Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 269

Non-poetry announcement: The Brewer family moved into a house this past weekend. After years of cluttering up an apartment, we made the decision in late-April to start searching and–bam!–just like that we found one, made a bid, and here we are. We’re super excited and a little tired (from moving all those books).

For this week’s prompt, write a new surroundings poem. The new digs could be a house, new work environment, the great outdoors, hotel room, etc. It can be exciting, sad, scary, and about any other emotion you can imagine.

And by the way, here’s what our house looks like (with Tammy and a few of the tiny poets on the front porch):


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Here’s my attempt at a New Surroundings poem:


rocking chair knocked over
single window pane broke

door ajar & glass clumped
around the opening

gone for just a moment
& home won’t be the same


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and the author of Solving the World’s Problems. He’s married to a 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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280 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 269

  1. taylor graham


    In front of the brownstone, an RV’s been parked
    for a week. These are distant acquaintances –
    not predators of the family’s wireless connection.
    After all, they’re only passing
    through. The man sits on the step eating a kiwi.
    His wife’s inside their home-away-from-home,
    reorganizing drawers and cabinets.
    Two weeks on the open road, they have yet
    to see something worth mentioning. A small child
    peeks out the brownstone’s window,
    wondering how long will they stay? why are they
    traveling, anyway?

  2. Dorothy's Daughter

    My New Place

    Two visits,
    so far,
    from the police
    and one from a man
    who knocks like he’s the police
    looking for the former tenant
    who apparently,
    writes bad checks.

    I can shake that off
    but the neighbor
    a few doors down
    lets her eighteen month old
    roam the streets
    with his five year old big sister
    as his chaperon.

    I stepped outside to grab the mail
    and there was the toddler
    wandering down the sidewalk
    holding his own shitty diaper
    that he had grown tired of wearing.

    I called to his sister to run
    that boy home so his mom
    could change him.
    I hoped that was the right move,
    not being completely sure
    she’s even awake during the day
    or even there…

    When I brought the mail in
    I was not surprised to see
    some correspondence addressed to
    yet another former tenant of this address.
    The letter was from Health and Human services.
    I doubt it was a letter of recommendation.

    I will patiently wait
    for my lease to be up
    so I may vacate
    my unit, aptly labeled ‘No. 2’.

  3. Cynthia Page

    (Okay, here is one that has new surroundings of another kind. It creates a new surrounding of its own.)

    Recipe for Disaster

    When you discover a mystery,
    shout its clues from a mountaintop,
    or write to your local newspaper.
    Wait for spontaneous experts.
    Sprinkle lightly with questions;
    add a dash of nonsense; stir vigorously.
    Your mystery will remain mysterious, but
    you will cook up conspiracy theories,
    which have no known purpose
    except entertainment. Enjoy
    or destroy at will.
    (Warning: Create at risk of sanity.
    Conspiracy theories never, ever die.)

    1. BDP

      I see what you mean: the mystery creates a new surrounding (or several surroundings in the form of several conspiracy theories), and yet the mystery remains a mystery though the clues are shouted from a mountaintop. A puzzle of human nature!

  4. shellcook


    I meet myself around
    every corner of this sacred space.
    Coming or going here I am.
    Every space a memory,
    floating on my river of time.

    I have weighed the pros and cons,
    in this space i call home,
    with gut wrenching certainty
    that my life here soon will be
    part of my past.

    Two and a half decades in this place
    where my heart grew,
    expanded, cried, and fought,
    where I’ve loved and lost and lost again
    only to find that it was the lesson of the losing
    not the loss itself.

    And those love lessons buoyed me up
    year after year after year.
    My home is my heart,
    but that is only because I have been
    well and truly blessed

    with love and laughter
    light and peace,
    and the lessons that those things
    inspire in my soul.

    I am the rootless waif,
    never fearing any destination,
    walking with stars on my soles
    and wanderlust in my brain,
    desirous of learning

    As long as I return to my heart,
    my haven, my home.
    I am torn, wrent, wrecked, and afraid
    of a future of which i am unsure.

    But surely i have it all wrong,
    home is where the heart is
    and that could be anywhere.

    I have vacillated with this new course.
    I know what is here.
    I know what is there.
    And my confused tears cannot help me.
    Not now.
    Not ever.

    My home, the representation
    of my life’s work, my own soul.
    My Eden,
    my Paradise Found,
    and my angels weep for this
    jagged pain I feel,
    yet gently urge me on.

    But i best make up my frayed mind
    For life is moving on without me.

    And saying goodbye is only
    the beginning to a new
    and unfamiliar garden.

    Copyright 2014 @Anne Michele Cook

  5. BDP


    We cheered “Out Home!” and meant the house and barn,
    our father’s parents’ farm with gentle slope
    that dipped into a small, fat lake. We swam
    then trolled for fish, dad manning oars, our boat.

    One weekend noon as grownups shot the breeze
    we sneaked to check the shack whose patched up roof
    asked tarp assistance of the white pine trees,
    found squatters there amid their litter loot,

    Coke bottle windows set in boards. So crude.
    We pelted pebbles at their scrawny cat.
    Weeks passed, their boy and girl stole marigolds for food.
    Each chance we got, we shouted, “Scram!” And yet

    we felt displaced, and only understood Out Home
    when Grandma spread the table, bid them welcome.

