Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 303

Believe it or not, this is the final Wednesday Poetry Prompt until May. We’ll still have prompts on Wednesday, but beginning on April 1, we’ll be poeming every single day of the month with the 2015 April PAD Challenge.

For today’s prompt, write a preparation poem. Of course, I’ve been thinking about getting prepared for this year’s challenge, but there are any number of ways to be prepared. From Boy Scouts to Doomsday Preppers, preparation is key in many phases of life. Maybe do a little preparation for your poem, but don’t do too much, because we’ve got a daily poeming challenge just around the corner.


Creating_Poetry_Self_PromptsLearn how to self-prompt your poetry!

Avoid running into writer’s block by figuring out how to continually self-prompt poems on your own. Whether it’s digging into personal memories or playing with poetic forms, there are so many ways poets can continually prompt themselves to write even when it seems there’s nothing new to write.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Preparation Poem:


i hate to break it to you, but flexibility
is totally overrated. i mean, when i
went to university to run cross country

the doctor at my physical said, you’ve gotta
be the least flexible person i’ve ever run
across. and it was true, i’m sure, because people

have always told me that stretching really well is
how you excel at all sports. so before my first
indoor track meet one season, i did my warm up

like usual, but i stretched extra good. when i
started my race, everything seemed fine. in fact, i
was winning by a good margin, which i had half-

expected anyway. but then, my leg tightened
a bit and kept tightening until i had to
cut into the infield of the track and collapse

while clutching at my leg and grimacing in pain.
it took me weeks to get running again and months
to trust my body, and that is why i don’t stretch.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which is an official way of saying that he gets paid to help writers achieve their goals, whether that means writing better, getting published, or reaching a wider audience with their writing. He’s a writer himself and authored the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

He used to be a track star in high school but has passed the torch to his children.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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174 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 303

  1. LCaramanna

    Prepare Me Not

    2b or not 2b
    that was my question
    when choose I must
    next course of study
    for eighth grade students.
    2a – To Kill a Mocking Bird.
    2b – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    As Frost, I stood where the road diverged.
    2b or not 2b? was Shakespeare’s question.
    I chose 2b
    And Shakespeare has made all the difference.
    English class alive with banter –
    Am I sleeping with you?
    Are you an ass?
    Oh, how Puck’s flower juice hath transformed reluctant learners
    into patrons of the arts!
    How doth this lamentable comedy
    work such magic?
    Fairy dances,
    Secret lovers in the wood,
    None hath prepared me for thine interest,
    Least of all thy desire to quench one’s thirst for more:
    Did this guy Shakespeare write anything else?
    Lorraine Caramanna

  2. tunesmiff

    Better almost late than never…

    (c) 2015 G. Smith (BMI)
    She puts on her mmake-up,
    And fixes her hair,
    Without even thinking
    That I’m standing there.
    She puts on her earrings,
    And fastens her pearls,
    Before smiling and saying
    It’s just a night with the girls.
    Before smiling and saying,
    It’s just a night with the girls.

    I tell her I love her,
    And have a good time,
    She says, “You, too,”
    And leaves me behind.

    She’s starting the car,
    Without a hug or at kiss;
    There’s gotta be something
    More to it than this;
    There’s gotta be something
    More to it than this.

    She’s getting ready to make a big change,
    There’s no other rreason she’s acting so strange.
    Wish I had a clue about
    What she has planned;
    But I’m afraid that the answer
    Is some other man;
    I’m afraid that the answer
    Is some other man.

    I try to stay up,
    I sit through the news;
    Put my guitar away,
    I was playing the blues.

    She comes in past midnight,
    That’s when I went to bed;
    The first thing next morning
    Nothing is said.
    The first thing next morning,
    No words are said.

    And I feel-
    She’s getting ready to make a big change,
    There’s no other rreason she’s acting so strange.
    Wish I had a clue about
    What she has planned;
    But I’m afraid that the answer
    Is some other man;
    I’m afraid that the answer
    Is some other man.

