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Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 201

Categories: Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

So today is 12-12-12. If you remove the second 2 from 2012, you have today’s prompt: 201. Or rearrange the prompt number and you have 012. What does it all mean? I don’t know. But numbers can be fun. Or misleading. Which can make them useful and dangerous. Like words.

For today’s prompt, write a numbers poem. Your poem can count down to something or focus on a specific number (like maybe “12″). You don’t have to do math–just incorporate numbers in the poem.

Here’s my attempt at a numbers poem:

“Counting”

I wake up with “One” by U2 stuck in my head,
turn over on my pillow three times before
getting in the shower for five minutes. Sick
of Wednesdays, I drink 7 ounces of coffee
mixed with an eighth of whiskey. By nine,
I’m headed to the office though I only plan
to stay there until around ten.

*****

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

*****

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

64 Responses to Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 201

  1. bxpoetlover says:

    Numbers

    Eleven months,
    four unreturned phone calls,
    two text messages,
    and one email later,
    I am 100 percent
    ready for love.

  2. julie e. says:

    Huh. i coulda sworn i’d posted mine, but it isn’t here. So here it is ANYway!

    MAGIC NUMBER 9

    I was excited for months—
    months 1 through 8, to
    be exact. 9 was coming!!
    9 was the number, my
    magic number. Born
    on the 9th day of the 9th
    month, 9 was calling my
    name! And in the year
    of 2009, I would have
    the perfect birthday,
    of 09 09 09. I spoke
    excitedly to family,
    who looked at me
    blankly. I spoke to
    friends, who smiled
    politely. I put it on
    my Facebook, where
    I got nothing, really.
    BUT, for me, it was
    perfect.
    Say it with me:
    oh nine
    oh nine
    oh nine.
    See what I mean?

  3. Almost Burnt

    Thank goodness
    our poems and comments
    can now expand
    on our keys
    like marshmallows
    to all who are hungry
    for sweetly sticking
    kisses of camaraderie.

    I’m proud
    to be a Peep.

  4. Bruce Niedt says:

    Testing, testing, one, two, three….

    • Bruce Niedt says:

      Mine went right through too, and to the top. (Do we like that better than new posts on the bottom? I’m still deciding.) Also, several of the members’ icons aren’t showing up for me, but my own and about one-third of the others are.

  5. laurie kolp says:

    I’m so glad the comment problem is fixed now, Robert. Merry Christmas!!

  6. Michael Grove says:

    Did the comments Flip… Newest First, Oldest last ???
    Posted on the 1st attempt !!!

  7. Marie Elena says:

    If this works well, I’ll be one happy peep!

  8. ONE WEEK

    Seven days to Christmas,
    and we wait anticipating
    with our red and green unfurled.
    Christmas is a grand celebration,
    but it’s not the end of the world.
    At least not according to the Maya!

  9. how to talk for a minute
    and not use the letter A

    count to one hundred,
    of course,
    but try not to describe it
    as easy or hard
    just look at from this red delicious
    apple’s perspective
    no, not the tree
    it came from,
    or might have been
    or the one your mother said
    would grow in your stomach
    if you ever ate the whole
    thing
    Oh, Johnny A
    get your gun
    Dis apple’s propagating us
    and we are all so domesticated
    golden delicious
    pink lady
    mock cornking
    of the fruit kingdom
    Let me count the ways
    Is there ever more than snake fodder
    migrant laboring shiny golden mythical
    wax replicas on my grandmother’s
    table
    one, two, three, four
    count to one hundred
    you’re almost there

  10. Susan Budig says:

    Old one that fits:

    No one
    Can write a poem using two
    Hands, a sheet of paper and three
    bricks. It’s been tried before
    And failed. Utterly failed, though they wrote five
    Lines of a magnificent ode. When they came to line six

    Their bricks fell down like six
    Or seven angels falling into one
    Hell. I suppose they climbed out again; five
    Angels sat on Purgatory’s ledge waiting to
    Leap into their promised Heaven, waiting for
    Peter to jangle his keys three

    Times, once more than a postman, three
    Times more than the Devil would ring, six
    Times less than an idiot who stands before
    The gate scratching his belly with one
    Hand under his armpit, the other scratching to
    And fro, like a hand stuck between nine and five.