    –Barb Peters

  6. TomNeal

    The I that sees

    a corona







    be still

    the Voices
    the leaves

    I remain



    the sound

    a moment

    I wipe

    1. PressOn

      For me, the shape of this thoughtful poem connotes a sunbeam illuminating a sliver of transient reality. It invites reflection (no pun intended).

      1. BDP

        I like PressOn’s take on this poem–“a sunbeam illuminating a sliver of transient reality.” I also was surprised how reading one word per line (for the most part) made me stop and think about the poem, namely, how it invites reflection. An interesting response to the prompt.

        1. TomNeal

          William and Barb,

          Thank you! Although I don’t like skinny poems, in this case I did want a beam of light. (There are also allusions to George Berkley, Eliot’s Four Quartets, and the KJV. I won’t interpret/comment beyond that.)

    2. drnurit

      Read it first like a staccato − with each line standing on its own, then saw the wholeness – color, sound, sensation − a beautifully captured moment that truly appeals to me. Just lovely.

  7. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    They slammed that door behind me,
    And threw away the key,
    Won’t no-one ever find me,
    I never will go free.

    Like every man who’s in here,
    I didn’t do the crime,
    But I’m paying for my sin here,
    With my freedom and my time.

    A jury of twelve angry men,
    One judge and half a chance,
    Put me underneath this pen,
    And stripes here on my pants.

    There’s barb’d wire out my window,
    And bars upon my door.
    My wife says she’s a widow,
    And won’t visit any more.

    They say the sun comes up
    Over these south Georgia hills,
    But it might as well be midnight
    In this hell they call Reidsville.

    I stayed at the wheel outside;
    They went in with guns;
    Now I’m locked up with nowhere to hide;
    For the dreadful thing they done.

    I turned twenty-one in prison,
    with just myself to blame,
    For being left with nothin’,
    But this number for a name

    And they say the sun comes up,
    Over these south Georgia hills;
    But it might as well be midnight,
    In this hell they call Reidsville.
    It might as well be midnight,
    In this hell they call Reidsville.

    They slammed the door behind me,
    And they threw away the key;
    Ain’t no one gonna find me,
    And I never will go free.

    1. BDP

      This was a fun read! Yes, the subject is not fun (prison never is), but the rhythm and the rhyme brought me into the words, and I enjoyed moving along with the poem.

  8. dhaivid3

    Very many congratulations Robert and family.

    Poem title: The Confusion of Being Loved

    Strange is the feeling, strange as the day
    Strange as the time that I was asked out to play

    Much to remember, much more to do
    Life’s obligations that join me to you

    Arms of a lover, strange do these feel
    I’m trying not to pull away; I’m trying to be real

    This is not normal for strange though I am
    How is it that today I’m loved by this man?

  9. grcran

    Bebe at the Bank

    She went to work within the bank she was not one of them
    Her fine degree was in the arts she rocked attractive hem
    Lefthanded strode she to her station stayed the coursing straight
    They saw she’d work in spite of desk with ornaments ornate
    A couple owls a Van Gogh calendar some coloured pens
    One cowl one cauliflowered ginger kleidoscopic lens
    The oaky wood the pastel walls called blandly to her soul
    The workplace led surprisingly to profit on the whole
    Regarded self in setting novel different for her
    Those other jobs in rearview now receding into blur

    by gpr crane

    1. PressOn

      All the images this poem throws out are visual treats. The gentle turn in the poem led me to wonder if a free soul was being captured. I love this.

  10. TomNeal

    A Summer Romance

    As the surrounding hills bake golden brown,
    And Ukiah’s heat shimmers on its streets,
    And lightening strikes threaten to burn
    A nearby forest down- I beat retreat
    From inland summer to a cold beach
    On the fog shrouded Mendocino coast.

    Here in mystical Albion
    Where the salt air speaks adventure
    And Francis Drake still commands the Golden Hind;
    Here will I build my campfire, drink red wine
    With locals, and listen to the churn
    Of cliches crashing into my slurred rhymes.

    [Yes, I know “chime” rhymes]

    1. PressOn

      I had the feeling this poem was setting me up, and I wasn’t disappointed: the last line indeed hit like a crash. Wonderful. I’ve never been to the places you mention but I have been in the general region, so I could picture it.

    2. drnurit

      Tom, this poem does “speak adventure” to me – moving across continents, weathers, colors, and moods – like Francis Drake’s Golden Hind… The title and the ending – nice surprises which make me read between the lines… Thanks for the richness of this!

    3. TomNeal

      Nurit and William,

      Thank you, and especially thanks for the specificity of your comments.

      William, if you have seen Murder She Wrote, you have seen Mendocino. The opening sequence was filmed in the village of Mendocino. (Mendocino is both a village and a county.)

    4. icandootoo

      This poem itself has the mouthfeel of red wine – as someone who deeply suspects I’m a synesthete, I mean that quite literally.

      great job.

