Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 243

We’re two days from beginning the 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Click here to read the guidelines. As such, this will be the final Wednesday Poetry Prompts post until December 4, because, well, we’ll be doing prompts and poems every single day of November. Can’t wait!

For this week’s prompt, write a hiatus poem. You get to decide what the hiatus is: maybe from work, from school, from common sense. Just don’t take a hiatus from poeming!

Here’s my attempt at a hiatus poem:


In October, it’s hardest
to be away. From football and
concession stands, marching bands.

Packed on bleachers, the night gets
cold, but on Friday, lights shine
on quarterback keepers, three

yards and a cloud of dust. Find
cheerleaders shouting, “Gimme

as they wiggle their spirit
fingers in the air. Boys wear
paint where their shirts should be, cry

out like warriors, beat their fists–
all hope on how their team fares.


Workshop your poetry. Click here to learn more.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and no stranger to taking a hiatus or two from common sense. The last time he was in Ohio, he had the pleasure of watching his 10-year-old son, Jonah, catch the game-winning touchdown in a playoff game (go Eagles!). Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems, which does not include any poems about football (though perhaps it should). 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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67 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 243

  1. Cin5456

    Taking a Break

    Congress took a break
    from congressing.
    Government took a break
    from governing.
    Legislators didn’t legislate,
    so workers didn’t work.
    Inspectors did not inspect.
    Investigators did not investigate.
    Regulators did not regulate.
    But the watchdogs watched,
    and pundits punted,
    while the President presidented.
    For a while, there were
    problems, like when airports
    laid off traffic controllers,
    until Congress needed to fly.
    Federal parks closed, so
    veterans stormed barricades.
    A war was being fought,
    but soldiers were not paid.
    Federal employees in prisons
    worked overtime, but pay
    promised was delayed.
    Finally, one day, a big, big man
    with lots of what Congress wants
    said enough, stop.
    So they did,
    just in time to pay the bills
    for things ordered long ago,
    like sixty Abrams tanks
    the army did not want.
    Now that all the parks are open,
    Congress has nowhere to protest
    the closing of government.
    Thank goodness we didn’t default.
    Debts to banks were paid, even though
    the debt to society was not.

  2. Walt Wojtanik

    TAKE A BREATHER</strong?

    I’m at my wit’s end,
    and I’m ready to send myself off packing.
    Not lacking in thoughts or dreams,
    it just seems the more my wheels dig in
    the faster I spin out of control.
    I’ll stick to my goal make no mistake.
    After I give myself a break.

  3. Sara McNulty

    To Breathe Free

    Suffocating from the smoke-
    filled fortress in which
    she was ensconced,
    in which his breath came
    more easily than hers,
    a clearing, a purification
    of air was essential.
    A deconstruction of dusty
    spider webs choking her
    could only be swept away
    by her own will and strength
    of mind.

  4. JRSimmang


    Father left work early on the 5th of December, driven among red lights and white lines, cold and wet and hungry for something, thought he didn’t want to eat anything. He pulled into the driveway, clutching his briefcase and muttering under his breath that sweat froze just as quickly and quietly as his steam as it left his mouth. Inside, he patted me on the head, my brother on his head, and kissed my mom on the cheek. She smiled, because she always smiles, and he wandered half-heartedly into the kitchen where he pulled out his stored bottle of Jameson, two shot glasses, filled them, and swallowed them both. There was cabbage in a pot on the burner, which he ate with a fork.

    We went to bed early that night, earlier than I remember ever having gone to bed previously, and earlier than I have since. There was chill on the air, of course, and the frosted windows were a welcome sight to by young eyes, almost like the world outside was just a dream, and at any moment, before the sun came up, I would wake up thought the world would never do me justice. I hated the world for that. Slumber, next to my brother, as we huddled against winter, railing against the snow yet welcoming it when it came like soldiers bravely coming across the Danube. Us the Hessians, them in white wool.

    He wasn’t there when we came downstairs, as you could have guessed. I didn’t tell this story to throw you and tell you that everything wound up nice and tight in a little bow with perfect little Christmas wrapping paper, because it didn’t. Mom smiled, because she always smiles, though this particular morning it was gripped in grey, her wrinkles settled in like biscuits. My brother was too young, but I remember the letter that arrived in the mail the next Christmas.

    “On hiatus,” in his handwriting.

