Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 270

For this week’s prompt, take the phrase “Blame (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include “Blame it on the Rain,” “Blame Yourself,” “Blame the Bad Guys,” and so on.

Simple as that. Or is it? I don’t want anyone blaming the prompt for being mean to each other in the comments. Agree to disagree if you must, but please be respectful of each other. I know everyone can do it!

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Here’s my attempt at a Blame Blank poem:

“blame nothing”

the wind might’ve carried it
to the river that pushed it
miles downstream & maybe it

was all dumb luck then that it
ended up with her & it
led her to call about it

but he can only blame it
on himself that he claimed it
was wrong (when he did mean it)

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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 the author of Solving the World’s Problems. His collection has recently been named an Editor’s Pick by Crab Creek Review, and he has a new poem in the latest issue of Dressing Room Poetry Journal (click here to read).

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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340 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 270

  1. Christina9331

    I hope this isn’t too late of a post! But I really enjoyed the prompt and signed up just to post. First time sharing! Please – let me know what you think.

    Blame it on losing yourself

    Make another drink
    Take it down with ease
    Force yourself to the brink
    And prove you’re not a tease
    No need for regrets, because
    You can always blame it on the buzz

    Take another puff
    Score another blow
    Show him you’ll never get enough
    No matter how far he wants to go
    But there’s no need to sigh
    You can always blame it on the high

    Listen a little closer
    Try not to smile a little too wide
    He keeps swearing he doesn’t go to her
    So stop thinking he has something to hide
    Make it look easy, don’t let him hear your cries
    You can always lose yourself in his lies

    Press it under your tongue
    Try to say the things you’ve been unable to say
    Too bad your pretty song has already been sung
    And the diamonds won’t take your fears away
    But no matter how hard it seems
    You can always lose yourself in your dreams

  2. @save1star

    blame mother
    discretion or digression of whom
    thrust you into this lot
    let you sit, rotting
    on candy and commercial jingles
    held your hand a bit too tightly
    coaxed you, toddling toward failing
    future without her
    faulted sensitivities

  3. Julieann

    Blame Someone Else

    I live on food stamps
    And in government housing
    It’s not my fault I don’t
    Have a job and look for a handout

    My clothes come from salvage stores
    That don’t deal in classy labels
    It’s not my fault I don’t
    Dress like a million dollars

    I can barely write my name or read
    And math and science are beyond me
    It’s not my fault I failed school
    It didn’t mean a thing to me

    Mom and Dad, I didn’t know them
    Foster homes and the street were my family
    It’s not my fault I don’t know how to love
    No one loved me along the way

    And yet, others in the same situation
    Make what society calls a success of themselves
    It’s not my fault they think they are
    Better than the rest

    Why should I work, why improve my education
    I’m getting by just fine
    It’s not my fault the decisions I make
    The blame lies with someone else

  4. cakesbycarla

    Blame Me

    I suppose I deserve it,
    everything,
    even your umbilical cord,
    came from me.
    Why not all your mistakes,
    heartaches and misfortunes?

    You think it’s easy?
    Pregnancy was the apex
    before the downward spiral.
    Even delivery was less difficult
    than raising you.

    Please, forget all those nights
    I stayed awake, holding your
    fever ridden body,
    worried and praying for you.

    Or all those times,
    I kissed a scrape
    or listened to you cry
    because of some
    playground injustice.

    Don’t worry about me,
    I have gotten over
    all the dreams
    that I will never live
    because I was too busy
    being your mother….mostly.

    By all means, carve out
    a big fat space in your precious
    schedule,
    so you can tell your therapist
    how your unsatisfactory life
    is my fault.

    Please, blame me.

    It will be just another thing
    to add to the long list
    of things you’ve wanted
    that I have given you…

    1. BDP

      There’s relentless sameness here. I like that you kept the anger steady and that the last stanza tops the anger off. Yet, we don’t give up easily, even while surrendering: the “nothing will change” feeling carries with it a smidgen of hope. “Please, blame me” (second to last stanza) means both “please, do” and “please, don’t.”

