Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 231

For this week’s prompt, take the phrase “Holy (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Example titles might include “Holy Moly,” “Holy Line Breaks,” “Holy Jeans,” and I’m sure plenty of other more colorful variations. Feel free to replace the word “holy” with close approximations, such as “wholly” and “holey.”

Here’s my attempt:

“Holy Business Cards”

I had a friend who believed in the power of holy water
to stop vampires. He also claimed that’s why he always

ate pizza. You know, he needed the garlic. When he went
into business for himself, he heard the competition was

comprised of blood-sucking vampires. So he invited
a priest to his office to bless his holy business cards.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and editor of Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market (both Writer’s Digest Books). Voted the 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Brewer also curates an Insta-poetry series of poems for Virginia Quarterly Review. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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117 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 231

  1. Julieann

    Holy Jumping Jehoshaphat

    Pen to paper
    Fingers on keyboard
    Words twirling round and round,
    No sense, no meaning, nothing
    Written down

    Theme is Holy
    What is Holy? Holy Father,
    Holy smoke, holy Jumping Jehoshaphat
    Nonsensical words, meanings
    Falling flat

    Come on ideas
    Wake up thoughts
    Words won’t gel, won’t make sense
    Rhymes, meanings, on the run, become
    Total nonsense

  2. taylor graham


    This dogged summer shut away July
    and opened August.
    One head of crisp celery wilted
    limp on the counter before I could
    put the groceries in the fridge.
    In the garden, zucchini’s grown amok
    as this year’s calendar.
    Where’s the cookbook that teaches
    me to savor a season?
    Was there a tranquil moment while
    I slept? the tick that’s gone
    like dream to be remembered in
    time come, after the death
    that is December, the seed of next
    year’s bounty, each unpromised day.

  3. EfrainThePoetK1n9

    Holy tales of magic book talk…
    Let’s have a book talk
    Take on this Sisyphus endeavor
    And gather no moss

    The unseen mover;
    The wind within the sails
    Who took a mold of clay and breathed to it the air of ails
    And whittled from its ribs
    Deriving fem-from-male
    Feeding Daniel to the lions and Jonah to a whale
    Solomon and zombies
    Lilith at the banks of a river
    Moses split the sea
    Noah crafted heavens ark
    Samson had a haircut and lost his holy strength
    Serpents on their belly’s
    Job contracted syphilis
    Lucifer the angel
    Jesus and his witness
    Claudius the savior #pagan rituals
    We can mesh the holy book and sow from psalms and sigils
    I don’t mean to be religious
    I can’t help being spiritual
    Reduction ad absurdum
    The brain producing chemicals
    Deeper down the mountain
    Dante led by Virgil
    Joey has an ipad
    “I think his mom’s a liberal”
    Stories lead to stories holy books and tales of folly
    Rambling on and on beyond the end of allegories

    (Sometimes we find no end satisfactory to the story)…

  4. SharoninDallas


    Holy grace I’m on my face
    My mouth is wild again.
    The words fly out from caves of doubt
    The fears come rushing in.
    Holy grace I’m on my face.
    No man alone before grace can stand
    Without the One who gives His hand
    To raise the man to Holy Grace.

  5. RJ Miller

    So many good poems here, and me with my silly limericks. Oh well…


    The raindrops relentlessly fell
    Quickly filling the ponds and the well
    The rivers and streams
    Would soon burst at the seams
    Unleashing a watery hell

    Down to my basement I ran
    With a trusty large bucket in hand
    I started to bail
    A task which I’d fail
    Due to one tiny flaw in my plan

    I unleashed a torrent of swearing
    When I saw how my effort was faring
    The bucket I’d brought
    Was pretty much shot
    With a hole much too large for repairing.

