Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 232

Sorry for the late prompt today. Busy, busy morning. Totally unrelated, I just wanted to share this list of the Top 200 Advocates for American Poetry put together by Seth Abramson for Huffington Post (click to read the list). I made the list, though I always feel like it’s a team effort–what we accomplish here at Poetic Asides. Thanks!

For this week’s prompt, write a listening poem. You can be listening to the wind or the congested traffic of New York City or the waves at a beach or the long story of a friend or anything really. You listen (or remember or imagine something you’ve heard) and then write a poem.

Here’s my attempt at a listening poem:


I tell the boys
to get their toys
off of the floor
but then hear more
from a small voice
who says, “Hey, Boys!
Pick up your toys!
Pick up your toys!”
I turn around
and see the sound
come from a girl
with cute blond curls
holding a doll,
a bouncy ball,
and banana–
it’s my Hannah!


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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and an all-around nice guy. He edits the Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, and forthcoming Guide to Self-Publishing Market Books, in addition to writing a magazine column, blogging, and other fun stuff. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer’s debut full-length poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems, is due out from Press 53 on September 1, 2013 (but if you jump on Amazon, you can get it now). He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and, well, Hannah!). Follow Robert on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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201 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 232

  1. stepstep


    On my porch I sit
    Early morning, late evening at times
    Reading the newspaper
    Sometimes meditating
    Accompanied by silence
    Accompanied by the wind chimes.

    Mysteriously the sound conveys a sweet melody
    It soothes my soul
    Causes my foot to tap to an unknown tune,
    Eventually I hum along.

    The best part invites
    All my senses to participate.
    My Ears perk up at
    The very essence of each note
    Which hold dear the secrets
    That seep through when
    Listening is all that counts.


  2. Bruce Niedt


    So often I tell my teenager that he hears
    but doesn’t listen. Now I fear
    that I can listen, but I’m beginning
    not to hear. Oh, I can hear most things
    if I listen for them hard enough,
    but what makes it rough
    is that I never am immersed
    in silence. What makes it worse
    is this swarm of bees, who seem attuned
    to the same high note, and I am marooned
    in their cacophony,
    this symphony
    of constant buzzing, even as I try to sleep.
    I don’t know if there’s a way to keep
    them from my ears, and I’m afraid
    someday I will have to trade
    one sense for another I still have left.
    We once thought honeybees were deaf.
    But now we know they do a dance
    that signals with low frequencies where plants
    and flowers grow that they may pollinate.
    Perhaps one day you may have to gyrate
    and wiggle too, to let me know of your desires.
    I won’t let my conspiring ears put out our fires.
    The hive’s abuzz with joys,
    if I can only listen through the noise.

  3. taylor graham


    The long whistle moves soft through cottonwoods
    waving their yellow hands goodbye. She stands
    hanging wash and ticking off all the should’s
    of Monday. Unmatched stockings in her hands
    as memories of those small, forgotten could’s
    that somehow never will: those far-off lands
    where parallels unite. Tomorrow, rain.
    For now, the fading whistle of a train.

  4. EfrainThePoetK1n9

    I strike the beat likea conch shell
    Mirroring the ocean
    Mirror of the soul
    Cold water in the open
    Mind over motion
    More innovation
    Tide won’t recede till the time
    Come callin’
    Hennessey and ice
    Loose tongue come callin’
    Hear the wind speak through the ice in the summer
    Spill a lil’ bit
    Watch the sand start to bubble

    Here to cause some trouble
    Yeah I’m the rebel
    Ride the sands of time like a bass to the treble
    lil f**ka fresh young fellow

    Chuckle at my own words
    Flower to the peddle
    Color to the world
    Sweet as sour amaretto
    Force a lil smile, till it settle

    Put the conch down
    Feel force unsettled

    Listen as it howls at wolves in meadow
    Following my instinct
    Hard to deny
    Screaming at an echo
    Waiting for reply
    Why ask why when
    Enough is enough
    Listen to the universe in her own tongue
    Speak a lil bit too much and she’s gone
    On to the next one
    Waiting for the sun

    Waiting for the sun
    waiting for the sun
    Waiting for the next day
    Waiting for the sun.