  11. taylor graham


    This place she thought she knew.
    But walking an old familiar street, she finds
    what had been a grassy hillside
    is cutbank now, sliced to expose bedrock –
    and ruins of a house. From when?
    Her own childhood? The older she gets,
    the more she’s drawn to ivy over-growing
    cracks and wrinkles in stone that once
    seemed indestructible and smooth.
    Lone chimney and a short flight of stairs –
    nothing more to prove someone
    lived here. Still, the fox passes through,
    and deer where shadow
    touches town. Look how wind spins
    an alley-dance, whirling transparent scraps
    of plastic like a veil. A crow
    chants prayer as periwinkle goes on
    binding wounds of earth to heal.

    1. drnurit

      The older she gets,
      the more she’s drawn to ivy over-growing
      cracks and wrinkles in stone that once
      seemed indestructible and smooth.

      So very true!


      as periwinkle goes on
      binding wounds of earth to heal.

      So very beautiful!

  12. icandootoo

    Here’s my second response

    Moving Day

    I found it, in the corner, when the movers were bringing boxes,
    A loose board behind the bedpost, with the far right corner jagged,
    As if some small Someone had chipped it, with a butterknife, perhaps,
    Prying up the iron nail, laying bare the space beneath.
    I couldn’t help it – who could help it? –
    Here was food for rumination! I could see inside my head
    A cigar box, filled with toys. Worth a fortune, now,
    Stored away, and free from rust. Or a 1960 quarter, slightly dusty,
    From a long forgotten birthday, worth it’s honest weight in silver,
    Slightly more if never touched. Or the holy grail of treasure:
    Honus Wagner barely smiling, Mickey Mantle in a picture,
    Superman in bright blue tights. So I pulled back on the corner,
    Had to pry a little harder – many years of dust had settled
    In the iron of the nail. And I reached into the corner,
    Like a modern, old Jack Horner, and pulled out
    A wad of tissue, filled with baby teeth;
    Two bags of well used marbles;
    And six half eaten candy bars.

  13. icandootoo

    We’ve been sheltered
    In the cold cave of winter,
    swaddled in hate,
    for so long that it fits
    like a skin on our skin;
    and the person within
    cannot feel the warm breeze
    of true love as it flits
    past our past, and we pass –
    slither past – everyone,
    like a snake on the grass.
    And then, suddenly,
    in the warm summer season,
    we’re upended and shaken,
    evicted and taken
    to somewhere quite new;
    and we reason the reason
    the world rearranges
    and changes, are changes
    having nothing to do
    with the warmth of the sun
    and our tongues tasting love,
    and the shedding of skin.

      1. icandootoo

        Thank you so much for your kind words. I was having an extremely sad and angry day, and the prompt just took me to places I didn’t expect to go…. and helped me shed a little skin of my own. I am glad you enjoyed it.

    1. drnurit

      Enjoyed following your lead here to see with you how

      “…the world rearranges
      and changes”


      “…the cold cave of winter,
      swaddled in hate”


      “the warm summer season”

      and to


    2. TomNeal

      a skin on our skin;
      and the person within
      cannot feel the warm breeze
      of true love as it flits
      past our past, and we pass –

      This is a remarkable poem. The shedding of the (reptilian/snake?) skin presents a powerful image.

  14. Jolly2

    By John Yeo

    The postman just brought something,
    The flap clatters and falls
    I put my teacup on the table
    Then slowly I enter the hall.
    The cat follows, rubbing my leg,
    A picture postcard lies on the mat.
    I slowly bend to examine,
    The beautiful pictures stand out.
    Palm trees beaches and blue skies
    Green trees and flowery sunshine.
    I turn to the writing over
    A message of love and care.
    We are having a holiday Granddad,
    We really wish you were here.
    I turn to look at my view
    Concrete flats and factories where.
    With smoking chimneys and traffic,
    The contrast is shockingly clear.
    I have lived in this flat alone now
    For five and twenty years.
    Sometimes I hear from the family,
    None of them ever come here
    I pick up the postcard again
    My mind flies to new surroundings.
    I wish I was there.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo~ All rights reserved.

  15. drnurit


    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    It was not love at first sight
    when I took you to be my house
    forty years ago.
    You were a compromise.

    Yet we have stayed
    together ever since –
    in good times and in bad,
    in sickness and in health.
    I tended to you when
    you broke down.
    You shielded me when
    I needed to take shelter.

    You are not my castle.
    You are my witness.
    You are where I lie at anchor
    and drift between sailings –
    guardian of my comfortable bed
    and my stressless recliner,
    my books and my stories.

    You are the nest where
    the children grew up:
    Birthdays and holidays.
    Grandparents staying over.
    Aromas of cooking.
    Heart-to-heart talks.
    Joyful laughters.
    Echoes of cherished voices
    are kept alive in your rooms.

    You hold on to the toys
    of the children long gone –
    their children now playing
    with the matchbox cars and
    the puppets that kept waiting.
    Right here, the chain continued,
    and the photos adorning your walls
    are constant reminders
    of the fullness of life.

    You grow old with me now:
    We spend more time together.
    You wrap me in comfort,
    and I wrap blankets of
    brightly colored flowers
    around your aging frame –
    softening your weary image
    With cushions and quilts,
    and the sounds of soulful music.

