Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 293

For today’s prompt, write a beauty poem. Think Beauty and the Beast; think beauty sleep; think airbrushed images in magazines, self-esteem, and selfies. Personally, I always think of the old black & white version of King Kong and the final line of the movie.

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Here’s my attempt at a Beauty Poem:

“cincinnati”

what others find dirty
i’ve often found beautiful
& so it is with you

with your dirty river
& streets littered with
trash & homeless

grimy rectangled houses
filled with drugs & gangs
& i’ll always wander

your veins even when
i sleep more than
a thousand miles away.

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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.

He was born and raised in Southwest Ohio (Dayton and Cincinnati), and he’ll always have a soft spot for Clifton, Over the Rhine, and the difficult-to-navigate West Side of the Queen City.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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123 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 293

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    (“And a poet said, ‘Speak to us of Beauty…Where shall you seek?…
    How shall you find her?…'” –Beauty XXV by Khalil Gibran)

    And a Poet Said
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    And the Sun rose and set upon her freckled shoulders
    and the Moon both bathed and comforted her,
    and the Earth wrote poetry which in turn fed her
    and the Stars both scented and clothed her
    and the Cosmos courted her favour and chaste
    and her Garden blossomed under all the divinity.

    © 2015 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. annell

    Night Watcher

    the early morning cold white snow covers all that is unsightly

    transforms the landscape gently coming down like frozen rain

    frosts the sage on the mesa blocks out the view of the mountains the sky

    creates a space makes a place for us like the one inside ourselves

    absorbs sounds provokes memories of other days

    other winters brings to mind the end of days

    the length of a life the gift bestowed footprints tell us who is about

    who came in the morning who walked at night under overcast skies

    like Van Gogh you count the stars catch them in a knitted bag

    cast the starry night upon the table your gift you are the night watcher

    January 21, 2014

  3. Cynthia Page

    True Beauty

    True Beauty is not beholden
    to arts of makeup or coiffeur,
    Real beauty is not found in fashion
    nor in ores molded with jewels.

    True beauty has scars, and a past
    that was once overcome. Borne
    in hearts overburdened, beauty
    lives and grows, in spite of all it endures.
    Malala Yousafzai is true beauty.

  4. grcran

    Not an Ode

    “ ‘beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, 1819

    Keats never saw my lover through my eyes
    He wrote of things; she’s not one
    She livesbreatheschanges magnificently
    I need to know this other, this Thou
    Yet I understand that I never will know her, not completely
    I try she helps me try and yes
    I can and do love her completely
    I seefeelbecome her beauty her truth
    Be-
    Holding her angel
    -ness finessing caressing her beauty her truth
    And it is
    It will be
    All I need to know

    by gpr crane

  5. Mag65

    A Question of Beauty

    Is beauty inherent
    in physical forms; or,
    Is beauty ephemer-
    al sparks in the mind’s eye,
    Those lightspeed connections
    between the synapses
    Creating the human
    ability of finding
    In nature the patterns
    which please us in their forms?

  6. eluisini

    ᴏɴ ғʀɪᴅᴀʏ I ʙᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ᴀ ɢʀᴇᴀᴛ ɴᴇᴡ Lᴀɴᴄɪᴀ Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴏɴ ғʀᴏᴍ ʜᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴇᴀʀɴᴇᴅ $8751 ᴛʜɪs ʟᴀsᴛ ғᴏᴜʀ ᴡᴇᴇᴋs ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ᴏᴠᴇʀ $10,000 ʟᴀss ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ . ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ᴀ ǫᴜᴇsᴛɪᴏɴ ɪᴛ ɪs ᴛʜᴇ ᴇᴀsɪᴇsᴛ-ᴡᴏʀᴋ I’ᴠᴇ ᴇᴠᴇʀ ʜᴀᴅ . I ʙᴇɢᴀɴ ᴛʜɪs 7-ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ᴀɢᴏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘʀᴇᴛᴛʏ ᴍᴜᴄʜ sᴛʀᴀɪɢʜᴛ ᴀᴡᴀʏ ᴇᴀʀɴᴇᴅ ᴏᴠᴇʀ $85, ᴘᴇʀ/ʜʀ . ʀᴇᴀᴅ…

    Vɪsɪᴛ Wᴇʙsɪᴛᴇ…………………………. w­w­w.W­o­r­k4hour.C­o­­m

  7. sjmcken

    …..PRESS RELEASE:
    The nicest man in town;
    he always finds a way
    to bolster our regard
    with his own kindly say.
    The birds all know his name
    and sing his praises high
    in language only he
    and they can hear, but we
    …all know just why.

