Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 238

For this week’s prompt, write an “on the road” poem. It could be an “on the road again” poem, a la Willie Nelson; or it could be a special new trip. Or an unexpected excursion–good or bad, day or night, etc.

Here’s my attempt at an “on the road” poem:


It’s always fun at festivals,
especially when on the road
and surprising as carnivals.
It’s always fun at festivals
eating funnel cakes, fried pickles,
and fried candy corn a la mode.
It’s always fun at festivals,
especially when on the road.


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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 author of Solving the World’s Problems. He edits books, writes a column for Writer’s Digest magazine, creates blog posts, and many other fun writing-related tasks. He also curates the Insta-poetry series for Virginia Quarterly Review. Brewer is 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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169 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 238

  1. taylor graham


    The clickety beat sounds demented, from
    this steel-segmented dragon, each joint
    of locomotive progress, the urge of
    tracks verging toward a vanishing point…

    the westbound lashes landscape with its tail
    and lets escape a black spew of smoke.
    But along the way at each small stop
    see how they all gather, the townsfolk

    eager for news, a visit, or a song,
    newfangled lore to spark a Wednesday
    that’s just like Tuesday here on the plains
    so flat and sere and much like Monday.

    And so, of clickety-clack upon the rails
    we make long-drawn songs and call them sweet
    and lonesome, and years afterwards we’ll sing
    those same words to the clickety beat.

  2. Julieann

    On the Road

    I travel down country lanes
    eyes observing overgrown scenery
    the once red barn with its
    door hanging askew – pulling the
    last of its hinges from time and
    termite-rotted wood

    I travel down country lanes
    and my inner eye sees dreams
    and hopes pulled apart by time,
    desires trashed and hanging in
    shreds, tugging at the last peg barely
    holding on to weathered ideals

    I travel down country lanes
    I stop and stare – seeing freshly
    plowed fields and newly mown
    grass leading the way to a new home
    with its own hopes and dreams
    tightly ensconced within

    I travel down country lanes
    once again envisioning new
    beginnings, am I ready to try again,
    to build a new set of dreams
    and hopes, desires and longings,
    to hold tight against old age

    I travel down country lanes

  3. BezBawni

    On the road

    Edges of stones cut through my fear;
    I press my fingers harder down;
    I hear
    them shaking…no, I hear it coming.

    Wind is kissing and stroking my hair;
    Iron feels cold against my nape;
    I dare
    look, and – there, I see it coming.

    Up in the cavern of heaven my bell
    Tolls louder than the screaming horn
    I smell
    grass and petrol; I smell it coming.

    Crumble to pieces my nerves of steel,
    as its wheels screech against metal,
    I feel
    it coming through me.

  4. Walt Wojtanik


    Freshly paved, I suspect that any objection
    to this road I’m on has gone on deaf ears.
    Hazards rear their heads and the dead ends
    keep calling my name. It’s a shame that
    the path of life is rife with these potholes;
    detours taking me through new misadventures
    rattling my dentures and attacking my back
    smack dab in the middle. At this stage I should
    be enraged, but as long as I’m still engaged,
    i’ll let this rough ride slide. At least I’m alive!


  5. Glory


    Black spots on warm
    grey paving,
    ever moving patterns pace to and from
    grassy edges,
    where hidden nests lie
    baked in the warm sun
    workers heavy
    with summer’s replete.

  6. Cin5456

    Relocating Again

    The road beneath my tread-worn tires has
    an all too familiar feel of bumping, thumping
    weariness, another—yes, another—move.
    By now, I should be wary, I should question
    the wisdom of this 2,000 mile decision.
    Texas to California, California to Texas,
    Texas to California. On this seventh cross-country
    relocation, my sad déjà vu, this old beater,
    like my previous cars, has many problems;
    the tranny slips; the starter clicks; the tailpipe rattles;
    the accelerator sticks; the speedometer lies,
    and the brakes squeal. The suspension bounces
    from every road rib or pot hole. I would play music,
    (if I could hear over the wind noise-no AC,)
    but the tape player does not need another meal.
    I stuffed the trunk and back seat with everything
    I still own, (in other words, what would fit,)
    And PeeWee’s litter-box fills the back window.
    Everything else I gave away to friends.
    There’s no point in storing furniture
    I won’t return to claim. Tried that once—
    confiscated for non-payment on storage.
    I’d rather my old friends remember my generosity
    than experience that loss again. The heat’s unbearable
    in the desert today, fifty miles past Phoenix
    on the way to Tucson. I drive the same Interstate 10
    I’ve driven six times before. I don’t need maps,
    not since the second trip, but this time
    I can’t smile or sing. New beginnings happen
    when you are twenty or thirty, not at the age
    of fifty-seven. This trip qualifies as
    my new ending, another goodbye.