    You are no longer up-to-date,
    my old-fashioned friend.
    You are cranky and taxing
    and often demanding.
    But you are a dear mirror
    reflecting me back.
    You have become home to me –
    and I am grateful. And content.

    1. icandootoo

      THIS IS PERFECT. Often, I read poems with such promise – a phrase aptly worded, an image crystallized to show just the right amount of brilliance — and then they fall flat, with a poorly chosen rhythm or a plot that falls apart when picked at. But this poem delivered what it promised, and I am blessed for having read it. Thank you.

      1. drnurit

        Thank you so very much, icandootoo (I truly wish I knew your name…) I am honored – beyond words – by your generous, supportive, and kind comment.

          1. drnurit

            Nice to meet you, Naomi! (If I knew how to make a smiling face, I would have smiled back…)

  16. De Jackson

    Waking Up on the Other Side

    Paint this landscape jet black
    and hold me to it, ebony as all get
    -out and dark as raven wing. Sing
    me some new song braided from lack
    of sunlight, stirrings, stars. Seize
    this sky and swallow it whole,
    breathe its un
    -familiar territories into swollen
    lung. Are we not smitten with

    Howl at something bigger,
    We’ll be home soon.


  17. James Von Hendy

    Tikal, Guatemala

    We climbed above the canopy
    A step at a time, the shallow tread
    And high risers forcing traverse,
    The very way they claimed the priests
    Descended from the sky as if gods.

    The forest stretched, unbroken, miles
    Of green the lush verdure of reclamation
    Still in progress. Toucans flew like insects
    Below us, a cold breeze whipping up,
    A morning’s tropical surprise.

    If we didn’t cling to the rail we might
    Have believed we, too, were gods,
    Not giddy tourists snuck into the park
    Before the busloads descended.
    Once this was a denuded city, lost

    To sustenance. Here I ran my hand
    Over the ocelot’s spotted coat,
    Felt the taut tremor of muscle
    Below the fur, and knew we were
    Nothing in nature’s hands, a mere

    Ephemera passing through, already
    Half undone as these builders were
    When the last wood was laid to the axe,
    The last maize harvested from hard clay,
    Glorious mortals, certainly not gods.

    1. drnurit

      “… we were
      Nothing in nature’s hands, a mere

      Ephemera passing through, already
      Half undone…”
      Powerful! I went along climbing with you, as I was reading this – one step (line) at a time…

  18. Amaria

    “Moving Day”

    I walk into these bare rooms,
    soon to be filled with boxes.
    I watch the sunlight drip in –
    this is my new home.

    I inhale the air within –
    a crisp, newly painted smell.
    I touch the clean, pristine counters
    where I will cook meals.

    I peer into the large closets
    that will hold my vast wardrobe.
    I hope to have enough room
    for all my items.

    I unwrap each dinner plate
    placing them in their new place.
    I find myself daydreaming
    of future days here.

  19. lina

    Strange Body

    These aren’t my fingers,
    or palm of hands–
    Not pink and smooth,
    ready to pick a lime
    or play a jig on the fiddle.
    No, they’re not mine,
    clasped on my lap,
    or tucked under a pillow.
    These are strange fingers–
    chipped and raw,
    and the palm lines
    run jagged, like
    roads, winding up
    a rocky hill,
    veering over the edge.

    Don’t look down,
    or you might fall.
    Don’t look at all.

    Instead, give me your hand
    and put it in mine.
    Pluck a string with me,
    and suck a lime.
    July is not so late–
    October is still far.

  20. annell

    New Surrounding Without You
    What is the world without you
    The sun doesn’t shine as bright
    The rain isn’t as wet
    The moon seems a little duller
    The night darker
    The stars don’t sparkle
    Like they used to
    The mountains aren’t as high
    The rivers run slower
    Everything is less

    I am lonely without you
    The desert is drier
    The winter is colder
    The summer is hotter
    The birds sing less
    Their song lower
    The air I breathe is less
    The food I eat has no taste
    Without you
    The world I live in
    Is empty now
    Just a little less wonderful
    Without you

    July 3, 2014

    Note: What a wonderful house! Congratulations!

  21. PressOn


    Once upon a time,
    every house had a front porch,
    or so it seemed,
    and it seemed
    that every one said, “welcome.”
    Some wrapped around the house on two sides,
    some, even, on three,
    and these houses were homes,
    it seemed,
    even more than the rest;
    they threw open their arms
    and fairly shouted, “welcome!”

    Things are different now,
    it seems:
    so many homes have decks,
    usually in the back,
    And the front of the house is bland and quiet
    and shut,
    and it seems
    that they all say, “go away.”

    When I learned that your house has a front porch,
    I smiled.

  22. CLShaffer

    Congratulations! What a beautiful home for your family.

    Old Man’s House

    He cannot find his favorite book about
    World War II, his guide to antiques,
    his robe. He’s left us dog food beneath
    the stove, the stove itself, a welcome mat
    that reads Wipe Your Paws, some DNA
    in the hidden places, bathroom drains,
    fingerprints on the stair rail. We
    have spirited away the bed where he took
    his last memory. We are the ghosts.