    There’s a dress in the closer I’ve not seen before;
    And a pair of high heels diwn below on the floor.
    And someth a bit lacy in her dresser drawer.
    … i don’t wanna know any more more…

    She accused me of cheating,
    But I’m not that kind~
    And thought that she may be
    Drives me out of my mind;
    The thought that she’s cheating
    Drives me out of my mind.

    She’s getting ready to make a big change,
    There’s no other rreason she’s acting so strange.
    Wish I had a clue about
    What she has planned;
    But I’m afraid that the answer
    Is some other man;
    I’m afraid that the answer
    Is some other man.

  3. Karen

    We undress our little ones for a bath
    they take off running through the house
    unhindered, oblivious to their own nakedness
    we parents delight in their innocence
    they are so trusting of us
    we are so protective of them
    we try to teach them to be safe
    we ache for it
    violence, hatred, greed exists
    in this world, as does
    kindness, compassion, and love,
    we want our children to connect
    with all those good things,
    to be safe, happy and loved
    we do what we can to
    prepare them to fly the coop
    and we deal with the
    empty nest.

  4. MaryVaan

    30 poems in April
    preparation is fierce
    many gifts to the muse
    many bribes many fears

    30 poems in April
    the coffee pot steaming
    up til the wee hours
    syntactical dreaming

    30 poems in April
    & out comes the poet
    we relish the challenge
    & you judges should know it

  5. lionetravail

    “Preparations For The Middle Manager’s Next Iteration”

    He finds himself in a tunnel which is increasingly cramped:
    tons of rock above, poised spear-like, feeling of control damped
    while tons of stone below lies impatiently waiting
    for any dislodged complaint to fall, hating
    the waiting to end the irritant in the middle.
    Good for nothing, he’s laughable answer to the riddle
    of ‘why did the manager cross the road?
    He was stapled to the mediocrity of his load.

  6. fayina

    On Leaving Zugdidi
    December 2012

    I packed after dinner
    as quickly as possible in the unheated upstairs room
    “You look like a refugee” said Neli as we
    lugged my plastic bag of clothes to the train
    just before midnight.
    Neli ‘s mother gave me two loaves of bread.

    It was too dark for a last look at my accidental city
    and I felt guilty for being glad,
    a disenchanted lover leaving before dawn.
    All night I dreamed of wolves and oranges.

  7. hannahmarie

    This time to prepare
    is a gift,
    call in the family,
    make arrangements,
    say goodbye.
    She nodded along,
    but her stare couldn’t leave his bare head.
    Her fingertips one with the steep ridges of his cheeks
    his paper lips,
    scarcely the shell of her lifelong dream,
    She coaxed him on gently – and released him.

  8. Jane Shlensky

    Fanny, Packed

    For two weeks, she packs;
    for two weeks, she unpacks,
    until she’s sure, almost
    prepared. Necessity guides her,
    what if’s folded and returned
    to drawers, lightly pressed.

    Volcanic eruptions, tidal waves,
    floods and landslides, natural
    disasters, like mosquitoes, give
    way to hijacking, mechanical
    failure, crash, burn, and dyspepsia,
    all mankind’s contributions to fear.

    She relinquishes control, tucks
    in passport, meds and toiletries,
    sunglasses, another swimsuit,
    binoculars and a camera. Her mind
    is focused on foraging new ground
    for fun possibilities. She’s ready.

  9. Cynthia Page

    Cautiously Intrepid

    Inquisitive, yet cautious,
    I prepare well for new adventures.
    I keep every contingency in mind.

    I want nothing to interfere with my plans
    for discovering obscure and odd wonders,
    sans disappointments. Yet I still find

    that, though adventures may have seemed
    like good ideas at inception,
    mishaps occur causing plans to unwind.

    And those times when I’ve tossed away caution
    and vowed to enjoy any new experiences,
    inevitable catastrophes kick my behind.

  10. Jezzie

    Thirty mins to prepare.
    So says the recipe.
    The method they declare
    as being quite easy.
    That recipe was wrong.
    It took me quite that long
    to find the equipment
    and all that I would need.
    Thirty minutes for my
    preparation indeed!
    It took me practically
    as long as that to read!

