Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 212

For this week’s prompt, write a descending poem. You know the old saying, “Everything that ascends must descend.” Okay, maybe it goes a little different than that. Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff that descends. Find something and write it!

Here’s my attempt:


In the kitchen, Will declares, “I’m silly,
Hannah’s silly, and Daddy is silly.”

He descends from a long line of silly-
makers, because it started–the silly–

well before me. My father was silly,
and his father–ready with jokes–silly

too. That Will is aware of the silly
already makes me hopeful the silly

will live on in grandchildren, who silly
themselves, happy to be really silly.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Workshop your poetry!


In the Advanced Poetry Writing workshop, poets will write and receive feedback on 6 poems during the 6-week course. Instructor Cherri Randall will share revision techniques that will help leading into National Poetry Month.

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41 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 212

  1. taylor graham


    In her 9-to-5 cubicle at work
    her dreams rose as high
    as a Cinderella castle overlooking
    the Rhine.
    But in thirty years,
    her prince never came, only
    a succession of office managers
    who kept the thermostat
    too hot or too cold.
    After thirty years her dreams
    ran slowly downstream
    to a tranquil retreat where,
    near the end of winter,
    someone waved an old dead wand
    and pussy willows appeared
    like magic.

  2. Connie Peters


    D own the stairs I go,
    E xiting the building.
    S teps covered with snow
    C old never yielding.
    E scaping breath I see.
    N otice how I shivered.
    D own to the mailbox,
    I s the mail delivered?
    N o mail for me.
    G oing up for tea.

  3. deringer1

    Riding a train to the top of the world,
    my heart beat faster
    as the air became thin.

    Not caring if I was breathless,
    I gazed in wonder at the world below,
    so stunning in its beauty.

    To drink in the splendor of nature
    is better than any tonic to me–
    soothing, inspiring wonder and awe.

    But then came the time to descend,
    to board the train that brought me to the top
    and leave it all behind.

    How like all mountaintops!
    We cannot remain on a forever high
    but must return to the mundane of everyday.

    Beauty, inspiration, joy—
    all fleeting and ephemeral,
    descending always into life.

  4. JRSimmang

    That Saturday was a bright one.
    The sun seemed to shine on
    despite the oppressive silence
    that currently threatened to
    overwhelm the house.

    He stood on the landing,
    elbows on the rail,
    while his eyes travelled to the front door.

    This house was just another house;
    it had walls and doors and windows.
    It looked like the Summer’s house,
    Buffy and Dawn walking through the
    kitchen while Angel peered in through the
    That’s one of the reasons he loved it so.

    His room was located on the second floor,
    just to the right at the landing
    and into the dappled sunlight
    of prebubescence.
    His room, only accessible through the stairs
    (or the window via the oak tree,
    and trust him, he tried)
    smelled like him (he liked Givenchy,
    lavender, and vanilla.
    Sometimes, his girlfriends would wear
    Moonlight Path, a fragrance that
    was discontinued,
    but some idolatrous girls still clung to their
    bottles of lotion and bodywash),
    looked like him (the shutters pulled down but open,
    the walls a color of soul),
    sounded like him (Alexi Murdoch, Damien Rice,
    Donovan Frankenreiter, M83,
    and sometimes, if he’s feeling cheeky,
    Kingdom of Sorrow, but mainly to drive his mother and
    father crazy).
    And now, on this wooden precipice,
    it pined for him, reaching out with the
    door that rarely closed but always locked.

    There was another room down the hall
    that he thought would be a great room for a baby brother.
    His parents didn’t bother with that, though.
    They couldn’t be bothered with that.

    The top step seemed so far away,
    as far away as his mother’s voice telling him to snap
    out of his dallianced daydream
    and meet the movers.

    Movers and movies,
    they always pass by, revealing more of a person’s
    life than makes them comfortable.

    The top step squeaked, like it always did,
    when he put his weight on it.
    Sometimes, he would sneak out and purposefully
    step down to the second step.
    But, over the years, that too has developed
    a voice from being used too often as a footfall.
    He thinks about how funny it is that the order of
    the steps change by the direction you approach them.
    Down, it’s one two three.
    Up, it’s one two three.
    Perhaps, today, he would start at 17.

    There were 17 steps.
    17. Odd number.