  8. sjmcken

    Another Moonlight
    For one long moment of electric failure
    the moon reasserted its rightful primacy
    over the natural night,
    gently silvering the garden
    into a delicate filigree of shimmer;
    glowing leaves and petals
    mirrored moonbeams softly
    back into the night;
    velvet dark voids and louring silhouettes
    waked to their old primal engagements,
    reanimating their long accustomed
    absorbing reflecting pas de deux
    with the special wavelengths
    of the moon’s powdery light.

    1. PressOn

      I admire this poem for lots of reasons, but especially the last two words. I never thought of moonlight as powdery, but the allusion is so apt. Wonderful work.

  9. shirleywyant247

    ʟᴀsᴛ ᴡᴇᴇᴋ I ɢᴏᴛ Cʜʀʏsʟᴇʀ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ʜᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ $4058 ᴛʜɪs ʟᴀsᴛ 4 ᴡᴇᴇᴋs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ, 10ᴋ ᴛʜɪs ᴘᴀsᴛ-ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ . ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ ᴍʏ ғᴀᴠᴏᴜʀɪᴛᴇ ᴊᴏʙ I ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴅᴏɴᴇ . I ᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ sᴛᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ ɴɪɴᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs/ᴀɢᴏ ᴀɴᴅ ɪᴍᴍᴇᴅɪᴀᴛᴇʟʏ sᴛᴀʀᴛᴀᴅ ᴍᴀᴋɪɴɢ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ $74, ᴘ/ʜ . ᴠɪᴇᴡ
    Vɪsɪᴛ Wᴇʙsɪᴛᴇ…………………………. w­w­w.W­o­r­k4hour.C­o­­m

  10. PressOn

    IN MARTHA’S EYES

    In Martha’s eyes there is a glow
    that gleams like diamonds in the snow
    but yet recalls the summer sky;
    a shimmering that, by and by,
    fades like a sunset, soft and slow.

    One wonders whether tastes of woe
    have scarred her through her life. But lo,
    the lamp returns, to give the lie,
    in Martha’s eyes.

    It seems, amidst the to and fro
    that every life must undergo.
    some beauteous blessing, like a sigh,
    has settled in her soul’s supply
    of grace, to light our paths, just so,
    in Martha’s eyes.

  11. drnurit

    A Beautiful Moment

    By: Nurit Israeli

    We sit together on the couch
    in the dimly lit living room,
    each of us cradling our teacup.
    It is a blustery winter evening,
    and the snow continues to fall,
    as the daylight slowly fades.
    My grandson’s face is lit by the
    flickering candles – or maybe
    the light radiates from within?

    I call him by his father’s name
    again. He smiles, and I see his
    father: the long and chiseled face,
    the soulful eyes, expressive hands,
    and that thick, wavy hair I cannot
    resist touching (though his father’s
    is salt-and-pepper now).
    Isn’t there magic in this bloodline
    of images transported through time?

    I listen to my nineteen-year-old
    grandson, now in this moment of
    grace. I hear his dreams, hopes
    and doubts, and I am captivated
    by his gentleness, by the goodness
    within, just as I was by his father’s,
    all those years ago, when we sat
    like this, having tea and talking
    (though the couch was since replaced).

    I listen to my firstborn grandson,
    and I wish I could see all his future
    holds. I listen, and I wish for this
    now-grown-up boy, who studies
    physics to better understand the world,
    to carve out the right place for himself
    in it. I listen, and I wish for him to find
    his way, because the road ahead
    is still wide open, free of hindrances.

