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Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 275

For this week’s prompt, write an upside down poem. Of course, the poem could be about something (or someone) being physically turned upside down, but it could also be a symbolic reversal of the roles or change in how things are commonly done. Or you can just write a poem, print it out, and yes, turn it upside down. Poem as you will.

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Here’s my attempt at an Upside Down Poem:


the final shot fired
& everyone raced

to pack their guns
& disarm bombs

before rushing to
the town squares

for the musicians
& poets ready

with their songs
& poems & dance

& grudges fell
away like clothes

so that no one
remembered why

the first shot fired


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Robert has been a featured poet at events across the country and is married to poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets. He’s written and shared more than 600 original poems on this blog over the years.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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414 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 275

  1. jorc709

    Upside down

    She’d been walking upright

    For quite some time.

    Gravity worked for her

    Kept her grounded, so to speak

    No floating away for her

    Head on straight, she faced each day

    Wearing her completeness

    Like a badge of honor

    No silly tumbling, bumbling

    No head over heels and

    upside down would never do

    One day she floated

    Just around cloud nine

    Wondering how while

    Held upright

    She had managed to fall

    but love had its own

    Universe of rules

    And upside down

    Was simply ok

    After all


  2. rlhZbdPOET

    Our World

    “Much Madness is divinest Sense—”
    Emily Dickinson

    Our world is insane, but most aren’t aware,
    for it takes a divine madness to see
    through the pleasing façade of sanity.

    Masses ignore all the death and despair
    because they have no bodies to bury.
    Our world is insane, but most aren’t aware,
    for it takes a divine madness to see.

    We glorify shame, and sterilize prayer.
    Old wisdom is heaved among the debris
    as hip shepherds steer us where we should be.
    Our world is insane, but most aren’t aware,
    for it takes a divine madness to see
    through the pleasing façade of sanity.

    RL Hodges

  3. BDP

    “Living Assisted”

    Not upside down exactly, but she knows
    her life’s wrong somehow, presses her cold palms
    around her son’s clasped hands as if she chose
    a prayer for him to warm, a homing psalm

    for her, and every time he comes, he’ll help
    her find the path back, she just has to lay
    one cheek upon his arm. She’s more the whelp:
    thin, learning. He’s wise, hair filigreed gray,

    while hers is newborn white. This much she sees:
    she’s lost, though she exists. Hope’s flaming out,
    but light reflects her from the mirror. She’s
    herself, right? Look—that strange man has no doubt.

    He kisses goodbye-mother, pats her chair,
    leaves. Soon she stands, wanders off, not sure where.

    –Barb Peters

      1. shethra77

        Oh my gosh, I was so drawn in by what was happening that I did not even notice it was a sonnet! And a good one, too. Very moving–his faithfulness although she can’t remember, her wistful try to be herself.

    1. TomNeal

      He’s wise, hair filigreed gray,

      while hers is newborn white.

      Perhaps “Not upside down exactly,” but upside down.

      This is a moving poem. Its pathos is overwhelming.

  4. drnurit


    By: Nurit Israeli

    It catches her eye, as she
    glances at her calendar
    unwittingly. Yes, there it is −
    that small but ominous cloud
    threatens to obscure the sun.

    Yes, just a check-up then too
    when lightening struck,
    an unexpected flash −
    sharply dividing her life
    into a before and an after.

    Yes, it will be the same blue
    gown. The same cold, over-lit
    room, with sterile chrome
    and the antiseptic air
    of that other world.

    Please, let this cloud pass.
    Yes, let her greet a pure
    vivid horizon once more –
    see the expanse of the sky
    with new clarity.

        1. icandootoo

          Actually, heading into a checkup tomorrow and I was reflecting this afternoon that I couldn’t express my feelings any better than this poem did.

          1. drnurit

            Good luck with your check-up, Naomi. May this cloud pass, and may you greet a pure horizon once more… So glad I succeeded to express feelings relevant to both of us…

    1. TomNeal

      On the surface this poem presents a straightforward narrative, but there is more than surface to this text. The “cloud” in the first stanza introduces one of poetry’s most protean images. In literature one finds “storm clouds gathering”, “cloud computing”, Elijah’s “cloud like a man’s hand”, and Shakespeare’s Prince Hal’s “base contagion clouds”. All of these admittedly faint allusions (offered up by text and tradition, if not the poet) help shape the reader’s perception of the first stanza cloud. However, the most intriguing possible cloud allusion is found in Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides”:

      clouds got in my way.

      I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
      From up and down and still somehow
      It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
      I really don’t know clouds at all

      The cloud found in the first stanza of “Check-Up is allusive, elusive, and illusive. It seems to have the property (at least in potential) of a nocebo- “a harmless substance that creates harmful effects”. The second stanza lightening is real (not just in the head), yet linked to the ethereal, but “ominous” cloud in the first stanza. This reading makes the prayer like petition found in the final stanza even more urgent than it may appear to be at first glance.

      Well done

      1. drnurit

        Thank you very much, Tom. Your willingness to take the time to thoroughly read and offer instructive comments is much appreciated! Thanks for this short journey through the poetic use of clouds. I often think about the power of nocebos, but glad that the power of belief can not only harm, but also heal. I love that reading and writing poetry can be a cathartic experience, that the images produce emotions that can even manifest in physical sensations.

