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Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 234

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

Today’s prompt is inspired by a speech given 50 years ago today delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Click here to view the speech.)

For today’s prompt, write a vision poem. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. I’m sure most poets have a vision of how to make the world a better place. Write that poem today. Can be serious or not so much.

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Here’s my attempt at a vision poem:

“Freedom Isn’t Free”

Or so the bumper sticker reads,
but I wonder how that can be;
freedom’s the state of being free,
a fee would undercut the freed.

It can’t be free if there’s a price,
but maybe freedom is a choice.
Let freedom ring and lift your voice,
if freedom’s not free, just be nice.

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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 a nice guy. He edits books, writes a column for Writer’s Digest magazine, creates blog posts, edits a free weekly newsletter, and other fun stuff. He curates the Insta-poetry series for Virginia Quarterly Review. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer’s debut full-length poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems, was recently released by Press 53 (click to learn more). 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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About Robert Lee Brewer

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111 Responses to Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 234

  1. stepstep says:

    WHAT KIND OF SIGHT?

    To have hindsight as foresight
    Would turn headache into delight
    Make decrease an increase
    Highlight the good in life.

    To possess insight to foretell
    Dismiss the screaming or the yell,
    Be warned, avoid a major mistake
    Constantly perform a double-take.
    Make your life above suspicion
    Less mishaps, good condition.

    From dusk to dawn, we’re anxious to see
    What takes us from poverty to luxury,
    It’s all just a matter of time
    Trying hard to keep the prime
    To own hindsight as foresight
    Wouldn’t that be the greatest light?

    LaSteph

  2. mnj1193 says:

    Can you see the city?
    Sitting there alone on the hill
    Its lights may be fading in time’s sweeping hand
    But it sits so mighty still

    I am born and raised within her walls
    My blood runs through her streets
    My heartbeat ebbs and flows as seasons fall
    A youth spent and shed; adolescence complete

    Can you hear the echoes?
    Drifting through the valley’s hills
    A quiet roar of well forgotten days ago
    But they shout to our souls louder still

    And now a fire lights the hillside
    And I tread upon its golden path
    My feet swathed in its embers
    As they carry me far above the strath

    She has given life to me so I can breathe
    And I have taken every breath
    She has given food to me so I can eat
    And I have gorged on it all with fevered zest

    My debt is eternal for all this she has given
    My loyalty tempered and stronger than steel
    When I am called upon when she is nearly riven
    My resolve will take hold and anneal

    So, Take your aim and make it strong and true
    Cock your arms in the ready and guide your sling
    Cast your stones and bloody my skin
    I’ll take each blow in stride for it is my inheritance

  3. VISION AT NIGHTFALL

    Evening gloaming. At this hour
    oak trees deepen their dark bower,
    sky opens a crack
    for stars. An old shack
    with lilac in flower.

    But what is an earthly flower
    as stars let loose silver shower
    over the hill’s back,
    and a chimney-stack
    lifts its black sky-tower?

  4. PressOn says:

    SUPERMAN CAN KEEP IT

    When I
    was small, I thought
    x-ray vision was cool.
    Then I saw true x-rays and thought
    better.

  5. I envision this in the not-so-distant future…

    The Shakespeare

    It’ll make your mouth water.
    The Shakespeare at Mickey D’s.
    In three flavors, and just four quarters!!!
    It’ll make your mouth water.
    Strawberry for your daughter.
    It tastes just like poetry!!!
    It’ll make your mouth water.
    The Shakespeare at Mickey D’s.

  6. Jackie Casey says:

    A Vision for my Television

    I envision for my television:
    no commercial anecdotes a-hacking.
    Movie scenes where doctor makes incision
    not by swirling, flaky ducks a-quacking.

    My wide-screen now a temple for my play.
    I’ve ordered money changers out the door.
    Not once besmirched with motorcar’s parade
    nor bold suggestion I’ve a dirty floor!

    I have a dream; a vision so supreme
    when nothing may demean my movie plot;
    where interrupted hero rides to scene…
    Commercial took so long we all forgot.