  5. David

    Great Echoes

    By David De Jong

    The great horned owl fanned my ear
    A ghost in the dark, wing’d seer
    Silence broke in aileron song
    Whispered flight, clairvoyantly strong

    Masked in darkness with piercing eyes
    Drifts of shadows beneath the skies
    Upon his footrest out of view
    Taunting all below; “Who are you?”

    Answers resound across the way
    Echoes of the night on display

  6. Billie


    to my heart beating in perfect iambic pentameter
    for warm, swaddled
    tiny toes
    now housed in new shoes
    back pack, #2 pencils, lunch packed
    and out the door.
    ripping me into two.
    in perfect iambic pentameter

  7. Jackie Casey

    The Sound of Poetry

    A po`em can be muted as the child
    who makes a labored, repetitious peep
    who famished, stops his crying for awhile
    who, satisfied with sucking; now he sleeps.

    A po`em blessed can bear a silent space.
    A grace; a cause where magic casts a spell:
    where breath is held, anticipation waits
    as next the rhyme agrees with what befell.

    I’ve heard some po`ems sung to me, aloud
    could raise such clatter; curl the tuning fork;
    would strip the leaves again from off my bough:
    that noise relentless as the rapper’s bark.

    I rather listen to the poet’s lie;
    so quiet, I can hear his teardrop die.

  8. Mike Bayles

    Bird’s Chorus

    mourning dove coos
    face of gray sky
    sound echo
    heavens and clouds
    early solitude
    bird’s chorus
    solitude early
    clouds and heavens
    echo sound
    sky gray of face
    coos dove mourning

  9. PKP

    in the rustle

    in the rustle
    to the shirr of
    petals falling
    on the skittered
    back of startled
    creatures burrowing
    deeper into the
    sweet green leaves
    growing brittle
    just a little
    day by day

    as the cerulean marble
    shifts on stalwart axis
    held tight
    flung into the
    ever night
    in the rustle
    below, beneath,
    the buzzing
    business of
    living …


    1. Cin5456

      I enjoyed this admonition to be still and pay attention to the earth. So subtle, and beautifully worded. Wonderful to read out loud, smooth and clear on the tongue, and thought provoking as poetry should be.

    2. Julieann

      Be still and know that I am God – what a wonderful admonition to us all – to be still and listen to the earth — to what it tells us – to what it means to us – beautiful!

  10. Julieann


    melancholy sounds emanate
    from the lone train passing through
    the desert night

    its cars hiding hobos seeking shelter,
    playing poker by moonlight flitting through
    the open doors

    they speak softly as they pass around
    their last few sips of whiskey
    before bedding down

    to a sleep broken by fitful dreams of good
    times past, and continued fear of
    an unchanging future

    as the train’s soulful whistle echoing
    back through the still night air fades
    slowly, quietly away

  11. Cin5456

    The Season and the Sound

    A feeling of excitement stirs the air.
    A nascent roar in the back of our throats awaits
    a single trigger, a sound unlike any
    other. We think we see it coming and
    open our mouths and hearts to cheer, but then
    the sound doesn’t happen. Instead we moan
    our disappointment. Someone whistles like
    a siren. Someone else yells an insult,
    but still we cling to the edge of expectation.
    We know it’s coming, that wonderful sound
    because this is the season. This is the reason
    we came. The catcher crouches, the umpire leans.
    The batter’s practice swing delays the moment
    until he sets his feet in a batter’s stance.
    The pitcher winds up, and throws hard, but
    the batter jumps away. The pitch was low
    and inside. The stadium rumbles from pounding feet.
    Behind first base they start a wave from boredom.
    The seventh inning and not a single hit.
    They walked a man last inning. We booed
    the pitcher, called him coward and bum. And now
    our best hitter is at bat. Crack! Wow!
    We watch the ball rise and soar, cheering for
    the runner. As the crowd goes crazy, the ball
    arches and falls into the right field bleachers.
    That is the reason for the season. Homerun!

    1. Cin5456

      Revised the second half. More exciting, more immediate language now..