  5. PKP

    Just Leave Mame Out Of It

    You could blame it on weather
    You could blame it on dust
    You could blame it on whatever you must
    You could blame it on temperament or
    hormones or such
    You could blame it on apparitions
    oh you could blame all on so much
    It does not much matter the content
    of blame
    the fingers
    will point
    the intent
    to shame
    which is not a game-
    ender as too many proclaim
    this spinning blue marble
    that we all for a time share
    too lately sloughs off the
    shame that it must bear
    So forget the excuses the
    the rationales the evasive
    runs and the whining-on rants
    and if you are to blame
    pull up your big girl and big boy
    responsibility pants

  6. BDP

    “Blame It on the Wind, Grandmother”

    Your only brother was teen oarsman when your sister,
    five years his younger, stood and spread her coat, her sail.
    The boat, across the lake in sunlit humid shimmer,
    rocked gently, so it seemed at first, then faster, wild,
    time spilled, your father ran, if she’d just sit! Until
    over the hull tipped, thrashing, emptiness of water.
    Townspeople found him, arms stretched taut to break her hold,
    her drowning choke upon his neck, in hope to thrust her

    off but she killed them both. Your dad dove in and swam
    the white-capped waves—your mom and siblings up on shore,
    watching. They sank quick, though through the years slow—great aunt,
    great uncle. Clipped-out, yellowed news backs up the lore.
    “Wear your life vest!” you always warned us grandchildren.
    We yet wish that his swift strokes will save them.

    –Barb Peters

  7. TPN

    First post! I’ve been reading many of your poems for weeks now (enjoyed all of them!). Thought I’d finally submit one of my own.

    Family Tree

    I blame every sodden ancestor,
    Their improbable romance.
    Their fates decided by the stars, so
    Future set by circumstance.

    With an ‘n’ for their generation,
    Two raised to the ‘nth’ degree.
    So many are their ordered ranks, they’re
    Practically infinity.

    With their genes a muddled cocktail drink,
    Just a dash of this and that.
    Thinning hair at twenty-eight? Their fault!
    I guess I’ll just wear a hat.

  8. lionetravail

    Blame Entropy

    Monday mornings, chief province of armchair quarterbacks,
    offers me insights into Clausius’ equations,
    Boltzmann’s constants,
    Maxwell’s demons.

    Stochastic statistics demonstrate clearly
    that the universe is rushing headlong
    to unexciting stasis.
    I’m already there, waiting to greet it.

    The week seems daunting from this Monday vantage,
    even the day itself insurmountable,
    as Sunday’s happy energy has dropped
    to a highly disappointing ground state.

    I blame entropy, while remaining ever hopeful
    that the first coffee will restore optimistic outlook.

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      Interesting that Sunday’s energy dropped to a disappointing ground state, while Monday’s energy depends on a stimulating ground state.

      :)

      You should submit this for publication; a contest, perhaps?

      1. lionetravail

        Marie, that’s just brilliantly clever- I didn’t even think of it that way! I think you’ve given me more credit than I deserve, so thanks! Heh

  9. griff35

    Blame the one you see

    everyday you can see the one to blame

    yet everyday you play the game

    today will be different you say

    but remember you’ve said that a thousand times before

    how can I say it? when will I do it? these are your thoughts that linger on

    maybe tomorrow my courage will come?

    would it be better if tomorrow never came?

    to be released from this prison of knowing the truth

    if I could only blame the one I see

    look now in the mirror, your courage has finally come

    take your stand! go ahead and say it!

    I blame the one I see

  10. Clae

    If It Helps

    Blame me
    I don’t mind
    really
    In one year
    no one will care
    what happened here
    Tomorrow I won’t care
    So if it makes
    you feel better
    go ahead and
    blame me

  11. shellcook

    Blame It On The Evening Sun

    Blame It On The Evening Sun
    whose rays must surely know
    the colors of such sweet landscape
    beneath the Super Moon,

    where dead men rest
    and hard men toil
    their dreams and still
    remembered ways
    twixt this heaven and
    weathered hell.

    Whisper, whisper
    in their ears
    those years were better
    still.

    Those bitter hard and lean years call
    their voices soft as silk
    live here, live here, they cry,
    to sweet evening breeze
    whose whispered answer wounds today
    taking yester’s starlit dreams.

    Regret, bedecked in evening wear,
    do not serenade to me.
    I will. take. each. day. I. have.
    I will live in just. each. now.
    while children watch the stars with joy
    I am with them there.

    Copyright 2014@Anne Michelle Cook

    1. PressOn

      This is a good example of what I mean by this site being a place to learn. The use of periods in the last stanza is a piece of creativity that startles me, yet it works so well.

    2. Marie Therese Knepper

      I’ve read your poem 3 or 4 times now, and each time glean something new and interesting. Would that more of us would listen to nature sounds.

