Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 236

For today’s prompt, write an appointment poem. Could be appointment as in a meeting time/place–such as a doctor’s appointment or dentist’s appointment–even a date night could be considered an appointment. Or it could be the type of appointment that’s like a position–being appointed the leader or to a certain type of duty (good or bad).

Here’s my attempt at an appointment poem:

“Early Bird Still Gets to Wait”

We get there early but still late
enough that we aren’t the first in.
In fact, 20 minutes we wait.
We get there early but still late
by the time read slant, never straight.
We get there early but still late
enough that we aren’t the first in.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the new poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits books, creates blog posts, writes a column for Writer’s Digest magazine, edits a free weekly newsletter, and other fun writing-related activities. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer also curates the Insta-poetry series 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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122 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 236

  1. taylor graham


    We’ve gathered for search-training
    behind the library; the same old “victim,” Joe;
    our dogs have found him at least a dozen times.
    Dogs don’t care how often, they just love
    to search, and find.
    But instead, here’s this little old bent lady
    dressed in black flounces as if for a ball.
    She says we’re to find her great-grand-uncle.
    Seventh generation Mayan prince.
    Does she think we search for the ghosts
    of long-dead kin? She frets a tattered
    envelope, spills out a spray of brittle sepia
    photos. Your dog whines. He’s ready
    to go to work. Let him sniff that photo –
    a Mayan prince? – and see what he might find.

  2. bxpoetlover


    We all must work inside and outside of the home but every day
    I wrest an hour or more to read or play or write poems (or in my journal) or burn
    calories and stress with dance or walk briskly breathing fresh air.

    When I am alone I get on a scale and take note of the weight I’ve lost
    then strip bare and stand in the mirror to behold every curve everywhere.
    I have earned it all and wear them well.I ease my fingers around every kink in my hair
    and thank God for every strand, even the gray ones.

    It took 20 years to learn how to weave
    love, laughter, and purpose into each fabric of my life.

  3. Cin5456

    Appointment with Destiny

    If Only
    the world were really flat
    There are a few rich idiots
    and a minority of politicians
    I would like to stuff in a boat
    and send on an exhibition
    to locate the South Pole. Ooops!
    (hehehe hehehe)

    1. Cin5456

      That was supposed to be an expedition, not an exhibition. Darn auto correct caught me. I’m usually careful enough to avoid that.

      “And send them on an expedition
      to locate the the South Pole”.

  4. james.ticknor

    “Hurry Up and Wait”

    This is our military motto
    For medicals when not on Training Days
    For trainee’s turning into Airmen
    The early bird may get the worm
    But what about that poor, early worm?

  5. Michelle Hed

    I Would Meet You Anywhere

    I thought I heard you come home
    but it was just the bones of the house
    settling with a sigh into the night.

    I thought I heard you say my name,
    I’m sure it was your voice
    but it must have been an echo finally reaching me.

    I thought I felt your presence
    by my side
    but it was just a memory.

    I thought if I went to all our places
    I would find you there
    but your shadow was all I found.

    I thought we would be together forever
    but forever was removed by humans
    who did not care.

    I thought…
    but then I was gone
    and you are left alone.

  6. JRSimmang


    I’ve sit next to a chain- smoking Jesus,
    in the white-washed, plain
    café. “No one will believe us,”

    he reminds me, and smothers blueberry
    pancakes in Smuckers
    grape jam and an ounce of sherry.

    “No one believes us anymore,” smoke rings
    curling around fussed
    coffee steam, half and half, which brings

    me to think that Jesus has a problem.
    “There are at least three
    types of people in this broken

    world,” he tells me. “Those who do, those who don’t,
    and those of who chose
    to disappear in the crowded won’t.

