Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 230

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For today’s prompt, write a mistake poem. I guess the poem itself could be a mistake, if you want to go that route, but it could also be a case of mistaken identity, a clerical error, or some other mishap. The narrator of the poem could be sorry for making the mistake or upset that someone else made one.

Here’s my attempt at a mistake poem:

“Fool Proof”

Every time I see something labeled Fool Proof
I worry I’ll be the one to prove it wrong. She
tells me I can’t mess this good thing up. “It’s fool proof,”
she says. But as soon as she says it, I’m thinking
of all the ways I can possibly screw things up.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, working specifically on the Market Book series (check out the brand new 2014 Writer’s Market). Named the 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, his debut full-length collection of poetry Solving the World’s Problems is due out from Press 53 on September 1, 2013. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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102 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 230

  1. Julieann

    Since I am so late I decided to try the Gwawdodyn poetic form.

    Mistake Proof

    Read the directions, rules are exact
    They are specific, are not abstract
    Don’t procrastinate, hem, haw, flap your jaw
    You’re late, missed the date, you broke the contract

  2. Cin5456

    Going, Gone

    Where are you going?
    Anywhere but here.
    Why are you leaving?
    I can’t stand this place anymore.
    What will you do?
    Something new.

    What is wrong?
    My life is a wreck.
    When did you know?
    The day I arrived.
    Why are you sad?
    I wish I could go home.

  3. Cin5456

    Wrong Turn

    He wanted a new direction,
    A new way of life.
    The sage advice of poets
    suggested a change
    of direction.
    He took the road
    less traveled,
    but it was a cul de sac.

    1. Cin5456

      Oops. That was the early version. Here’s the finished poem.

      Wrong Turn

      He wanted a new focus,
      a new way of life.
      The sage advice of poets
      suggested a change
      of direction
      He took the road
      less traveled,
      but he soon discovered
      it was a cul de sac.

  4. Michelle Hed

    I Thought it Was You

    I thought it was you
    walking down the street
    but when he turned around
    it wasn’t you.

    I thought I heard your voice
    but when I turned around
    you weren’t there,
    it wasn’t you.

    I thought I smelled your pipe
    but I was alone
    and there was no smoke,
    it wasn’t you.

    I wanted to call you up
    and share a joke
    but I hung the phone up,
    I know you aren’t there.

    You see, you are no longer
    on this plane of existence
    but I feel your presence…
    my mistake was LOOKING
    for you.

  5. Bruce Niedt


    You kids don’t know how good you have it.
    Why, when I was in college, we wrote term papers
    on clunky Smith-Coronas – manual typewriters.
    Mine was sea-foam green. Clack-clack-clack,
    the keys hammered ink to paper, and a little bell
    conditioned us at the end of the margin, not to drool,
    but to flick the lever that rammed the carriage
    back to the left to start a new line.
    We tapped into the shank of the evening,
    the nape of the night, and God forbid that
    we make a big mistake. The little ones were fine,
    as long as we had an eraser, correction tape,
    or even (Thank you, Mrs. Nesmith) White-out.
    But those big mistakes – leaving out a line,
    or worse, a paragraph – would make us rip
    the page from the platen, a ratchety rasp
    that punctuated our wasted time.
    There was much hair-pulling and teeth gnashing
    in those small hours of the due date.
    Crumpled white roses of manuscript
    lay about our wastebasket, and we’d redo
    and redo, till we had something that wouldn’t make
    our professor wince. And spelling?
    We’d need a good dictionary.
    Yes, those were the good old days, when
    “spell-check” meant cracking open the Webster’s,
    “cut and paste” was something you did
    on the school newspaper and yearbook,
    with real scissors and paste. and a “backup copy”
    was courtesy of a sandwich of carbon paper
    between two sheets of typing paper.
    This stuff built character. It bolstered our work ethic.
    Nowadays, it’s too easy. It’s making you all soft.

  6. Cin5456

    (The rhyming isn’t perfect. It’s deliberate.)

    She Was Mistaken

    Her parents won’t be home
    until long after eight.
    Time enough to sneak
    an after-school date.
    She thought the senior
    she met at high school
    would treat her nice.
    He was so handsome and cool!
    She was mistaken.

    Once he knew they were alone
    he was not kind.
    Should she tell someone
    what’s on her mind?
    Unsure what to do,
    she decides to wait,
    and hope her mom
    will overlook the hate
    she sees in her own eyes
    when she stares at her plate.
    Soon she can’t fit
    into her skinny jeans
    And realizes what that means.
    Fear feels like death’s roommate.
    Sex is not love;
    She was mistaken.