    Though villain ducks appear upon my screen
    I have a vision: Duck Soup La Tureen.

  7. EfrainThePoetK1n9 says:

    They tell us that we’re free;
    By paper it is so,
    For paper rules by law
    That sets the moral code.

    They tell us that we’re free…
    Do you believe it’s true?
    Can you pick up and leave
    To chase your dreams however many, or how few?

    They tell us that we’re free; but,
    In-between the struggle and the dream,
    The silence and the scream
    The people will believe.

    “I have a dream”

  8. till i see you

    three days of waiting
    the hours melting
    slowly
    two nights unsleeping
    a hot breeze singing
    thirty
    minutes heart straining
    till you come running
    to me

  9. Arash says:

    Roasted Racks of Lamb

    by Arash

    When the goalie was writhing in pain
    From the puck to the ribs, suddenly
    I had a vision. Of slow roasted racks
    Of lamb with Middle Eastern spices,
    Red wine pan sauce, and rosemary, served
    At my funeral. I know I should
    Know, but can you help me perhaps
    Pick out a good lamb? I fear I may
    forget and you’re the only one there.

  10. bxpoetlover says:

    Dr. King Had a Dream. I Have Questions.

    I am glad Myrlie Evers was invited to speak at the March in ’63.Too bad she
    was stuck in traffic.I wonder how long her speech would have been
    since Daisy Bates only spoke 142 words.
    The mic was snatched from Gloria Richardson.
    Rosa Parks did not speak and Dorothy Height looked on
    while Dr. King did.
    Where were Ella Baker and Diane Nash?
    At least Mahalia got to sing.

  11. seingraham says:

    DREAMING THE BEST DREAM

    “Last night I had the strangest dream
    I ever dreamed before…”(Pete Seeger)

    Fifty years have passed since the “I have a dream”
    speech and march …
    And perusing the same venue and the crowds today
    It appears to these eyes that not much has changed,
    certainly not enough

    Oh, there’s optimistic talk about how far we’ve come
    How there’s a black man in the White House and isn’t
    it grand, simply grand
    Never mind that there are any number of extreme
    factions bent on making it known
    What an awful mistake that has been, putting the monkey
    in the White House that is…

    And no matter how many times I have the strangest
    dream about putting an end to war
    Every day there seems to be another hot-spot somewhere
    in the world where there’s a war-time skirmish
    The news is filled with bombing reports, loss of life
    And despairing footage of children laying bloodied and dead
    Or, as recently, shrouded in white and appearing as asleep
    but also dead — from poison gas — row upon row upon row.

    I do have different dreams and visions for the future
    and they all involve peace and a safe world…
    And in them, my grandsons are laughing and confident
    And they are so excited about their lives and about what comes next
    And in these dreams, I always wake up before anything bad happens…
    These, these are my favourite dreams.

  12. Sara McNulty says:

    Vision: Next Step

    A vision, like a lovely dream
    will fade away if not acted
    upon. Write down the words
    your vision views. Study them.
    What will propel your vision
    into real life? How strong
    is this vision, and how will
    it change situations badly
    in need of renovation. Can you
    wield that hammer, build
    that new house?

  13. Heather says:

    Okay, a caveat to start, I am also trying Our Lost Jungle’s Le Stein poetry challenge found here: http://www.kharahouse.com/2013/08/our-lost-jungle-poetry-form-challenge_26.html

    dreams of empathy

    To envision a dream that is more than it seems
    is to dream of day when the dark fades away
    as a glimmer of light on wings taking flight
    with feather so fine it floats up the vine
    caressing the leaves until people sneeze
    releasing their ills letting go of their thrills
    embracing the pain as we all share our shame.
    To dream of a hope that doesn’t blow smoke
    which caresses the dawn and moves on and on
    as thoughts turn to sparks opening hearts
    until they break thin with focus turned in
    balancing our need with blind empathy.
    To hope is to believe sight is more than it sees
    colours not blue, not red green in hue
    not visions in white, brought back to light
    nor grey as the day they all walked away
    when fright turned to fight turned to flight to unite
    souls intertwined as our love redefined
    what we know is true on the day we met you
    we found sympathy pouring our tea
    pouring our dreams drinking in empathy.