    Okay, it ain’t perfect, but it’s a start,
    and I’m beyond sure
    that you may be my only friend, part

    man, part God.” I told him he must have me
    confused for some old
    someone else, but he smiled broadly,

    lit another cigarette from the burnt
    char of the last big
    drag. “Thanks for coming. I hope you learnt

    something today. Maybe next week we’ll see
    you again. I’m way
    too old to start writing in free

    time into my schedule. But, I like this
    pathway you’ve been led
    down and I sure don’t want to miss

    the next step you’ll take.” He stood, shook my hand,
    and left, his feet making
    footprints (away from the bill) in the sand.

    I’d be back next week. I had little choice.
    While I may be meek,
    the world would be mine, and Jesus
    had to settle up.

    – JR Simmang

    1. Cin5456

      What a startling poem. The last stanza is great, and the last line is a stunner. He doesn’t sound meek with that statement. He sounds stubborn and persistent. Well done.

  7. Glory

    Well Maybe…

    I waited, you didn’t come
    I thought maybe, ‘late again.’

    Standing there alone
    I guess I knew it was the end

    For me and you,
    our affair, we couldn’t mend

    I walked away, no looking back
    on you I no longer could depend

    Gone, finished, no more my friend
    well – maybe until our next week-end.

  8. Jeep Walters

    Fate and Destiny Do Lunch

    “Glad you could meet me,
    it always works out just how I’ve planned!”
    “Oh really? What makes you think
    my wish is your command?”

    “Why do you think they call me Fate?
    I knew you’d be here… and you wouldn’t be late!”
    “You don’t control me, no how, no way –
    I’ve a mind of my own! I still have a say!”

    “I’m not so sure, if I must sound defeatist!”
    “Go to hell, you overbearing elitist!”
    They sit and stew, as that’s my hunch,
    the way it goes when these two meet for lunch!

    The waiter arrives, with menus he stands,
    but Fate waves him off with a sweep of his hand.
    “I’ve already ordered and I know what she’ll have.
    She’ll eat the veal (she loves baby calves)”

    “You see”, he explains, “I’m planned by divinity,
    don’t question my motives, they’re from my mythology!”
    Destiny smiled. “Excuse me, nature calls”
    and she headed off for one of the stalls.

    Fate sat sipping his drink and awaiting his friend,
    a relationship that was a dead end!
    They weren’t really connected as far as he knew,
    as through the front window a transit bus flew.

    There lays the late Fate, now in celestial unity,
    since Destiny influenced a great opportunity.
    Fate met his fate, his appointment with Destiny,
    cards fall into place through a deal of humanity

    Now a table for one, but what the heck,
    she didn’t even mind kiting the check!

    © JPW – 2013

  9. Susan Schoeffield


    It began as a simple project.
    “An easy fix,” said the guy.
    The cash box will sing with ca-ching, ca-ching.
    And the guy carried on with his lie.

    “I think that the problem’s electric,
    a job I can’t do alone.”
    With ca-ching, ca-ching, the cash box will sing.
    And the guy quickly got on his phone.

    Saying words I couldn’t decipher,
    his face held a look of glee.
    The cash box will sing with ca-ching, ca-ching.
    In a moment, my workmen were three.

    “The power just ain’t coming in here,
    “See, there? It just ain’t alive.”
    With ca-ching, ca-ching, the cash box will sing.
    And before very long, there were five.

    And so it continued all morning.
    “This project ain’t going so great.”
    The cash box will sing with ca-ching, ca-ching.
    And my workmen were now up to eight.

    The dollar signs kept multiplying.
    I needed to grow a spine.
    With ca-ching, ca-ching, the cash box will sing.
    They were fired before reaching nine.

    Determined to tackle this problem,
    “I’ll fix it myself,” said I.
    The cash box will sing with ca-ching, ca-ching.
    If I can’t, I’ll call some other guy.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  10. ChristineA

    Right on Time

    40 weeks
    is when you were due to arrive (I dreaded being pregnant in the summer heat).
    30 weeks
    is when you were born (you must have inherited my penchant for early arrival).
    27 weeks
    is the size you were measuring (at 2 lbs., smaller than your big sister’s baby dolls).
    7 weeks
    you spent in neonatal intensive care (every moment filled with fear, worry and hope).