  7. JRSimmang


    When the sun sets,
    the wolves come out,
    and they don’t know the difference
    between flesh.

    Wretched, the road.
    Twisted, the road.
    Friendless and
    unforgiving ,
    the road.

    Requiring more of me the
    longer I drive,
    I ask it for conversation,
    perhaps this time
    it’ll give me more than a
    spinning helioscope.

    It replies with a shudder,
    as if telling me that despite being
    beaten by the sun while the
    sun is in the sky,
    it is still cold and longing for its
    lover’s touch.
    Something it thinks I can provide.

    We’re ruthless to each other,
    I decide.
    She keeps coming after me,
    though I feel I am quickly
    coming to meet her


    But, she continues
    always out of my reach,
    always where my vision ends.

    Soon, I can’t give chase any more.
    She teases,
    she will be there always,
    showing me I’ll never
    be able to have her completely.
    She wants me to know that,
    to know that for every inch of her I
    there are three more waiting
    for me,
    just there,
    over the next ridge.

    I sit on her shoulder,
    finally out of fuel,
    finally okay with it,
    and the sun has reached
    my brows.
    Soon it will reach my crown.
    As the stars circle me,
    I can hear THEM calling
    (while the stars turn their faces),
    telling me they
    don’t know the difference
    between flesh.

    -JR Simmang

    1. JRSimmang

      Thanks, Will, Julie. I appreciate it.
      There is a moment, when you’re out in the desert, the road seems to turn to liquid. I’ve almost gotten into an accident, thinking I was going to drown my car. We can hardly trust what we see, anyway.

  8. Linda Hatton

    Reading the Rocks

    The road I traveled
    with you in the palm of
    my hand has crumbled, slid
    to river’s edge below. “Street
    Closed” sign keeps me out
    while lookiloos ignore
    all warnings, steer their tanks
    and 4-wheel-drives around
    to get a peek of what once
    was, prove you are wrong, tend
    to the weeds surrounding
    your freshly-paved youth.
    But you, a million pieces
    scattered all across river’s edge,
    thirsting, moistening yourself with each
    and every drop before you dis-
    intergrate back to earth. You
    can’t see me looking over
    deadly cliffs, wishing I could
    travel that road with you again.

  9. Marie Elena

    Stay-at-Home Mom

    She works at home with three under five,
    And pats her own back that they’re all still alive.
    Her sanity hangs by a frayed little thread;
    She lives for the moment they’re sleeping in bed.
    Her need for adult conversation now dire,
    She swiftly sneaks out through the telephone wire. 😉

  10. Nas

    It’s a different kind of “road,” but…


    Commuters chat idly in anticipation of the 6:00.
    Pigeons alight on silhouetted branches.
    A scrap of paper drifts in with the thrust of stale wind.
    It circles aimlessly about the wires
    That stretch like sinew in the sky above
    The steel railway skeleton, never landing.
    It is not green or marked with any significance,
    So its pristine and faceless figure wanders unfettered
    With a small gust into the sepulchral mouth of the bridge,
    And the air resonates with the rattle and call
    Of a train that isn’t mine.

    1. BezBawni

      I see no comments, which is a pity. The poem is so true to life. I can picture a man at a station watching a piece of paper flying, and then there’s a train the man’s not been waiting for. Reading your poem is like staring at a picture, a snapshot of someone’s life. Beautiful. (sepulchral mouth of the bridge simply blew my mind).

  11. julie e.