    ~also posted on http://heatherbutton.com/2013/08/28/dreams-of-empathy-a-poem/

  14. Nancy Posey says:

    Mirror Image

    “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy.
    No man does. That’s his.”
    –Oscar Wilde

    My father’s face peered back at me for years,
    my mirror’s special sleight of hand—I recognized
    the shape of his face, his crooked smile. Silver
    now threads its way through my hair, like his.
    Suddenly, though, when I travel back home,
    among those who’ve always know me, known
    her even longer, I hear, “You look just like
    your mother.” I take it with a grain of salt,
    having heard the same resemblance noted
    in newborn babies. But then, I lean in
    closer to the mirror and see it too, a blessing
    I can only crave, to share a gift even greater—
    her gentle spirit, her kindnesses doled out
    generous but in secret, revealed—if at all—
    only by those receiving her special grace.
    Even the crinkled lines etched by laughter
    match the ones I see around her eyes,
    our lives’ stories written in the same hand.

  15. Nancy Posey says:

    Vision

    I pray for clearer vision, but I squeeze my eyes
    tight, refusing to see; I pray for empathy, to walk
    in someone else’s shoes; then I cut across the street,
    to avoid the panhandler on the corner; he’ll only
    slow me down. I pray to see the face of God,’
    then lean in closely, examining my own face
    in the mirror. The answer comes in dreams,
    the quiet whisper: Open your eyes, and see me
    in your mirror. But be my hands here, my feet.
    See me, too, in the least of these—my children,
    your brothers, your sisters. Wake up and see.

  16. Julieann says:

    He Also Had a Dream

    “Our state has no Bible College”
    The preacher used to say
    The Timothy’s have to go to
    Other states, sometimes far away

    He talked about a college
    It was so very real to him
    The Preacher’s Association, though,
    Laughed and called him “Dim”

    The dream just would not die
    He carried it in his heart
    But one little old lady bought
    Into it, from almost the very start

    A tiny sum of money
    She donated to the dream
    A seed given, reinforcing his hope,
    The beginning of the stream

    Slowly people bought into the dream
    Soon things began to gel
    Now stands the reality of one man’s dream
    That refused to be dispelled

  17. De Jackson says:

    Blurred

    They get slurred, these dreams. It seems
    like a good idea at the time, feels like some

    thing raw and real on your tongue, some
    fractured thing worth speaking to the wind.

    We send them forth like smoke, these fragile
    hopes and brighter trails. They hide, but weave

    their tails behind for us to find, and follow. We
    swallow words that we may never speak, seek

    someplace safe where character and content
    might reign true. We know what’s right, and fight

    for every hue of hope and view of plenty, but
    not even our rearview mirrors know 20/20.

    .

  18. Domino says:

    Vision

    I do have a dream,
    such a simple scheme:
    Be kind.
    Life is but a dream
    Grow your self esteem:
    Be kind.
    When things are extreme,
    as hard as it seems:
    Be kind.

  19. Marcdeon says:

    “Where Could Hope be Now” (Waterfalls)

    How difficult must it be to smile?
    Especially when all you see are frowns
    Some are crooked
    Others upside down
    Hearts anchored to the grounds

    Where could hope be now?
    Where could hope be now?

    Tears from their clouds
    Sorrowfully their tumbling down
    Oppression poisoning their souls

    Where could hope be now?
    Where could hope be now?

    Assuming it’s through vanity
    But does that really give sanity?
    Through your man to be
    Or perhaps the bride you consistently seek?
    Joy is found in the heart
    That should make one smile.

    Love is not loud
    Love doesn’t know you or me, Love only knows Us

    Soon hope will be found
    Soon hope will be found

    Justice manifests itself in truth
    Every individual life is essential
    Souls freed through Redemption
    Unity bathes in Love & Humility
    Soon what is first shall will be last, what is lost shall be found
    Truly His promises will come to past

    There is hope now
    Thank God there is hope now.