    I am having tea with my grandson,
    and want to wrap a blanket around
    this boy who is already a man,
    to protect him, as I could when he
    was little. And even though I can’t,
    I try to wrap him with my love. Yes,
    I’m grateful for him, for the bloodline,
    and for this beautiful moment of grace
    on a candle-lit, blustery winter evening.

    1. BDP

      Hi, Nurit: I read your poem early this morning, and it has stayed with me. I love the softness of it, the cadence and pace, the honor embedded in it. Thank you for helping set my thoughts for me to carry throughout the day. Barb

  12. Nancy Posey

    Beautiful

    “Marrying a woman for her beauty makes no more sense than eating a bird for its singing.”
    –The Goat Woman in Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.

    She hated saying Thank you
    when praised for her beauty,
    feeling she had no right
    to take credit for chance—
    a lucky combination of genes.
    Beyond soap and water, good
    posture, she’d done nothing.

    Just once she wished someone
    would see past her surface.
    How often she’d heard them,
    when speaking of others
    say, She’s more lovely
    when you get to know her.

    But who knew her? Who dared?
    They wouldn’t approach her—
    nice men who never imagined
    she might ever consider them.
    Oh, they might talk about her;
    they’d never talk to her, except
    to admire her, like some odd
    but fine and rare museum piece.

    Those men who had courage
    had little else, nothing to offer
    but brazen boldness, fearless
    to approach her, expecting
    gratitude for ineffable good taste.
    She felt like a show dog
    in their company, a mere prop.

    Feeling more like herself at home
    alone, curled up with a good book,
    vinyl on the turntable preserved
    with utmost care, she’d wait
    at least until someone came along
    willing to take the time to love
    her beautiful heart, beautiful mind.

    1. PressOn

      This poem is full of startling images encased in a gentle delivery, especially “show dog,” which is itself loaded with connotations. This is masterful, i my opinion.

  13. MatthewTM

    CONVERGENCE

    My eyes don’t see what your eyes do.
    The slightest distance,
    the smallest change of perspective,
    reveals details that,
    to me,
    are hidden.

    But as we study the horizon,
    squint against the sun,
    strain for detail beyond the curve,
    you squeeze my hand
    and I have no doubt.

    The future we imagine is the same.

    And it is beautiful.

  14. sjmcken

    Beauty
    Vapid beauty is the beast,
    vision being least
    discerning of the senses
    despite its vast pretenses
    as ruling emperor priest.

    Our eyes bedazzle sense
    by flooding to dispense
    with all but visual’s feast,
    sensorium is fleeced,
    sympathies decreased,
    intelligence deceased,
    vapid beauty is the beast.

  15. RJClarken

    I Am Poem

    “Beauty is not caused. It is.” ~Emily Dickinson
    “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” ~Edgar Allan Poe

    I am poem: lilting, lyric.
    I am anthem. Iamb. Pyrrhic.
    I am rhythm, cadence, splendid.
    I am beauty, unpretended.
    Words delight or make one shiver.
    Looked for… hoped for…I deliver.
    From one small breath, I’ve descended.
    I am beauty, unpretended.
    Dickinson said beauty’s not caused.
    Rather, it is. Not past. Not paused.
    Read me. Feel me. Be transcended.
    I am beauty, unpretended.
    I am poem: lilting, lyric.
    I am beauty, unpretended.

    ###

  16. Doakley

    Beautiful Memories

    Resting alone in his room
    an old man smiles reflecting back
    on events that have happened
    along life’s pathway.

    The joys of firsts,
    first love, first child
    first grandchild,
    and his first grief token.

    Everyone gets one, a grief token
    ripping and tearing at your heart
    wrenching the tears from your eyes
    squeezing the very air of your breath.

    Pieces of your heart
    are taken away
    leaving holes in your soul
    adding to your token of grief.

    Over time, you become aware
    the grief token has two sides
    the dark ripping side of now
    and the side it changed you into.

    As the moment fades,
    you move on, fingering
    the grief token you now carry
    with you, wondering why?

    It is when you realize
    the holes grief left in your soul are
    filled with beautiful memories
    that you may begin to live again.

    1. Mag65

      Doakley, I love this poem! The bittersweet nature of healing from grief over time is so well portrayed, so also the old man’s most pleasant memories. I think I will show your poem to an “old” man I know.