    I lean to the left
    but not too far–
    enough to keep my
    neighbor from
    on my shoulder
    but not so far
    my elbow succumbs
    to the metal cart
    passing by.
    twisting yoga-like
    to skip to the loo
    (my darling)
    out and back in
    to my space,
    it’s ten hours
    on the sky-road
    to see my
    worth it.

    1. Nas

      I love the flow of this, and the humor (or is it humour? haha). I appreciate that you also used a different road (the “sky-road”), as it added to the personality of the narrator/poem.

  12. elishevasmom

    Art Imitates Life…

    On the road
    all day
    on the way
    for a special visit
    only to arrive
    and on the laptop go live,
    to find out the prompt was
    “on the road”.

    Ellen Knight
    write an ‘on the road’ poem for PA

  13. PKP

    The Road

    they say that all journeys
    begin with a single
    and yet
    in the misted
    past behind
    each single
    glows a shimmered
    misted yearning
    toward the soaring
    sound of the
    sanctified Siren
    calling for
    beyond the
    still barricaded
    birthing in
    each distillate
    note of plaintive
    song the
    flowered petals
    of possible passage
    floating – finally visible
    to two singular eyes
    the road


    with petals
    echoing in
    a future yet
    to unwind

    on the road

  14. PressOn


    Along the road the driver drove
    across the land, through field and grove;

    the road was long but all the while
    he hummed a tune and wore a smile

    because the course was not a race
    but held instead a calming grace

    that proffered hours of touring pleasure
    through autumn bursting in full measure.

    From dawn to dusk he travelled far,
    just one large man in one small car

    who looked ahead to evening coming;
    to driving at night with the tires thrumming;

    to feeling at one with the car and road;
    to freeing the burden of life’s long load.

    Some questioned why he loved to drive.
    His answer was, to remain alive

    to the thrill of peering around the bend;
    to a new beginning for every end.

  15. Marie Elena

    Sorry to use an older one … will try to write later this evening.

    Snippets of a Brooklyn Mission
    (A daughter in crisis)

    Calls in the night span nearly 600 miles
    Of separation. In desperation,
    We talk and pray for hours,
    As schizophrenia’s power
    Plots to devour her very core.

    Grasped firmly in the jaws of crisis,
    Dad and I turn the ignition,
    On a mission only love can drive.

    Finally face-to-face, we
    See her palpable relief,
    But this thief is unyielding,
    On a mission of its own.

    Her minute apartment becomes home
    For a spell, as we try to slay this hell
    That has claimed residence in her being.

    But not all is lurid, as warm memories attest:
    Love expressed as “Grandpop” meets her on the Pulaski Bridge
    Each day after class, as her fragile-as-glass mind
    Finds comfort in his care.

    Laptop in hand, we’d snub our concerns, and
    Sit on her stairs to catch our Buckeyes.
    Or have a slice at Triangelo’s,
    Reminiscent of Grandma’s own.

    We soaked in the Brooklyn tone –
    Polish bakery scents,
    Market and Laundromat treks –
    Nothing complex,
    As we walked where we needed,
    And nothing impeded our task
    As we basked in the 50’s feel of it all.

    Seeing through our eyes
    Blew home’s breath into her setting,
    Letting her fears reduce from life-threatening,
    If for only precious moments.

    That fall, we followed our hearts to Brooklyn
    On a mission only love can drive.

    1. PKP

      “That fall we followed our hearts to Brookly
      On a mission only love can drive”

      are two of the most exquisite and heart-wrenchingly evocative lines I have ever read – as childbirth – magic born of excruciating pain… Once again BRAVO! (had this ever been published?).

  16. Jeep Walters

    Farewell to Oz

    Standing as three, worn and forlorn,
    for at morning’s first light, your flight
    will have flown. Had I thought goodbyes
    would be this hard, I would have just
    sent a card. I won’t get all fuzzy and warm,
    that’s the coward’s way. I can’t get
    all stiff and cold – no heart of tin,
    what can I say? My head’s not in it. I rise,
    I fall sleep and dream that this technicolor
    existence would persist once we’ve kissed
    and waved adieu. But it is you who is going,
    your gingham flowing and throwing caution
    to the wind, you set adrift. I’ll just make
    the jaundiced journey back to where I belong.
    The walk will be long without you beside me.
    But you’ve hung me out to dry, so to hell
    with goodbye! Hit the brick road.
    That goes for your little dog, too!
    I hate green!