  5. icandootoo

    This prompt got me thinking about the promises of Isaiah 2:3-4 and the realities of the situation in the Middle East. Here is my upside down prompt:

    by Naomi Poe

    They beat our plowshares into swords,

    Then into guns.

    And then to bombs.

    And all the while they promised peace,
    with milky tongues & honeyed words,
    while we had less and less to eat.

  6. Bruce Niedt


    She loves to tilt her head back over Daddy’s lap
    so her year-old eyes can take in everything
    from a new perspective, a topsy-turvy world

    where faces have mouths on top and eyes on bottom,
    where furniture hangs from the ceiling
    and chandeliers sprout from the floor.

    Not scared or disoriented, she sports a wide, amused smile,
    as though impressed that such a simple position
    could jumble her world into this improbable,
    inverted playground.

  7. Michelle Hed

    The Upside Down Child

    I want to walk on the ceiling
    but this thing…
    called gravity –
    prevented me from doing it.

    I thought about how I could
    walk on the ceiling.
    Turning the house upside down was a good thought
    but I would have to be superman
    and it would make a terrible mess,
    Mom would not be happy.

    Flying would be a good one
    but I only fly in my dreams
    or again, if you are superman,
    which I’m not.

    The whole superman thing
    or having to have powers of some kind
    was really starting to bug me.

    I was dinging around in my room
    and noticed my hand mirror laying on the floor…
    reflecting the ceiling.

    I picked it up
    and with the reflection as my guide…
    proceeded to walk around my entire house
    as if I was walking on the ceiling!

    Stepping over every doorway arch,
    skirting around light fixtures…
    pretending my family and all the furniture
    were actually upside down…not me.

    I was happy.
    I walked on the ceiling several times that winter…
    my only power, my mind.

  8. Cynthia Page

    Chin Up

    I learned the upside
    of being put down:
    There are limits to pride
    but no limits for clowns.
    Some prefer to chide,
    and some hide their frowns
    behind professing to guide.
    But I’ve hit my stride,
    and I’ll ignore any snide
    remarks. I’ll just glide
    on with my downside up.

  9. Marie Therese Knepper

    Ain’t Nobody Can Keep An Up Man Down

    Ain’t nobody can keep an up man down.
    You can try, but you’re just wastin’ your time.
    He’s up on your down stroke; you’re prose, he’s rhyme.

    Taking his life like a verb not a noun,
    He’s seems not to age; he’s always in his prime.
    Ain’t nobody can keep an up man down.
    You can try, but you’re just wastin’ your time.

    Some days you might catch him sporting a frown.
    Got caught in your jet wash – covered in rime.
    He’s soon back on top: Master of his clime.
    Ain’t nobody can keep an up man down.
    You can try, but you’re just wastin’ your time.
    He’s up on your down stroke; you’re prose, he’s rhyme.

    by Marie-Therese Knepper

    1. BDP

      Love this line and its position within the form: “He’s up on your down stroke; you’re prose, he’s rhyme.” Paints poets as an optimistic bunch, even if we might frown now and then.

        1. TomNeal

          It has been said of Boehme that his books are
          like a picnic to which the author brings the words
          and the reader the meaning. The remark may
          have been intended as a sneer at Boehme, but it
          is an exact description of all works of literary art
          without exception. Northrop Frye

  10. James Von Hendy

    Posted this over in Madrigal-land, too.


    He swings between extremes. One day he’s up,
    The next he’s down. He’ll tell you nothing’s wrong,
    That life’s a prison, hard, and he’s its song.

    It’s true he croons on sunny days. His cup
    Of glee is overwrought and spills headlong.
    He swings between extremes. One day he’s up,
    The next he’s down. He’ll tell you nothing’s wrong,

    The clouds he wears reflect the day’s dark wrap,
    The truth of life behind the bars. He’s strong,
    He says before his tears begin to throng.
    He swings between extremes. One day he’s up,
    The next he’s down. He’ll tell you nothing’s wrong,
    That life’s a prison, hard, and he’s its song.

    1. BDP

      Really nice, James, both in subject matter and use of form. I have a friend who’s bipolar, and this feels like an accurate thumbnail description of how he lives (at least from my outside looking in). He’s aware of the prison, the disease, and yet he sings as much as possible, sometimes overly cheerfully. After knowing him for a year or so (this was 25 years ago), he handed me “Darkness Visible” by William Styron and said, “This is how I feel.”

  11. jhowe

    Color Dreams

    Would it sell?

    To sell it or to hang it is the question.

    It is ready.

    The framers called.

    I sign my name with a flourish.

    …from certain perspectives.

    It looks pretty good…

    Speckles of color create texture.

    It still needs a little something.

    Detail added with damp strokes.

    Wet on wet background images.

    Reds, yellows and blues awash a brilliant sky.

    Saturate the paper with clear water.

    Prepare my materials.

    Can dreams become art?

    Sometimes I dream in watercolors.

  12. Marie Therese Knepper

    Gettin’ Down With My Up Side

    Sittin’ on the park bench
    Me and me get to thinkin’
    How we oughta be more
    And less down

    See that puddle over there?
    Let’s go stomp in it
    Take a romp in it
    Frolic and fromp in it.