    On July 19, 2013
    you came home (right on time).

  11. Jeep Walters

    From God to Godot

    Sometime today.
    Or tomorrow, I’m not sure.
    He said he’d be here by then,
    but when? We don’t know.
    Philosophy escapes me.
    It takes my mind away from
    the task at hand. This grand
    stand has me annoyed…
    beside myself. And I’m a man
    who prides himself
    on being patient.
    Okay, so I’m impatient
    but he should be here!
    Passers-by and posers,
    Lucky asses and hosers …
    I can’t remember yesterday.
    Spare me your angelic messengers,
    my guess is I will die by my own hand
    if I stand here much longer.
    My resolve is not as strong as
    when I started waiting.
    Sometime today.
    Or yesterday? I’m not sure;
    He said he’d be here!
    I’ll wait until the end.
    These shoes aren’t even mine!

    © JPW – 2013

  12. Misky


    I must make an appointment
    to remember –
    Eye check in August
    Blood tests in September
    This and that, so much
    to remember –
    Anniversary in March
    A birthday in November
    This and that, so much
    to remember –
    Moms and Dads, June and May
    dental check in November
    I must make an appointment
    with myself to remember

  13. Cin5456

    When the Time Came

    I made the appointment months in advance,
    then dithered about whether to go. I managed
    to forget, for a while, we had made plans.
    Reminders came at regular intervals,
    but I set them aside.
    I’m sure most can relate
    to avoiding an unpleasant task.
    We know it’s waiting,
    but we just don’t want it
    to ruin our day.

    Once, I decided to cancel,
    but could not get any answer.
    I left messages several times,
    but reminders never stopped coming.
    Finally, I gave in and worked out
    the logistics, so I would be ready
    when the time came, then forgot again.

    On that day, my brother made sure
    to tell me I was not needed.
    He was right.
    I could go.
    So I went over my plan, and started
    out. Halfway there, I waited
    for Him to take me the rest of the way.

    I had seen angels for months.
    They make impressive messengers.
    Every time I felt unnecessary,
    or unspeakable things happened,
    He would send an angel
    to remind me I could leave.
    I could go home to Him.
    I had been reading His book,
    and another by someone who knew Him.
    Reassured each time, I could let go
    of the hurt, and keep going a little while longer.

    When my own brother called me useless,
    I knew the time had come. I followed
    my plan and was halfway gone
    when my mother found out. While she yelled
    and cried, I saw waiting, not an angel,
    but the reaper with his sickle.
    I was not alarmed.
    I told Mom it would be alright.
    She would not listen to reason.
    She took my pills, and rushed me
    to the clinic. Then a helicopter
    flew over snowy mountains.

    When I awoke in terror,
    I was strapped to a bed,
    unable to speak. I thought
    I’d become a silenced prisoner.
    But I saw the reaper at the door.
    He was still with me; I could still go.
    But he frowned, and moved past
    to the next bed. Behind the curtain,
    I heard a shout, then crying.

    He emerged wearing white wings,
    holding the hand of a stranger.
    Without a goodbye he escorted the man
    whose confusion clouded his eyes.
    For a moment, I regretted their departure.
    Then I slipped away into sleep.

    I missed my appointment
    with God and Death,
    but I now know the truth.
    I was terribly confused back then.
    This important lesson came later.
    The reminders of pain were not from Him,
    so I misread His message every time.
    The reassurance I felt was not
    a call home. He was trying to tell me
    it was alright to stay.