    The fourth sheet floats to the floor and sheet number five,
    Clean and bright, bears your graphite markings. Sheet three
    Remains crumpled into a sphere, a ball, a make-shift hockey puck to
    Be knocked about like an errant can or pick-up game of six
    Ball players divided into three teams, each one
    Wanting to kick the piss out of the other four

    Players. We’ve been here before
    At this juncture, this crossroad, this five-
    Cornered intersection waiting like ducks for no one
    In particular, waiting like stooges, to play a three-
    Handed game of bridge, waiting to capture six
    Points with one trick, waiting for the rain to

    Fall. It falls, but it feels like Hell, like Hell falls into
    A river of sticks, a river of thorns, a river of plastic for-
    Cepts right before they cut you open, their greedy eyes on six
    Figure incomes, on second jets and five
    Spades to a deck. They honestly believe they need three
    More cars to reach fulfillment, to reach Nirvana, to reach One.

    Place six bricks on every plank, plus two
    Sheets of your One poem on every two by four
    Then count to five twice; you’ll win enough points to be three.

  11. De Jackson says:

    Sum Poem

    I’m not so good with numbers.
    Words make much more sense to me.
    I’m not so good with numbers,
    and I wish they’d let me be.

    I’m not so good with numbers
    and math is not my friend.
    I used to be a fan of (yum!) pi,
    but turns out, it never ends.

    I’m not so good with numbers.
    Perhaps that’s why I’m in this fix:
    I need 25 hours in my day.
    Or maybe 26.

    .

  12. When Jethro Counts in Oughts

    “That’s cause I “grad-ge-ated”
    the sixth grade,
    ma’am.

    Only took three years.”

    I reckon
    no matter how old we are
    we want to reach the next number
    because the alternative
    is too frightening
    to cipher
    and it may take
    a jug
    or two
    to make us see
    it different.

  13. Michael Grove says:

    One, Two, Three, Forever

    ONE single phrase will keep the
    TWO of us together. These
    THREE words are
    FOREVER. I Love You.

    By Michael Grove

  14. PowerUnit says:

    Two men and one deity
    Sheltered in a tent
    Began the soundcheck of doom
    one-two-two-check

    Four thousand years of progress
    And we have it down pat
    one-two-three-check

    Until today when we push the buttons and turn the dials
    We crank up the volume testing
    one-two-check
    one-two-check
    one-two-check

    In nine days the show begins
    And Moses’ census will finally
    Be completed
    one-two-two-one
    check

    x

  15. Sara McNulty says:

    Running Numbers

    Brooklyn, New York, 1950’s,
    baby boomers were babies.
    A go-between from bettor
    to bookie, side line for him.
    What are the odds? Bettors
    begged, and believed. Horse
    running in the fifth at Aqueduct,
    ten to one odds, inside tip,
    easy money. Poor bettor,
    consistently disappointed
    that there is no sure thing,
    but they held hopes
    that made adrenaline pump.

  16. laurie kolp says:

    haha… I should of known it would be numbers today, Robert…

  17. Jane Shlensky says:

    As Easy as Counting

    I’ll show you how to knit this scarf! she says
    excited, not looking at my eyes lifting
    to count ceiling tiles, dust motes, tables,
    salt and pepper shakers. Who knits at table?

    Count six and turn your needles to loop,
    so easy! she says, and I say uh-hhuh
    three times, fast, as she clicks along
    at two thousand stitches an hour.

    It’s as easy as counting! Everybody
    can count! she says, assuming things
    that are not in evidence. A child
    at the next table drums on his high chair.

    Is he laying down a beat, Morse code,
    rhythmicly adding and subtracting
    fruit loop treats? I order 3 drinks.
    There’s just us, she says, giggling.

    Sorry, I say, did you want something too?
    I count first to ten and breathe, calculating
    the seconds until happy happy happy hour,
    as she shows and tells, assuming my interest.

    I make a mental list of books I want to read,
    time (which is my life) flying, turning to her
    finally to say, I’m thinking of raising worms.
    Didn’t Darwin think they could count?

  18. claudsy says:

    Lessons in Fairy Tales

    Children’s tales always
    Counted on numbers,
    Beginning with the title
    To clue in readers;

    The Three Little Pigs;
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarves;
    Goldilocks and the Three Bears;
    And that doesn’t include those
    Numbers implied within text.

    A girl with a hood,
    Trumped by wolf disguise,
    Rescued by axe-man,
    Counts three in story.

    Jack and Jill, always ran
    As two children with a task
    For one lone pale of water,
    And those billy goats always
    Counted as three, plus one troll.

    Hansel and Gretel were two,
    But count the witch—three again.
    Goldilocks gave her lesson
    With threes in bowls, chairs, and beds.
    And lessons began with this,

    “Once upon a time…”
    Followed by action,
    And characters bold,
    Tension on each page.