      The Season and the Sound

      A feeling of excitement stirs the air.
      A nascent roar in the back of our throats awaits
      a single trigger, a sound unlike any
      other. We think we see it coming and
      open our mouths and hearts to cheer, but then
      the sound doesn’t happen. Instead we moan
      our disappointment. Someone whistles like
      a siren. Someone else yells an insult.
      Restless, we cling to the edge of expectation.
      We know it’s coming, that wonderful sound,
      because this is the season. That is the reason
      we came. The catcher crouches, the umpire leans.
      The batter’s practice swing delays the moment.
      He scuffs the dirt with cleats and poses, waits.
      The pitcher winds up, and throws hard, but
      the batter jumps away. The pitch is low
      and inside. The stands rumble from pounding feet.
      The seventh inning and not a single hit.
      A row of fans behind first base stand up
      and raise their arms one by one down the line.
      The next section passes the wave along
      to those closer to home plate. On the diamond
      the count comes, three and two. The catcher holds
      his glove out for the pitch thrown, slow and wide.
      “Booo Booo Booo Booo. Coward cant’ pitch to a hitter!”
      Our best hitter comes up. He walks to the plate
      swinging his favorite bat. He taps the plate
      and points at right field with the tip. The secret
      signal from catcher to pitcher. The shaken head
      no, waits, he nods and winds up. The pitch is—Crack! Wow!
      The ball rises and soars. On our feet cheering
      the runner! We stare in awe shouting, the ball
      arches high, higher into the sun and falls
      into the right field bleachers. What a hit!
      That is the reason for the season. Homerun!

  12. Marie Elena

    LISTEN UP! (Foreign language lessons from Naples High School [Naples, Florida, 1975])

    My sophomore year of high school, we moved from Ohio to Naples, Florida. It seemed we barely arrived, and I was in school. Band practice, to be exact. In an accent just shy of southern drawl, our band director yells through the megaphone, “LISTEN UP!” I don’t recall what he said after that, as my northern brain was busy trying to figure out how to listen “up,” and contemplating how it might be related in some way to “shut” up.

    Then there was P.E. A friendly girl who introduced herself to me in one of the many outdoor “halls” asked me what period I had P.E. I looked at my schedule and racked my brain. P.E.? I told her I didn’t think I had it. She said it was required, and looked at my schedule. “Oh! 3rd period! Same as me!” Well, I had gym class 3rd period and I … oh, duh. “Physical Education.”

    P.E. ended up being another class where the instructor used “listen up” quite a lot. But what threw me was when this same friendly girl and I were on our way to P.E., and she asked me if I was “dressin’ out.” Dressing out? “Yeah. You know … dressin’ out for P.E.” Well, I didn’t yet have a handle on “listen up,” and now I had to figure out how to dress “out.”

    One guy stopped me in one of these outdoor halls and said, “What time it is.” I just looked at him. He repeated it, rather impatiently. When I said, “Pardon me?” he turned away and caught someone else. “What time it is.” They looked at their watch, and gave him the time. Huh? That was a question? Funny thing is, that’s how every student in that school asked for the time.

    And did you know y’all can be plural OR singular? Really?? Have y’all gone nuts?
    “All y’all,” on the other hand, is always plural. The scary part? THAT made sense to me.

    Then there was, “Say what?!” and “What it iz!” These were used in nearly every conversation, regardless of length.

    Who knew moving south a few states within my own country would necessitate learning practically a whole new language. And then they had the nerve to rag on my “Ohio accent.”

    Say what?! Y’all listen up! I’m not the one with the accent here!

    1. PressOn

      This makes me smile. A lot. One reason is a lady I knew from Ohio, but down south, by the Ohio River. Didn’t sound like any Clevelander I ever met.