  14. Julieann

    An Appointment with Death

    Three times Dad missed his appointment
    As you will see below
    He was a stubborn man, and yet
    The Grim Reaper proved a deadly foe

    They wheeled him to the holding room
    After covering him head to toe
    There to await his last ride
    To the funeral home, he was to go

    I guess they forgot to tell him
    He was dead and was no more
    So he threw off the sheet and sat up
    As the nurse came through door

    Battles and carnage all around him
    As he fought in World War Two
    His appointment with the Grim Reaper he missed
    He was one of the fortunate few

    Again, the Grim Reaper sought him out
    With a fever that continued to soar
    The doctors sent him home to die
    Their prognosis he did deplore

    More than twenty years later
    His appointment came in the night
    This time with the Grim Reaper
    He did not fight

  15. seingraham

    On this Day, Try to Remember to Remember

    I need to make a note in my day-timer so it seems
    For today I got up and went about my business
    As if it was just any other day, you know

    Then I saw a comment on my FaceBook page
    And wham, a shot to the heart, and the gut and the brain
    I was back to that morning when the towers fell

    And wondering, bewildered, how can it be so easy
    To put something so terrible away, so completely
    You forget to bring it out when it’s time to pay respects

    It’s the first time in the dozen years since it happened
    That I’ve forgotten and when I mentioned this to someone
    They fired back how healthy it is I’m able to “get on with things”

    I couldn’t disagree more; I am not stuck in the past on that day
    But I don’t want to forget it either, and when someone else
    Mentioned how short a year was…I realized I’d completely forgotten

    That just last year on this very day, another atrocity, albeit
    on a smaller scale, was perpetrated on the Americans again
    Not on U.S. soil, it’s true, but still…given all the attention surrounding
    the deaths of the four who died at Ben Ghazi — how is it, I did not recall them

    So, I’ve made a notation in my book for next year – an appointment
    Of sorts- to remember to remember on this date –
    It’s important…

  16. Marie Elena


    Do you not envision
    Poetic perfection,
    From acrostic to zymurgy,
    Each pre-written masterpiece
    Lined up
    Single file
    Awaiting the appointed time to march or flow
    Seamlessly from brain to paper
    And paper to publisher?

    Naw. Me neither.

  17. calicocat88


    There’s an appointed time for everything
    When I was small we walked the pecan tree
    Craggy branches, fallen leaves still vivid
    I would follow the path you left for me
    Gathered nuts, good and bad I carried them
    You carried me
    Funny how you didn’t pick up any
    If I had known the path that you were walking
    Maybe I could have saved you sooner
    Like falling leaves each of us have a time
    A time to bloom, a time to grow, to fall
    You are not the person I thought you were
    More tree than woman, strong, weathered, rooted
    I’ve memorized your footsteps, they lead me
    To my appointed time–I won’t forget
    Where I’ll meet you soon under the pecan tree

  18. PressOn


    “God has appointed to every man his work,”
    or so the preacher said;
    he seemed to say that all of us who shirk
    are scarcely more than dead.

    I must admit, the sermon left me pained,
    and so I’ll seek my rest
    and just assume the homily contained
    a point meant in jest.

  19. Jane Shlensky

    Appointed Rounds

    They write, as I walk through the desks,
    look over shoulders to read a line or two,
    respond to questions here and there.

    As I pass one desk, I feel a quick hand
    fly up and turn to the question.
    The young man meets my eyes

    puzzled and concerned, and asks,
    “How come your hair is old
    but your legs are young?”

    He’s seriousness needs to be
    taken seriously. I nod at him and say,
    “How come you’re looking at my legs?”

    He ducks into his writing with new vigor,
    and I continue my appointed rounds.

  20. Jane Shlensky

    Central Asian Time

    The plane arrives at 8
    on time, and yet I wait
    for him to show. He’s late
    but slows his measured gait,
    for what is time but bait
    on water, food to contemplate?

    My joy and love abate
    as I wait at the gate
    for my considerate mate
    to show me that my fate
    won’t gravitate
    toward an untenable state,

    perpetuating a prating aggravating…
    man dressed all in smiles
    as if he’s early and I’ve
    taken him by surprise.
    By his cultural clock, he still
    has ten hours until the appointed time.

    1. PressOn

      This sounds like experience talking, and I love that you use monorhyme to describe your waits, but no rhyme to describe his behavior. The shift in pace is like a brake.

  21. elishevasmom

    Please, I don’t want anyone to think that I am being cavalier with my limericks today. I believe that the greatest tribute you can pay to some-fallen-one is to pause, remember, and be happy. I hope I don’t offend anyone. It was my gut reaction to the prompt, and my gut is usually spot-on.