  17. ReathaThomasOakley

    The truth about blind girls

    She lived next door
    and I’d slip over
    Sunday afternoons
    to her big front porch
    to hear her daddy
    read out loud
    the funny papers and
    talk to Mary Inez.

    She was kinda short
    and kinda round,
    had lots of freckles,
    not much red hair
    after that operation.
    She didn’t need no mirror
    to tell her she was a beauty,
    her daddy told her so.

  18. De Jackson

    Beholding

    She’s got this smile, see?
    Makes you want to stay awhile, hang
    your hat on the corner.

    She’ll beguile you
    with silvered kisses,
    moody phase
    and days and days
    of waiting for her
    to get her fill
    of sky.

    We’re all looking
    for something,
           Love –
    wide as the whole world,
    and deeper
    than this bright skin.

    .

  19. Sara McNulty

    All Around Us

    Her skin is ivory porcelain
    She sits under an orange and red-
    leafed maple umbrella, looking out
    at dazzling blue water–diamond
    pinpoints under a yellow glow.
    Shakes tresses of auburn, a complement
    to pastoral resplendence.

  20. shellcook

    Beauty

    The beholders eyes are what I’ve feared,
    while studying the image in the mirror.
    No judge more harsh, than the self, over me
    convicted and hung by my own jury.

    Harder now, than ever before,
    to see the beauty of my own soul,
    when the Voice pops in
    to steal the show.

    Physical beauty, that elusive gem, so short lived,
    you are so heavy, can I not set you down?
    I have tried to please you all of these years,
    yet, I have let you matter, when

    I know, yes I know, you stop my bliss,
    you rob my coffers, you steal my sass,
    you make me question how to exist
    without the constant grinding inquisition.

    So everyday, I ignore your jabs,
    I dodge your punches, I hear you whine,
    I know you are no friend of mine.
    Still I love you, and I always will,

    because you are beautiful,
    my heart, my soul and I will continue to tell you so,
    until the Voice, that you are, believes what I know.
    You are beauty, outside and in,

    when the beauty of life shines in your eyes
    nothing else in this world exists,
    for the love in your eyes
    Is all that there is.

    1/14/15

  21. casandrabarr203

    ʏᴇsᴛᴇʀᴅᴀʏ I ɢᴏᴛ Aʟғᴀ Rᴏᴍᴇᴏ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ $7405 ᴛʜɪs-ᴘᴀsᴛ/ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀʟsᴏ 10/ᴋ ᴛʜɪs ᴘᴀsᴛ-ᴍᴜɴᴛʜ . ɪᴛ’s ʙʏ-ғᴀʀ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇsᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋ I’ᴠᴇ ᴇᴠᴇʀ ʜᴀᴅ . I ʙᴇɢᴀɴ ᴛʜɪs 4 ᴍᴏɴᴛʜs ᴀɢᴏ ᴀɴᴅ ɪᴍᴍᴇᴅɪᴀᴛᴇʟʏ ᴡᴀs ʙʀɪɴɢɪɴ ɪɴ ᴏᴠᴇʀ $71, ᴘᴇʀ-ʜʀ . ᴘᴏᴘ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜɪs sɪᴛᴇ..
    Vɪsɪᴛ Wᴇʙsɪᴛᴇ…………………………. w­w­w.W­o­r­k4hour.C­o­­m

  22. marta

    There was beauty
    in every wrinkle
    accentuated by her smile
    that felt imposing
    when she wanted me
    it felt too often
    there was too much
    to do, to be at your side
    now that she’s gone
    oh mother, please
    I wish the phone rang
    with you loving me
    calling me to your side.

  23. candy

    The Beauty of Decay

    A small leaf one
    of many on the
    branch of a dwarf

    hydrangea nibbled
    on by some equally
    small insect nothing

    remains but a skeleton
    of useless veins
    but in the glimmer

    of morning light
    it becomes intricate
    beautiful lacework

  24. Jane Shlensky

    Timeless

    Pictures lie arched around them
    on the floor and couch, across
    the coffee table, like pieces
    of a puzzle to be sorted into
    albums, time stopped short
    for this smile or that, fashions
    and hair hinting at age or place.