  23. gmagrady

    sturdy brick buildings
    asphalt and patches of green,
    the sardine packed homes

    line the boulevard
    heading east toward the lake where
    vertical metal

    reflects the sunrise
    by day, a train ride away;
    maybe tonight we’ll

    venture to their lights,
    but for now, I settle for
    my sturdy brick stoop

    1. RuthieShev

      I thought of DC when we lived there in the 60’s and I worked for the government. I think it is a tribute to you that people can actually see a place where they lived in your poem.

  24. RuthieShev

    God Bless You and your family in your new home Robert. For my poem this week I went with an old surrounding but a new outlook on it through a child. I don’t know if this is exactly the prompt but it was what ame to me.

    The Bench In Summer

    Sitting on the bench out front
    Watching the summer skies
    With a grandchild sitting on my lap
    Seeing things through his young eyes.

    Watching birds perch on electric lines
    Delight this sweet little boy
    And then a truck goes rolling by
    He claps his hands with joy

    While picking a flower from my garden
    For his Momma who’s in the house
    He get distracted by something running by
    Maybe a chipmunk or a field mouse

    He soon spies his wagon over by the door
    Sitting on the bright red bricks
    He runs to it and tries pushing and pulling
    Before filling it with stones and sticks

    If we could all take a lesson from children
    Laugh out loud and dance around
    We would enjoy the simple things
    Like the summer sights and sounds

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

  25. PressOn

    Congratulations, Robert, to you and your family. I hoped the following acts as a bit of a blessing,

    (Melody: Tempus Adest Floridum (The Flower Carol, or Good King Wenceslas)

    May your home be filled with pleasures
    and your heart with gladness;
    and may birdsong’s mystic measures
    banish fear and sadness
    through the day and through the night,
    through the sun and frost times;
    bringing you new friends for life;
    making up for lost times.

    Keep poetry within its walls
    to set rafters ringing,
    and let floors and doors and halls
    resonate with singing
    that becomes the new home’s way,
    forming one great whole:
    a house that spends its every day
    nurturing your soul.

    1. RuthieShev

      I thought this was an amazing take on the challenge. I especially liked the part “Keep poetry within its walls”. I think everyone here would like that blessing on their home. Great job!

  26. Cynthia Page

    (Learning to live near the forest is schooling of a different sort. You learn a new language through the experience.)


    Earth is a place
    with a voice. It speaks
    through butterflies, whales,
    hurricanes, and earthquakes.
    This world has room for
    many gods and all creatures.
    They speak of famines, plagues,
    abundance, and drought.

    On this earth is a fox with yellow teeth,
    a doe with alert dark eyes,
    and they tread the same forest
    as the bear who mangled
    my storage shed.
    The gods of wind and rain
    rule everything,
    but the bear
    speaks with claws.

  27. Jane Shlensky

    Congrats on the new home, Robert. It’s wonderful!

    Prime Location

    God only knows how long the dust has lain—
    weeks, months perhaps, dust covers hanging loose
    on ghostly furniture. Cobwebs announce
    the ownership of squatters—spiders, bugs,
    maybe a mouse or two left to themselves.

    In dusty dryness, floods of memories
    muddy the hardwood floors, blow through the rooms
    stirring old feelings that ache as if new
    of when this house still smelled of paint and hope,
    of starting fresh and making a new life.

    Eyes light upon an image, turn it ‘round,
    record its upside downness, set it right,
    deposit it as memory and light
    within the brain where what was has a name.
    This was my home, but now it’s redefined.

    All residue of family erodes
    and what is here is but a skeleton
    of childhood, although realtors would say
    it has good bones and could be made a home
    with love and care putting the past away.

    I think perhaps it’s time I let it go
    to let another family rejoice
    in it, to let their memories take root
    and bloom in new surroundings, while I fold
    my phantoms small, tuck them away.

    1. drnurit

      “floods of memories” here convey such a powerful bridge from “when this house still smelled of paint and hope,” till “what is here is but a skeleton…” and, yes, although “it’s time I let it go” — it is so very difficult. I know. And I am deeply touched…

  28. Cyrelia J

    Charles Voyer

    There’s a faint rustle
    pollinating bustle
    of awkward hips
    pricking sticky thistle brush
    and burning bush
    and a swear here and there
    through summer’s gaslight night air.

    It’s too warm
    but I transform intestinal butterflies
    with a flutter by camera shutter
    and a wax painted lip mutter
    “smile my Candid Candide Nereid.”

    And never have I ever
    before bore a Car 54
    boxed in backseat
    funnel cake treat.
    But like crime
    and rhyme
    there’s a first time for everything.

  29. Sara McNulty

    Pacific Northwest

    In the living room,
    a fireplace,
    up the stairs,
    an office decorated
    by Lewis Carroll

    and me. Characters
    from Wonder-
    land abound.
    Moved five years ago

    but still enchanted
    by wetlands,
    my writing
    or napping swing, trees, and sense
    of peace around me.