    The clinic will not take her.
    They will dry her tears,
    but it’s too late.
    Confession is so hard to bear
    with parents yelling in her ear.
    Then her friends find out.
    The boy who hurt her
    calls her hateful names
    and curses her.
    She thought her friends
    would stand beside her.
    She was mistaken.

    When push comes to shove
    a baby to cuddle and love
    is not a burden. She was strong.
    She would go back to school
    next year. But the cool
    kids do not want her near
    and the staff turns their backs,
    and refuse to enroll her. Attacks
    on social media make it clear.
    She was mistaken.

  7. Amy


    This is my body
    given to you
    a selfish sacrifice

    These are my memories
    cast asunder
    in pride and imprudence

    That was the place
    we fell to
    foolish freedom

    There, we built
    our altar of

    And this is my
    body, given for you
    a selfless surrender

    These are my
    mistakes, scattered
    to light and life

    That was the face
    I fell for

    There, you built
    your altar in
    a fool’s kingdom

  8. james.ticknor

    Stupidity Can Be An Excuse For Mistakes

    I am the guy who views the warning label on fireworks as suggestion boxes
    The guy who’d shoot Roaming Candles at electrical transformers to get more bang for their buck

    I am the guy who thinks cities are just giant caution lights
    Always speeding, California stops galore

    I am the guy who always thinks of dumb and useless inventions
    Solar powered flashlights and powdered water (just add water!)

    I am the guy who has friends that make stupid sense
    We’re all sovereign citizens, it’s all a conspiracy (I guess that makes sense)

    I am the guy who is smart enough to be stupid
    Figuring out how to get more out of a $7 firework to cause thousands in collateral damage
    Knowing where the speed traps are
    Knowing mechanics well enough to make stupid things
    Being philosophical enough to believe anything

  9. Glory


    Clinging emerald dress
    Curls piled high
    Lips for kissing.

    Wiggles as she walks
    Oh those jiggling hips
    Temperatures rise.

    Smell that perfume
    It fills your head
    Wild thoughts

    Have you ever seen
    Anything like it
    A vision

    Feast your eyes
    But don’t ask
    her to speak

    Disappointed, yes
    Cause she’s
    – a HE.

  10. JWLaviguer

    Learn From Your Mistakes

    “I mistook you for a friend”
    she said as she turned and walked away
    she cried that day, and into the night
    but she woke up with a new outlook on life
    and vowed never to make the same mistake twice.

    She hurt me with those words
    I tried to get her to see reason
    but she wouldn’t listen
    at least not to me
    I just prayed he wouldn’t hurt her.

    I ran into her years later
    and asked her how she’d been
    “He tried to kill me” she said
    but I couldn’t say “I told you so”
    so I just held her and said I was sorry.

    She left him and moved on with her life
    leaving her home town and all her friends
    never expecting to hear from any of them
    until he came around that corner
    she cried with regret for not heeding his warning.

    JW Laviguer

  11. priyajane

    I opened the other door
    And walked through its path
    I lost my way
    And landed somewhere
    But it all worked out

  12. pmwanken

    …imagine this all being centered, so the shape is a bit like a spinning top, as it is posted on my blog…



    have broken
    my heart, others
    have been my glue. I’m
    grateful for both; they’ve taught
    me how to love…and be loved
    There are no mistakes; yes-
    terday’s lessons will
    help shape better
    and to-

    P. Wanken

  13. Heather


    hand clasped over mouth
    she cannot see
    my instant and intense
    dial-tone answers
    my hateful words,
    and I cannot take it back.


    step by step
    counting the turns
    spinning once, twice,
    three times…
    wait! too many!
    catch up to my partners,
    but it’s too late.
    in trying not to deviate
    i’ve made enemies
    in this political dance.

    *** I’m a little late to the party, but here they are. Also blogged on

  14. Connie Peters


    M istakes are like mosquitoes
    I nfamous blood suckers
    S ucking the life right out of you
    T aking time and money
    A nd even people but
    K eeping mistake-free is impossible
    E veryone makes all kinds of blunders
    S o, if possible, avoid the malaria-carriers

  15. julie e.

    “One size fits all”

    the label states

    and yet my hips

    they dare debate

    the robe won’t close

    o’er curves like mine

    more Rubenesque

    than model fine.