    Grimm humor won out.

  19. Eight

    One is for the shining star
    Over Bethlehem
    Two is for His virgin mom
    And her precious lamb

    Three is for the Trinity
    Father, Son, and Ghost
    Four is for the Angel’s song
    Holy Heav’nly Host

    Five is for the carpenter
    And his virgin wife
    And the wise men from the East
    Searching for the Life

    Six is for the animals
    Eating manger hay
    Seven’s for a place to rest
    On the Sabbath day

    Eight is for the shepherd men
    And the sheep they kept
    And left to hurry on to see
    Where the baby slept

  20. elishevasmom says:

    Counting

    I have OCD.
    That doesn’t necessarily mean
    that my house is always clean.
    Not even 99% of the time.

    BUT.
    It does mean
    that I count—everything.
    Not that I will

    remember just 1%
    of the things I count.
    If I do something often
    enough (maybe at least 20 times),

    like walking from the back
    door of my church
    to the front door of my
    apartment house (207 steps)

    sometimes it sticks.
    Maybe it all started back
    in the high school
    marching band. To keep

    the routines straight,
    the rule was
    8 steps for 5 yards.
    We could all do that

    in our sleep. I
    have tried to stop
    counting my footsteps
    from my door to the

    elevator (24 by the way).
    Before I get half-way
    there, I stop and count
    the remembered sounds

    of my negligent footfalls.
    I live on the 15th floor,
    and of course, there
    is no 13th floor.

    But if I am not watching
    the numbers as they
    count off with the
    pings, I am wrong in

    my count at least 50%
    of the time.
    Does this mean that
    I compulsively touch the

    alarm clock before
    I get into bed?
    No, it just means
    the counting counts. Ellen Knight 12.12.12

  21. It’s a bit religious so I will only post a link to it, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when you mentioned numbers. :)

    http://wp.me/p2Xft0-6C

  22. bluerabbit47 says:

    One

    One is the number
    of God.
    It takes
    the magic
    step
    of creation
    moving
    away
    from nothing
    to something.
    It is being
    undivided.
    It is only
    and
    everything,
    the switch
    in a computer
    that spells
    out mind.
    One
    is the
    number
    of God.

  23. RobHalpin says:

    This site says I already posted the poem “Christmas Twelves”, but I don’t see it in the comments. As such, I’m just going to post a link to it on m y blog: http://pubwrite.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/poem-christmas-twelves/

  24. Nancy Posey says:

    Showing Your Work
    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” –Wizard of Oz.

    Work the loose threads to the underside of the garment,
    weaving the tiny needle in and out, catching stitches,
    trimming close, she insisted, as we learned to sew.
    The underside should be as need as the outside.

    Clean as you go, washing up your bowls and spoons,
    putting them away, wiping up the water droplets
    from the sink as bread bakes and sauce thickens.
    Leave no evidence of the process. Like magic.

    Practice your penmanship, she insisted, making us
    rewrite our letters on clean pages once we decided
    what to say, leaving no stray marks or strike-throughs,
    as if our words always flowed effortlessly.

    Sitting at the kitchen table with us, watching
    us work through long division, algebra, geometry,
    she puzzled over our instructions: Show your work.
    Where, she asked, is the mystery in that?

  25. Maxie says:

    I’m also having a problem commenting and posting my poem. Here’s a link to my attempt: http://www.maxiesteer.com/2012/12/the-game-wednesday-poetry-prompts-201.html

  26. Marie Elena says:

    COUNT

    If I am hooked on counting,
    Then I have questions, three.
    Does that count as a hobby?
    Or just as OCD?

    You say you counted only two,
    When I had promised three?
    Well, I just don’t know what to say.
    Guess you can’t count on me.

    This is an older poem of mine. I might write another this evening. But don’t count on it. ;)

  27. HERE’S TO ANOTHER LAST DAY

    It’s 12-12-12, a rare, symbolic date.
    But will our earthly world end, as some claim?
    My dogs and I are on the trail to fate,
    or Fleming Meadow – maybe they’re the same.
    What countdown? Two-one-ZERO. Here’s a game-
    trail – seven dainty deer prints as a clue.
    Who says, “there’s nothing here to see”? A lame
    excuse for tedium. Sky’s rainy-blue.
    This present world, this fall morning wondrously new.

  28. AnonymousNonet-er says:

    That one comment took about a million tries before it actually went through. YES!!