  22. Nancy Posey

    Second Tuesday

    On my calendar in ink,
    same time, same day—
    second Tuesday–
    same coffee shop
    we meet, pulled away
    from other demands,
    others’ expectations.

    Perched at our usual table,
    a matchbook leveling
    the wobbly table leg,
    I fill and refill my mug,
    you nibble a bite or two
    of my scone. My phone’s
    turned off for once, so no one
    breaks the spell, stealing
    a minute or two of time
    carved out to feed
    my spirit, my soul.
    Nothing short of death,
    fire, or famine
    pulls me away
    from poetry.

    (My little shout-out for Poetry Hickory–an amazing crowd last night.)

  23. elishevasmom

    Nightmare (the prequel)

    It began at a comfortable pace,
    offering love with much an embrace.
    But soon they were off,
    leaving no time to scoff.
    And it then became the Great Race.

    Fifteen years her sleep was disturbed
    while her husband slept unperturbed.
    He saw no rhyme or reason
    for exhaustion in season—
    and why couldn’t their wildness be curbed?

    They constantly robbed her of sleep.
    No need for the counting of sheep.
    But she knew that some day,
    their kids would treat them that way,
    and what they had sewn they would reap!

    Ellen Knight 9.11.13
    write an appointment poem

  24. elishevasmom

    Nightmare (a trilogy)

    She once had a date with her pillow
    all soft like a pussy willow
    but the washing machine
    so incredibly mean
    left it hard like an armadillo.

    She just wanted a little nap.
    Not a whole spinal tap.
    But she had seven boys,
    who made so much noise,
    she’d need a new thinking cap.

    In all the total was nine,
    a horror when time to dine.
    Whether breakfast or sup,
    she couldn’t keep up.
    And talking became pantomime.

    Ellen Knight 9.11.13
    write an appointment poem

  25. danceswithhorses

    We might walk down different paths
    Where before they were the same,
    Your journey is completed
    But my walk still remains.
    I will dodge the snares,
    I will carry on,
    Even though it’s lonely
    And I miss you now that you’re gone.
    I’m going to meet you
    Someday, I hope it’s soon,
    We’ll walk the gold streets together
    I won’t have to miss you.
    We’ll catch up on all the things we both missed
    I’ll pull you in for a sweet kiss.
    In that moment I will know that it was worth it.

  26. danceswithhorses

    We might walk down different paths
    Where before they were the same,
    Your journey is completed
    But my walk still remains
    I will dodge the snares,
    I will carry on
    Even though it’s lonely
    And I miss you now that you’re gone
    I’m going to meet you
    Someday, I hope it’s soon
    We’ll walk the gold streets together
    I won’t have to miss you.
    We’ll catch up on all the things we both missed
    I’ll pull you in for a sweet kiss.
    In that moment I will know that it was worth it.

    1. Marie Elena

      So much hope, longing, and tenderness here. Funny … I think you are speaking of heaven, and your final thought took me by surprise. Made me smile. I’ve never thought of pulling a loved one in for a sweet kiss in heaven. And why not? Thank you for this poem, and this thought. You made my evening.

      1. danceswithhorses

        Thank you both for commenting – you’re right, Marie Elena, it is about Heaven. And as you said, Why not? It’s a sweet and comforting thought to me.

  27. RJ Clarken

    Appointment in Samarra

    “The Appointment in Samarra” (as retold by W. Somerset Maugham [1933])

    The speaker is Death

    There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, ‘Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.’ The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, ‘Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?’ “That was not a threatening gesture,’ I said, ‘It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

    I never thought…did not expect…

    but seldom is there reason; rhyme.
    So, if you please, I’ll be direct.

    We’ll meet once more. You’ll hear a chime

    that only you, alone, detect.

    I care not if you’re in your prime.
    Predestined, I shall then collect

    your life; your soul. Samarra-time.