  12. grcran

    Blame in on Death

    I been missing you before I even met you
    I am hurt by you before you even leave
    I’m your widower before you even die there
    I’m your earthquake victim right before you heave

    Wound won’t heal unless it gets fresh air
    Wound so tight it’s bound to make me sick
    Won’t you deign to visit just a smidgen
    Won’t pretend here I can do arithmetic

    None and one make zero in the loss of better half
    None of it adds up can’t go forward can’t go back
    Derailing part of learning leaning out of balance
    Continue. Hope. Avoidance of anxiety attack.

    Ending isn’t. Words convey some tinny part of this
    Struggle of return to where life has some little bliss.

    by gpr crane

    1. PressOn

      This whole poem gives me the feeling of “wound so tight.” Tension comes through to me it its almost-staccato lines. Very effective writing, in my view.

  13. Marie Therese Knepper

    Blame Who
    by Marie-Therese Knepper

    Who let the dog out.
    Whodunit.
    Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
    Who’s sorry now.
    Who cares.

  14. JohnLY

    BLAME IT ON FATE

    I worked very hard to get over the blight,
    Then to fashion a quill that would actually write.
    Pick the feather up and begin to sharpen
    The end into a perfect nib.

    An inkwell full of Indian ink,
    Jet black and smooth almost velvet in texture,
    Next a parchment that was specially prepared
    To record the unfolding events.

    The seers and prophets had forecast the end
    Of the world as we know it is nigh,
    They say the information was revealed,
    From prophetic knowledge of old.

    The sands of time have passed by the mark,
    When we should be part of the past
    The star in the North is still burning
    The light is overcoming the dark.

    Why is the end of the world so late?
    I measured the sands and counted the days,
    The solar and lunar forecasters will state
    Scientific evidence will blame it on fate.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo, All rights reserved.

  15. Marie Therese Knepper

    Blame My Ignorance
    by Marie-Therese Knepper

    A blue ribbon really
    not for me
    honorable mention perhaps
    I can’t see what they see

    The maven novice
    my empty reflection
    on the outside looking in
    two way mirrors.

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      Perhaps it’s just me, but in reading over my poem I see that the subject could be taken completely opposite my original intention.
      I am not a seasoned writer/poet. I’m learning my craft. Sometimes I feel like I’m standing in an art gallery, only instead of artwork, poems and other writings are on display. I find myself lost in what others consider masterful. For instance, I don’t see the genius in most of Picasso’s art, and yet his works are highly coveted.
      I wrote this poem from the aspect of someone – me – walking through a gallery/art show, looking at paintings in wonder, feeling lost and alone, seeing beauty in many things that have no audience, while trying to see beauty in what does not please my eye, or soul. Hence, the feeling of being on the outside looking in.
      MTK

      1. TomNeal

        The poetry posted on this board is of a varying quality.

        The poetry of a novice might justly receive praise that is withheld a more accomplished journeyman poet. I would not praise “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” in the same way that I praise “Hamlet”. The first is a work that shows promise, and the second is a work of promise realised. It would be mean spirited to damn the “Two Gentlemen” for not being “Hamlet”. It is far better to encourage the young Shakespeare (novice poet) to keep writing, than to find fault, and so it is on this board.

        More experienced poets (posting here) seem use prompts to experiment, and to generate first drafts. These poets may be seeking technical feedback, and though this feedback might seem light on praise (in comparison to that offered a novice), it is really praise of the highest order: their poetry is being read and taken seriously.

        What I find remarkable about this board is the goodwill that is expressed to all poets regardless of their level of achievement. (William deserves a round of applause for that.)

        One last thought regarding your Picasso comparison: it may be apocryphal, but Picasso reportedly said, “When I was three I painted like Rembrandt, and now I paint like this.” Picasso mastered his craft before he (knowingly) broke its rules. The parallel with poetry: there is a difference between deliberately leaving a poem unpunctuated, and not knowing how to punctuate a poem.

        Your own poetry is quite accomplished. I always read it, and I am always instructed by it. I think you are more seasoned than you admit. :-)

        1. Marie Therese Knepper

          I had never enjoyed reading Shakespeare’s work until I started taking my own writing seriously.
          What I take away from your words is that I need to see as well as feel.

  16. drnurit

    Don’t Blame the Ways of the World…

    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    Don’t blame the distance.
    With your eyes closed,
    move inward. Summon the
    image of the place we loved
    and meet me there.

    Don’t blame the passing years.
    Rewind. Hold on to the part
    of us that was magic.
    Weave threads of good
    memories into your tapestry.
    Feel Earth move again.

    Don’t flee the empty rooms.
    Stay. Let the emptiness linger
    beside you like a shadow.
    The way out is
    through the longings.
    Learn to love them too.