  17. Walt Wojtanik


    A heart is a sanctuary.
    It is a destination.
    It is the journey and
    it is the journey’s end.
    We start off as shy glances,
    a chance to alert ourselves
    that although the shelves
    have been empty for years,
    our fears were unwarranted.
    We take that step. We follow
    with many other steps,
    distances close and it boils down
    to three little words:
    location, location, location!
    My train will always stop at your station,
    my plane with taxi on your runway.
    For no matter how far apart we are,
    my compass will remain true.
    All roads lead to you!

  18. Connie Peters

    Dear Road

    Oh my. dear road, how sweet you are
    alight with golden autumn leaves.
    The tires hum along your curves
    while snow-capped mountains call to me.

    You and the river dance a waltz.
    A herd of elk watch from afar.
    The pines and aspens sway in time.
    The sky and sun rays glow in glee.

    Dear road, to me you are a star
    I follow fast to meet my dreams,
    as I escape those things that bar
    the peaceful paths which calm my nerves.

    You carry me in my small car.
    No one like you so truly serves.

  19. Sara McNulty

    September Evening Cruise

    Driving to the waterfront,
    our third cruise on the Portland Spirit.
    Four of us in the car this night
    of heavy wind and downpour.

    Parking at the waterfront,
    a three-block walk, everyone drenched.
    Cannot board until 6:30, which is
    forty-five minutes from now, no shelter.

    Ship left from waterfront,
    passengers’ shoes filled with water.
    Dinner, piano, and back to dock.
    Nine-thirty, rain heavier, garage locked.

  20. PKP

    Okay, there’s a problem here on the site when I can write and post poems quicker than I can comment on others. I must admit it had been a long day and I am too weary to continue. I will return there are more wonderful poems to comment upon and I don’t want to leave a single one ….but I must hit the road… courtesy of the ubiquitous ROBO-EDITOR (and that is NOT RLB!!!!!) Again, I cry… I am NOT posting too quickly, nor duplicating my posts…. I am simply trying to read and respond to all and being thwarted is just too frustrating tonight. Goodnight, good morning (depending where you are)…. There is, as always wonderful work here on this repaved “Street”…

  21. PKP

    Everything ahead

    Road travel
    is pulse pounding
    something unexpected
    waiting around each
    sensuous curve
    when all is new
    and the world filled
    with Lamour and Hope

    Too many trips
    and the danger
    of running out of
    gas – sputtering
    to a stop overtakes
    overwhelms until
    the needle reads

  22. PKP

    On the road to submarine races

    Sat in the car
    with the older boys
    the forbidden boys
    from the church
    in their car
    also forbidden
    and drove
    on the road
    stopped at the
    waters edge to
    watch submarine
    my friend sobbed
    she always sobbed
    I got out
    and stood at that
    lapping bulkhead
    summer wind
    blowing in my hair
    lookinf for
    the hulking shapes
    in the dark flat water
    as the boys anger
    stilled and realization
    dawned – engines roared
    in the quiet car
    as they drove us back
    they too old on the verge of
    jaded – us too young and
    green for racing

        1. Marie Elena

          Love this, Pearl. I had never heard of submarine races until I moved to Naples, Florida my sophomore year of high school. 😉 Creative take on the prompt, provocative, nostalgic in an odd way, and emotive. Nice work.