  28. Domino


    Up, moving,
    bed is made
    kids are up
    tempers frayed.

    Breakfast, coffee,
    in the grove
    drop kids off
    gotta move.

    Long day’s
    work ahead
    daily grind
    earns the bread

    Pick kids up
    homework time
    made the dinner
    (tastes sublime).

    Last chance
    don’t be late
    time for me
    to have that date

    Going all
    the livelong day
    finally time
    for mom to play.

    Sneak away
    cozy nook
    all curled up
    with my book.

    Diana Terrill Clark

    1. Domino

      I really wanted to capture the pace of the busy day (and in so doing inadvertently misspelled “groove”) but also wanted the pace to really slow and hopefully highlight the importance of “me” time even for busy people. <3 Thank you for your kind comments everyone. XOX

  29. taylor graham


    I walked into the kitchen to find you
    standing astonished,
    as if admiring your work: a still-life on the counter:
    blaze-red romas and golden tomatoes, green
    limes on a white ceramic platter
    floating on a pool of chocolate; the whole
    composition spray-splattered
    with chocolate. For backdrop, chocolate-lace against
    white tile and my mother’s
    cobalt-blue bowl, which has seen worse;
    its sister shattered decades ago.
    What happened this time?
    You were fixing a heart-healthy chocolate smoothie
    when the blender blew,
    chocolate explosion all over
    the counter, the wall, puddling sticky on linoleum
    floor. Arrowhead-size hole
    in the plastic blender jar. Instead of lunch,
    cleanup. A poem: Chocolate-
    Covered Everything. Disaster calls for Art.

      1. Cin5456

        Ditto. That last sentence is the clincher. At first, I thought it might be an artistic creation, until you reached the blender explosion. Then it became art anyway.

  30. PowerUnit

    Five years of great news flies by too fast
    No savoring or relaxing
    The memories of darkness still haunt
    The black demon has only been driven back
    Not slain

    I somehow look up to those who receive the ultimate news
    Those who can see their enemy
    My visits are like walking the wall
    The optho in the watchtower grunting all is clear
    Standing guard

    I know my enemy is near
    Waiting for the signal to charge
    My war nearly four decades old
    It has to intensify some day, maybe
    The next appointment

        1. Cin5456

          I picked up on blindness from diabetes right away. I’ve known several diabetics in my lifetime. When it is inevitable, one almost wishes the wait was over. You got the theme across without being direct, and I love that kind of poetry.

  31. Jeep Walters

    Running Late

    She should have been here
    fifteen minutes ago.
    It was agreed we’d meet
    in public so she wouldn’t make a scene.
    Once the queen of my heart,
    she has been relegated
    to the upstairs maid.
    It is said that time and tide
    wait for no man, but
    I’ll give her another fifteen.
    She must be running late.

    She should have been here
    half an hour ago.
    She pleaded her apology
    so I would agree to see
    if her sincerity was worth
    the time. I’ve been around
    this bloc, and what’s more
    but you’d think I’d have learned.
    I have been burned by her before.
    Let’s see if she shows another thirty or so.
    She must be running late.

    She should have been here.
    I’ve waited for two hours.
    These flowers are wilting
    and it was working; her guilting
    me into seeing her. Sure, she was
    special back there, but her sordid
    affair has got me in knots.
    Just a fool, drooling on his shirt.
    If she wasn’t such a flirt I’d say
    hit the road; a bill of goods
    I’ve been sold. It’s too late.

    No call. No apology.
    The technology exists to reach me.
    Is she trying to teach me… What?
    Excuse me miss? Did you just blow a kiss?
    “I’ve been watching for hours
    and those flowers should be in a vase.
    I was supposed to meet someone
    at this place, but I’ve been stood up
    by that dirty son-of-a-pup.”
    She smiled demurely. She was surely smitten.
    I guess it’s never too late!

    © JPW – 2013

  32. poppyherrin

    Great poem, Robert! The triolet form really pulls it together and makes it work. Now I’ll have to see what I can come up with and post it later. Thanks for the prompt!


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