Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 285

For today’s prompt, write a foundation poem. This could be a poem that reinforces a solid foundation of morals and high ideals. Or it could be about a foundation in the organizational sense (Arthritis Foundation, CDC Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). Or heck, write a poem about pouring a concrete foundation.


Write a poem for a chance at $1,000!

Writer’s Digest is offering a contest strictly for poets with a top prize of $1,000, publication in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a copy of the 2015 Poet’s Market. There are cash prizes for Second ($250) and Third ($100) Prizes, as well as prizes for the Top 25 poems.

The deadline is October 31.

Click here to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at a Foundation Poem:


Fred was the first name of my fictional
older brother who when put in the same

unique situations as I was could
never seem to avoid ultimately

dying. Knives killed Fred, so did plastic bags
and even the toilet when it was flushed

too often and now that I have children
it appears Fred has been resurrected

only to come to the same grisly ends
never once learning the lessons we did.


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 newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He has found that a good acrostic sometimes can be the perfect cure for a case of writer’s block.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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161 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 285

  1. shellcook

    The Cabin I Left Behind

    The foundation stands firm and true
    strong as the men in their denim blues,
    swinging axes and hammers true
    bearing saws that are built for two.

    Silent stands the mountain sentinel
    waiting as these years have fled,
    take me back to the old beginning,
    when the mountain home appeared.

    A broken tribe,
    one west, one east,
    reunite in their new quest
    to climb the track,
    to break the back
    of lost and fading years.

    We are the wester-men, we are
    and wandering we have been,
    but now we make a solemn vow
    through kith and kin, remembered tales,
    this story to rebound.

    So here we stand,
    with hat in hand,
    and boots upon the soil
    of this old place,
    we won’t forget
    our hearts, behind our years.

    So rise once more
    to stand before
    this mountain home, this land,
    now rough and spare, this silent wood,
    It is here we make our stand.

    For in my heart, I hear the sounds
    of love and life and blood and tears,
    Say I, curator of the wind.


  2. MsGenuineLady

    From the beginning
    You were planted deep within me
    You grow from the foundation of my love
    Taller and stronger everyday
    Nourished by the TLC I provide
    At times you may bend
    And you may sway
    But you will never break
    The groundwork from which you spring
    Is too strong
    And even if you fall
    You will always bounce back
    Because you will always be attached
    To me and my love
    The foundation from which you grow

  3. m_deane

    Weed-choked concrete,
    glass. Faint traces of
    tiled floor, and rusted
    pipe where once we
    took our baths. Would

    you too, find it strange?
    To see the foundations that
    we never knew as children,
    with unloved dreams and
    unopened doors.

  4. Shennon

    They built wondrous foundations
    But not meant for human eyes
    to see.

    They felt indebted to their gods
    For their good fortune and
    plentiful land.

    They placed intricate carvings
    Facedown in the soil for the Earth
    to enjoy.

    They piled on thousands of pounds
    of stone, creating a structure
    quite glorious.

    They dared not believe there’d ever
    Come a day when those foundations
    would rise.

    They built a city they understood,
    to one day be misunderstood,
    Monte Albán.


  5. Cynthia Page

    Hold My Hand…

    when you need confidence,
    when you need the strength to persevere,
    or when you need sympathy.
    Hold my hand…
    when you need acceptance,
    when you’re afraid of new things.
    or when you need inspiration,
    Hold my hand…
    when you feel disgraced,
    when you feel discouraged,
    when you fear failure,
    or when mistakes set you back,
    Hold my hand…
    when cruelty makes life harder to bear.
    Hold my hand
    because you’re not alone.
    I will help you start over.
    I will help you find your smile again.
    When you succeed, please
    take hold of my hand and lead me,
    so that I may follow your example.

  6. James Von Hendy

    A Gift Bestowed

    The way we are, we blindly are
    Because it’s just so,
    The world the way we see it

    Until revelation opens us
    To ourselves. A coyote,
    Burnished rust and ash, stands, alert.