    “Wow, Grandma was a beauty
    when she was young,” the boy
    says, making his grandfather
    pause and look at him, one
    eyebrow raised. He’s a boy,
    the old man thinks. He doesn’t
    know. “She still is,” he says,
    making the boy laugh.

    Grandma is plump and soft,
    skin folding like velvet
    on her cheeks, her belly a lap
    of comfort for little boys.
    She’s singing, icing a cake,
    her eyes a stormy blue.
    The boy has never thought
    of her as young, of men
    asking her out, kissing her,
    hoping to do things he’s only
    starting to think about
    during this sprouty time
    of his life. He turns back
    to see his grandfather
    watching her too, his lips
    settled in a soft smile.
    “Yeah, she is,” the boy says,
    and gets his hair ruffled by
    an old man’s craggy hand.

  25. taylor graham

    JANUARY

    After the surgery
    and the days in hospital

    this morning there’s frost
    on the dog-path

    and periwinkle rares up green
    out of a rocky slope

    and sun over the ridgetop
    meets your eye almost blinding.

    Isn’t it beautiful to be
    walking?

  26. Shennon

    Eyes filled with knowledge
    A predator’s howl
    Leader of the pack
    A loner at heart
    Arctic gray wolf
    Glossy gray coat
    Gnashing sharp teeth
    Majestic stance
    Canis lupus
    Feral beauty.

    –ShennonDoah

  27. Susan Schoeffield

    LYRICAL SYMMETRY

    They start with an image born from a seed,
    carefully nurtured until they have grown.
    Buried in darkness, they find themselves freed.
    Words bind together, no longer alone.
    Poetry blossoms, fulfilling a need
    to capture a thought, to make it our own.
    Poems inspire and offer us much
    beauty to ponder, their spirit to touch.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  28. DreamingofWords

    Frozen Beauty

    You have been stripped bare,
    Reduced to a skeleton by a will
    Greater than your own,
    Abandoned by the brilliant cascades
    Under which you used to hide,
    Forced to face a world
    Still holding to theirs.

    When the snow falls you are lovely,
    When ice encases your fingers, you are marveled,
    At your base stand many, deeming you
    Beautiful,
    Then the ice thaws and the snow melts,
    Drip by drip,
    Eroding the confidence of glorification.

    And again you are Ieft, naked
    To bear the cold that comes not from the season,
    As you stand, day through night,
    With no accepted shield
    To guard you, from what?
    Only you know,
    For now, with no blooms or trilling company,
    With no seeming spectacular presence,
    You are turned the blind eye.

    But wait, dear friend,
    Until the spring, when you will “awaken”
    From the slumber during which you never slept.
    Vibrant in your glory,
    You will be beloved once more,
    Atop Nature’s pedestal, center stage,
    Daily lauded, until your grace fails,
    As it surely will,
    And you are forgotten again.

  29. PKP

    two hands entwined

    i see them in minds eye
    walking in sepia under
    floating chestnut blossoms
    he walks with a cane
    thumping softly she
    with a slight stoop
    they walk in sepia
    under floating
    chestnut blossoms
    they pause – she
    leans her head
    on his shoulder
    he touches the
    crown of her
    silver head
    with his lips
    they walk on
    together….

  30. PressOn

    AFTER THE ARGUMENT

    The beauty that I see in you
    affords the possibility
    that loving ways might yet yield days
    of kindness and civility,
    for you and I both ache to show
    compassion and tranquillity;
    so let us hope that we can cope
    and banish this hostility.

    1. drnurit

      I love the message, the optimism, and the wisdom of this short poem — which has so many positive words (beauty, possibility, loving, kindness, civility, compassion, tranquillity, hope, cope…)

  31. Connie Peters

    Beauty’s Sting

    When I view lovely mountains,
    those white-topped purple tents.
    Or the ocean rolling rumbling vast and deep,
    hiding wondrous worlds.
    Or the desert with Saguaro
    stretching their limbs toward Heaven.
    I hurt with regret
    of not being immersed in beauty more often.
    I make a promise to myself
    that I seldom keep.

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