  13. taylor graham

    notes to transcribe in Training Log

    I listen to radio chatter: Patty’s in place, “find me
    if you can! Hurry, there’s spiders in here!”
    I unclip my dog, “Search!” He pushes thru
    a leaning door, into the old turkey-shed. Silence;
    semi-dark, sunlight patterned thru roof-cracks.
    Bone-house of retired furniture – shelves &
    cabinets, roll-top desk, drawers disgorging old
    receipts. Cobwebs & dust. Somewhere, Patty’s
    pretending to be trapped in rubble: last survivor
    of tornado or quake. Sniffing as he goes, my
    dog picks a careful way across a heap of
    jackstraw boards grinning snaggletooth rusty
    nails. Atop a display case, a tiger-tom hisses
    at my dog, then moistens paw with tongue,
    resumes his grooming. Beyond, my dog’s head
    goes up, he brightens – how to describe it?
    He’s on scent, not legs; a whiff of unseen Patty.
    He gazes up the south wall. Air moves
    in strange ways inside buildings. I listen for
    breathing, any sound of life. Under a high shelf,
    my dog rears on hind legs, smiling. I hear slight
    movement from above. My dog’s doing pogo-
    leaps. A giggle; Patty reaches down from the
    shelf, lets my dog lick her fingers – dog who
    rescues her from lying cramped in the dark
    & spiderwebs. Praise, pats, stick-reward
    for my dog who tugs like he could bring
    the whole rickety building down.

  14. PKP

    Listening to an Advocate

    One of two hundred
    I think not
    One who opened
    with a golden key
    the door to a
    street cobble
    stoned with
    winding words
    as soft chestnut
    blossoms fell
    and poets met


    Congratulations RLB – for many who began sharing on the original Street- you will always stand alone in a special place, on a mystical endless winding lyrical road…

      1. PKP

        Oh Marie – it seems like such a very very long time ago.. and yet… – time is such an oddly mecurial thing… one moment our original poems shared seems like a life-time ago and then again a few years is just a blink in the Universal eye. Nevertheless thank you for the comment and the comraderie throughout …

  15. james.ticknor

    How I Saved 50 Cents

    I heard the news today
    Being discussed by the newspaper stand
    So I did not buy the paper
    A wall of words taken hours to write
    Demolished by the smooth 6 second flow of speech
    And I saved 50 cents.

    1. james.ticknor

      Thanks guys! I was trying to think of something profound and intricate, but winded up settling on simplicity. I feel it worked out well, and just the right amount of subtle humor.

  16. De Jackson

    Earth Whisper

    Those busy bees are buzz
    -ing again and I am wonder
    -ing when they are going to shut
    up and sit still and just let me lie
           (to myself)
    here in this field.
    You said things
    I must ponder long amid
    all this dandelion
    fluff, the serious stuff
    of life and love and loss
    but I cannot think past
    these wanton seeds. I’ve blown
    it and known it
    and still I cannot hear
    these clouds not loud enough
    for sunlight. Did you catch the
    rustle of these deadly blades
    of grass? I have asked myself
    sharper questions, brushed
    the delicate Braille of my own
    flawed skin; and found only

    But I will come with
    open hands, and ask again.


  17. PressOn


    It ought to come as no surprise:
    the deaf man listens with his eyes
    and with his heart. In any guise,
    it ought to come as no surprise
    that sound confounds with whispered lies
    but sight can sunder all surmise;
    it ought to come as no surprise.
    The deaf man listens with his eyes.

  18. Marie Elena


    Seek silence.
    Get intimate with her.
    Listen intently.
    Hear that?
    Yes, she speaks –
    And with more wisdom
    Than a chorus
    Of well meaning voices.

    Seek silence.
    Get intimate with her.
    Feel that?
    Yes, she touches –
    And with more insight
    Than a library
    Of self-help books.

    Seek silence.
    Get intimate with her.
    Hear Him?
    Yes, He dwells –
    And with more authenticity
    Than all we see
    Or hear.

    1. PressOn

      Quiet words and short lines go hand-in-hand with your intent, I think. I sensed a religious tone from the outset, but was surprised when “her” became “Him” in the third stanza. Very effective piece, in my opinion.

      1. Marie Elena

        Thanks so much for the kind feedback.