    -JR Simmang

  5. IrisD

    Sleep evades me like a slithering snake slipping into the shadows
    Multiple nights with allure of laptop and seductive prompts
    November is the month of double expressos and caramel mochas
    Nano-wrimo and PAD challenge both pull us into their clutches
    Sleep well tonight for tomorrow begins month of all-nighters

  6. Michelle Hed


    Deadlines looming –
    The breath of recriminations
    hovering around your neck.
    Chills from unseen eyes, waiting…
    The drip of the faucet
    like a finger tapping in impatience.
    Your mind screaming, crying
    but only you can hear …
    The doorbell rings…

  7. Cameron Steele

    A break from the beat

    You know you need a break
    when you roll up your sleeves
    and wear your scars to work.

    The lines on my wrists
    map out everything I’ve never said:
    I’m tired and I never learned how

    to cry. In school they taught me
    to smile at cops, argue with editors
    and write the weight of the world

    into my ledes. If you never let
    anyone see you break or even
    breathe then maybe you will be great.

    I learned not to call friends
    when the scanner was more than
    static, when the body bags marked

    when the writing was done. Sometimes
    words are not weapons; just all the ways
    to say I feel weak. It’s easier

    for me to break skin than to break down.
    When the presses are cooling,
    the night still feels like a knife

    or a byline I wish I didn’t have to write.
    I need a break from the beat and
    boys who think guns will make them men.

    I need someone to see the pink skin
    of my scars and know that they’re screams.
    Fear isn’t always loud. Silence isn’t always strength.

  8. Nancy Posey

    Break a Leg

    Last period class
    AP Lit—tough on the scholar athletes,
    the ones who defy the odds,
    caring about grades, metaphors and similes,
    calculus and biology—
    as well as total rushing yards.

    Away games required
    leaving early, boarding the bus
    to be out of the parking lot
    before the final bell.

    As he leaves,
    I call to the star quarterback:
    Break a leg!

    He did.

    Monday’s lesson: literal
    vs. figurative language.

  9. Janice | PoeticPonderings

    I’ve been on a very long hiatus from football. Can’t remember the last time I watched any of that. Hmm….college maybe? High school? I guess I don’t miss the game itself per se, rather, the thrill of attending an actual game. It’s very easy to get carried away in a crowd like that. Hmm… I wonder when my football hiatus will end? 😉

  10. bclay

    Happy Halloween,
    the one Hallowed Haphazard Holiday Hiatus from the comfortably boring 364,

    Put Your Death Mask On !

    skin suits are boring,
    the devil on my shoulder
    no longer hides from public,
    what demons lurk in hallowed
    masks ?, the ones we do protect
    society from ! Halloween releases,
    such yearned for carnal feared desire.
    Adrenaline laced screams in blood curd
    -ling asphyxiating gasps, the panic attacks,
    quick terrors-escorted escape from dull reality.

  11. snuzcook


    When WE were US, the world went on at the usual progression and in the proper direction.

    When WE became I and YOU and HIM, the pace and direction faded into what shoulda coulda woulda been.

    When I and YOU and HIM became ME alone, I rolled the world like a stone up a hill I could not see.

    I could roll but not direct, I could plod onward but not progress, and the stone rolled back every day without cresting the hill.

    Today, I sit in the grass beside the rut, my eyes closed. The sun eases my shoulders; the cool ground soothes my blisters.

    Yes, I am going nowhere. I’m on a break. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

  12. Connie Peters

    Away at the Lake

    Hills hid the tiny fishing town from view.
    Early fall, I took a much-needed break.
    The sky glowed blue over a rippled lake.
    Wood paddles dipped and moved the red canoe.
    Hemlocks huddled on shore as if they knew
    the mountain would not block the coming storm.
    The sky darkened, whitecaps began to form
    as the air chilled and a whistling wind blew.

    The canoe sidled up to the long dock.
    My nephew lent his strong and friendly hand.
    Friends had clam chowder cooking in the crock.
    The tinkling chimes and thunder formed a band,
    the sound of rain more pleasant than a clock.
    We chatted as we waited in the stand.

  13. Poet Ariel


    Haunts, even temporary, are best planned
    Intrepid spirits plan a head
    A grave destination
    Trails that lead into uncertainty
    Unspeculative tourists wandering in unprepared;
    Substantiated energy directed then fades

    Oct 30, 2013
    Just something fun. In a halloween hiatus of the mind …..