    Here comes the rain – again
    I say to myself.
    My self says to me
    So what. Who cares.
    Let’s go for a run
    It’ll be fun!

    Shoppin’ at the Kroger’s
    Me, myself, and I
    Oh – they’re playin’ oldies!
    My cart’s my prop
    We’re dancin’ in the aisles

    Takin’ the party outside load and
    hip hop into the van
    We’re the man!
    Cr-cr-crank it up
    The road’s our Woodstock.

    Home’s my prison…
    Light’ll do the trick
    Open the windows
    Twerkin’ with the dust bunnies
    Who cares what the neighbors think.

    Itchin’ for a good fight
    Time for Palin and Cleese
    We need that release
    Just like The French Men
    Need a good spankin’

    Yawnin’ at the vanity
    We had a good day
    Didn’t we
    You’re always there for me
    – mwah –

    Marie-Therese Knepper

  13. MsGenuineLady

    “One Night Stand”

    Our bodies collided,
    But it was no accident,
    Even if our alcohol intake was over the limit,
    We never drove anyways,
    But we did move a little too fast
    Hours passed like seconds,
    The white moon transformed into the golden sun,
    And night became morning,
    Lovers united were now strangers divided
    And everything right was left upside down.

  14. grcran

    remaining that way

    if he were to upside down this one
    then you know it’d break his heart
    but since it was broken so severely several times
    does that even really matter
    no question
    this is comedy
    tragicomedy and yes it doesn’t matter

    hanging by his feet suspended by his own fictional skyhook
    he pleads for assistance
    of course none is forthcoming
    if you discount the hooting of the owl

    blood running to his head, then,
    he consults his horoscope, and
    what does it mean, when you’re upside down
    he remains that way

    by gpr crane

  15. Cynthia Page

    His Upside

    He hung from his bent knees
    wrapped around a limb.
    See, this is how bats live,
    he told me. He was six;
    I was four. He showed
    his sophistication by
    climbing trees and displaying
    his knowledge of the world.
    Then he fell on his head.
    His collar bone broke,
    but he would not cry.
    His stoic whimper
    impressed me more
    than all his knowledge.

  16. Azma


    When my chores climb like mountains over clouds
    when time slips like sand from clenched fists
    when tensions circle like vultures over a dying rat
    I think of my son whose tiny hands within minutes
    turns the whole house upside down
    and then
    I bounce back

  17. gmagrady

    The Friendly Lounge

    a corner counter and a stool

    that’s all it took, really, just
    a corner counter and a stool

    and the decadent, local brew—
    that’s all it took, really, just
    a corner counter and a stool

    and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
    or the decadent, local brew—
    that’s all it took, really, just
    a corner counter and a stool

    and the music themed walls, background sounds, books to view
    and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
    or the decadent, local brew—
    that’s all it took, really, just
    a corner counter and a stool

    and the patrons’ charm and chatter over a sip or two
    and the music themed walls, background sounds, books to view,
    and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
    or the decadent, local brew—
    that’s all it took, really, just
    a corner counter and a stool

    What they say about this place is true.
    “You are a stranger here but once,” because of the interesting crew
    and the patrons’ charm and chatter over a sip or two
    and the music themed walls, background sounds, books to view,
    and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
    or the decadent, local brew—
    that’s all it took, really, just
    a corner counter and a stool

    where “You are a stranger here but once”
    at the Friendly Lounge. Cheers to you!

  18. Dennis W

    I Find Myself Home

    I find myself home from a trip to home.
    Seventeen hours there, seventeen back again.
    Stay three days between four alone.

    Highways, restaurants, motels, forever I roam.
    Driving leaves me stiff with some small pain.
    I find myself home from a trip to home.

    I walk to loose stiffness and softly moan.
    Moving yet not moving I sense remains.
    Stay three days between four alone.

    I get pictures of the wedding. Like poems
    They are as clean as a face washed in rain.
    I find myself home from a trip to home.

    I find reason in what I sense as known.
    Simple truth is now just simply plain
    Stay three days between four alone.

    Alone is where poets find a poem.
    Staying is where love and life will remain.
    I find myself home from a trip to home.
    Stay three days between four alone.

    August 15, 2014

    1. Dennis W

      Thank you for your comments. We can have more than one home and in that sense have double meaning for the word. There is also the double sense of the traveler who lives with others in the world, yet is a poet considering Goethe’s notion of isolation as essential in creating poetry. I like the villanelle for content that tends to expand.

  19. RuthieShev

    Upside Down Dolly Silly Poem

    I dropped my little dolly and her head broke off
    My sister sewed it back on for me
    But when I looked her head was upside down
    And I had to stand on my head to see.

    I tried to feed my dolly but she couldn’t eat
    Unless I turned every upside down
    So I fed her standing on my head
    Will the bowl turned completely around.

    I finally got an idea and ran to the fridge
    Got ingredients and started to bake
    A cake so my dolly could it right side up
    Since it was a pineapple upside down cake.

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

  20. Amaria

    had loved you
    in the summer sun
    I would not cry so in autumn
    but before my eyes the leaves changed
    as you departed
    my flowers
    are now

  21. Caren

    All Wrong

    My father sighed as he pushed
    My wheelchair, “It’s not supposed
    To be like this. You should be
    Pushing me.” We both chuckled,
    Still feeling inside that this
    Was all wrong, all upside down.