  30. candy

    Advanced Anxiety

    She had nightmares
    the night before
    She dreamed she wore
    only her slip and no one
    on the bus noticed
    She dreamed she couldn’t
    find her locker
    She dreamed the secretary
    wouldn’t give her a schedule
    She dreamed everyone in
    the hallways ignored her
    And in the morning she had
    toast and tea for breakfast
    put on her new skirt and sweater
    her new saddle shoes and went
    out to wait with the other kids
    for the bus to her first day
    of high school

  31. DanielR

    I fought the good fight
    on desert sands of distant lands
    where victories are measured daily
    in the smallest grains of progress
    that get blown away by scorching winds.

    A place where victory is never clear
    and fear taunts me as I fall asleep
    knowing that the day has vanished
    but another just the same will appear
    asking me to risks it all again.

    I wanted to go home but not this way
    with my blood spilled out on foreign soil
    my body mangled, my face unrecognizable
    quiet and still, unable to move or escape
    the darkness surrounding me in this wooden box.

    Daniel Roessler

  32. PKP


    She pries each finger from
    her hand – her nail catches
    on the last one and sticks
    She hisses “Be a big boy”
    She said I would like this
    But nothing smells right
    And still she walks away

  33. Cameron Steele

    55 in July

    Cool enough the first of July
    to keep the sticky windows open
    and send the painters away, leave
    the house chipped for a day or a
    windy morning partly because
    it seems romantic mostly
    for the smell of wood rot
    and cow pies and the sprayers
    crawling like bugs red and green
    high over the beans all mixed
    together into some strange
    air only a midwesterner —
    a real one on the prairie or in
    the middle of nowhere — could love.

    I got used to it, I guess,
    first the cold and how white land
    feels like darkness
    through the slow months of the new year.
    Maybe even came to terms with the scuzzy
    births of calves in Spring and the killing
    of the blind one out back by the barn
    where wild sunflowers hadn’t dared to yellow.
    Not so much his blind eyes
    as his ruined knees that got him
    even though we named
    him Stevie, no one cried
    when the sunflowers found themselves
    wilding once again alone.

    Sudden heat, mid-week in June,
    my midwesterners accepted the surprise
    that bring five-year-old promises
    of scraped boards and new paint.
    Like a gift, I wore a too-small bikini
    from another life, my toes
    spread out against the pasture,
    welcoming sunburn and fresh ticks
    to peel off later. I’m OK with them,
    I guess, the strangeness of my new
    surroundings even on days
    when I can’t breathe for the smallness
    of my chest. Something still might
    feel free.

    Might not either.
    At 55 in July, when I rest my farm-tanned
    hands on the open bedroom window,
    taste this thick world, when I catch sight
    of the calves gamboling across the dugouts
    and splashing through dirty water,
    I think of their eventual slaughters
    and the people I left behind, the bills
    I never paid, wondering when I’ll be caught
    in open air in the middle of nowhere
    stuck like a troubled window
    on an unfamiliar day.

  34. PKP

    In the hallway

    I wake in a hallway
    tied somehow to this
    chair – my hands placed
    decorously on the arms
    someone has painted my
    unfamiliar nails crimson –
    There is movement down
    the hall blurred – eyeglasses
    have gone – apparently along
    with my voice
    stilled in my
    only my nose works
    inhaling the stink of
    fake flower cleaner
    over urine and the
    sweet apricot scent
    of death coming and
    going brushing by
    a soft shoe of souls
    I have time to figure
    it out
    I think

  35. PKP

    Without him…

    The clothes hang in the closet
    Straight and neat
    No towels damp or otherwise
    Litter the marble tile
    Every surface shines
    But beneath
    A heart beats dull
    Without him
    Without him

  36. candy

    Forwarding Address

    Packers wrap dishes and
    linens and art hanging on
    the walls and put the
    accumulation of our lives

    into corrugated boxes that they
    seal tight with sticky tape, then
    mark a location on each with
    black permanent marker –

    guest bedroom, bathroom, family
    room. The acrid chemical smell
    follows them from room to room.
    And when there is nothing

    left but the detritus of us the
    moving truck backs up to the
    driveway and hefty men load
    everything that that isn’t nailed

    down into the cavernous maw.
    We watch as everything but our
    hearts and souls is driven away
    to a new address. And we wave.

    1. drnurit

      We watch as everything but our
      hearts and souls is driven away

      Simply beautiful. We do leave a part of us behind whenever we move forward. So familar… Deeply touched by this poem.

  37. ina


    arms angular woven around
    my torso, twiggy, leafy, waiting for
    bits of down, gum wrappers, odd seed pods
    adding softness and character.
    i am handmade.
    sometimes when it hurts
    i ooze into shapelessness
    a snail back into the smooth inside
    of my skull iridescent
    patterns in stripes like
    the smooth beach after the
    waves have ebbed with
    the sun going down
    that i will never see
    but maybe you can look inside
    after i am gone, leave
    me hollow up
    let the crows pick it clean
    a nest cup left for
    a song bird in which
    its children might sing

  38. PKP

    Okay folks – some terrific work here … be back later to write, read and comment… for now still dedicated to coughing my head off as I’ve been doing for past 10 day!!!! Ugh! ….