    He leans into the hill, the rain
    A fact, as were the wild
    Turkeys roosting in the pine trees

    Until dawn. Only his amber glance
    Flicked in my direction
    Acknowledges disruption. The hill

    Is rooted to the authority
    Of his feet. His is
    The confidence of isolation,

    A oneness that needs no mirror
    To be seen. Strange, the way
    It comes flashing back to me then,

    Nothing to do with coyote,
    Hill, turkeys, or rain,
    My father’s voice, the aftermath

    Of anger, a sudden shock of words:
    “Unlike your brother,
    I don’t worry about you. You’ll succeed

    At whatever you choose to do.”
    The blinding mirror
    Flashed on a world of certainty

    The day the boy became a man,
    Earth steady beneath
    His feet, the way he leaned into it

    With expectation. He knew nothing
    But it was enough
    To know. He waited. He waited

    As coyote waits, alert,
    Standing on the hill
    In the rain, burnished under pines,

    The falling scent of wild turkeys
    On the air. We wait
    Together, and the world comes to us.

  7. taylor graham


    In the grange hall, a storyteller
    sits before a ring of children. The tale
    is Grimm, the old woman with her crooked
    coin, her circle of failures. The world
    of beasts and sticks and fire
    will not work for her. Her pig will not
    climb over the stile. She’s spitting
    anger until at last
    she forks hay to the cow who gives milk
    to the cat who eats the rat –
    it all comes together nicely, the stick
    goes up in smoke, the butcher
    kills the ox, blood running into the ditch.
    The pig goes over the stile,
    and home with the old woman. We never
    find out what she’ll do with the pig.
    The foundation of fairytale is generations
    of telling. Here, outside the grange,
    it smells like rain that never comes.
    Tomorrow the butcher will kill the lamb,
    its blood soaking into soil that’s
    parched for rain to grow the grass
    to feed the sheep. How shall we make
    things happy-ever-after?

  8. PressOn


    The foundation received my request:
    my appeal was my suavest, my best,
    but they spurned all my pleas
    to cure cancer and fleas
    for they though that I made them in jest.

  9. Jane Shlensky


    What lies beneath we may well call found-
    ation, our minds already spiraling upward
    in walls and rooms, windows, roofs, and
    chimneys, eaves and stairs, closets, beams,
    and blessed components of castlery.

    Perhaps we are creatures of air, always alee
    with an eye lent to sky, clouds in our hair,
    clods underfoot, every darkness star-spangled,

    but our feet, weary travelers, farthest from
    our minds, negotiate sod, shuffle over stones
    and roots, grapple with guttering clay,

    bid to hold us erect, poor blind groping surety.
    Our feet find foundation, seek the cornerstone
    of our existence, as humility hoists winging

    imagination, stand stolidly bearing us up,
    stacking us high, asking what’s next then?
    What new balcony of paradise needs vaulting?

    1. grcran

      musical, ethereal… interesting pieces and braces and ornaments in your poem… fun to read, and, while I’m not 100 % sure what it means to me, it definitely is meaningful!

  10. Cynthia Page


    In a corner
    of the basement
    she hides
    in fear
    of father monsters.

    Behind a locked door
    she barricades herself
    against more monsters
    called brother
    or boyfriend
    or husband,
    and fear itself.

    The foundations
    of her anxiety
    were laid solidly
    in concrete experience.
    She wants to run away
    from herself.

      1. Cynthia Page

        Yes, William. The first stanza is in the Gogyohka forum and is titled “Stepchild.” The theme came from this prompt, and it was so heartfelt that I wanted to present it for the contest. Thank you. I’m glad you like it. It felt incomplete, so the last two stanzas were written after “Stepchild.” was posted. I renamed it so the two would not be confused.