    The railing had been worn smooth,
    little reminders that the fingers here
    raised the house as well.
    They all aged together.

    And as he took the last step to the floor,
    he had lived every one of those years again.

  5. PressOn


    The greatest lesson I learned in life
    came from working in sewer pipes.
    One day, the foreman told me,
    “Be nice to those you meet
    when on your way up;
    you will see them
    again on
    your way

  6. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    5 Egrets, descending
    (musings on infamous japanese print by Ohara Koson)

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    The Egrets are back
    from wintering in South America —
    buff, with fine plumes so coveted
    they were once hunted to the brink of extinction.
    Five tall, leggy birds with impressive wingspans
    circle above cattails surrounding this lake,
    searching for fish, frogs, grasshoppers, crayfish
    in which to jab with yellow bills of stiletto precision.

    In flight, they are graceful and buoyant with
    long S-curved necks that tuck back against
    hunched shoulders, and dark stilt-like legs
    that trail behind shorter tail-feathers
    as if streamers on a plane.

    Egrets are the 747’s of the bird world,
    requiring large runways in order to land,
    (Spruce Goose to my father’s Cessna, if you will).
    But watching them now, silhouettes to a darkening sky
    they are anything but clumsy, wings outstretched
    their souls at the tips, reflecting back like landing lights
    atop a mirrored surface upon descension.

    © 2013 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  7. taylor graham


    She reaches out her hand for his.
    These days, it’s her hand that shifts gears
    and guides the steering, driving him
    to doctors. His hands ache in every joint
    and tendon. The doctor will tell
    them, medicine can’t take back time.
    This gift of getting up each morning.
    She keeps track of clicking clock-
    hands on the wall behind him. Her index
    finger twinges, lately, on computer keys,
    ticking out words. Something
    in the bone’s marrow, or the nerve.
    Now she takes his hand, helps
    him stand up. It will be time, soon
    enough, to sit back down, to rest.

  8. priyajane

    Transformation, E-motion
    Reducing small potions
    Gravity, Polarity, Similarity, Capacity
    Circles, Slopes , Angular disparity
    Powerless strength, Ascending resent
    Distorted intent, Covert consent
    Dissolved memories, Crystallized tears
    People in frames, Sinking gears
    Silhouettes of dreams, conflicting Togethers
    Battered promises, Melancholy weather
    Renewed, Renditions, Sparkling admissions
    Subtraction, Edition,

    PriyA Jane

  9. seingraham


    Below our tiny basket
    The Nile serpentines,
    A ribbon of gold
    Beneath another day
    Being birthed as Ra,
    Round as a pregnant
    Woman’s belly, surfaces
    Slowly into a perfect
    Sky, as if into a calm
    Sea –

    Although we are many
    In the basket
    We are hushed
    Made dumb no doubt
    By such sacred sights:
    Luxor’s valley of the kings
    Tombs older
    Than time, than death

    The only sound we hear:
    An occasional incongruous roar
    As the pilot sends a fiery jet
    Of helium into the massive
    Hot-air balloon above us
    A balloon with a ruby phoenix
    Stencilled on both its sides
    Is keeping us aloft as we
    Take this god’s eye trip
    At dawn

    Too soon we are nearing
    the end of our journey
    The pilot reminds us again,
    The landing procedure will
    Likely be a bumpy time
    But we’re not to worry
    He will throw out cables
    A ground crew will race after us
    And grasp the ropes quickly
    Finally bringing us to a stop
    All we need do, is hold on.

    The last thing I remember
    As we begin our descent –
    Is thinking, “This is so perfect
    So beautiful, and I am in awe
    If I were to die right now
    I would be utterly content, happy…”

    This poem is based on an actual event – the crash of a hot-air balloon at Luxor, Egypt, Wed. morning, which tragically ended in 19 deaths, plus 2 or 3 serious injuries. Some of the details of the poem are fictional, such as the description of the balloon, but others – such as the landing procedure – are pretty close to accurate. I have been a hot-air balloonist and while I can appreciate the lure, it’s also not my favourite thing to do. My heart goes out to those who lost people in this horrific accident.