    I will

    not yield

    the power to

    a label wrong

    to tell me whom

    I should look like

    or I should not

    I’m happy with

    the curves

    I’ve got.


  16. PressOn


    You can sell me a pitcher who grooves it
    and vacuum that soils and removes it.
    If it’s foolproof, you say,
    you can sell it today
    for you’ve come to the fellow who proves it.

  17. RJ Clarken

    A Rose by Any Other Name

    The summer canvas
    of my childhood
    was illustrated
    with blue-purple splashes
    of petal-color from
    the ‘snowball bushes.’
    My grandfather
    and Mr. Mastyl
    had them in their gardens,
    and to this day,
    whenever I see them
    on a neighbor’s lawn
    they bring a smile to my face.
    they’re not true snowball bushes:
    Real snowball bushes
    are viburnum
    and what my ‘snowball bushes’ are
    are actually hydrangea.
    I didn’t know that particular truth
    until I was much older,
    because after all,
    have you ever seen
    a blue-purple snowball?
    (Well, maybe you have, but…)
    some things will never change
    and this is one of them.


  18. foodpoet

    It was a MisSteak

    It was a misteak to love you
    The vegan said to the carnivore
    I’d be bananas to stay with you
    Said the carnivore to the vegan.

    But eyes touched lips touched.
    So maybe a nibble or two?

    1. foodpoet

      It was a misteak to love you
      The vegan said to the carnivore
      I’d be bananas to stay with you
      Said the carnivore to the vegan.

      But eyes touched lips touched.
      So maybe a nibble or two?
      Pass the strawberries for two.

  19. JRSimmang

    Last one, promise.


    I can’t remember the year,
    nor would I want to; this is a memory
    that I would rather
    keep mingled with hallucination.

    We set forth, three of us, men (at least we thought we were),
    eastward through California, mapless and sure.
    This was the time we believed that
    finding the world untouched
    would make an untouched world.
    There was beauty hidden somewhere.

    For the first few days,
    we felt that the smog in our lungs
    was slowly dissolving into
    the footprints we left behind.
    Each step, we felt lighter.

    In front of us were the Rockies.
    Montani semper liberi,
    I said. So, we trudged onward,
    remembering that once over the mountains
    we would be in flatland
    and unhindered, unencumbered, and

    The roads were spare, and the cities
    were sparse, but this world was huge
    and what better way to see it than
    from the summit?

    There was a moment past the Grand Tetons,
    that the night blew in the bitterness
    held by the moon,
    bitter for the beauty of the world
    to her will be forever bathed
    in shadow,
    and the breeze took with it
    our flame.

    The morning bared its crystal
    clear teeth, and we were in the
    middle of the Rockies,
    tent, matches, and a week of rations.
    There is very little that could have happened
    that could be discerned from reality.
    We remember tears, fangs, blood and sweat,
    but after we found ourselves
    naked and breathless
    on our backs,
    scratched and scathed
    and sore,
    we looked into the sky above us.

    There, in the stars, was celerity.
    The North Star shone from her perch and
    pierced the mid-October air. It was
    the moment we wished for.

    The next day, they said goodbye,
    I laid on the bare earth, feeling the
    movement. It was here I would remain,
    mistaken for the mountain.

    1. PressOn

      I love this and can relate, to a degree: it was in Utah that I saw skies so dark and clear that I lost the constellations amongst the multitudes of stars..

  20. Clae

    One more:

    What Really Happened

    Revisions to my day’s mistakes:
    Decisions I cannot remake,
    But in retelling, can inflate
    Into a story- something great.

  21. Clae

    About Mistakes

    Mistakes- things I make every day
    My own unique creations on display
    Some slip discretely, unnoticed, away
    Others leave painful notes behind
    Announcements, messages to remind

    A few are relief from daily monotony
    One or two more disastrous- misery
    Whatever they become, I won’t deny
    My mistakes are a piece of how I’m defined

    Distinct as my own, no one else’s can
    Be memories, lessons about who I am
    Reversal of these errors is never in my mind
    Always I move forward, and learn for next time

  22. Never2L8

    Well, that was a mistake.

    I walked from booth to booth at the fair where
    vendors hawked their goodies to snare hungry
    victims and greedy, sugar addicted junkies
    with aromas that rode on my back like a monkey,
    burdensome nuisance, insistent – I gave in.
    Well, that was a mistake.