    Caren E. Salas

      1. RuthieShev

        I really like this. I know people who say that when their children pass before them it is upside down or backwards and this is kind of the same idea. Great job I think.

  22. Sara McNulty

    Italian Restaurant

    Espresso, Italian cheesecake
    baked on the premises, a beginning
    of luscious tastes
    to start our empty canvas.

    Entrées arrive, forks and knives
    click and chime. With background
    of operatic splendor,
    colors sweep our canvas.

    We dine, we sip, our laughter
    echoes and mixes with that
    of other diners.
    A signature is all that remains.

    Sated, elated, we cannot conceive
    of Caesar salad and seeded bread.
    We decline the offer leaving
    an unfinished canvas.

  23. Cameron Steele

    Drop Out

    Are you there, God? Or did
    you leave when I started grad school
    nothing worse than a smart fool

    who thinks she isn’t. I didn’t
    but I’d trade a bible for a poetic rule
    didn’t say prayers, god, didn’t
    even care if you left before grade school.

    Can’t say what changed, got rid
    of a bad heart, a good drink, a little cool,
    really just another girl with a ruler
    to my head and a question for God: Did
    you leave long before the school
    day started or worse: Before the fool got smarter?

    I wrote this and posted it on the Madrigal challenge page today, but thought I’d share here too since this prompt helped inspire it. Hope all of you are well! Start my fully funded position as a masters student in poetry next week and am FREAKING OUT but so excited. thanks to all of you who’ve encouraged me along over the years.

    <3 Cameron

  24. millet


    she had no choice
    but to brush that dream away
    yet the desire taunted her
    nagging, lingering

    like the sand of summer that
    emerges somehow in December
    a few grains not willing
    to let go

  25. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Upside Down UNFUN

    My world is upside down,
    inside out, all about,
    changes inside, changes outside,
    my eyes wide,

    I turn the page, another day,
    do I go, do I stay,
    I want to fly into the sky,
    spread my wings like a butterfly,

    A world away, a new life to start,
    But, then we would be apart,
    You want things to remain…the same,
    which is making me insane,

    Time to settle my mind,
    Turn things right-side-up,
    fill my Dixie cup,
    toast new beginnings.

  26. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Upside Down FUN

    Out to play,
    it’s a new day,
    summer sun,
    the fun has begun,

    Out with friends,
    like bookends,
    age seven,
    more like eleven,

    Out at the playground,
    silly but sound,
    On the merry-go-
    spinning round and round,

    Out on the swings,
    you give me wings,
    another push,
    swoosh, swoosh,

    Out go my arms,
    Out go my legs,
    Hair in the sand,
    Head upside down,
    Playground Clown.

  27. candy

    Slip Sliding

    I thought I was up but I’m not
    Once again with Ma nature I fought
    Looks like gravity won
    With ice skating I’m done
    You can find me inside till it’s hot

  28. De Jackson

    Laugh, Little Dog, Laugh.

    This upside-down world is fleeting,
    bleeding through its own bright starry

    skin, and we have fiddled around long
    enough. You’re made of stronger stuff

    than change and fleeing spoons and moons
    worth leaping. Such sights you’ll see, as

    you make your way over this diddling dish
    -eveled blip. If you catch me on the flip side,

                                              come say Hey.


  29. Jane Shlensky

    I’m having fun with this one, Robert. Thanks.


    We wore trousers
    underneath our skirts
    prepared for recess
    when we could hang
    upside down like bats
    or curing hams from
    highest jungle bars
    and change our point
    of view.

    We’d heard the tale
    of Betty Lane whose
    exploits introduced
    the little boys to
    girlie under things
    and questions about
    differences. No one
    encouraged questions.

    Her down-hanging
    skirt did not quite
    cover her flaming cheeks,
    all that blood and
    realization rushing
    north to her head
    now hanging

  30. De Jackson

    Up, Ended

    She wears her diamond
    on the other hand now.

    Ask her about it and she’ll tell you she still needs it, but it doesn’t feel right on the left. She’ll tell you how she runs her right thumb over it, the sharp places where the facets meet the prongs. She might confess how much she longs for the day it was soft-slid into its proper place. She’ll trace the un-tanned empty finger, perhaps linger as she tells you how it went that other day, the one when the world took her and shook her right out. She knows all about packing black and shaking hands and what to say while accepting casseroles with a smallish grateful smile. She’s still learning how to live alone again, that a frown can be her friend, that tomorrow’s coming anyway.


    1. De Jackson

      I think it actually wants to be a concrete poem. Maybe. **holds breath**

          way and all
      wrong         the
      the                luck
      it                 ran
      hung             right
      they              out.


  31. Jane Shlensky

    Dream Girl

    Sometimes I’m young
    before I wake,
    a skinny girl
    enmeshed in choice,
    my dream a minor turbulence
    of memory awhirl.

    Beloved folks
    I have not seen
    for years put in a cameo
    and test my fledgling
    confidence with all
    I do not know.

    Time wrestles in
    my restless mind—
    I’m treading waters I have crossed,
    my inert body, solid ground
    where seeds of self
    were tossed.