    Don’t let the rough winds
    blow you here and there
    over seas of despair.
    Dive beneath the ashes
    to recover the beauty
    you still remember.

    Don’t blame the silence.
    Or me. Or you.
    Or the ways of the world.
    Go past the blame
    to what is still pure and
    untouched in yourself.

    Summon up memories and
    arrange them like a curator.
    Crop. Enhance. Retouch.
    Let the images move you.
    Replay. Revisit. Relive.
    Sense the wonder. Savor
    the offerings of the past.

    1. TomNeal

      Dive beneath the ashes
      to recover the beauty
      you still remember.

      As I have mentioned before, there is a healthy minded quality to all of the poetry you have posted- it’s a Wordsworthian quality I admire.

      This poem has something to offer both the occasional and the critical reader. The lines above illustrate my point. The surface reading is easily understood (and satisfying), but there is more. The reader is urged to “recover” “the beauty”. To “recover” is to return to a normal state [of mind]. Ashes are often linked to death and destruction. One need only consider “ashes to ashes” in the funeral service, or the horror of WW2. These lines challenge the reader to reject these seeming realities as the ultimate reality. However to do this one needs to reject despair and “still” “remember” (to become mindful/aware once again of past). The memory is still there, but it must be brought to mind (“summon up memories”. This is a poem that will richly repay the one who puts a little extra effort into its reading it.

      Well done!

      1. TomNeal

        The memory is still there, but it must be brought to mind (“summon up memories”). This is a poem that will richly repay the one who puts a little extra effort into its reading.

      2. PressOn

        As I have been doing. This poem invites re-reading, I think; and yet its most memorable lines, so to speak, are the one-word sentences (or commands) interspersed throughout. I think it’s excellent.

        1. drnurit

          Thank you very much, William, for taking the time to not only read but re-read, and for your interesting comment regarding the one-word sentences: I just re-read the poem myself and noticed the passionate intensity of my gentle “commands”.

      3. drnurit

        Once again, Tom, thank you very much for taking the time to illuminate my words for me. True, I am pulled by a duality of simplicity and complexity in poetry: a surface reading of person-to-person messages − using simply words to portray recognizable human experiences, combined with more compound and more subtle levels of meanings. Personally, you summarized my life philosophy more eloquently than I could: continually moving in the direction of the light – while embracing all that was, and while remembering that the way out has to pass through the dark rooms… I am truly grateful for your support and for your very wise interpretations.

      4. PKP

        Tom – Beautiful and insightful commentary… I agree whole-heartedly. Nurit is slowly beginning to acknowledge what a truly magnificent talent she does possess – absolutely Wordsworthian quality. :)

  17. PressOn

    BLAME GAME

    I think that the process of blaming
    is sort of a process of gaming:
    if all can suspect me
    no god can protect me
    from foul and persnickety naming.

  18. Marie Therese Knepper

    Blame It On The Bossa Nova II
    credit to RuthieShev

    I read a poem the other day
    a poem that took on a life of its own
    and squatted in my subconsciousness

    Ruthie said Blame It On The Bossa Nova
    so that’s what I did, and still do,
    as even now I hear the refrain over and over and over again –
    Blame it on the Bossa Nova.

    I’m distraught and distracted
    wondering if Weil and Mann foresaw
    their Bossa on the Poet’s Top 40

    I do thank you, Ruthie,
    for helping me recall precious memories and
    pleasing rhythms. If you’d chosen a Beiber song
    I’d be singing a far different tune

  19. taylor graham

    BLAME’S A SHELL GAME
    for Elihu Burritt, 1863

    You walked seven hundred miles
    to the northern shore at Caithness to find – what?
    a common granary built of sacred stone;
    the House of John O’Groats demolished to create
    a storehouse for threshed grain.

    Imagine a family of eight grown men bickering
    like baby-twins in bibs over who sits where
    at the table. It almost turned celebration
    into feud. John’s solution: an octagonal house
    with a door on each side, octagonal table
    where eight could equally eat, drink, be merry.

    Mythic walls dismantled now for a granary.
    You walked so far to get here, and you won’t be
    disheartened. In your mind, you pencil-in
    the old foundation, all that’s left of a house
    dedicated to peace and good sense.
    You fill your pockets with “Groatie buckies” –
    discarded cowry-shells that once held life.

  20. lionetravail

    Blame Sex

    I find that I look with distaste,
    at the fat which is bulging my waist.
    And my two kissing thighs
    have near doubled in size-
    Why? ‘Cause I only run when I’m chaste!

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