    When this all first came about
    A good ending was sorely in doubt
    But this situation
    Bred improvisation:
    I just stocked the basement with trout

  6. Heather

    holy holy holy

    stars collide
    thunderous clouds echo
    as lightning strikes
    holy holy holy.

    mountains quake
    earth slides like tears
    trees torn apart
    holy holy holy.

    winter falls
    heavy blanket stills life
    branches snap, creak
    holy holy holy.

    night beckons
    darkness fills the void
    stars shimmer
    holy holy holy.

    sun rises
    quiet daylight infiltrates
    scattering shadows
    holy holy holy.

    ~ also posted on

  7. Ash Haze


    When the rain runs our souls slip into the puddle of our sins,
    Only now are we are we ready to begin climbing the slippery slope of redemption,
    When you finally stand at the top of redemption, you are redeemed,

    Look up,
    You will see the sun perched on a mountain peak ahead,
    Salvation is in the center of the sun,

    The treacherous tree lined trail at your feet is the only way up,
    Jump into your journey, but be warned,
    Every step you take, the distance grows,
    Is it possible to reach?
    Some say in death we do,
    Some say in death we don’t,
    Some say in death we drift above the trees and rocks and are soaked into the sun itself,
    Some say in death we just become another tree along the trail,

    What’s my opinion?
    I don’t know, I’m still slipping down redemptions slippery slope

    By Ash Haze

  8. David

    Holy Cow

    By David De Jong

    Thou doest flee and escape my care
    Whilst I toiled afield, most unaware
    Thy actions prevail and dare persist
    Stir mine anger whilst I shake my fist

    Wither thou goest I clearly see
    Yonder the garden trampled by thee
    Trodden and eaten with ease in haste
    My labors of tending now but waste

    Though thy dwelling be ample and bright
    Discourse of thine quarters bares forth right
    All thou doest consume I pray lament
    Whilst I shovel all thine excrement

    If not that I loved thee in my life
    I’d leave thee to struggle in thy strife
    I shall not rest till thy course return
    With logs of mesquite ready to burn

    The taste of thine flesh upon my tongue
    Potatoes with gravy songs be sung
    When I shall find thee I shall partake
    Thy succulent roasts, and corn fed steak

  9. seingraham


    The coming in and the going out
    No matter what anyone says
    You do it alone, and it is a holy
    Experience; it doesn’t really
    Have anything to do with faith
    Or beliefs; do you have them
    Do you not…when breath enters
    The body, there is a sanctity
    to that that’s undeniable
    Likewise, when breath deserts
    the body for the final time
    Again, there is that holiness
    Accompanying the moment
    That’s undeniable…
    Should you be privileged to
    witness either, you will
    see what I mean


  10. ewdupler

    Holy problems

    It was long ago
    hung on a cross
    And now we know
    it was  unfair.
    The  rules  were clear for those who’d hear.
    And  on every day, you would see them stray.
    Lord please forgive, so that they will live.
    A  price is due.  And paid, by you know who.
    A  perfect sacrifice,  cleansing every vice.
    Not  His fault,
    all our strife.
    He  put a halt,
    giving his life
    so  we’ll  live
    by  his  grace.
    Now he’ll  give
    All sin erased.
    And  the  cost?
    Faith  in  him.
    Or all is lost,
    eternal   grim.

  11. Yolee

    Wholly Absorbed Are We

    Dear Globetrotter, Sept. 21 1968

    Time labored and gave birth to autumn today just as winter
    was set to release her grip on the southern hemisphere. Somehow,
    knowing that the two seasons were passersby between Chicago
    and Mozambique made a rock inside of me roll. Sinto saudades.

    I’ve practice your Portuguese. Our tongues will have the chance
    to communicate in alternate ways by the time you come home.
    Have you been working on Swahili?

    Peoples’ protest raked through the streets during the democratic
    convention in August. The city mayor drilled it into the fuzz to use
    brutal force. Man, they had helmets, batons, mace, tear gas, shotguns
    and masks! All it did was incense some of the far out radicals! I marched
    with others whose slogans and actions hopefully righted civility by hanging
    on to harmony, much like the way it hangs on that new Beatles song: Revolution.
    I’m afraid that Dr. King’s labor will not be enough to pay ransom for captive
    wrongdoers. I hope I’m wrong. The fuzz shoved us, yelled obscenities
    and commanded: “go home longhair yippies!”
    That was two weeks after I got my pixie haircut. And oh I bought
    the green vinyl over-the-knee boots. Talk about a riot!