        For me, “she” is the silence itself. Perhaps because I was thinking in terms of softness and gentleness, I chose a female representation. “He” in the final stanza refers to God himself. Though I believe God is spirit (therefore male/female matters not), I always refer to Him in the masculine. I like how it isn’t completely clear, yet you definitely “sensed the religious tone.” 🙂

  19. Andrew Kreider


    All I can think is how large her cheeks are
    and how fast she followed me down here.
    You were just incredibly rude
    she yells over the snooker
    taking that much sugar!
    She looks like a trout
    I caught last week,
    gills flapping.
    I hate

  20. Ann M

    Phone Call

    Hold on, listen to
    the voices,
    the full laughs,
    the questions, and sighs;
    the stories of the roses
    in the garden
    and the fish for lunch,
    the workman who left his tools,
    and the rain.
    hold the receiver tight,
    hold onto each word
    like the boy who found
    a raw diamond in the park
    and was told
    its yours,
    and he put it in
    his pocket.

    1. PressOn

      This is more profound that it look, I think. I relate it to the lack of listening that I notice these days, especially when folks are using land-line phones while looking at cell phones.

  21. Cin5456

    At the Intersection Between Life and Insomnia

    The intersection never
    falls silent. Tires hum,
    a continuous monotonous thrum.
    Approaching, the tones rise, contralto;
    once past they dwindle into bass.
    Roaring engines speed through the light.
    Tires screech in protest. Worn brakes
    squeal. Engines grrr,…another grrr…growl…purr…grrr…grrr….grrr…prrr….grrr… all night long.

    Sirens split the night like knives in my ears.
    The EMT sirens warble, fire engines howl.
    Cop cars wail and bellow, commanding drivers
    Get Out Of My Way. They have
    Important Appointments!
    Dangerous Destinations!
    Police privilege? Auto-bullies!

    People cross at the intersection
    not knowing someone listens
    to their (expletive deleted) nonsense.
    Couples quarrel. Dealers wheedle.
    Teens squeal and shout. Friends laugh.
    Gangers cuss a blue streak.
    The homeless talk to themselves
    in whispers, or rant nonsense
    at everyone passing. Some babble
    like babies, and their shopping carts
    rattle down the sidewalk.

    I hear gunshots, firecrackers,
    and tires exploding.
    I hear loose fan belts ,
    and whistling radiators.
    Once in a while road rage
    breaks out at the light.
    I cringe at racial slurs
    and sexual taunts. The worst is
    listening to husbands shout
    hateful derision at wives. I’ve
    called the cops four times
    in my first eight months
    living with a busy intersection
    outside my bedroom window.

    How did I forget the headaches
    That rap music jumps rudely
    deep into my brain, making
    my nerves jangle and tangle up.
    I’m thoroughly thumped, beat down.

      1. Cin5456

        LOL! It was meant to be – as noisy as living beside all that noise. I realize it’s not exactly a smooth and sweet poem, but neither is my life. Imagine trying to write soft poetry with all that going on.

  22. priyajane


    Tears fall like rain
    I know not why
    Pitter patter
    I listen to their sobs
    It was not in the forecast
    A moist ache in the bones
    Wants to be heard
    Black clouds in the heart
    With the voices of thunder
    Demand attention
    As I listen to them roar
    Twitching on unseen wounds
    And I listen to the crash
    of broken dreams
    In the splashing rain
    Searching for the rainbow–

  23. JRSimmang


    Down at FM 980 and Larkspur
    Fats Hendricks
    runs a small gas station
    that sits just north of the tracks.

    He got a small café there.
    It ain’t much, just a few
    benches, tables,
    ones even got a table cloth on it,
    and a sneeze guard
    in front of the food.
    But, the food’s always hot
    and there’s always a
    fresh pot of coffee on.

    Fats, he’s a good man,
    wife left him for Biloxi,
    took the cat and the dog,
    and left him with the trailer
    and truck
    that he don’t drive none too
    often ’cause gas is so
    damned expensive.

    He got these fried pies
    he makes on the weekends,
    somethin’ special,
    and sometimes,
    me and my wife, after church,
    we like to go in and sit down at
    that table that has the tablecloth,
    and order these pies
    and two cups of coffee.

    Fats’ll smile, ask us how the
    sermon was,
    because we got a new pastor,
    Pastor Dean, son of a preacher,
    and he’ll talk to us about marriage,
    his kids,
    the reason he ain’t been in town lately.
    He’ll ask us about the pies,
    if our coffee’s hot enough,
    if we finished our shed.