  11. grcran

    Cat Daddy Helps the Cats Adjust to Relocation

    Cat Daddy told his kids to calm themselves
    You sweet castrated boys will be ok
    We’re moving and your safety is the bomb
    Your comfort level also, s’il vous plait

    I found this place in quiet neighborhood
    I saw no dogs marauding in the streets
    I’ll have the litter box all clean for you
    Plus food and water, all your kittie treats

    The fundamentals there will be in place
    Nice house big yard leash law (but not for cats)
    Your mission (should you choose to accept it)
    Sleep late have fun but kill yes kill the rats

    by gpr crane

    1. grcran

      (not real sure about this but I think my muse fell asleep before this was finished last night… if you care to comment, pls let me know if extra stanza makes it better)

      Cat Daddy Helps the Cats Adjust to Relocation

      Cat Daddy told his kids to calm themselves
      You sweet castrated boys will be ok
      We’re moving and your safety is the bomb
      Your comfort level also, s’il vous plait

      I found this place in quiet neighborhood
      I’ve seen no dogs marauding in the streets
      I’ll have the litter box all clean for you
      Plus food and water, all your kittie treats

      The fundamentals there will be in place
      Nice house big yard leash law (but not for cats)
      Your mission (should you choose to accept it)
      Sleep late have fun but kill yes kill the rats

      Eventually you’ll like the place I bet
      We’ll find the move will be to mutual gain
      I’ll scratch ears till you purr and love you dear
      For your part you will understand my pain

      by gpr crane

        1. grcran

          thanks, Tom! and Wowee, what an article! wtf!… had to write a gogyohka about it:
          Fatal Feline Attraction

          Parasite toxoplasma gondii in your cat, the only place it can reproduce
          Gets in you, in your brain, in your gonads
          Changes personality and behavior
          Controlling a human to make it more likely
          That it gets back to the cat

  12. Ber

    Swept Away

    Tumbling tortured footsteps
    steeped in age and will
    He was her forever after
    she was his safety pill

    Swallowing breathless air
    images no one could compare
    pulled together by time
    mountains they would have to climb

    Waltzing to the song
    that first brought them together
    scent of her perfume
    her body as light as a feather

    As a breath drew close
    eyes fixed on one another
    hands held tight
    her last fight

    Tears fell down
    on her lifeless cheek
    a man once strong
    now on his knees weak

    They were once inseparable
    united as one
    her body gave up
    her spirit lived on

  13. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Face Painting

    It was fashionable many eons ago,
    to apply white lead paste to lighten the face,
    this lead to disfigurement and death,
    but not the pursuit of chalk white skin,

    Women began to apply “ceruse”,
    a lethal mixture of vinegar and white lead,
    topped with egg white for shine,
    almost a crime, more vane spirits to enshrine,

    Louis XV promoted it for men,
    Queen Victoria deemed it appropriate
    only for prostitutes and loose women,

    Baudin of German theatre created “greasepaint”,
    to hide the line between wig and face,
    a perfect spread of flesh colored paste,

    Max Factor made millions with his famous “Pancake”,
    talc powder foundation worn on every woman’s face,
    natural looking, no deaths to date.

  14. Walt Wojtanik


    “Love is a friendship set to music.” ~E. Joseph Cossman

    The violins strain, draining every last bit
    of emotion that breathes within it.
    Lifting, lilting, filling the Grand Hall with all
    its virtuoso requires. It inspires
    a crescendo of strings to bring
    full passion into focus. A chorus
    of woodwinds and reeds feeds its longing
    belonging to the hearts who hold
    the embers of true friendship aloft hoping
    the open air will fan their smoldering sparks
    into the flames of desire. The fires of love are
    slow burning; self-sustaining. Non-consuming,
    blooming into a conflagration, a symphony
    composed in the promise of hearts; two single notes
    that resonate to join in harmony – one accord. Stirring
    in the fanfare of brass and appointed by tympani.
    These flourishes become the soundtrack,
    a friendship scored; composed in love!

  15. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    This is the soil that nourished the plant that grew and thrived.
    This is the seed that was planted in the soil
    This is the plant that grew from the seed,
    Taking its life from the soil.

    These are the roots, anchoring the plant
    As it grew from the seed, nourished by the soil.
    This is the wind, that attacked the plant, with vicious gusts.
    As the plant took root in the soil.