    We’re heading to DC for Linda’s birthday in November. Peter, Paul
    and Mary, John Denver and a few others plan to rally for peace’s sake.

    When you miss someone who is miraculously in the spine
    of every shadow, yet so far away, does the ache tremble
    when it arrives at its destination as much as when the heart
    releases it? Your absence never bows in shame for what it does
    to my spirit. It treads on me like a stoked politician.

    Penso sempre em você


  12. priyajane

    Holy Every Days
    Start your Mondays with good thoughts
    Tuesdays, will bring in rewards
    Wednesdays, get rid of your clutter
    Thursdays, cook a meal for brothers
    Friday’s special , is all about Venus
    Saturdays, learn about some new genus
    Sundays, stop and look within
    Rejuvenate, and fix your grin
    Value what it brings your way
    For ,every day, is a holy day

  13. Dennis W

    Holy Angst

    The first poem is not posted.
    Then the Reply thinks second is first.
    So I venture out yet a third –
    because I still have the same thirst.

  14. Dennis W

    Holy Blog

    I think the poem I wrote fell through a hole
    in this virtual world of faux sheets and ink
    that all who write here call their own world…
    Though I look so closely I see it not.

  15. Cin5456

    I hope this works. I’ve never used HTML tags before. If it comes out funky, I can’t edit.

    Holy Darvīsh Dancing
    While living in abject poverty, he gives more to the poor
    lira by lira, than the checks grudgingly given by Christian
    congeries to pet projects labeled, in obvious pride,
    as worthy charities. Pure of heart, free of evil,
    his deeds define his devotion. Though ascetic,
    he brims rich with blessings, nourishing the center
    from which all else is rejected.
    Every action, every utterance,
    bhava – becoming, he is – jāti, born
    into becoming; each moment anticipates the dance.
    Emptiness opens like the heart of a bloom
    exposed in complete innocence.
    Inside the frantic
    Sema spin,
    he empties.
    Quiet without and within
    the purity of holy spirit
    enters the whirling dervish.
    He is full-filled.

    1. Cin5456

      Please forgive my mixing of Buddhism with Sufi Muslim. I took the words originally from Sanskrit, but they are now used by Buddhists in philosophical reasoning in a very different sense, though the core word is the same.

      1. PressOn

        Regardless of whatever religious dogma or interpretations might be at work, I think your piece is universal, especially in the phrase, “his deeds define his devotion.”

        1. Cin5456

          Thank you. The line in that position was replaced several times. I’m glad this was the right choice.
          (I hope it’s okay to talk about our process here in Poetic Asides.)

  16. Jane Shlensky

    Holy Mackerel

    Not trout, not halibut, not cod,
    not catfish, flounder, perch, nor scrod
    boast names ecclesiastical
    like the pious Holy Mackerel.

  17. foodpoet

    Holy Haberdashery
    Ah the words of camp
    Kid wonder and not knowing
    That haberdashery was clothes and pins and stuff
    I thought it was slightly risqué and shame on robin.
    We snorted through
    Holy priceless collection of Etruscan Snoods
    Holy Polaris
    I wonder what would the catch phrases be today?

    Holy internet spam artists
    Holy IPAD apps for free
    Holy metro closing doors
    And Holy nothing being done politicians?

  18. JRSimmang


    Pa woke me up at twelve sharp this afternoon.
    We had work to do he said. But, this summer
    heat forced us to sit down at quarter ’til three,
    drinks perspirin’ on our knuckles. Work’s good for
    you, he tells me, while I wished I was with Jake,
    fishin’ off the docks. “Work.” That’s all he says to
    me any more. He stands, wipes sweat from his brow,
    and I see, for the first time, the house we built.