    A second’s visitation,
    bothered dreams,
    distills decades—
    time’s upended,
    life is vivid as a meteor
    before it fades.

    A flutter of eyelids
    and I will wake into
    collected aches,
    but I was young last night
    for what small difference
    that makes.

  32. Connie Peters

    Upside-Down World

    We sadly live in an upside down world.
    Instead of children playing in the park,
    atrocities, and their eyes have gone dark.

    Wars rage, the innocent die, insults hurled.
    The evil laugh, and kill and leave their mark.
    We sadly live in an upside down world,
    instead of children playing in the park.

    Compared to ISIS, whose black hearts are gnarled,
    A. Hitler was a gentleman, a lark.
    What has to happen for our ire to spark?
    We sadly live in an upside down world.
    Instead of children playing in the park
    atrocities, and their eyes have gone dark.

  33. Amy

    My world is upside down now
    Nothing’s the same it’s true
    My life has changed its meaning
    While your life now is new.

    My world is topsy-turvy
    Your room echoes, it’s bare
    My fridge stays full, cabinets replete
    While you live on a prayer.

    My world is inside-out now
    My home no longer yours
    You have your place and I have mine
    So why’s my gladness forced?

    My world now is bottoms up
    My heart echoes, it’s bare
    You have your life without me
    While I live on a prayer.

  34. gmagrady

    The Wanting of Poets

    She evokes in me the wanting of poets,
    a stillness and beauty on verge of escape
    where heart and pen unite and linger
    on words and visions too close to relate.

    I drink in her silence, embrace the pain
    of memories too far gone to negate,
    left only to ponder why she, of all angels,
    chose me to haunt, to bless, to bate.

    She left me singing this lover’s refrain
    and dwells within my woeful state,
    evoking in me the wanting of poets,
    a stillness and beauty on verge of escape.

  35. Tracy Davidson

    Food Critic

    he says
    my upside down pineapple cake
    tastes like shit

    he says
    everything I’ve ever baked
    tastes like shit

    I tell him
    to eat shit and die

  36. TomNeal

    To Grace

    I thought of you as I crossed the river;
    Time itself turned upside down: there became
    Then, and then became there on our sliver
    Of space-time: the forever shared remains
    Of youth. The past present, now my winter
    Sanity, made helpful edits- small changes
    Unnoticed by the audience (my bitter
    Words removed) caused the old scene to splinter:
    In the rewrite only our love remained.

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      …”small changes
      Unnoticed by the audience (my bitter
      Words removed) caused the old scene to splinter:
      In the rewrite only our love remained.”

      These are the lines that keep pulling me back, crossing the river with you into another time…

    2. drnurit

      This is a hauntingly beautiful love poem – it pulled me in and kept me there since the first line describing what seems to be an irrevocable crossing. Very evocative writing. Particularly memorable for me: “our sliver of space-time”, “the forever shared remains of youth”, and “In the rewrite only our love remained”. Thank you for this one, Tom.

  37. Jane Shlensky

    Hour Glass

    She’s sick and tired childhood,
    wants to grow up overnight,
    to make decisions, do her thing,
    and lead her life, all right?

    She doesn’t need a parent’s nose
    in everything she does or hopes.
    She’s fourteen, almost twenty-five,
    time-thwarted, irked, and on the ropes.

    Rushing toward adulthood,
    she wishes her youth away.
    She’s told she will be sorry
    but that will not be today.

    Regret at wasting growing years
    won’t settle in until she’s old;
    she’ll feel an ache of something lost
    that haunts her like the common cold.

    She’ll daydream as she works and plods
    how minutes can be days
    and marvel at the speed of time
    to alter youthful ways.

    By middle age, she’ll reminisce
    about each squandered hour
    she spent impatient to know life
    and understand its power.

    She may be raising kids like her,
    young May flies frenzied by their dance.
    She’ll tell them to relax and play—
    and give childhood a chance.

  38. Cameron Steele

    Upside Down

    Because — does it matter if it’s true?
    the monstrous little bodies of hummingbirds
    threading themselves like Zs through agastache
    and giant hyssop and don’t we all hope it is, crossing
    our fingers against the crosswalks, angling our
    bodies toward sunken gardens, tasting mint on
    our tongues and pretending it’s always been this way?

    Because — at dusk who bears the suffering
    of small bodies without calling it beauty?
    Or we draw up magic from the asphalt
    or from the child darker than our past
    thicker in sweat leafing about the dotted yellow lines
    and it’s tempting to see ourselves in that battered tee.

    Because my heart shuddered beneath its
    foil ribs, because I never played in the middle
    of a street and called it a garden no matter
    how quiet — no matter how cul-de-sacked
    at the end, no matter how far down I went.

    Because now on my heels I feel the heat
    of his blacktop, the little bones of his dancing
    ankles, his belief in god’s breath and fresh spiky
    flowers. Because we are humming like birds, drumming out the body
    of the poet, of what the poet said, we were born for the sun
    but he got to ask why?

  39. James Von Hendy

    The Comedian as the Hangéd Man

    Note: How, in crowds, laughter, too, dies down,
    The fulcrum whereon silence hinges us
    Alone with thought. Contend the vast cavern,
    Its bounding bones, the darkness it makes of light
    Received along the jangled nerves of sight,
    How it swallows sound and echoes, echoes
    What falls away to leave us, and be done
    In. Echo, too, could work a crowd and say
    Nothing of herself. Such maliciousness, the humor
    Of the gods, to let us betray ourselves
    In funhouse mirrors where truth is told.
    We laugh so we do not cry, we cry because we must.