    I’ll have the vanilla raspberry in a waffle cone,
    two scoops, sprinkled with nuts and jimmies, please.
    I licked and I licked every drip then popped the cone tip
    into my mouth with a satisfying crunch and smacked my lips.
    And then my stomach protested.
    Well, that was a mistake.

    Oooh, a caramel apple rolled in pecans
    drizzled with chocolate- gooily- called my name.
    So, I bought one- for later, I said, just before bed
    to insure the sweetest of sweet dreams, I said.
    All night my stomach protested.
    Well, that was a mistake.

    I vow I’ll not make that mistake next year
    when the fair and vendors again appear
    and the monkey snickers with a knowing sneer.

  23. Jane Shlensky

    Self-Deprecation at Work

    I’m not as right as I could be,
    he says— and suddenly he’s
    right. Mistakes go away when
    he owns them, humbles himself,
    makes critics feel like insensitive
    prigs if they dare to point
    them out. He’s onto
    something fine: how
    to be mistaken
    perpetually, and
    never have
    to fix it.

  24. Sara McNulty

    The Ruer

    He never should have told her
    would have been better to repent
    on his own. Now she will not let him hold her,
    and he knows she will not relent.

    She never had to feel like she had been stabbed
    by a knife of solid steel, if only he had not blabbed.

  25. EfrainThePoetK1n9

    I think that God f****d up the recipe
    i should be 6’3
    i should be playing basketball and winning MVP’s
    competing in the championships
    my knuckles wedged by rings
    i surely plan to bring this up
    if ever we should meet.

  26. taylor graham


    Search callout in the middle of the night.
    Mountain road winding in and out
    of fog, I guided on the centerline. Sardy slept
    curled beside me, catching dog-naps
    till we arrived at search base – a deputy’s car
    pulled off in the middle of nowhere.
    Hunter missing since Sunday afternoon.
    No one was sure who saw him last,
    or where. “Other side of that ridge” or
    “along the dry creek.” Mistake on top of
    mistake. Thermostat set for hypothermia.
    I got teamed up with 2 foot searchers
    to check a maze of dirt roads through scrub.
    “Go find!” I told Sardy, who bucked
    and danced, woofed once, then ranged
    out ahead: her very favorite game.
    We hadn’t gone 50 yards when the radio
    broke in. A sudden change in the air.
    Voice-waves over weather. “We’ve got him,
    he’s OK.” Collective shimmer of relief.
    And yet, surely it was a mistake –
    we’d come so far to do nothing? My dog
    would be so disappointed… But Sardy
    was instantly at my side, parading a stick
    in her mouth – her search reward.
    She leaped and pirouetted. How did she
    know the search was over? How could she
    feel so done-her-job-and-found-her-find high?

  27. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Poor Miss/Judgement

    She hurried to catch the teacher up
    and walk at his elbow, in his shadow
    hanging on his every word
    carrying his books, carrying a torch
    and she may of strained her neck
    looking up to him
    high on the pedestal where she carefully
    lovingly had placed him
    he asked after her day (He cares!)
    he wondered if she would come to Drama Club
    she gushed her answer like a mountain torrent
    “Oh yes! I love you…..eerrr’e Drama Club!”
    And she blurted a goodbye
    and ran away as red as a beetroot
    her fourteen year old heart crushed
    with embarrassment
    with revelation
    with shame
    and of course she never did go the Drama Club

    He smiled and sighed and thought “Ah well!
    That’s that taken care of. Business as usual.”
    The Miss a victim of misjudgment –
    the crush crushed…
    …for now at least.


  28. RJ Clarken

    If You’re Still Here, You’re Doing Something Right

    “Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries.” ~Bill Cosby

    ‘Though getting older is one truth,
    the alternative’s another.
    Choose the first or choose the other?
    I’d rather be long in the tooth

    than leave a corpse of stunning youth.
    (My younger self sighs, “Oh brother!”)
    The alternative’s another
    thought. Getting older is one truth

    you can’t vote on. I say, “Forsooth,
    where is my fairy godmother
    to fix the parts gone a-souther?”
    Still, here’s to age, like fine vermouth…
    ‘cause getting older’s just one truth.


  29. Andrew Kreider

    Despite recent hoopla about the new baby, I’m not sure it ever makes sense to marry into the Royal Family.