  29. AnonymousNonet-er says:

    “Life” by Susan Ulberg

    Once, I thought that life would be easy.
    But twice I have been proven wrong.
    Three mistakes later I see,
    it just takes four seconds
    or five years to change.
    Six dark secrets,
    seven lies.
    Is this
    fate?

  30. pmwanken says:

    I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW
    (a piku)

    Hindsight is
    true
    twenty-twenty.

  31. JRSimmang says:

    Supposedly,
    the universe is compiled numbers, stacked on stacks,
    each 1 and 0 responsible for building:
    the epic black hole in the center of the universe;
    the star that exploded before the black hole was there;
    the infusion of lights bouncing off the crystalline waves;
    the tea spilled on the countertops of restarurants;
    and the respiration between our cells and the purely saturated oxygen.
    According to these numbers,
    the world will end in 9 days,
    the amount of sodium one should ingest should not exceed 2000 mg a day,
    and the average age is 76.
    According to these 0s through 9s,
    hair color is frozen in a sequence,
    love is a recognition of pattern and
    quelched with an enzymatic math problem.
    We are 239,000 miles from the moon,
    travelling at 1000 miles per hour,
    yet we are invariably light years from the person next to us.
    Our language is broken down into bits and bytes,
    our conversation converted into 0s, 1s, and 2s.
    When we stare at the man on the bus, in the car next to us,
    the woman passing us by on the grocery store floor,
    filling our nostrils with her everpresent musk,
    we see a tight concentration of 9 digits, separated by a minus sign,
    and the code that has still not been broken
    depsite all our best efforts to
    crack it and spill the golden yolk.

    These numbers, perhaps they have become our
    new ‘how do you do’
    and we no longer need to say it.
    We will instead pass by one another,
    shake the millions of cells that make up our hands,
    and say a definite 110010111000011.
    That will be the way of the world.

  32. This will not post for some reason I keep getting A duplicate post message but My Poem will not appear.

    December is here Christmas is near
    The Twelve, Twelve, Twelve, year
    It is finally here
    Like a blue moon, it’s so very rare
    It does not happen every year

    The twelve days of Christmas
    They are finally here
    But these particular twelve
    They are extremely rare

    Not because Christmas is so near
    In this tri twelve very rare, year
    Of this twelfth month
    Of this Twelve, Twelve, Twelve, year
    But because this Tri Twelve
    Is a very special year

    There are five Sabbath Saturdays
    For worship and for rest
    Even God himself is happy
    This twelfth December month
    For he has five days of rest
    But the best is not yet

    For following five Sabbaths
    Comes a pentagon of Sundays
    With its fools ball and pig skins
    We can chant, scream and cheer
    For the team we hold dear

    But then comes sadness
    With the five dreaded Mondays
    Which bring on five, five day work weeks
    Of this tri twelve December
    Of this tri twelve year so very rare

    But even the five dreaded Mondays
    Thought they be very sad
    Come with more fools ball
    To brighten the five Monday nights

    Yes this twelve, twelve, twelve
    Rarely seen year
    With its five, five, five
    Will not be seen again
    For eight hundred twenty three years.

  33. Mike Bayles says:

    Arranging

    At 4 PM I walk
    down one flight of stairs
    and carry two boxes
    from one room
    to one basement.
    I go back to get one more load
    to go down the steps once more.
    I’m taking eight steps
    each time down
    and each time up.
    While working an odd job
    for a friend
    I keep track of my time.
    So far it’s been
    five and a half hours.

  34. AnonymousNonet-er says:

    “Life”

    Once I thought that life would be easy,
    but twice I have been proven wrong.
    Three mistakes later I see,
    it just take four seconds
    or five years to change.
    Six dark secrets,
    seven lies.
    Is this
    fate?

  35. AnonymousNonet-er says:

    An Attempt

    Once I thought that life would be easy,
    But twice I have been proven wrong.
    Three mistakes later I see
    it just takes four seconds
    or five years to change.
    Six dark secrets,
    seven lies.
    Is this
    Fate?

  36. “Countdown to Destiny”

    Ten days ago, I woke with a start,
    I could feel the soul of the world;
    I could feel destiny squeezing my heart,
    for with every pulse came a third–
    lub, dub, dub – an additional heartbeat within
    not a child, not a parasite: fate;
    and after the ninth beat, the third palpitation,
    I knew that I had a date with destiny.

    Two days would pass, and it’s eight days ’til midnight,
    I was certain my life would end.
    For a week, seven days, a whole half of a fortnight,
    I shivered and trembled and counted my friends.
    But, try as I might, even lying down early,
    I’m wide-eyed until 6:00 AM.
    And, count as I must, it is now I know, surely
    that time is the only friend I can count on.