    This is the plant, rooted deeply in the nourishing soil
    These are the roots spreading deeply and firmly under the soil
    Securing the plant from the wild wind,
    Creating a firm foundation.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo All rights reserved

  16. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    In a far corner of the galaxy,
    While the drums play on and on.
    I, robot, sing the body electric.

    Five in one become three, then seven,
    And despite all appearances,
    Progress leads backward from light to dark.
    (w/apologies tof Isaac and In)

  17. MatthewTM

    ‘Everyone has to start somewhere’
    she said and shrugged
    I, hungover from worry
    and sore with shame,
    let down by childish slip and loose lips
    and dwarfed by her grace,
    consider this and the foolishness of that.
    For a moment
    we were
    very nearly
    Mysteries to ourselves.
    As we outstay the awkward silences,
    keep our eyes on our coffees,
    I miss being a stranger.
    But perhaps now
    can begin.

  18. bxpoetlover


    Saw my dentist today.
    He said
    I have “textbook perfect” teeth

    I admired myself in his mirror
    and thanked him
    (wishing I had met him before he met his wife)

    reveled in my glowing smile
    my mischievous eyes
    lustrous hair sprouting north south east west
    curvy, slowly slimming figure.

    When I got home I threw my only bottle of
    foundation in the trash.

    Though it is a pretty golden brown
    no matter how well I’ve massaged it into my face
    it wears like an oily mask

  19. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Canada’s Foundation

    Foundations are the rocks,
    a solace of layers,
    Support, Strong, Solid,

    Pillars of our community,
    we act as one, not undone,
    by a single man’s gun,

    Our young Soldier who lost his life,
    Honoring our Veterans of War,
    who lost their lives,
    for our Country of Peace,

    under lockdown, it’s a showdown,
    Our Hero takes your life, sadly,
    You fired at will, stormed the House madly,

    Our foundations rocked,
    a solace of shock,
    Severe, Sharp, Searching,

    fostering fear, falling tears,
    Our Canada, Unites.

  20. Domino


    I think everyone needs one, a motto, I mean,
    to make choices easier, to make life serene.
    A motto to live by, to help one decide
    when choice is confusing it’s used as a guide.

    For if the decision is made in advance
    it’s a simpler way not to leave things to chance.
    Of course, as mottos go, I think mine are best
    and are easy to turn to in times that are stressed.

    One is simply: “No Fear,” because it seems a shame
    not to make friends, say hello, and trade names.
    I think living in fear is just no way to live
    Fearing to act makes me feel like a captive.

    And then when I do make some foolish gaffe
    It’s easier to simply confess with a laugh
    rather than hiding and feeling ashamed
    and worrying whether or not I’ll be blamed.

    The other is “Never, Ever Argue Mad,”
    because that leads to anger and words that are sad.
    Those words are never forgotten or retrieved
    and the heart that received them forever is grieved.

    Two simple mottoes, as easy as it gets,
    that help me live fully without any regrets.
    I challenge you to find your own motto, too,
    then share your mottoes with me, if you do!


    (Share here: )

  21. Nancy Posey

    Lingerie on the Mezzanine, Rogers Department Store

    Up on the mezzanine, half a story above cosmetics,
    notions, and costume jewelry, the same ladies
    worked for years, selling foundation garments,
    brassieres capable of holding up the stoutest frame,
    corsets with bones stays, rigid architecture
    for female flesh, garters attached to hoist nylons
    thigh high. Younger girls found their way
    upstairs for lacy drawers, lacy bras, lightly padded,
    with underwire to lift and separate, a mirage
    of cleavage. The regular customers, though,
    matrons in a cloud of dusting powder, cared little
    for seductive lace or girlish bows. The most
    they could ask for— not comfort but containment.