  40. PKP

    Sadly upside down

    this one may seem obvious
    surely many have alread said
    there is something profoundly
    upside down when a gentle
    laughing soul takes his life and
    leaves us dead

      1. PKP

        Pearl Ketover Prilik
        August 12 · Edited
        As I wrote on my FB Timeline on hearing this awful news…

        Robin Williams danced the edge of the abyss …

        Still gathering my thoughts on Robin Williams – who always skipped so quickly – dancing with one foot hanging over the “edge” of the abyss – yet always, always deciding at a very often the last dizzying micro-manic moment to step back…
        until he didn’t …

  41. PKP

    Upside down

    He held me by my ankles and shook
    me up and down –pennies fell from my
    pockets upon the velvet carpet ground
    He held me by my ankles as he shook
    me up and down – laughter rippled as
    never before or since in the silliness of
    that finite three year old world soaked in
    the rich ripples of my grandfather’s sound

    1. PKP

      I truly am so deeply grateful for your stopping and reading and for your comments. I want to thank everyone individually – I shall defer in favor of reading and commenting some more on others tonight. Please accept my appreciation.

  42. shellcook

    The Logic of Outside In

    the upside down,
    the downside in,
    or the downside up
    falls back again

    bump your head against a star
    and you can’t see where you are
    from the bottom to the top
    or anywhere in between

    the in between of it all
    makes gravity hold us together
    gravitas job to keep the downside down
    and the upside up

    often kept together
    with tape and baling wire
    is a perspective
    we have found ourselves in

    a time or two
    or four

    which can no longer be held down
    because it is fragile
    life is so fragile
    the veil is so thin

    and things can swing
    as most things do
    from good to bad
    and back again

    so we do what me must
    to keep the upside in

    but the inside out
    the where from when
    will tear you up
    and down again

    the bother with the outside in
    is how it eats the soul of a man
    when all that is now
    and the then that was when

    once more

    make no sense

    to me


    Anne Michelle Cook

  43. usedname


    Slow finite grains shifted infinite times,
    Quick days, long hours, rich lives,
    Contained in smooth and fragile glass,
    Every time the sand always descends,
    Turned by an ever moving hand.

  44. Amaria

    we changed and turned the world upside down
    yet we find ourselves in the same place
    my pure white dreams have now become brown
    we changed and turned the world upside down
    thinking new scenes would bring me around
    but in the end, that was not the case
    we changed and turned the world upside down
    yet we find ourselves in the same place

  45. Yolee

    Turned Tables

    They were my conservationists up keeping
    the science of love, sustenance, growth and the supernatural
    bond of it all- Until light peered in
    like dawn thru a gauzy curtain.

    Papi and Mami did their best to manage
    routine, meals, discipline, bedtime stories,
    dirty laundry, bruises, cuts, hugs and kisses,
    chores, chores and chores.

    Little by little I broke away to meet up with independence
    until I was lip locked with it every single day. Later
    I got schooled, married, divorced, gave birth
    and birth, remarried and gave birth
    to little souls that comprised a giant life.

    I have to cut this poem off to go to the hospital.
    This time, Mami was admitted.
    She needs my help.

  46. Nancy Posey

    On top of the bottom of the world

    Lying on my back,
    staring into the black hole of the sky,
    stars floating like schools of minnows,
    the earth still warm beneath me,
    I listen for sounds of digging,
    my doppelganger tunneling
    from China through the molten core
    of Earth, simply curious to find
    which side is the top,
    which the bottom
    of the floating globe.

  47. De Jackson

    Standing on Her Head in the Rain

    When the strain of the world looms, un
    -blooms her center places, she stains

    her heart indigo and lets herself go top
    -sy turvy, south to north, heels waving

    at a spilling sky. Try and catch her if you
    will, and bid her spill a secret of her own

    (or two) out into all this space. Trace your
    own song along her toes, suppose she’ll un

    -cattywumpus only by her own bright tune.
    Consider the moon; it knows no up or down

    or east or west or north, just truth. By now
    she’s used to people staring. Just say hi.


  48. Andrea Z

    The World is Upside Down!
    Kids scamper across the playground
    kicking dirt and rocks as they pass;
    I see their upside-down forms
    running where the sky should be;
    how is it that their feet are planted firmly
    on the ground, and they do not float away?
    A boy comes down the slide, and giggles
    why didn’t he fall into the sky
    when he got off the slide?
    After all, the world is upside down now,
    and everyone should be falling into the sky.
    I see a grown-up walking on the playground,
    a Mommy… my Mommy…
    She turns and sees me, and starts walking to me
    it is time to right the world.

    I swing myself up and grab the jungle gym bar
    and untangle my feet
    as Mommy stops in front of me.
    She isn’t upside down anymore.
    I sigh with relief and take her hand
    and we walk to the car.