  14. taylor graham


    At the end of town, where most everything’s
    for lease or boarded up, my pup on choke-chain
    learns the ins and outs of figure-8s in front of
    Jimboy’s (closed, this early on a workday).
    We’re on hiatus, you might say – just waiting
    for you. My pup flicks curious eyes across
    the road at a blonde girl in black, sitting on the
    curb, les pieds dans la gouttiere. Who can tell
    when pensive droops to despond? No, she’s
    on hiatus too, waiting for the school-bus just
    now turning the corner. My pup and I keep
    practicing rights and lefts at heel; now she waits
    for her reward: free walking, joyful beyond
    obedience. She leads, off pavement, down
    the no-man’s land of high-way frontage, bare
    dirt surprised by red-rose petals fallen from
    a bush; two bottle-brushes to brighten Monday;
    Chinese pistache celebrating Autumn. My pup
    sniffs from spot to spot, “this is important!”
    she tells me. This lacuna between errands and
    appointments, empty time; free to look and
    see it’s dawning over Upper Broadway.

  15. Jane Shlensky


    We cannot get our Celia to wake,
    and no one seems to know what has gone wrong.
    The chatter is that she’s been out too long,
    that even anesthesia would make
    her drowsy but a while. For goodness’ sake,
    what causes her to linger in a dream,
    relying on her doctors’ healing scheme?
    I don’t know how much more her folks can take.

    We stand and look at her for hours on end.
    We listen to her breathe and smooth her hands.
    We talk in whispers, pray that God will send
    her back to us and that she understands
    how her hiatus from us could upend
    our deepest thoughts and fears, our smallest plans.

  16. Abbie Taylor

    Here’s a hiatus poem I wrote several years ago that appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Please visit my Website at to learn more about this and other work.

    Florida’s Song

    When temperatures in Wyoming fall below zero,
    and snow is on the ground, I go to Jupiter,
    bask on a sunny beach,
    feel the sand and water between my toes,

    walk on the pier
    while fishermen reel in large sharks and other sea creatures,
    gaze at low flying birds,
    view a poignant moment, as a man drops rose pedals into the ocean
    to honor his dead wife,

    do water exercises in my brother’s unheated outdoor pool
    to the thumping rhythm of “Single Ladies,”
    enjoy a good book on the screened-in patio overlooking the pool
    while a gentle breeze makes wind chimes sing a haunting melody.

    On a warm Saturday, I go to Fort Lauderdale,
    sail on The Jungle Queen to a tropical island,
    eat a hot dog while others watch alligator wrestling.

    After two weeks,
    I return to the reality of winter in Wyoming.

  17. JWLaviguer

    Mind Your Hiatus

    My mind is on hiatus
    more often than not
    while attempting to explain
    a sunrise to the blind

    My mind goes blank
    because I cannot fathom
    a night without stars
    or her face without a smile

    My mind takes a vacation
    when she bends over
    to pick up her dreams
    that she left lying around

    My mind is a whirlwind
    the leaves of memories
    blowing around
    after I raked them into a neat pile

    My mind is a canvas
    she adds colors and textures
    a priceless landscape she paints
    when her eyes go far away

    My mind is a ball of clay
    I close my eyes
    and she spins
    her hands are so soft

    My mind is on hiatus again
    and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    JW Laviguer

  18. RJ Clarken

    Calling it a Day

    “We’re taking a hiatus…I don’t know if we’re calling it a day.” ~Shirley Manson

    ‘Creative differences,” the band mates said.
    It was a fancy name for all those crass fights:
    lately full of angry days and booze-fueled nights.
    Fame, most likely, went to each musical head.
    The tabloids reported the band was now dead.
    But the fans – oh the fans – all they wanted was more.
    Reality? No one knew the truth for sure
    and a lot of strange rumors were out there, widespread,
    like: the drummer slept with the front man’s wife,
    and frequently, the bassist’s comitatus
    was responsible for a lot of the strife.
    Regardless, it seemed like the band’s future status
    was like one of their tunes: a day in the life.
    So they went into indeterminate hiatus.