  20. PKP says:

    August Vision

    They appear over the hill
    Walking in fine clothes
    Singing
    Bare walking feet free in
    The pool reflecting
    Hundreds of thousands
    Ears ring with the sonorous
    Timber of soaring hope
    They appear from all corners
    Towns, hamlets, cities, and
    Across that United Nation
    Together in that August sunshine
    Spilling together as one
    Overcome

  21. AUGUST VISION

    In the haze of morning
    an apparition
    somersaulted through the herb
    garden’s glint of bees,
    between rows of cucumber and chard,
    the simple greens of ripening.
    I blinked and looked again.
    It disappeared into the forest
    of zucchini. A tiny frog, disturbed
    from its bed of squash leaf, leaped away.
    And something else
    stirred among the vines, as if
    bearing the swelling
    thought aloft to heaven. What
    to do with all this summer
    morning’s perishable
    life.

  22. Michelle Hed says:

    Clean

    Clean out your closets and
    Leave the past behind you, turn your
    Ear to the wind
    And hear the whisperings of your future as you
    Nod and greet your present with open arms.

  23. I’ve Got A Vision

    I’ve got a vision
    Where people shine all the time !
    I’ve got a vision
    Where there’s never any crime!

    I’ve got a vision
    Where gourmet food waits in piles
    I’ve got a vision
    Where everyone always smiles

    A dream I had so long ago
    How we’re gettin’ there I just don’t know

    I see your light, it shines so bright
    Love’s just a dream
    that keeps me warm at night, O lordy lord

    I’ve got a vision where
    we’re walking down the aisle
    I’ve got a vision where
    the fashion suits my style

    I’ve got a vision where warm winds blow
    How we’re gettin’ there I just don’t know

    I see your light, it shines so bright
    Love’s just a dream
    that keeps me warm at night, O lordy lord

    If you get there first, I won’t mind
    As long as you tell me what it is you find !

    There’s only one thing I’ll ask of you
    If I find it first, will you come too ? lordy lord

    I’ve got a vision
    Where everyone always smiles
    I’ve got a vision
    Where gourmet food waits in piles

    I’ve got a vision
    Where people shine all the time !
    I’ve got a vision
    Where water tastes sweeter than wine !

    A dream I had so long ago
    How we’re gettin’ there I just don’t know

    I see your light, it shines so bright
    Love’s just a dream
    that keeps me warm at night, O lordy lord

  24. pmwanken says:

    LIFE AT FORTY

    She rested
    in his arms, her
    hair all-a-tousled;
    blush of love
    still on her cheeks.
    “You’re a vision”
    he said.
    Smiling,
    she remembered
    how invisible
    she felt
    at sixteen.

    2013-08-28
    P. Wanken

  25. I wrote this as a Fib poem. I’ve been watching reruns of “Numb3rs” lately, so I guess I’m in a mathematical mood.

    One
    voice
    opens
    the doorway
    to conversation
    and we agree to disagree
    about our differences and how to work with them
    so that, in the end, we approach each other with
    mutual respect and dignity.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  26. RJ Clarken says:

    Not Invisible

    “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” ~Jonathan Swift

    When you look beyond the self-evident,
    of what’s right in front of your very nose,
    you give yourself the OK, the consent
    to use your mind to see where it all goes.
    You can fly;
    You can dance;
    You can reach out
    and make change happen,
    but in order to do this you will need
    vision, and that requires a leap, a chance…
    Then, in the end, you will never have to say,
    “I should have done…” since you already did.

    ###

  27. Cin5456 says:

    In a Perfect World

    I would be rich…
    Seriously, though,
    If the world were perfect
    babies would all be cute
    and dogs would never bite.

    Food would always be cheap.
    Cars would never break down.
    Bosses would pass out praise
    along with our paychecks,
    and commutes would never
    be traffic jams.

    Drinking water would be clean.
    City air would be too.
    Politicians would be honest,
    bankers happy to lend,
    and patient for payments.
    Interest on loans low,
    Investment returns high,
    Rulers benevolent,
    Elite compassionate,
    Police polite, never suspicious
    of skin-deep difference.
    In a perfect world
    we would all be raised
    in happy families
    and have intelligent children.