    Work, he tells me. And, as the sun
    fell on our heads, bronzing our scalps,
    I felt every muscle twitch in
    the foundation and the solid

    oak walls. He put his arm around me
    and repeated, “Work. Work is the
    sacrament of the unworthy.”
    Suddenly, fishing seemed childish.

    I guess I gotta grow up sometime, I say,
    and learn to kneel in the presence of the wind.
    We went about pickin’ up our tools, the nails,
    the hammer, the T-square and barbed wire, the sharp
    spear-headed knife my pa uses to cut through
    the cords. This house we built on the rock will last
    at least through the summer. If we’re lucky it
    will last long enough for my grand kids to see.

    -JR Simmang
    … a form I’m much more comfortable with

  19. RJ Clarken

    Holy Guacamole

    First, find a nice ripe avocado.
    Carefully slice it in two.
    Scoop out the seed, sans haste…sans speed.
    Then peel the skin off. That’s what you do.

    Next, place in a mortar and pestle.
    Then mix with some lemon juice.
    Sans haste, sans speed, scoop out the seed.
    (Just repeating, not being abstruse.)

    Next, add pepper, salt and cilantro,
    onion, tomato (both minced.)
    Scoop out the seed, sans haste…sans speed.
    It’s almost guacamole. Convinced?

    You will be as soon as you taste it.
    In this, dip some tortilla.
    Sans haste, sans speed: one scoop’s all you’ll need.
    Guacamole – what an idea!


    Poetic Form: ZaniLa.

  20. mapoet

    Holy Sleeplessness

    4 a.m.
    Flash, flash, flash,
    like a strobe light
    firing outside
    the window.
    Thunder follows.
    Next rain.
    Gentle at first,
    then increases
    in intensity.
    God must have

  21. JRSimmang


    There once was a poly who lied,
    whose life in the courts was tried.
    King Polyt washed clean
    his hands (some eighteen!),
    and the liar rolled up, crucified.

    PART 2
    Holy Poly unrolled days later,
    but his absence had left a poly crater.
    Poly books were placed in every
    Poly hotel and poly library,
    Polytheists made him their creator.

    -JR Simmang

    I am still eluded by the limerick. Thanks for reading.

  22. Jane Shlensky

    A Holy Blank

    More and more,
    kneeling before
    the blessed virgin
    or her Son,
    saints looking dryly
    down on him,
    candles flickering…

    yes, more and more
    as his knees grind
    into place, his hands
    supporting his face,
    in a suppliant posture…

    more and more,
    he’s drawing
    a holy blank,
    prayer becoming
    more and more

  23. jhowe

    There once was a man Rolly Polly
    Whose wont was to say Holy Moly
    When the vodka he sought
    Was not to be bought
    It was blocked by a big Stoli Goalie

  24. ravenswingpoetry


    Holy flight requires holy wings: never mind
    that mine are black, shining with green and blue gloss
    in sunlight, lost supposedly on this night-black
    feathered back of mine. I am the ancient scavenger,
    the bird of foreboding tales: ales have been drunk

    in remembrance of my supposed landing
    upon the shoulders of warriors, that were standing
    until the Morrígan washed their bloodied armor
    in every shallow ford in every county
    of Ulster. My descendants descend

    from London’s stone tower every hour,
    but return at eventide to roost, rest, and
    watch the sun set from inside those royal
    minarets. Let’s speak now of the east;
    Mohammed believed that we

    instructed Cain on the burying of his own
    brother, and Indian girls from Kashmir
    to Punjab to Andhra Pradesh lament their
    lovely bangles being lifted away in our
    loquacious beaks from their lanky wrists. And

    across a blue ocean from the back of a red land,
    its clay creation – the Haida nation – spin tales
    of a white-winged trickster, his feathers trained
    in how to be black by a firebrand’s burning: and
    daylight was begotten by his stolen sun. And it is

    in this very daylight that I take flight, a reverie
    of wings and song born before your ancestors could walk
    on two feet. I greet every morning as Raven, her arms
    wide: do the starships of your stories boast of the same?
    With this Holy Wind beneath me, I lift off: I…

    Written 8/7/13

    1. JRSimmang

      Gorgeous. I was thrown a little by the one word final line, for it didn’t seem to rise up to the spectacular language and images you have already created. I was definitely entranced. Thank you.