    Then, just when I’d started to roll
    the pastry and my hands were all
    covered in flour, my friend did call
    on me to show me her new hat.
    I did not anticipate that,
    or expect that my wicked cat
    would jump up on my work surface
    and put flour all over her face
    and her fur all over my dough!
    My pie in the bin had to go.
    It all turned out quite okay though.

    I quickly brushed my hair
    and jumped into my car –
    ten minutes, not too far –
    bought a ready made pie.
    for my husband and I
    and vowed never to try
    to go through all the pain
    of making quiche lorraine
    myself at home again!

    1. PressOn

      This reminds me, of all things, of trying to help a friend remove an engine from an MGA. We finally concluded that the shop manual was lying. Such a delight to read.

  11. Swati Mitra


    I packed my paper, pen and thoughts,
    There are cadence and some words.
    Call it a poetry if you want
    Or whatever if you must,
    But know that it’s my odyssey
    And just not yet anoher journey.
    It’s the one to my heart and soul
    for me to prevail and find my goal.

    Swati Mitra

  12. taylor graham


    Eight of them, five weeks old,
    hum-groan-purring in a scatter-pile
    across the laundry floor,
    some stretching in their sleep, some
    rabbit-chasing in their dreams
    by the light of two blue moons beneath
    their lids, eight pups growing
    to their separate ways, softly ready-
    set-going to meet their worlds.

  13. Sara McNulty

    Taking a Trip

    Two days prior, I pack
    clothes, day before–
    vitamins are duly counted
    out and set in carry-on
    bag. Travel size shampoo
    and conditioner are packed
    along with hand cream,
    one lipstick, and one
    eye pencil. Morning of trip–
    quick shower, dress in clothes
    laid out last evening.
    Pack makeup, look around.
    Pack medications in hand bag,
    look around. Zip up suitcase,
    check lights and locks twice.
    Still do not feel ready for
    airplane travel.

  14. grcran

    getting ready

    it rolled off his lips as a prayer
    he hoped he had time to prepare
    went round and about
    with worry and doubt
    then dawning becoming aware

    he took a big look at the stair
    way higher than walking on air
    exhaled worries out
    no problem no pout
    and knew a new route here to there

    by gpr crane

  15. Hannah

    Off Stage

    Our wings are ready
    snowflakes wait to swirl their dance
    steady – breaths measured.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2015

    I’ll be performing four shows with three other beautiful women this week in the Hot Chocolate Jubilee …a dance of snowflakes choreographed to the song, ‘And Winter Came,’ by Enya.

  16. Doakley

    Well Prepared

    Sitting in that old red Adirondack chair,
    always at hand on the back patio,
    leaning back under the imaginary shade
    of the still young crepe myrtles,
    planted so lovingly a few years back,
    now slowly maturing into
    the shape of things to come,
    their skeletal branches, drooping under
    the weight of last fall’s still clinging flower pods,
    sprout forth shiny green and purple buds,
    early summer suns warming rays
    burst the bruise colored buds
    into tender, minty looking, baby leaves
    almost as I watch..

    The ice in my sweating thirst quenching drink
    rattles against the glass as I pull down
    the brim of my old floppy hat
    and settled deeper into the chair
    when the neighbor calls to say “I just found
    a five foot long rattlesnake in my yard,”
    I wasn’t prepared for that!

  17. JWLaviguer

    Preparation for Naught

    She dusted the shelves
    and vacuumed the rugs
    washed the dishes
    and shampooed the dogs

    She swept the front step
    and trimmed the roses
    weeded the garden
    and pulled in the hoses

    She made all the beds
    and put out fresh flowers
    she forgot nothing
    she spent hours and hours

    But nobody came
    brighten her day
    disappointment set in
    and her mood became gray

    Another day over
    all preparations complete
    she takes off her shoes
    keeps socks on her feet

    She knows that tomorrow
    upon the new Sun
    they’ll wish they had come
    when they learn of the gun.

    JW Laviguer

  18. Shennon

    She thought she was prepared
    For her wedding day
    Til the best man suggested
    One last roll in the hay.