    There would be no divorce
    No unwanted child
    No disease
    No fear
    No pain.

    But who are we kidding,
    this is real life, not a movie.
    We can’t ride away
    into the sunset
    with a handsome lover,
    and full saddle bags.
    Besides, politicians will
    never be honest.
    We can at least hope for hope
    In the world we have.

    • PressOn says:

      I’d disagree about honest politicians,. but I’d agree they are rarely elected. Be that as it may, I love this, especially the final two lines.

      • Cin5456 says:

        I do agree with you because I’ve heard Senator Bernie Sanders speak. Some are honest, but not enough of them, IMO. And thank you. Those last two were the point I wanted to make. We may wish for all the rest, but most of us still have hope that a few of these things may happen someday. My hope is for a more compassionate elite, and a polite, non-racist police force.

    • Marcdeon says:

      “Elite compassionate,
      Police polite, never suspicious
      of skin-deep difference”

      Amazing picture of the heart.

    • Julieann says:

      Without hope we have nothing – that is what a vision or dream is – hope. You said it well.

  28. Never2L8 says:

    (Waltz Wave)

    Chains of Love

    Soft,
    sweetly,
    the
    west wind
    calls to me,
    Be free,
    he
    says in
    sultry tones.
    Fly away
    with me to warm
    sands and sea.
    I say
    no.
    There are ties
    of love that
    bind me.
    Free-
    ly I
    stay.

  29. ewdupler says:

    In Twenty Years

    I see your face in twenty years, but now you’re just a boy to me.
    While seventeen and growing tall, there’s more to live and learn, you see.
    More school and tasks that you must do and minding what your teachers say.
    And then, perhaps, it’s in your cards: a lawyer, chef, or star, one day.
    But always know, and always try, to be the man you’re meant to be.

    Within your heart, it’s kindled bright, I find a just and fair decree
    to see what’s right and do what’s good. Continue, please, is what I plea.
    Then go find a job that makes you smile and feels less like work than play.
    I see your face in twenty years.

    When I no longer weigh you down and you are flying strong and free.
    I will take to heart the time that we shared and look to it with glee.
    For as you grow and make your life, I will be turning old and gray.
    But even now I see so well, as if upon a great marquee,
    I see your face in twenty years.

  30. JRSimmang says:

    And another, a little more lighthearted, and almost a lai.

    THE VISIONARY OF ROME

    What use are our eyes
    if time simply flies,
    the brunt
    of them, undisguised,
    swifter than white lies?
    In front,
    it’s pointless, besides.
    Hindsight’s got the highs,
    the blunt

    twenty-twenty. The
    future’s yet to be.

    -JR Simmang

  31. Cin5456 says:

    I wrote a political rant
    as a poem, that can’t
    be posted here, for fear
    of offending some ear
    by my liberal framed
    mind, so I wrote this tamed
    vision of hope. Someday
    voting will work the way
    it was designed to work,
    instead of being a perk.

    • PKP says:

      Get thee a blog – so we can read your “political rant/s” … serious poem in a lightly wrapped pretty package :)

      • Cin5456 says:

        I’m thinking of doing that. I’ve never blogged so I need to figure out how to go about setting it up, and if I want to cover more than one subject, like a section for poetry and a section for political thoughts/opinions. I like yours, by the way. Nice format, and I enjoy your poetry.

  32. Cin5456 says:

    Some say freedom isn’t free.
    If that is the case, then we
    would like to make a donation
    on behalf of the entire nation

  33. PowerUnit says:

    The road to Shangri-La is unmapped
    For a reason
    A visionary future is a failed existence
    A dead end
    A buffalo cliff
    Humans are corruptible
    And human vision is flawed
    Religions have proved this, beyond a reasonable doubt
    The faithful and moral are anything but reliable and good
    America, the land of the free, was the leading slaving nation
    The country of laws has the fullest prisons
    The home of the brave is run amok with thugs

    In my world
    In my vision
    Humans make the hard decisions
    For the future of mankind
    My vision is the law of the planet
    The great vision we’ve followed
    Since before Grok took his neighbor’s wife
    And his neighbor beat Grok with a club

  34. JRSimmang says:

    THE GREAT SEAT, DE CAPPO

    Consolidation.
    It is the act of
    raking, with tiny fingers,
    eyeballs over the embers
    until they cry
    they cry
    to be released.
    Show them your mercy.