    And it hurts to leave,
    because sometimes I think that
    we’re the only
    two sets of ears that
    listen back.

    -JR Simmang

  24. seingraham


    Morning sounds are usually my favourites
    but since the cardinal eggs have hatched
    I find myself easing the window open
    ever so carefully, listening fearfully
    First for the tiny cheeping noise of chicks
    Then, if it’s silent, paying closer attention
    to the heavy foliage of the willow housing
    their nest; sure enough, this morning
    Two huge magpies have manoeuvred themselves
    way inside the tree and are balanced
    together on one skinny branch, all but invisible
    in the thick of the summer leaves there.

    The fact that the magpies, generally non-stop
    noise-makers themselves, are preternaturally
    quiet this day – makes me suspicious but
    at the same time, a bit hopeful
    They are likely trying to sneak up on the nest
    I speculate, as I watch them bobbing and nudging
    each other, mute still – when suddenly…
    A cacophony of shrill peepings, panicked sounds
    start up from deep in the tree
    The magpies seem startled, caught out
    One squawks and takes off, then the other

    I stay still and quiet by my window for some time,
    but cannot discover what has happened…
    Have the cardinal parents shown up suddenly?
    Even using binoculars, I cannot spot them
    Whatever has taken place, as soon as the magpies flee
    Silence reigns in the yard once more…

      1. seingraham

        You know, I think they’re still there, but it’s hard to tell. I don’t want to get too close to the tree myself in case I spook the parents,so I’m just going to keep spying and listening and hoping for the best. Thanks for the kind words all…

      2. seingraham

        You know, I think they’re still there, but it’s hard to tell. I don’t want to get too close to the tree myself in case I spook the parents,so I’m just going to keep spying and listening and hoping for the best. Thanks for the kind words all…

  25. bclay

    On Deaf Ears

    I wanted to be a poet,
    to have readings and
    recordings and maybe
    even books to autograph
    at signings for afew fans,

    wanted to be recited by
    laymen the world over,
    in those moments they
    wanted to remember, so
    beautiful – words escaped.

    They never materialized,
    on paper or wordpad for
    wordplay with articulation,
    neither blogs nor chapbooks
    could manifest an existance,

    never fully words, but static
    feelings, pounds per square
    inches crackling interferences,
    that disturbance hearing nothing,
    listening awake on Night’s deaf ears.

  26. Sara McNulty

    Shake, Rattle, and Scream

    Trays, plates, and silverware clang,
    waitresses scurry back and forth,
    white shoes scuffing worn floors,
    in this popular Deli in Delray Beach,
    Florida. We order, and sit back eating
    pickles, while watching a seated
    woman, sixty plus, look anxiously
    around, cell phone clutched
    in hand. A man enters, thirty-five
    or so, and sits at a table near us.
    Breaking through the Deli’s wall
    of noise, a distinct shrill shouting
    pierces our ears. We look from
    woman to man as they yell
    across the room, both on cell
    phone, both pointing. Without
    trying to listen in, we discover
    they are talking to each other.
    When the man goes to the woman’s
    table, the screaming continues.

      1. foodpoet

        this reminded me of a scene with opposite (no sound). A table for two, candles, drinks and both were on laptops. I often wondered if they were emailing each other. The whole night I watched them laptopping away and never a word to each other.

        Your poem was image provoking

  27. chaoscgo


    I listen all day long.
    I listen to the hum of the radio on my morning commute.
    I listen to the cacophony of my coworkers in some dispute.
    I listen to the blare of the TV to unwind at night.
    But I turn off all that noise when it’s time to write.
    Because I can only hear in silence.

    Beverly B. Platt

  28. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


    I heard a poem complain today
    to anyone who would listen:
    I’m nothing but a darn cliché.
    I heard a poem complain today:
    If poets spent a few extra days
    on us, we wouldn’t diss ’em
    I heard a poem complain today
    to anyone who would listen.