  49. dhaivid3

    Poem Title: I believe in You

    Oh, how much I believe in me
    And in me more and more every day I see
    How much more like Thee I can be
    The more I believe in Thee the more I see
    All Your Blessings surrounding me
    Reminding me
    Just how much I rely on Thee
    I believe every day You see me
    Hoping someday You’d take me to where You are
    I sit and stare at the midnight star
    Dreaming of Heaven and of Worlds afar
    Smiling until Day Break
    Some nights I lie awake
    And I know You know it too
    Oh, how I believe in You.


    ’tis not quite


    Hey, I like my attempt. Ha ha!

  50. candy

    Inverted Pose

    Head below my heart
    Will improve my health
    So they say

    Increased blood flow to
    The brain stimulates gray matter
    So they say

    Toxins will be flushed
    From various internal organs
    So they say

    Calming, invigorating
    Will banish back pain, sculpt abs
    So they say

    Head below my heart
    Makes me dizzy
    So I say

  51. laurie kolp


    I used to (as a kid)
    stand on my head

    when we visited
    my grandparents

    (much to their

    leaning against
    the velvet chair

    I loved.
    They’d stoop

    real low, turn
    their heads

    and say hello
    with eyes

    a question.
    I wonder why?

  52. candy

    R.I.P. Dear Clown

    We never heard the clown crying
    A smile painted on a silly face
    A look that made us laugh out loud

    We never heard the clown crying
    Antics hid the misery inside
    Jokes covered the struggle

    We never heard the clown crying
    Our sadness lightened
    Our loneliness diminished

    A clown cried out into
    The crowd and no one heard
    Now we cry for the clown

  53. DanielR

    I twist myself up in the vine of life
    until we blend and merge
    and then I arch my back and
    hang upside down, floating in mid-air,
    free but for my barefoot innocence
    woven in its tangled grasp.
    I smile with delight at feeling light
    and blithe. And what I saw before,
    now looks different, shaped by
    a better point of view.

    Daniel Roessler

  54. taylor graham


    Taking up the whole curbside in front of your
    old brownstone: an RV. It’s been there for a
    week. It descended one night as if from another
    world – a couple you met somewhere and soon
    forgot. Think of them as distant, if alien,
    acquaintances – not as predators of your wireless
    connection, your single bathroom, your kitchen
    table. They’re only passing through, but maybe
    on Pluto-time. The man sits on your step eating
    a kiwi. His wife’s inside their home-away-from-
    home, rummaging drawers and cabinets. Your
    small son hangs upside down from the big old
    karob tree, staring as if into the depths of RV.
    The wife emerges, glaring. Two weeks on the
    open road, they have yet to see a sight worth
    mentioning. Your son’s upside-down eyes. Is he
    wondering how long will they stay? And why
    don’t they keep on traveling?

  55. RJ Clarken

    Gravity Defied

    So, if I flip my head backwards, and down,
    while I’m lounging on the living room couch,
    gravity’s defied. On this, I would vouch.

    Suddenly my ceiling is on the ground
    (but just while I’m in this upside-down slouch.)
    So, if I flip my head backwards, and down,
    while I’m lounging on the living room couch,

    the chandelier becomes this well-lit crown
    that can’t fall. Otherwise I might shout, “Ouch!”
    Falling could hurt me: I’d be such a grouch.
    So, if I flip my head backwards, and down,
    while I’m lounging on the living room couch,
    gravity’s defied. On this, I would vouch.


  56. Amy

    This poem commemorates the day my life turned upside down…when my son moved out.

    By Amy Hadley

    I left a dirty glass in his sink
    In his new apartment
    And joked that this was payback
    For the two decades of dirty dishes
    He’d left for me.
    He didn’t see my eyes, brimming with unshed tears.
    He heard only my laughter,
    And not the tremor in my voice.

    The glass was full when he gave it to me,
    As I was full when he kicked within me.
    Slowly, I sipped from it
    Savoring its sweetness
    Needing it to last
    Knowing it wouldn’t.
    My finger traced the condensation running like tears
    Down the transparent sides,
    The dwindling contents within exposed.

    Though the glass is empty now, as am I,
    It can be refilled…I’ve not yet slaked my thirst.
    Many more will be the drinks to follow,
    Infinite flavors sweet and bitter
    To be relished or overcome.
    Even if it cracks, this glass will serve its purpose
    To nourish and hydrate its bearer.
    Chiming, it will resonate with many toasts
    To life well lived.

    I left a dirty glass in his sink
    In his new apartment
    And joked that it was payback
    For the two decades of dirty dishes
    He’d left for me.
    I must say goodbye now
    To the child he had been,
    And celebrate the man
    He has become.
    Here’s to you, Ethan.

    Copyright 6/2014
    Amy Hadley

  57. writinglife16


    Need to shed the old habits
    and irritations too
    I started with the clothes
    and then I thought of you.

    Most of my life
    you helped to hold me up.
    Now you suck the spirit from me
    and I feel stuck.

    So, I need to flip my world
    Like the real estate agents do.
    Turn it upside down
    and stop listening to you.

    p.s. Been in a mood lately

  58. grcran


    she wouldnot couldnot do that thing
    she wouldnot couldnot do
    her life turned upsidedown that day
    a topsy-turvy view
    when rightside left and leftside righted
    whirling dervish dance
    could not believe this thing was turned by
    simple happenstance
    could not believe conception how
    please no not me not me
    with sweat sweet sweat beads on her brow
    knew upsidedown must be
    one step she took one step and then
    another going out
    or was it in? it’s hard to tell when
    upsidedown’s about

    by gpr crane

    1. grcran

      thanks for your comments! this one is actually inspired by my partner’s initial reaction to her being diagnosed with terminal cancer. talk about one’s world getting turned upside down.