    1. Jane Shlensky

      I’d almost forgotten that lingerie was called ladies’ foundations. Makes me chuckle. This is a great one, Nancita. I aspire to comfort but will take containment 😉

  22. barbara_y

    Foundation: base, beginning, foot, seat,
    heart, outline, limitation, start, space below

    Asimov created universes, sorcerer
    of science fiction. No dragons, spells,
    or swords, and no space without words.

    God began with chaos. Said: first I’ll
    think up a name for this mess. There’s
    no graffitti to erase without words.

    the cat in the sun closes her eyes
    what she’s thinking remains within.
    a paradox unvoiced, face without words

    Coke deliveryman levitated, slung himself
    by one hand from the sidewalk, up
    like winter breath, grace without words.

    yesterday, I painted. acrylic on leather,
    a cover for a blank book. I have intent,
    but now it’s only a place without words

    Thank you for my birthday gift, books,
    creme brulee with a candle, wine, time
    together in an embrace without words

    There’s not enough hair on my head
    to tear out my frustration. Idea clear,
    words:misplaced. Without words.

  23. taylor graham


    Her cousin told her,
    umbrellas are as good as wings.
    And so, from cement
    foundation she followed him up
    the ladder, above lattice-
    clouds of white roses.
    Rung by rung. Rain-gutter.
    Shingle. A troubling
    second-thought. She didn’t
    dare look down. Then
    they jumped off the roof.
    Her umbrella failed
    her, her collarbone as well.
    The doctor said she was lucky.
    Will she keep
    this adventure private
    from her children? Will she live
    long enough to have any?

  24. sjmcken

    More eloquence than words, of basic hue,
    before the words was music of our kind,
    old inner rhythms marking every hue,
    each coloration of our turgid mind.
    Made mute, attention dives in deepening delves,
    alert in currents of intention’s swing
    to mine the meaning of our swirling realms
    alive and hot with every living thing.
    And music takes us closer to our source
    its form continuous in pulsing stream
    as is our inner coursing’s rushing force
    of feeling singing out life’s wordless dream.
    Hard language screens our trembling sensory,
    revive in music’s rending reverie.

  25. micahpaul

    We moved in, unsuspecting:
    Proud husband, radiant bride,
    1950s ranch, finished basement,
    American Dream incarnate.

    Our first summer, a basement-corner leaked.
    We played in the dirt around the siding,
    Hoping to shore it up
    Against impending autumn rains.

    One October night, the sky burst overhead.
    In the morning, we visited the ruins:
    Soggy books, muddy carpet, ruined scrapbooks,
    The detritus of misplaced confidence.

  26. De Jackson

    Found: at ion

    She’s back to finding her –ations:

    She’s fond of fondling lie
    -bations, loose translations
    of unraveled thought caught.

    She’s full of vented frustration,
    determination; a fool for
    capitalization and
    syllables slurred soft.

    Upon further examination,
    she feels the vibration
    of all
            she’s lost.

    with photo, here:

  27. Susan Schoeffield


    Mom and Dad laid the foundation
    a mixture of love and concern
    nurturing independence
    and a sense of purpose
    continuing to build
    this child to adult
    always forming
    brick by

    © Susan Schoeffield

  28. PressOn


    I once knew a curious feller;
    decided to dig out a cellar.
    His frustrated spouse
    asked him, “Well, where’s the house?’
    He is now a companionless dweller.

    1. Hannah

      I so enjoy the tone and humor of your poem, William and then…I’m thinking this feller might be quite clever to build under rather than above…given the way things are going…Maybe. 🙂

  29. PowerUnit

    Modern words excite
    Technology spins vitriol, into wisdom
    We do not understand our own points, of the arguments
    We do not understand the fucking issues
    Let alone their causes

    Our schools have failed to teach us how to think
    We graduate with brains full of facts, but little ability to solve
    Our own problems, and the world’s
    With nothing but words, we divide and categorize, and judge
    How dare we be so bold

    Before we can thrive in a smaller world with bigger communication
    We need a foundational cure
    We need to step away from the brink and learn how to think, to critically question
    The words coming from our own mouths and fingers, need serious editing
    Serious questioning, benefits all

  30. Connie Peters


    F irmly planted
    O rganized in a logical way
    U sing underpining to avoid pining over what you can’t have
    N urtured in a strong groundwork
    D eliberate in your basis of living
    A lways establishing what’s good and right
    T aking steps to build a strong base
    I nstituting solid principles
    O utreaching in charity and compassion
    N ever neglecting a solid foundation

  31. writinglife16


    Angela took her time going home.
    Telling her mother she was pregnant
    wouldn’t be easy, but
    deep, down inside
    she was happy.
    It was time,
    she was thirty.