  10. PKP

    A Descending Poem (writtten when “The Street” was inexplicably closed and empty)

    Crowded street
    Happy jostling
    Chestnut flowers
    Float in the music
    Of a thousand poets
    Sharing on cobblestoned
    Streets their vision of
    The Prompt
    So far from an Aside
    Now cast aside
    Silent empty street
    As poets wait behind
    Cyberspaced barricades
    Ah crowded street
    Now walked by

  11. Nancy Posey

    Into the Grand Canyon

    Standing on the edge of the canyon,
    we steady our nerves, ready ourselves
    for our descent—canteens, new shoes
    and gear, a skilled but youthful guide.

    The newly risen sun illuminates
    striated walls from copper to green,
    layers built up or worn away,
    shaped by wind, baked by heat,
    etched by waters, dwindled now
    to the distant river rapids below.

    Under our own power we descend,
    unwilling to trust the mules treading
    the outside edges of narrow trails,
    little room for error. We do the math:

    Unlike a mountain climb, our effort
    doubles on return. We make the call,
    how far we go past cacti, junipers,
    packrat middens beneath overhangs.

    Aware we must at some point turn
    and start the climb back up, retrace
    our steps, through switchbacks, flat
    paths, then steep and rocky inclines,
    we stop and rest, lean against a rock
    big as a Buick, mug for the camera,
    then grasp our poles and climb up.

  12. Jane Shlensky

    The Descent of Man, #2

    He who
    me vigorously
    to win me
    as his bride
    now lies
    in his underwear
    on his side
    like a toppled statue
    Prometheus unchained
    his gift of flame
    still vaguely warm,
    remote in hand
    asleep under
    a blanket
    of potato chips.

  13. Jane Shlensky

    The Descent of Man, #1

    What slow incline from mud and brine
    raised humankind to brain and spine?
    What thumbs can plumb the depth and range
    of wielding tools and wars and change?

    Some say dominion’s arrogance
    is born of Eden’s circumstance,
    that humans formed by God’s own hand
    came well equipped to pillage land.

    Such reasoning makes the divine
    aid and abet man’s foul design,
    abuse wrapped in man’s need and greed,
    not heeding long drops, his will freed.

    An oxymoron now we see:
    the higher we climb, the lower we’ll be,
    for what is gained by brawn and brain
    is loss of soul, all right, profaned.

    So towers fall and ice caps melt,
    so hunters hunt for fun and pelt
    right to extinction’s market high,
    and none need give an alibi.

    So hope is bought and pleasure sold,
    so families sleep in the cold,
    so wealth and power and greed ascend,
    and we focus on get and spend.

    The milk of human kindness soured;
    the heart of goodness is devoured,
    and Sisyphus becomes hero,
    pushing a stone up heights we know.

    Eyes on the prize, we push alone
    as down the stone falls on and on
    and we who struggle for the top
    hardly note where our boulders drop.

    King of the beasts we may well be
    claiming as ours all that we see;
    but man’s humanity is lost
    in living life at any cost.

  14. JWLaviguer

    Decent for the Descent

    We’re beginning our descent
    the Captain told us
    all I wanted was two more minutes
    in the lavatory
    no more time to love
    all I needed was 10 seconds
    and a quick cuddle
    but we had to return
    to our seats
    and place ourselves
    in the upright position

  15. HandHeldWriter

    12 years ago…
    that’s when I met her, sitting on a bench in a park,
    I instantly knew she was my soul mate with a fluttering of my heart.

    11 minutes of silence…
    lingered between us before a word was finally spoken,
    but since that moment, our connection would never ever be broken.

    10 years of marriage passed…
    And I was to surprise her with a special anniversary night:
    a special diamond bracelet because she was the special jewel that surrounded my life.

    9 candles were burning…
    then I was interrupted before I could light one more,
    with that single flame missing, someone came knocking at my door.

    8 gut-wrenching words…
    spoken by the officer with compassion in his countenance,
    I’ll never forget those words: Sir, your wife has been in an accident.

    7 blocks from home…
    that’s all she had left, she wasn’t very far,
    but it was dark and raining and she never saw the other car.

    6 times she rolled…
    after the other driver slammed into her side,
    when the paramedics arrived, they said she was lucky to still be alive.

    5 hours of surgery…
    my soul mate lying on a table, her life possibly fading,
    I’m outside, alone… pacing, praying, hoping, waiting.