  23. PKP

    off roading…

    she stood that
    just out of teens
    incarnation of self
    with a lacy long
    dress in hand
    white and untouched
    and could see her
    white satined small
    feet stepping
    on a treadmill
    leading to a distant
    irrevocable forever
    unless she stepped
    off after the ceremony
    and ran
    to the

  24. PKP

    The road to ….

    walking instead of running now
    but with the same deterrmined
    steps filled with certainty
    opining and cajoling
    skipping on ny own drum
    beaten path
    of good intentions to a
    destination some surely
    see set in stone
    around a nearby corner

  25. Never2L8

    On the Road Again

    Look, over there, on the side of the road,
    a shoe… now why should there be a shoe?
    Okay, I can see one shoe, one time
    but so often? And not even just a child’s –
    sure, I can understand a kid tossing out a shoe
    but a size twelve sneaker? Who’d do that?
    Or pieces of clothing? A hat? I’ll grant you that.
    A gust of wind from a lowered window
    but a sweater or pair of pants?
    But, somehow the one that really gets to me
    is a sock. One sock. What? I feel so sorry for
    that one naked foot. What would put
    that into some head? I know sometimes
    you lighten a ship by tossing things overboard.
    Maybe it’s just crazy kids…over bored.

  26. Jerri


    “On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again…”

    Sorry, Willie.
    I just can’t do it anymore.

    Tired of changing venues
    away from family and friends…
    carrying bits of home
    here and
    Leaving pieces of myself
    s c a t t e r e d
    across the country side
    for the wind to
    them all

  27. Michelle Hed

    Taking a Right Turn

    “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” ~ Buddha

    to tell
    a lie but
    sometimes the truth can
    hurt and be misconstrued as an
    attack on the person you thought you could be honest
    with about everything and being their friend meant always telling the truth, no matter
    how painful the words may be to hear. Perhaps I am
    wrong and the truth should be cushioned
    by wool, to protect
    the fragile
    ears of

  28. De Jackson

    Less Taken

    There’s more of her here,

    Stitched together by pit stop
    Slurpees and old 80’s tunes,
    she swallows the sun and
    woos the moon
    to follow her

    Map long lost, she’s tossed
    caution and suitcase contents
    to the wind, closed her eyes,
    and let her sighing
    fingers choose


  29. ewdupler

    Stephen’s Classic

    250 bucks for a used Plymouth Fury,
    and an old dilapidated mess.
    It’s broken down and barely runs
    but yields visions of grandeur, past.
    I poured my soul into those wheels
    just to get her on the road again.
    The pulsing engine hums with power
    like a black demon on wheels –
    whispering, like a lover, in my ear.
    Changing me from the nerd I was,
    she was worth every sacrifice.
    Now, it’s just me and Christine,
    until death do us part.

  30. Cameron Steele

    This Old Road

    I’ve been on this old road so long, you say,
    closing eyes, knuckling wheel, cutting tongue between teeth.

    The engine gutters beneath your moan
    or maybe it’s a sigh; I can never read

    between the lines with you
    and you’ve certainly never let me drive them.

    We jostle pass sorghum fields. The bent heads
    of tired sunflowers reflect against dusty rims.

    The first time we made this drive
    across Dakota prairies, you hummed

    with open lips, eyes squinted at tomorrow.
    And you held my hand even in the sun.

    I can’t tell if years tamed the journey
    or if you just got sore and bored and sick

    of the way my shoulders grew round, sagging
    against the passenger seat like a dead flower.

    Even when you open your eyes all you see is some rough road
    you already know, a useless way to waste the hours.

    1. PKP

      Exquisite – Cameron ! Elegant use of words – rhythym – precision – completely classy, vibrant and essentially beautiful … heartbreakingly beautiful. I’ll stop commenting here for tonight… Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

  31. taylor graham

    (a Saraband)

    Driving along – where used to be
    a vacant field, movers of earth
    are rearranging landscape. See
    the leveled hilltop, heaped-up limbs
    of small oaks, and the birds whose hymns
    would keep the days – all are flown.
    The dozed soil whitens like a bone.

  32. Jane Shlensky

    Road Thinking

    The sun roof, rarely opened,
    lends access to light,
    priceless when I’m tooling
    down a long reverie toward
    the end of a thought,
    wheeling in my head to
    a conclusion, up a curving
    hill toward epiphany,
    riddling ending punctuation
    to create a mood
    for life today: a question,
    exclamation, point of fact,

  33. Jane Shlensky

    There where his picture wrinkles, fades—
    an intersection with a light—
    there is no reason for the crash
    that took him from the world so young.