  29. Connie Peters

    Sea Sounds

    Listen to gulls on Alaskan coast
    Ship’s brass bell clanging out time
    The bubbling, splashing waves-a-thrashing
    The light clattering of sea shell chimes

    The haunting song of a humpback whale
    Otter pup squeals and sea lion groans
    The bubbling, splashing waves-a-thrashing
    Sailors’ morbid tales of Davy Jones

  30. foodpoet


    In the world of cubes there is no time of silence.
    A shift of paper, keyboarding clicks
    Round robin conversations all
    One slurry eddy
    Sucking the day into a vortex.
    It’s another vita mix day.

  31. Jane Shlensky


    He nods, midstream in her words’ flow,
    letting her syllables collide
    with many thoughts he’s held inside.
    He lets the word stream come and go.

    He hums deep in his throat sometimes,
    acknowledging what wasn’t heard
    as if she speaks some cogent word,
    when he sees her impassioned mimes.

    A master at not hearing things,
    he says as little as he can.
    She craves attention that he brings:
    a woman loves a listening man.

  32. taylor graham


    Listen for the whistle to carry you
    away. Would it be easier
    to leave in warmer weather?
    to purchase the departure ticket
    when your cold lips don’t fumble
    the tongue-twist “Schnellzugzuschlag”?
    Express-train, a way to express
    yourself. You’ll be gone
    before he can say “villainess” in his
    patois, the train rumbling past
    a succession of dark villages.
    You’ll harken for names called out
    by the conductor as you slip
    toward morning, and the language
    shifts borders like a map
    after war, opponents on both sides
    uncertain who belongs to
    what anymore. You’ll skip through
    customs like a heart.

    1. julie e.

      Thank you all!

      I tried hand sewing a small scrap quilt for my daughter when she was 7…I finished it by machine before she turned 18! This is my first quilt using a pattern and i’m having a blast!

  33. bxpoetlover


    Two boys on bikes are riding one behind the other but they crash into each other and
    laugh. “Time out, time out”, one says to the other. I smile and keep walking.

    When I was a child “time out” was what we yelled out to each other if we needed
    a rest from tag, riding bikes, or from being chased by a friend.

    Now a “time out” means a child must sit alone think about what was done wrong.
    Change can be like a moldy coin.

  34. julie e.


    Each day the wind chimes
    sing a different song
    melodic D minor ninth
    Today’s quiet breeze-song
    lulls me into sleepy musing
    thoughts flitting
    like the hummingbird
    between the flowers
    The sun is warm
    I smile
    and dream

  35. JWLaviguer

    Life Flashes

    As I listen to the waves (cars) crash
    I remember (my) last summer
    walking on the beach toward the (light) sun
    and watching the (angels) seagulls above me
    and feeling (finally) at peace.

    JW Laviguer

  36. elishevasmom

    Are You Listening?

    You know the storm is coming.
    The way the clouds darken,
    like a chimney sweep
    after a hard day on the job.

    The way the leaves on the
    trees and bushes and even
    the ivy crawling up the stone wall
    go from whispered secrets

    to the ruckus raised when
    the wind, all loud and braggadocios
    rushes through the yard—with
    the leaves turning their backs,

    to save themselves from
    what comes next.
    And you run to the back porch,
    to watch in safety.

    Everything on the ground
    reverberates—even the clouds are shaken,
    losing their grip, relinquishing

    torrents on those below–
    on the leaves, the ivy,
    the stone wall it is climbing,
    the roof of your back porch.

    Thunder so loud,
    it even startles itself.
    Oh, the wondrous entertainment
    of trying a sneak attack.

    The thunder’s undying love
    of play reminds you that
    regardless of all attempts

    to the contrary, you cannot
    tame Nature—nor are you meant to.
    Does the leaf tell the tree
    what to do?