      1. PKP

        That ship has already sailed Ina – but will go doctor if this doesn’t pass within the next two days. For now… some writing and reading and commenting :)

  39. Nancy Posey

    Sleepover at Grandma’s

    Waking up in a strange place–
    even Grandma’s house looks strange
    at night to Griffin with shadows
    like puppets peeking through windows,
    floor creaks and door squeaks,
    a different key from those at home—
    he waits without tears for his eyes
    to adjust to the dark, drawing
    on rays slipping under the door,
    soft glow from the night light.
    He feels beneath his covers,
    finds his blanket by touch,
    and submerges once again
    to dreams of goodnight hugs.

    1. PKP

      Oh this is just lovely – love the imbedded rhymes – love the feel of the entire poem – soft as a velvet night – sweet as goodnight hugs … Kudos !

  40. taylor graham


    Every morning I wake in a new place,
    a different angle to the rising sun
    than yesterday. Today it shimmers lace
    of oak leaves, and the webs that spiders spun.
    It lights the piney hill I thought so dark –
    a stucco’d gleam, a house I never saw?
    and from across the creek, a warbling bark –
    new dog? And what’s that raucous caw?
    A different angle to the rising sun,
    how it revises landscape as it goes
    with new surprises, and the old – undone.
    That riot in the wild plum, seven crows;
    I never knew crows lived here. May they leave
    a few ripe plums for me, and I’ll believe
    this magic spell, or some unspoken grace.
    Every morning I wake in a new place.

    1. PressOn

      This has the classic feel of the best blank verse, in my opinion. It feels like something Robert Frost might’ve written, and not better than this.

    2. drnurit

      The title pulled me in, and I enjoyed every single line: What a wonderful way to greet each day – “with new surprises, and the old – undone.” What a beautiful way to poetically present deep ideas…

  41. Marie Therese Knepper

    (I apologize in advance if any take offense to the subject matter in this poem, which is just a take on this weeks new surroundings prompt.)

    A Sacrilege?

    The faithful meet three times a week,
    carrying sacrificial reams to the altar.
    All are welcome.

  42. Azma


    I used to be bloated with pride
    marveling at my own expanding territory
    A master of my whims,
    which no creature dare change
    But then I felt a sharp poke on my back
    which pulled my veins
    and drained them of my dignity
    Now here I am in this cage
    stared at by creatures who walk in twos
    They clean my new land
    but the dirt still troubles me
    They give me the juiciest meat
    But my body trembles with idleness
    They still call me king
    but what king am I
    without my kingdom

  43. PoM

    New Surroundings

    Wednesday’s Poetry Prompt 7/2
    A new way of thinking
    The opening of the mind
    The spirit gracefully leads the way
    And opens the hidden door in my mind
    I reluctantly, slowly
    ease through the threshold
    my entire being merges as one
    Emotion, the spirit the physical
    Together they blend
    With my five beautiful senses
    in euphoric bliss
    The tickling keen tingles
    that consume my spine
    And take me on
    a heavenly trip

    I savor the moment
    diving in head first
    As if time stood still
    in the awe of this would
    I’ve just stepped into
    Then just like that
    I was taken aback
    And the door slammed shut
    In reality I was back
    Overwhelming thoughts
    Of O, There’s so much work
    Affixing this and affixing that
    All must be arranged
    In a meticulous little way
    I pop down in a chair
    Take a slow deep breath
    At all the boxes
    I blankly stare
    One by one
    we’ll get er done
    Creating our new world
    and having some fun.

  44. priyajane

    Old and New

    Old furniture wood
    Memories stored in their grain
    Seasoned for new nooks
    Enhance scented deepened lines
    Of changing traveling time

  45. foodpoet

    New Surroundings

    When the mind is fog soup
    Each day is new
    Surrounded by decayed memories
    And talking heads you don’t recognize

    Each day is new
    Foreign strange with no translations
    Talking heads you don’t recognize
    Say they are daughter husband

    Foreign strange with no translations
    Sometimes a glimmer of what once was seeps in
    Saying they are husband daughter
    You almost know them for a second

    Sometimes a glimmer of what once was seeps in
    Surrounded by decayed memories
    You almost know them for a second
    When mind is fog soup

  46. Hannah

    Making Friends

    Her bouquet is a unique bunch
    not the typical kind
    her posy holds one of each –
    a sprig of this white-wild-frilly one near the fence,
    a purple cluster from the gem-green yard
    the tall-single-stalked mystery near the shed;
    they’re strangers in her hand
    for now.
    Until placed in vase,
    she traces their faces
    finger to page
    counting petals and leaves
    deciphering whether their stems are smooth
    or furry.
    She learns them all by name
    surrounds herself with new acquaintances,
    soon they’re fully identified
    comforting friends fringing the margins –
    new personalities
    peopling her peripheries.
    They’re her familiars now….
    her bouquet is a unique bunch.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    1. PKP

      “peopling her peripheries” is going to be a new favorite line… terrific Hannah – can see each blossom and somehow relate them to living people blooms :)

  47. Michelle Hed

    Home (Shadorma)

    Where things long
    familiar become
    new again
    after a
    vacation which took you far
    away from your space.

    No place is
    as comfortable
    as your bed,
    your pillow,
    and even the familiar
    smells welcome you home.