    1. RJ Clarken

      Hmmm…needs a few minor (key?) corrections (sorry!):

      Calling it a Day

      “We’re taking a hiatus…I don’t know if we’re calling it a day.” ~Shirley Manson

      ‘Creative differences,’ the band mates said.
      It was a fancy name for all those crass fights:
      lately full of angry days and booze-fueled nights.
      Fame, most likely, went to each musical head.
      The tabloids reported the band was now dead.
      But the fans – oh the fans – all they wanted was more.
      Reality? No one knew the truth for sure
      but a lot of strange rumors were out there, widespread,
      like: the drummer slept with the front man’s wife,
      and frequently, the bassist’s comitatus
      was responsible for a lot of the strife.
      Regardless, it seemed like the band’s future status
      was like one of their tunes: a day in the life.
      So, they went into indeterminate hiatus.


  19. elishevasmom

    Maximum Security

    She had a way
    of getting her
    (oops) syl-la-bles
    mixed around,
    but this time
    it really worked!
    I – hate – us.
    We need a hi-a-tus!
    A life sentence
    without the possibility
    of parole!

    Ellen Knight 10.30.13
    write a “hiatus” poem for PA

  20. PowerUnit

    It’s time to walk away
    For awhile
    Let that story soak a bit more
    I hope it’s like booze, but better
    Multiple fermentations
    Long periods of aging
    Deep colors and complex tastes
    Maturity beyond hoary

    It’s NaNoWriMo time
    The month of crazy headedness
    It’s the season of the year to mimic a fox
    What does a fox say?
    The main piece of work has earned its hiatus
    I hope it doesn’t get too lonely
    On its shelf

  21. PKP

    Hiatus? I Think Not…

    He said with sad eyes dripping with sincerity
    just a little hiatus while we gather our serenity
    She knew those eyes lied as they spoke
    Read his text messages knew they were beyond ‘broke’
    One from Sally who said with exclamation points three
    “Waiting with held breath for you to return again here to me”
    Another from Susie – he seemed to like esses
    Or she had missed the A through the R
    That’s just how very long and how very far
    They’d obviously traveled unknown to her, falling apart
    And now a suggested “hiatus” and then a supposed fresh start?
    No, she she said to his sad eyes dripping disingenuous sincerity
    Your things are all packed, you’ll have no need to ever return to me

  22. PKP

    Pass on the Hiatus

    I don’t like “hiati” I don’t like them at all
    They are just a respite from all that casts
    o’er me a pall
    A little break between whatever brings stress
    I’d rather plod on and get through the mess!

    So thanks for the offer take mine for free
    They don’t offer peace for a person like me

    If you don’t mind I’ll just carry on
    That way giving myself a chance for strife to be gotten,
    Vanquished sooner and finally gone!

  23. PKP

    Lunchroom Truce

    Beyond the flung milk cartons
    dripping milk into newly washed hair
    In this mirage shimmered island
    She sits quietly there
    Nipping at her sandwich
    Eyes downcast without fuss
    Soaking in the silence of her hiatus

    Source of the hatred unknown
    Target as though a bulls-eye she’d worn
    She’d smiled and been kind
    Even offered an empty seat
    The best now received their forced retreat

      1. PKP

        You are so very sweet – I stopped in for a peek and just added a few – your comment means a great deal to me … Hope to have some time to read and comment tomorrow 🙂

  24. Nancy Posey

    Back from the English Conference

    Three days in a conference lodge—
    a site chosen more for low cost
    rather than amenities—no TV,
    wi-fi only in the lobby—between
    power outages, no soft drinks
    in the machines, no beer or wine
    allowed on site. Acting just like
    our students, we brown bag
    in rooms that look like something
    between a dorm and Motel Six, rising
    in time for breakfast buffet—
    powdered eggs and rubbery
    sausage patties—then session
    after session: How to engage
    our students, how to stay current,
    to use new technology to teach
    old texts. Hurrying through lunch,
    we all gather in the lobby,
    checking our school email, online
    paper submissions, notes
    from faculty meetings held
    while we are away—then off
    to more sessions, to exhibits
    by publishers luring lookers
    with bowls of bite-sized Reese
    cups, Hershey bars, Nerds.

    Back on campus, sleep deprived,
    we reluctantly check our mailboxes
    for the sub’s class rosters, for late essays,
    before returning to classes
    after two days away to hear,
    “Back from your little break,
    Teach? Needed to get away
    from us, huh?” I think of the bag
    of work to grade, assignments
    I left behind, papers I collected
    before I left, but found no time
    to mark while I was gone.
    If I had wanted a break, I want
    to say, I’d have gone to a spa
    or to a tropical island. I would
    not have heard the word
    pedagogy one single time.
    I would not have spent hours
    thinking of ways to get through
    to you.


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