    Ellen Knight 8.14.13
    write a ‘listen’ poem

  37. danceswithhorses

    They call me the Listener.
    People bring me their troubles,
    And go away comforted.
    I don’t ask for it, they just
    Are drawn to me, inexplicably.
    What else can I do?
    I listen.
    Broken dreams, shattered homes.
    Lost loves, scraped knees.
    I’ve heard it all.
    I’ve lived it all.
    Perhaps that’s why they bring it to me.
    But in the evening, there’s no one there
    To share my table and tea.
    They’ve gone home again,
    But I, the Comforter,
    Am alone.
    I am the Listener.
    Tomorrow, a dozen people will
    Call me, wondering what advice
    I have to give.
    I listen,
    But there is no one to Listen to me.

    1. Marie Elena

      Oh my goodness. You’ve struck a chord.

      I’ve deep-down felt this way since I was a young girl. The more years that pass, the harder it presses. Perhaps you and I should get together, sit, and listen …

  38. Susan Schoeffield


    On a path through the woods,
    a tree’s protective eaves
    provide the needed quiet
    to hear my feet touch leaves.

    Walled in by the mountain,
    to nothing else I cling.
    I hear the branches swaying.
    I hear the boulders sing.

    This path is my comfort,
    where worldly matters cease.
    I listen to mountain sounds
    and hear my soul at peace.

  39. Nancy Posey

    Intrigued by Messiaen’s story,
    how, in Stalag 8A,
    far from the Paris Conservatory,
    he still heard bird calls,
    wove them into music
    played for prisoners and guards,
    I listen closely now to each bird song,
    and following the notes
    of an unfamiliar trill,
    I seer into the tree limbs,
    certain I’ll discover
    some rare bird, caught off course.
    Instead, perched in the treetop,
    a mockingbird resumes
    his stolen song.

          1. JWLaviguer

            Not sure how many html tags will work on this site, but if the only ones that will work are the ones listed under the comment block, I don’t see one for an indent.

  40. PressOn


    Listen. The cries you hear
    are gasps of falling fear
    so startling and so sheer,
    they glow with light as clear
    as vacuumed atmosphere,
    and as I watch them fall
    I feel an inner pall:
    these bits of dust have all
    the elements of life,
    the same as I. Their strife
    is personal, a wife
    to pain I know; a knife
    that cuts like sliding lye
    and unites me with the cry
    of dust specks as they die
    here, in the August sky.

    1. elishevasmom

      I read this three times, and each time it read differently. If you read to quickly the sharp words make it seem very dark. Then it felt sort of neutral. Finally,a realization how we are all so small in the whole scale of things. Very well written (hope my reply wasn’t too long :0

      1. PressOn

        Thank you. Your response was thoughtful and revealing to me; I appreciate it. I was playing with skeltonics here, so I worried that that tactic was too playful for the topic. Your response suggests that it wasn’t. This is helpful criticism, and I mean that in the classic sense of the word.

  41. Glory

    Just Another Day

    Bang went the door,
    and the floor sang
    with heavy footsteps
    before the thud of
    his satchel hit the table –
    guess it’s that time again,
    Harry’s home from school.

  42. Walt Wojtanik


    Here amongst the evergreens,
    a scene I relive every year
    with the fear this immortality
    will wear off and folks would scoff
    at the fat old man in red.
    It is said that those who believe
    will receive more than material
    gains. It is then that the real
    gift of the season comes through.
    But I listen, here amongst the pines,
    and I’m surrounded by a cold silence;
    a whispered wisp of un-thawed thought
    that soothes this wondering heart.
    As I start to think of December
    I remember echoes of the past that
    blast my memory, and there is no
    remedy for this reverie. Names
    and faces are revisited on this
    mental list that have kissed my
    spirit and I hear it once more:
    the arctic air, frigid and frosted,
    in stillness amongst the evergreens
    and marks of reindeer paws,
    In muted silence, I am Santa Claus.

  43. JWLaviguer

    The Listener Among Us

    Listen (Shhh) to what the flower people say (Ahhh) – Spinal Tap

    If you listen to the flowers
    do you hear them crying
    or is that the morning dew
    dripping from their petals

    Can you see the birds flitting
    from garden to garden
    like they’re searching for
    a long lost love

    Do you smell the aroma
    of life all around you
    surviving and prospering
    in spite of death inevitable

    Will you touch me in the morning
    and feel my heart beating
    listen to me whisper your name
    in a final gasp of life.

    JW Laviguer


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