    Six senryu of Henry VIII

    Catherine of Aragon
    Queen of earthly Queens
    ditched after twenty-three years
    for someone younger

    Anne Boleyn
    In less than three years
    he had her executed
    on trumped-up charges

    Jane Seymour
    to Anne and Henry’s mistress
    died after childbirth

    Anne of Cleaves
    Married for six months
    never even slept with him
    she got off lightly

    Catherine Howard
    An adulteress?
    like her cousin Anne Boleyn
    she soon lost her head

    Catherine Parr
    Henry’s third cousin
    put his house in order, and
    outlived the bugger.

  30. elishevasmom

    Mistaken Identity

    I think I’ll call myself a poet.
    Not that I really want to be a poet…
    that is too much work!

    First, I’d have to form Opinions.
    Then, I’d have to put them down on paper,
    in such a way that at least I could understand them.

    Then I’d actually have to share these Opinions
    with Other People, Total Strangers,
    two, or five or seven at a time.

    In Public. And, they might actually
    disagree with what I’m saying,
    and how I’m saying it.

    Which means I’d have to develop self esteem!
    Definitely too much work.
    But, if I just call myself a poet,

    I can take full advantage of the
    “starving artist” syndrome,
    thus milking sympathy and admiration

    from people without ever having to
    seriously get down to work at my art.
    I could read my Epic Works

    in three-minute sound-bites,
    at monthly gatherings peopled
    mainly by other such poets,

    who with each clap of their applause
    will stroke my ego just enough
    to inspire the piece I’ll read next month.

    Ellen Knight 7.31.13
    (write a mistake poem)

  31. PowerUnit

    Another Complication

    The sensual clues line up and assault
    One at a time, behind each other, a rolling thunder of lust
    Disturbing the sense of normal
    In her tomboy outfit and little girl hat
    Cutting through social barriers, adult defenses
    And making one feel ashamed for feeling natural and free

    Being overcome by an image
    Of a fresh spring morning
    In a green meadow with a white blanket and a bottle of red
    One certainly can be forgiven for not noticing
    The ring on her finger
    And the woman on her arm

  32. JRSimmang

    As I lay in this canoe,
    watching the clouds above me move,
    and wondering whether it’s the world
    or me that is twisting in circles,
    I am reminded that the summer
    is grinding to a halt,
    and I would once again
    be against the grindstone,
    whetted sharp and honed straight.

    I would have to act fast.

    Meagan’s dad and my mom
    would be at the front gates
    of Huskaloosa Summer Camp
    before the sun set.

    beauty reenvisioned.
    kept me imprisoned,

    chained to her eyes,
    breathing only her breath.

    I sat up straight, grabbed my oar
    and paddled,
    creating rainbows I coursed through.
    I took this as a sign.

    Upon the shore, I ran,
    my shoes squeaking in
    watery laughter,
    telling me, chiding me,
    convincing me I won’t make it.

    The woods stretched on to eternity.

    As the sun kissed the horizon,
    I felt my own lips burning.
    I would burst through the cabin doors
    and declare my love for her.

    And I did.

    And she turned.

    And she placed her nightshirt into her suitcase.

    She walked toward me,
    hips swaying in rhythm
    with the swiftly turning earth.

    She placed her hand on my shoulder
    (here is comes!)
    and said to me below a whisper:

    “Rye (she used my nickname),
    I’m sorry if I misled you,
    I certainly didn’t intend to,
    but I have inclination to
    holding your hand.

    I love that you’re so clever.
    And, we’ll remain friends forever,
    that’s a tie I shall not sever
    and a wish that I demand.

    So, sorry, dear friend,
    I love you too,
    but only in the way
    the dearest of friends do.”

    She turned and closed her bag.
    And I, wet, breathless, ashamed,
    stood in the doorway and watched
    as she walked toward the door behind me.

    She paused, stood on her toes,
    kissed my cheek, and was gone.

    Doris, Frances, and Jackie all stood

    “Good evening, ladies.” I said
    as I turned on my heels.
    at least she kissed my cheek,
    and that…
    that is something.

    -JR Simmang

  33. PressOn


    Last night, when Dave dated his Darcy,
    he wished he could change to a Parsee,
    for the lies that he told her
    grew bolder and bolder
    till Darcy disclosed she was Marcy.

  34. De Jackson

    Ms. Taken

    She has missed
    the point,
    the mark,
    the boat
    and opportunity’s
    infernal knocking.

    She has twisted
    truth and time,
    tied hope to tide
    and tried her true;
    gone blue
    in the face
    for the sake
    of a song.

    She has dissed
    her muse
    her mind
    blind faith
    and blatant

    She has kissed
    snakes, stars,
    firefly jars
    and at least



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