    Mom wasn’t.
    She started crying
    then yelling
    followed by cursing
    and praying.
    She lifted her hands
    to the ceiling.

    Then her eyes got red and her
    hair looked like she
    had stuck her finger in
    an electrical outlet.
    Then she got her candles
    and holy water
    out of the cupboard.

    She started singing
    and rocking back and forth.
    She lit the candles.
    Sang some more and
    again lifted her
    Hands to the ceiling
    like she always did.

    Screamed about giving me
    a strong foundation.
    Then, she threw holy water on me.
    It sizzled and evaporated.
    I murmured,
    “We never attend church. When you pray
    to a ceiling god, your foundation won’t be strong.”

  32. Walt Wojtanik


    “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ~Audre Lord

    Thunder, rumbling
    stumbling over oppressive clouds
    with loud crashes, smashes against
    pavement and abode. It has turned cold.
    Lightning flashes between crashes
    interval intrusions, illusions
    in the shadows cast. Playing hard
    and fast with reality.
    Children cower, as hour after hour
    persists, insisting it rules the night.
    Their fright steals their innocence.
    Counting the seconds between
    crash and flash, it is hunkered down.
    The storm can do no harm
    in the safety of arms that protect.
    You reject the notion that bumps
    in the night are frightening.
    You know there is nothing in the dark
    that isn’t there in the lightning.

  33. DanielR


    The rusted rooster weather vane
    perched on the roof of the farmhouse
    secured by screws in a strong base
    freely twists
    like a waving parade float beauty queen
    while keeping track
    of changing wind directions.

    Daniel Roessler

  34. Walt Wojtanik


    “Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.” ~Aldous Huxley

    You live and learn
    earning respect and your way
    in this world. Building
    strength and character and
    strength of character
    to anchor you. Feet firmly
    convicted to depict a man
    who makes his mistakes better
    each time he makes them.
    The sins visited upon the son
    were merely lessons the father
    never got around to teaching.
    Ever reaching for the stars,
    venturing far from home base,
    and holding close to the place
    that bears your footprint.
    For generations, your station.
    Your foundation upon which
    your life was built. Sturdy
    and strong, where you belong.

  35. DanielR


    Lies and trickery
    magic misdirections
    hypocrites pointing out
    others imperfections

    Twist it for your purpose
    shake it and watch it bend
    But truth cannot be moved
    from its foundation in the end.

    Daniel Roessler

  36. RobHalpin


    “We build it up and build it up and build it up.
    Now it’s solid. Solid as a rock”
    – from “Solid as a Rock” by Ashford & Simpson

    mish and mash
    basic elements
    heaped upon more of the basics
    until we’re strong enough to support the advanced ones

  37. grcran

    get out the vote

    some voters need to not get out of high school
    they vote a party line of popular and suave
    although their ID cards say something different
    we’d all be better off if they were kept at seventeen
    the thing they want to know is “Who is winning?”
    they want to vote for that and tell their friends
    no matter if that vote gets cast for demons
    bridges to nowhere
    facebook for president
    those of us who take the process seriously
    well, we don’t have the power anymore
    to quash the mindless zombies taking over
    but still we gnash our teeth
    give it a try

    by gpr crane

  38. annell

    A Crack in the Foundation

    perhaps there is a crack in the foundation down under where

    you cannot see

    things don’t seem a sturdy as before nothing solid

    nothing you can really count on

    is there someone you can call get a diagnoses

    October 22, 2014


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