    Five minutes to go, and I’m holding my breath,
    I’ve already put on my suit;
    I know in my soul that my life will face death,
    and death is the change, absolute.
    I stand aloft four feet above all the schism,
    three seconds before I am done,
    “Now thee wed”, is said to my heart’s rhythm,
    I am over when two become one.

  37. Bruce Niedt says:

    Success that time – it seems to be hit-and-miss.

  38. Bruce Niedt says:

    12/12/12

    A dozen months, a dozen days,
    a dozen years into this century,
    this is a date for the superstitious,
    or those who read too much into
    the significance of numbers.
    Play the lottery, get married,
    stay in bed, or have a normal day,
    which is most likely to happen.
    It’s just an alignment of numerals,
    a symmetry to please the eye.
    it hasn’t shifted Earth off its axis,
    there’s no meteor poised to strike,
    so relax. After all, we still have
    nine more days until the Mayans
    say the world will really end.

  39. Bruce Niedt says:

    12/12/12

    A dozen months, a dozen days,
    a dozen years into this century,
    this is a date for the superstitious,
    or those who read too much into
    the significance of numbers.
    Play the lottery, get married,
    stay in bed, or have a normal day,
    which is most likely to happen.
    It’s just an alignment of numerals,
    a symmetry to please the eye.
    it hasn’t shifted Earth off its axis,
    there’s no meteor poised to strike,
    so relax. After all, we still have
    nine more days until the Mayans
    say the world will really end.

  40. Bruce Niedt says:

    Robert, I wonder if the fact that you have only two posts so far is because others are having the same porblems as I am. The first time I try to post a comment, the blog seems to accept it but it doesn’t appear, and when I try to re-enter it I get the “duplicate posting” error. This is the third different comment I’ve tried to enter – let’s see if it shows up.

  41. Marianv says:

    Numbers Game

    “Pick a number from 1 to 10.”
    She is smiling, eager, hops from
    One foot to another. She considers
    Herself a big girl. She is in third grade
    .
    “Now add 10. Oh, and don’t tell me.”
    I remember this game, It’s probably
    As old as arithmetic itself.
    “Subtract the number you started out with.”

    We go through a few more commands
    Of addition and subtraction.
    The idea is that you end with the same
    Number you started with. Life can be
    Like that, if you are lucky. Most of us
    Lose things along the way.

    Back to my niece’s numbers game. I
    Have subtracted another 10. Now is
    The time when I end with my original number.

    “6” she cries.
    ‘Why, yes,” I lie.
    “See! See! Mathematics is easy!”

    I give her a hug and she runs away
    6 will be my lucky number. I have
    forgotten the number I had at the beginning.

  42. “Countdown to Destiny”

    Ten days ago, I woke with a start,
    I could feel the soul of the world;
    I could feel destiny squeezing my heart,
    for with every pulse came a third–
    lub, dub, dub – an additional heartbeat within
    not a child, not a parasite: fate;
    and after the ninth beat, the third palpitation,
    I knew that I had a date with destiny.

    Two days would pass, and it’s eight days ’til midnight,
    I was certain my life would end.
    For a week, seven days, a whole half of a fortnight,
    I shivered and trembled and counted my friends.
    But, try as I might, even lying down early,
    I’m wide-eyed until 6:00 AM.
    And, count as I must, it is now I know, surely
    that time is the only friend I can count on.

    Five minutes to go, and I’m holding my breath,
    I’ve already put on my suit;
    I know in my soul that my life will face death,
    and death is the change, absolute.
    I stand aloft four feet above all the schism,
    three seconds before I am done,
    “Now thee wed”, is said to my heart’s rhythm,
    I am over when two become one.

  43. Bruce Niedt says:

    Wow, I’m never this early!

    12/12/12

    A dozen months, a dozen days,
    a dozen years into this century,
    this is a date for the superstitious,
    or those who read too much into
    the significance of numbers.
    Play the lottery, get married,
    stay in bed, or have a normal day,
    which is most likely to happen.
    It’s just an alignment of numerals,
    a symmetry to please the eye.
    it hasn’t shifted Earth off its axis,
    there’s no meteor poised to strike,
    so relax. After all, we still have
    nine more days until the Mayans
    say the world will really end.

  44. RobHalpin says:

    It
    seems
    only
    fitting that
    a numbers poem be
    of the Fibonacci form, yes?

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