  59. barbara_y

    Madrigal Flip

    No double layout half-in twists: a poem
    when you come home again or I come home.
    Just now my heart is all that turns handsprings
    We grin and blow a kiss across the room.
    We pass each other on the fly. Ta-Dum!
    Forty years, or thirty-odd, catching things

    when you come home again or I come home.
    Just now my heart is turning handsprings.
    Some days, we heave love bomb boomerangs
    Some, toss invisible I-love-you rings.

    No double layout twists, but here’s a poem:
    when you come home again or I come home
    just now flips my heart like turning handsprings

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      My motivation: I envisioned someone hanging upside down and trying to right them. Unless the person is helping you, they are basically dead weight. Physically attempting to get someone in an upright position could be exhausting, if not impossible to do on your own.

  60. PowerUnit

    You’re so fat
    You lay down on my dresser like a cow tipping in a field
    Up goes your chin, and your paws
    Dangling in expectation, you almost fall
    Almost slide off onto the old wood floor
    But you know I won’t let that happen
    You know your warm, soft belly draws my fingers
    And your upturned chin demands my knuckles
    What are those teeth for?
    Is that a smile?

  61. PressOn

    Robert, Thank you for your poem. For me, it has a Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie feel to it, and reminds me of the song, Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.

    1. grcran

      absolutely! I agree, William, about the folkiness of this fine anti-war statement… like a great home-brewed tankard of protest mead… I’m getting, yes, some taste of Pete and Woody, with some lingering traces of Joan Baez and early Bob Dylan, plus a slight hint of Carl Sandburg… great American poem!

  62. grcran

    sometimes rain goes uphill

    the rain falls.
    The treeroots upsidedown it to the trunk
    Where the xylem upsidedowns it, often great distances, to each leaf
    Where the leaf upsidedowns it, through tiny pores called stomata, to the sky…
    and the rain falls.

    by gpr crane

  63. grcran

    by gpr crane

    that the one they knew before has gone away and will never return
    I walk out, a different person, friends greet me, not knowing
    and changing, it changes me, I am not the same
    it’s actually gradually changing all the time
    it only seems like it never ends
    it only seems inevitable

    Bottom to Top

  64. annell

    The World Upside Down
    Poseidon a movie
    Your life is not a movie
    And it can be turned
    Upside down
    Wrong side out
    Thrown to the curb
    It can be the slightest thing

    What to do but pick yourself up
    Shake off the dust
    Begin again
    One step at a time
    One day at a time
    You will be disoriented
    Lost even unto yourself

    Look in the mirror
    A stranger looks back at you
    Hear yourself speak
    The voice will not be familiar
    Overnight you have become
    Someone else
    In an upside down world

    August 13, 2014

  65. Mariya Koleva

    I need to write an upside-down poem –
    the moment I spotted the prompt, I rushed
    towards it,
    as I still remember how very often
    I felt like that,
    I remembered how strongly I related
    to the cliché,
    to the awkwardness,
    to the confusion.

    I rushed to open a new word doc
    to simply see:

    my life has stopped its topsy-turvy
    it’s lost its gullible
    and musing edge
    that used to threaten
    to kick me off my balance
    and leave me stranded,
    upside down
    on a barren, unfamiliar piece
    of soul-land.

    I realised my life
    has calmed, has settled down,
    has gained its weight
    and lost its unsteadiness
    that once made me
    on egde,
    afraid of the dark,
    and adventurously

    No upside-down poem
    from me
    this time around.

  66. Cynthia Page

    The Man in the Moon

    Going away into darkness,
    I end where I started,
    Obscured profile only glimpsed.
    I turn slowly, always facing you,
    As light creeps across my curved limb.
    Hidden, you’ll see me if you squint.
    For the half lit face, I spin
    fond memories
    Of my long-eared resident.
    “Green Cheese” he said.

    “Green Cheese,” he said,
    Of my long-eared resident,
    Bringing fond memories
    for the half lit face. I spin.
    You’ll see me if you squint
    As light creeps across my curved limb.
    I turn slowly, always facing you,
    Obscured profile only glimpsed,
    I end where I started,
    Going away into darkness.

  67. DanielR

    Large yellow umbrellas
    deflect the silver rain
    keeping dry the blue-haired
    woman underneath,
    but when turned upside down
    by mischievous grandchildren
    it collects the falling water
    like pockets gather lint
    leaving Grandma red-faced
    in the middle of the storm.

    Daniel Roessler

  68. DanielR

    I stared at the pixel glow
    of my computer screen
    trying to make sense
    of twisted headlines
    and distorted truths
    until finally I stood
    upon my aching head
    turned upside down
    like our world.

    Daniel Roessler

  69. PKP

    Empty Arms

    there you slid from me
    into my arms wet wriggling
    new tears on our faces
    I held you tight

    now you slid from me
    out of my arms – wriggling words
    etching tears on my face
    I hold you back within