my mental abilities, please

    I’ll wrap myself in change
    like a survivor blanket
    handed me by the Red Cross.
    I’l not look back at how it was,
    but bottle it–essence of summer
    for sipping in December.
    By counting the ‘new’ a bargain,
    I can bear to pay the price.

  13. taylor graham

    on a line by Billy Collins

    As if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
    drifted away in corked bottles, names detached
    from faces, as distance bears away the years. You call
    our Cowboy by the name of his grandsire, Taco.
    In my mind Cody merges with Firebird, gentle blond
    ladies shawled with black wraps; by pedigree unrelated.
    Fifteen dogs over the space of forty years. All
    German Shepherds, yet each as individual as a face
    in a high school yearbook. Almost strangers now.
    I can still feel the silk behind Prissy’s ears. Just now,
    as I retrieved shreds of a poem from Loki’s jaws,
    I called her Odyssey, still sailing wreckage through
    my heart; gone seven years and longer, returning
    but changed, with a different name and face.
    Such a bargain Life offers us. Gone forever, still
    present. This image behind my eyes.

  14. Marianv

    Balancing Acts

    May the bird of happiness fly up your nose
    You sang and waved an empty bottle of beer
    And kissed the grandmas, made them happy, I suppose
    You were happiest when spreading cheer.

    “Life is a bargain!” strangers that you met
    on barstools where you spouted philosophy
    to girls and women who would soon forget
    those worn-out lines you quoted from TV

    Change came slowly to our little crowd
    When one bar closed, another was soon found
    Another year to wrap, and say the name out loud
    Of whoever it was that answered a different sound.

    Quarrelling voices had replaced the song
    The Hippie in the corner stayed away
    Aquarius learned his age had come and gone
    And I will help you bear the corpse away

  15. po

    Early Wednesday Morning

    Women bear change with a soft
    compassion. They seldom weep
    and are not blind or deft
    to play or mysteries of winter
    sex or summer passion. They wrap
    in sheets of stars and let morning
    parachute in brocades of smoke
    and waves. Women bear change
    with soft compassion. A drum
    bargains with breaths of energy
    and grace. A bottled-up ocean
    brings the beauty of help and a
    welder of words to each day.
    Ancient tracks frozen in far-off
    snowfalls witness that women
    bear change with compassion and

  16. Alice

    Still trying to wrap my head around
    The way your voice changes when
    There’s a bottle in your hand, and
    Poison in your system

    I can’t bear to see you
    Bargain your body for the
    Black and white perspective,
    The nothing-in-between,
    clear-as-day kaleidoscope
    You’ve never gotten to look through before

    As the day grows into evening, and
    The money you had turns to only loose change,
    Will you regret what you’ve spent for a sip?
    You’ve spent the last dollar in your wallet
    Your life, your future, your soul
    As the evening grows into night,
    And the sky turns to a cool gray,
    My eyes blur when I realize that
    It’s no longer the same.
    Your lips that I’ve kissed,
    Your hands that I’ve held,
    They’re no longer mine.
    They belong to the bottle.
    Almost passed out,
    You can no longer see the gray sky.
    All you see is black and white,
    And circling stars of red.

  17. Mike Bayles

    Modern Age

    All these electronics
    are more than I can bear.
    With all these programs,
    I am programmed,
    and that’s part of the bargain,
    to sit in a row of cubicles
    silent with emotions bottled.
    I wait for repair,
    spending so much time there,
    changes and forced gallantry
    wrap themselves around my dreams.


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