  48. Connie Peters

    At Girl Scout Camp

    At Girl Scout camp, I explored our new place,
    not leaky tents this time, but bunk-filled dorm rooms.
    I chose the top of the last bunk in the corner
    and unrolled my bed roll with essentials tucked inside.
    I neatly arranged the items at the foot of my bed,
    and hid my novel under my pillow

    In free time, I sought a solitary place.

    The clamor of girls giggling, chattering, singing
    and leaders shouting orders and blasting whistles
    seemed incongruous with whispering pines
    gurgling creeks and chirping of birds and crickets.
    A bridge over the creek harbored a nice cubby hole;
    between games, working on badges, gathering wood,
    singing silly songs, and munching on S’mores,
    I’d hide away there with my book.

    In free time, I sought a solitary place.

    I enjoyed laughing and talking with my friends,
    searching for tinder, kindling and fuelwood,
    roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire,
    making sit-upons and singing songs like
    Make New Friends, Camp Granada, Kumbaya,
    and I Don’t Want No More of this Camping Life, but

    in free time, I sought a solitary place.

  49. Walt Wojtanik


    There is a chill in the air.
    Near ninety outside, but inside,
    there’s this chill.

    Summer Hockey was a curse
    and a blessing and it was
    messing with my psyche.

    But across the way where
    behemoths, played she sat.
    A smile to thaw hearts.

    I started to sweat, hands clammy
    and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t get
    a rise out of me. Nervous laughter.

    After the games we exchanged
    smiles/ hellos/ phone numbers.
    The numbness would go away eventually.

    We made a life for as long
    as life lasted. It flew past on steel blades.
    It made living worth it and does still.

    There was a thrill being around her.
    The sound of her fills me still.
    And then there was that chill!

  50. writinglife16


    There hasn’t been a seismic
    shift in her memory.
    Not a go-to-sleep with walls
    and wake up with without a roof moment.
    More like a slow-moving flow of lava,
    burning up everything she knew.
    Every day the world is new and different.
    She doesn’t know what she doesn’t
    know anymore.

  51. Walt Wojtanik


    There is a newness here
    and it’s unclear how I feel about it.
    I doubt it will be a big difference in this place
    over where we’ve been. It would be a sin
    to sign off without giving it a chance.
    Reserve the “Happy Dance” for another day.

    The floor creaks when we walk here,
    the windows rattle just a little.
    I can’t wait to paint this room, hang these
    pictures / posters / tapestries;
    make it our own. We have outgrown
    our old home, and apart from that
    apartment, this place is Heaven sent.

    A good nights sleep and a fresh perspective,
    is just what is in order. The neighborhood
    noises will take some getting used to.
    You can hear that dog three doors down.
    Across the way, the incessant wind-chime
    may drive me nuts, maybe not.
    We’ve got a lifetime to fit in and accept them.
    But in all, I love this place. It is ours!

  52. CLShaffer

    Sorry if this posts twice. I posted once but do not see it.

    Old Man’s House by C. Lynn Shaffer

    He cannot find his favorite book about
    World War II, his guide to antiques,
    his robe. He’s left us dog food beneath
    the stove, the stove itself, a welcome mat
    that reads Wipe Your Paws, some DNA
    in the hidden places, bathroom drains,
    fingerprints on the stair rail. We
    have spirited away the bed where he took
    his last memory. We are the ghosts.

  53. CLShaffer

    Congrats on your new home–what a beautiful place for you and your family!

    Old Man’s House

    He cannot find his favorite book about
    World War II, his guide to antiques,
    his robe. He’s left us dog food beneath
    the stove, the stove itself, a welcome mat
    that reads Wipe Your Paws, some DNA
    in the hidden places, bathroom drains,
    fingerprints on the stair rail. We
    have spirited away the bed where he took
    his last memory. We are the ghosts.

  54. break_of_day

    the porch is painted now,
    crisp and fresh as a daisy in spring
    the front and back doors are dark green,
    no longer peeling and cracked in that faded ugly greenish brown
    and though a thunderstorm brews in the sky
    the doors will be able to take the beating when it comes

    the floors are shining hardwood, the furniture perfectly placed
    and there’s even a breakfast nook,
    which I always wanted,
    and when the rain streaks against the windows on the outside
    I am inside and the sound of the rain is beautiful
    while I drink coffee and pull my cardigan tight

    and the basement doesn’t leak
    but there’s still a sound, anyway
    at first I think it’s coming from next door, knock-knock,
    pause, then louder, that knock-knock-knock again,
    then I realize it’s at the door of my half-finished, leak-proof basement
    and I have brought my demons with me

  55. break_of_day

    “faded life”

    same chair, creaking and cat-scratched
    same Facebook friends, flat-faced but secretly full of life
    the hastily made bed,
    the half-charged iPad mini,
    the complete clothing transformation upon arriving home
    from work,
    all the same

    except me
    tired now, in a new way, the weight of work never quite lifting,
    the chair and the bed inviting but not enough,
    friends ever distant,
    comfort elusive no matter the clothes I wear
    and tomorrow
    to work I return

  56. Hannah

    Congratulations, Robert, Tammy and little poet family!! So happy for you all…a beautiful new home and many blessings to you all in it!! :)’s

    Your poem brings contrast and awareness to just how swift this shift can be. Nicely captured.