  25. taylor graham


    Psalms of wind and dog-warble
    as I lock my car. Wind in the canopies of trees
    at trailhead, dog-song of a wander-day.
    But it’s an ordinary Monday, we’ve got work
    to do. Map and daypack, Woodsy-Owl litterbags.
    Panniers across my Shepherd’s back – they’ll
    hold litter too. We’re wilderness-patrolling
    up through granite and lava, histories of uplift
    and erosion underfoot; route of creaking wagons
    over the summit; the same vista some scout
    tipped his hat to, a couple hundred years ago.
    Did he feel that trail-tipsy oxygen-thin high
    of the Sierra? Over the saddle, down to a lake;
    pick up hikers’ litter – rusty cans, a skillet
    that’s lost its handle. My dog will swim
    in the blessed water. I’ll pull off boots and socks,
    let my feet float free. Then, loaded down
    with litter, we’ll hike back under The Sentinels,
    eminent old men of avalanche and thunder,
    time against stone. At last, back down
    the mountain, home, where I’ll make of that
    skillet a birdbath for the long dry foothill
    end-of-summer. For now, we’re on the trail
    this common workday of July. Call it
    holiday, a holy day.

  26. buffalois

    Holy Cow

    Wow! What now?
    I can only imagine how
    she landed on the steeple
    Holy cow!

    Wow! Now how
    will they get her down?
    How many people?
    Holy cow!

    Bessie the cow
    been around a long time now
    Good ole Bessie, the
    fiberglass cow.

    She’s more secure now
    ready to face the people
    and the next tornado!
    Holy cow!


  27. Marie Elena

    Holy is Your Name

    In anger, we shout “Jesus Christ!”
    In horror, “Oh my God.”
    Holiness turned common
    Filler at best.
    We never curse with
    Or “Aphrodite.”

    (A quick lunch break thought.)

  28. Andrew Kreider

    Holy Cow! (8.7.07)

    On this day in 2007, Barry Bonds of the
    San Francisco Giants hit round trip number 756,
    passing the mark set by Hank Aaron, and
    making him the all-time home run king.

    It was a three-two pitch from Mike Bacsik
    with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning.
    Bonds laced it over the right field fence,
    breaking a four-four tie with the Nats.

    Fireworks exploded above the jumbotron
    as Bonds’ huge figure rounded the bases.
    He embraced his family, pointed to the sky,
    and shook hands with fans above the dugout.

    Noticeably absent that evening were
    Hammerin’ Hank himself, and the
    Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig.
    Both had plausible excuses.

    The home run ball later sold for over $700,000
    It was purchased by fashion designer Marc Ecko,
    who donated it to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
    But only after it was laser-etched with an asterisk.

  29. elishevasmom

    Wholly, Holey, Holy?

    When I was growing up,
    I learned housework in

    job advancing with age and
    With laundry, my first

    task was to sort my father’s
    socks, so they could be
    folded in pairs.

    (Actually, this was not as
    easy as it might seem,
    since we had a sock-eating

    dryer—not all that went
    in returned to tell the tale.)
    My next job on laundry day

    was folding t-shirts. But there
    were always one or two with
    fabric so thin across

    the shoulders that I
    could read my Dr. Seuss
    books through, and just

    chocked full of holes.
    When asked about them,
    my dad would say, they

    were air conditioned, and
    that they were more holey
    than righteous…

    Ellen Knight 8.7.13
    write a “holy________” poem

  30. Susan Schoeffield


    The cheeses got into a fight,
    and one not made in jest.
    The argument revolved around
    which cheese’s taste was best.

    The Pepper Jack got spicy hot.
    The Limburger reeked with hate.
    The Cheddar’s words were hard and sharp,
    but the Swiss Cheese set them straight.