    The plastic flowers and his face
    send me into imaginings.
    Do his parents drive by and say
    “Oh, no, the sun takes him away!”

    Do they have boxes of his face,
    the graduation not to be,
    that they place here beside the road
    for fear he fade without a trace?

    Or do they blame the wind and rain,
    human indifference, or fate?
    What can we say to make it sane?
    Did he drive fast, feeling too late?

    I didn’t mean for that to rhyme,
    for there’s no reason I can find
    for me to miss a boy now gone
    I never knew in all his life.

    What rhyme or reason factors in
    to losses posted by the road?
    But I still bless his soul, his folks,
    and feel diminished as I pass.

    1. Never2L8

      There is one that I pass on the way to town. The kids were killed while in H.S. about 24 years ago and the parents/parent keeps flowers there still. Your last two lines say it all.

  34. Nancy Posey

    The Past Rolls Past

    Speeding along the interstate,
    everything I own in the trunk
    or crammed in the back seat,
    I see the road unroll before me,
    my wheels unzipping the hash marks
    as I push forward, cutting in
    and out around slow Sunday
    drivers, weaving among truckers
    heaving heavy loads up into Buncombe.

    With the windows down,
    my tan arm out, the chill
    of fall keeping me awake,
    I see one, then two, then dozens
    more—a Model T, an Edsel,
    a ’60 Chevy, cherry red, just
    like Mama’s favorite car,
    the one Daddy sold to pay taxes
    back in ’62. Must be a car show
    Down East somewhere, a field
    where old men will preen and brag,
    hoods up, engines displayed
    like brand-new silicone breasts,
    the strong smell of leather.

    I watch them, the past rolling
    by in the eastbound lane, none
    earns more than a backwards second
    glance in the rearview. My own car,
    this perfectly adequate, complete
    nondescript secondhand automobile—
    drives me directly into the future.

    1. Jane Shlensky

      This was a feel-good piece. I see it all the time around here, as the locals take their old sweetheart cars for a spin toward a convention ground of like-minded car lovers. Good poeming, girl.

  35. Nancy Posey

    Sorry so maudlin:


    Those roadside memorials,
    wooden crosses, plastic roses,
    rain-soaked teddy bears
    drew her cutting comments
    every time she passed–
    tacky, bordering on pathetic,
    unnerving even, so many
    planted close enough together
    to call that stretch Dead Man’s
    Curve. If it weren’t so straight.

    But after the phone call, the one
    summoning her to that shoulder
    for identification, she never
    said another word. In fact,
    she rode miles out of her way
    to avoid seeing them at all.

  36. Amy

    On the Road

    There’s this place
    off the beaten path;
    a harried little hovel
    between yesterday and
    Memories are scattered
    like Reese’s Pieces
    in a trail;
    you pick them up
    along the way.
    As long as whiskey’s
    they’ll never ask
    your name;
    just stare at glass bottoms
    that only magnify
    and leave wretched
    rings behind.
    You won’t find a(b)-
    but your problems
    will be (ab)solved.
    The journey’s in
    the telling
    and stories travel
    on the road to

  37. JWLaviguer

    The Road To Nowhere

    On the road to nowhere
    the GPS sent us
    not a soul in sight
    except for that guy on the bicycle
    I still think he was a ghost
    riding the same ride
    over and over
    ending at the old, rusty wheel
    and the unmarked grave

    JW Laviguer

      1. JWLaviguer

        This was a road in Western Oregon; deserted except for that guy (ghost) on the bicycle, some kind of skeleton on the side of the road (didn’t wish to stop and investigate), and a camp ground over-run with moss and foliage. Was really quite eerie.

  38. MimiDiFrancesca


    That’s why I stopped
    And if I hadn’t
    I never would have seen the girl
    With hair climbing to Jupiter
    And nails that made me think of indelicate things
    Like the dangers of toilet procedures
    sporting four inch claws
    But, damn, this peach pie,
    It is sweet hot heaven on my tongue
    And I don’t care that this old plate
    Has a chip from 1964.
    Just drop that thing
    On the formica.
    I’ll make it disappear.


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