    They will be grateful
    and hoist upon your head
    a crown of jewels
    that bleeds jeweled
    knuckles and knees
    into your lips.

    You will drink of their praise,
    adulation,
    believing their words
    sincere,
    because consolidation
    means you have given
    yourself to rule.

    And that,
    that,
    is sacrifice.

    – JR Simmang

  35. Glory says:

    TIME FOR COURAGE

    No matter where you are, how low you feel,
    there comes a time when you reveal
    the pain, the tears that you’ve held close,
    afraid, yes, scared to speak, to oppose.

    Along comes courage, fine and true,
    stands tall, stands straight, at the side of you,
    ‘til between the rising of the morning sun,
    and sooner than the fading crescent moon,

    that ‘won’t wait minute’ suddenly appears
    and brings new life, and with it,

    no more fears.

  36. JWLaviguer says:

    Always My Little Girl

    She was a vision
    in white satin and lace
    and white converse all stars

    JW Laviguer

  37. JWLaviguer says:

    Visionary

    I had a vision once
    or was at an hallucination
    I was at school
    but I had no pants on
    when he said “I have a dream”
    I don’t think this is what he had in mind.

    JW Laviguer

  38. elishevasmom says:

    Turn the Page

    It’s all in a word
    or two or three.
    King-dom—
    domain of the king
    boundaries within which
    the king rules.
    Free-dom
      domain of the free,
      boundaries within which
      the free rule
    Whether it be the free of speech, or
      the free of press, or
      the free of assembly
      In a word—free
    to rule my domain.

    I may not allow my
      rule to be free
      suppress
      your own.
    Just as you may not
      trespass across the
      boundaries of mine.

    Offense is bound by
      no one’s freedom.
    If you don’t like it, turn
      the page.

    Ellen Knight
    8.28.13 (write a ‘vision’ poem)

  39. PressOn says:

    Robert, I like your distinction. Never thought to question that aphorism before.

  40. PressOn says:

    THERE IS A DIFFERENCE

    A dream
    is transient
    but visions breed actions:
    approaches to unlimited
    vision.

  41. Jeep Walters says:

    Reflections

    Clouds billow, broken
    by wind and His mighty hand.
    Azure is always preferred,
    but the blue is as deep
    as the lake’s expanse.
    Ripples disturb, a turbulent
    swipe of nature to provoke
    clouds on the water, an image
    mirrored from above, below.
    A spreading horizon, beginning and
    ending as the same breathless view.

    © JPW 2013

  42. Jeep Walters says:

    Have You No Eyes?

    The soul has no windows,
    as far as I can see.
    But the truth has a heart,
    and getting to the heart of the truth
    takes a lot of belief
    and a bit of faith.
    Your ears will hear
    what your eyes will not receive.
    Do not trust your eyes,
    for you realize that the soul
    of a person rests in the eyes of truth.
    Why didn’t I see that before?

    © JPW 2013

  43. PKP says:

    No more

    there is no rationale
    for war when after
    blood is cleaned
    and rivers run
    with salt of tears
    enemies meet
    in futured years
    there is no rationale
    for war
    to ease the
    irk and angst
    and outrage
    of conflicts arise
    find any non lethal
    contest and award
    a prize as onlookers
    spectate in cyberspace
    and protect the sacred
    flesh of this our joined
    human race

    Peace and Love
    to all for all

  44. RobHalpin says:

    “You’re at Georgia Tech! You can do that!”

    One fired up student
    a great speech
    welcoming others

  45. Vision

    V ictorious living
    I nspired giving
    S pirit led
    I nternally fed
    O pen eyes
    N ew highs

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