    “Not one of you is fit to eat!
    I’ll settle this right now.
    No matter how you slice it,
    I’m holier than thou.”

  31. bxpoetlover

    Holy, Wholly

    Pastor said to be a saint in Caesar’s house so I strive to stop
    cursing about budget cuts for classrooms and increased expenditures
    for standardized testing

    I will keep on teaching, prodding my students to ask questions
    and read and write as if their lives depend upon it
    because they do

    I reject the temptation to be somebody’s right now as I
    await Mr. Right

    As the 1% enslave the rest of us, I
    spend my money on fresh, organic food
    books that enlighten and inspire
    clothing that lets me breathe, and beautifies
    and businesses that are community-minded. I can close
    my pocketbook to municipalities rife with unjust laws.

    When the lyrics to music or media images assault my ears and eyes
    I can challenge my children to analyze at first
    and unplug the sources if need be.

    Pastor said be God’s saboteur. I can
    meditate, mediate
    seek and speak truth.

    If you live in a mess
    you can ignore it
    or help to clean it up

  32. Never2L8

    Holy Cow Batman

    We have so many interjections
    and some of such pearly perfection
    that you’d think Batman would
    tell Robin he should
    find some other way
    to emphatically say
    “I am astonished”.
    Why didn’t he admonish
    Robin to a hipper expression
    and banish his “holy” obsession?

    1. PressOn

      Yes, and there may be more….


      The robin of the reddish breast;
      the robin of the Isles;
      the Robin of the comic books
      who plastered POWs for miles;

      the robin of the nursery rhyme;
      the Robin that played rock;
      should any more come flying by,
      my head goes chock-a-block.

      I loved your poem, by the way, and others you’ve written.

  33. danceswithhorses


    I’m on my knees here, Lord,
    Because I can’t fall any lower.
    I’ve hit rock bottom, I’m in trouble again.
    I can’t look You in the eye.
    I used to raise my hands to You
    In supplication and praise.
    But tonight, I’m too ashamed.
    Reach down, Jesus, with your
    Holy Hands
    Make me clean again,
    With bitter regret You’ll find me
    Remorseful of my sin.
    I need you, Jesus, and Your
    Holy Hands,
    They’re the only hands that can reach me now.
    Forgive me, Jesus, and give me once again
    Holy Hands.

      1. danceswithhorses

        I need this prayer all over again every night, it seems…take comfort in the fact that there is no place too low for our Savior to reach us.

  34. Nancy Posey

    Holy, Holy Donuts, Batman!

    Robin would announce, after foiling the likes
    of the Joker or the Penguin, punctuated
    with onomatopoeic POW and BAM!

    Strong language, we thought. Our parents
    frowned on Gosh! and Darn! and Dadgummit!
    euphemisms veiling vile curses and blasphemy.

    Surely, we reasoned,Robin has some dispensation,
    a tradeoff for wearing bright-colored tights
    and playing second fiddle to the mystery man.

    Formidable foes call for strong language,
    as well as a good right punch to back it up.
    Talk only goes so far in the dark night.

    When we play-acted each Wednesday night’s
    thirty-minute episode, wearing bath towel capes
    we looked around before whispering, “Holy, holy donuts!

    1. Never2L8

      Nancy, I didn’t scroll down and see your post – we were thinking along the same lines! Yep, even heard sermons from the pulpit on the “bad” language. Like your take very much.

  35. PressOn


    My friend, the bishop, sang his Mass
    with candles gleaming bright;
    in robes of red or green or gold,
    he was a pretty sight

    and yet, despite the glittering gloss
    that captivates the eyes,
    the man inside knew how to laugh,
    and so the man was wise.

    He once told me, “I really am
    a sober sort, you know,
    but in a get-up such as this
    I make a holy show,

    and sometimes that can lead to scenes
    for which there is no salve,
    such as the waitress who said to me,
    ‘Cock Robin, what’ll you have?’”


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