    4 o’clock in the morning…
    anticipating any possible updates or reports,
    then I heard the doctor emerge from the operating room doors.

    3 steps away…
    that’s how far the doctor got before I saw the empty look in his eyes,
    as he mouthed some words, I felt a numbing coldness rise.

    2 inaudible words he muttered so softly,
    but I knew what they were the moment he saw me.

    2 inaudible words that brought me to my knees,
    they echoed over and over in my mind: I’m sorry.

    1 breath was all I could take, before
    1 tear began to break, that
    1 second of tormenting agony, I can never escape.

    1 wish would make it right, removing
    1 thought that haunts me every night, that
    1 regret: why didn’t I just pick her up that night?

    zero minutes go by…
    where I don’t think of her, miss her, or love her.
    She will forever be with me, and I will never ever forget her.

    This is my…
    Undying Love

  16. Sitka Larry

    The Log Deck

    The logs.
    They rise up wet and dripping
    wild and ready for death.
    We wrestle with them.
    Grudgingly they succumb
    to the ceaseless flow
    of our hands. Of our minds.

    The logs
    They move like a river.
    Slow, undulating wet-backed whales
    aground and dieing
    in the sun and air.
    Descending into the mouth
    of the hungry chipper.

    1. foodpoet

      thanks for the blog link may try on another computer – I got permission from work to open writers digest links but not any others at this time

  17. laurie kolp

    When She’s Ready

    It wasn’t planned, each forward
    step a downhill, backwards set-
    back, the descent to hell
    a whiskey sip away. She
    failed to see the skid
    marks like birdseed
    led to doom, yet
    were there to
    call her

    1. laurie kolp

      A few minor corrections:

      When She’s Ready

      It wasn’t planned, each forward
      step a downhill, backwards set-
      back, the descent to hell
      a whiskey sip away. She
      failed to see that skid
      marks, like birdseed,
      led to doom, yet
      were there to
      call her

  18. Domino


    the way is slippery
    at times
    and salty
    with tears and other
    less savory fluids
    (snot, blood, shame)
    and even through
    the sound of my own
    of anguish
    i remain determined
    on my

    and when i reach
    r o c k b o t t o m
    and there is no
    to go
    is when
    h e a l i n g

    Diana Terrill Clark

  19. JWLaviguer

    Descending into Madness

    Up to the basement I climb
    turn off the lights to see

    I wake up to dream
    and live to die

    I’m afraid to be brave
    for I love to hate

    Alone in the crowd
    Unable to move in space

    I am rising
    as I descend

    In this prison
    I am free.

  20. Yolee

    You, Complete Me

    (Betrothed, at last)

    Some years the wedding circuit is dry
    like forgotten Thanksgiving carcass
    in the oven. Then in one month,
    to David’s Bridal Shop you go
    hoping to dress two weddings.

    (Variations of white)

    Preference descends like a single
    snowflake for my forty something
    sister who will keep things purely
    white and simple as an A-line dress
    devoid of lace, tulle and a train.

    (Unalike though related)

    But our youngest sibling
    frosted over a creamy gown
    with all the fat trimmings.

    (Bread of angels)

    Like manna descending upon
    the outskirts of campgrounds
    tagging what lies ahead,
    fragments of promises
    come to feed the heart.

    (Come spring and fall)

    groom this poem.

  21. Amy

    Yay for comments!

    The Descent

    How eerily you descend
    upon me- your intended prey.
    Underneath the veil of
    silence, you slink down your
    silky cord, unseen.
    Your abundant slender legs
    move with quick agility,
    bending and twisting with ease.
    You lower yourself to an
    assuming level- free to spy
    with all eight eyes.
    But just before you are
    discovered, you withdraw
    as swiftly as you had
    come; defying death
    once again.

  22. PowerUnit

    Welcome back webpage.


    As I lie in this ditch, bent
    fireweed marks my descent, the path
    I fell from road to bottom,
    from foot to back,
    from white to black.
    They bow in prayer, lonely
    I fade away.

  23. pmwanken


    way up
    to cloud nine,
    I hit turbulence.
    The skies turned grey and the sun hid.
    Darkness enveloped me, storms battered me, and rain fell.
    Each droplet mixing with my tears
    as they descended
    to the ground,

    P. Wanken


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