    Now she’s questioning decisions
    Rereading through her vow
    Postponing each appointment that
    Her fiancé will allow.

    Til she finally decides
    To see the wedding through
    But now her man is not prepared
    To say the words “I do”.


  19. ReathaThomasOakley

    Go, set a watchman

    I was Southern reared
    with the King James bible,
    and meals around Granny’s table
    where fiery preacher uncles delivered sermons
    while saying grace.

    When I saw what Harper Lee, or someone else,
    had named her new/old book
    I knew that chapter and even that verse
    just above, Prepare the table,

    and memories
    pain and hope
    collided in my mind
    and the picture formed of Granny
    in her bed brought from upstairs
    to the formal Front Room where
    the dead were often laid in state,
    Granny with her mighty metastasized cancer
    and morphine shots when the visiting nurses came.

    Granny said, so I was told, I see the table
    waiting for me. There’s Brother Slappey,
    Ella Mae’s daddy, already there.
    Then six daughters and three daughters-in-law,
    including my mother Ella Mae,
    joined hands and softly sang,
    Jesus has a table spread where the saints of God are fed,
    while my Granny died.

    Maybe they didn’t sing, it doesn’t matter now.

    1. catprincess16

      Love this. Imagine this could be prep for a bomb shelter(of the past or present) or storm prep or prep for a month of writing away from the world. 😉

  20. taylor graham


    Mercury reflections on a cold morning,
    mirrored walls, ice fog on glass
    as dancers twist above chalk-white lines
    into forms beyond human
    untwisting into something altogether
    new – she’ll pause
    in the midst of motion
    find her place
    among triangulated looking-
    that multiplies her cold springs thawing
    into a leafing dance
    as if art needed the rigors of winter
    to prove its waking life.
    Her waiting face embossed on window-ice.

  21. Doakley

    Preparing to be Unprepared

    We decided camping out, like the
    real cowboys did, was the only
    way to demonstrate the level
    of studliness thirteen year old boys
    could amass at such an early age.

    My two cousins had a farm
    and the farm had a tree belt
    a quarter of a mile long.
    It seemed only fitting we
    camp in the middle of this tree belt,
    alone, all night.

    At the far end of the trees
    and across the graveled country road,
    the neighbor boy spotted us preparing
    and asked if he might join in.
    Not wanting to tarnish his quest
    for verification of maturity,
    we said he could.

    He didn’t have a horse so he
    would have to use a store-bought
    pillow rather than a saddle like us
    real men would.
    He also showed up with a real blanket his
    mother said he should bring.
    Not us though, we got to cover with
    sweat and hair laden saddle blankets
    direct from the back of our steeds.

    Picketing our horses
    and building a small campfire,
    we soon became one with
    nature and quite a few other
    unusual night sounds and things.

    Cowboys didn’t have much
    to do at night we discovered,
    but to go to bed with the setting sun.
    It is no small feat to adjust a stiff leather
    saddle to softly hold your head,
    sleep finally came, until about
    midnight, when ”pillow boy” decides
    this isn’t as much fun as it sounded
    and decides to walk home to his bed.

    Hugging his pillow tight to his chest,
    his blanket draped over his head,
    he stumbled towards the picketed horses,
    who having never witnessed anything
    that looked like that in the night
    pulled their picket pins and ran.

    We all awoke to the sounds
    of stretched wire fence screeching
    dead tree branches breaking and the
    thundering hooves of the stampeding horses.
    Deciding real cowboys probably
    talked a lot at night, we stayed up
    waiting for daylight, normalcy
    and the horses to return.

    (An edited version of one of my 2014 Nov PAD pieces I felt humorously fit this prompt well)

  22. Arash

    Listen softly, no time you have left
    to prepare,
    your guest’s already there
    behind the glass door, his bloodless face
    his eyes bereft…
    oh that bony caress!
    Please…take care!

  23. ReathaThomasOakley

    Back in the day
    when I had a job
    everyone knew
    my Sunday nights were sacred
    not for hell-fired sermons
    and calls to redemption

    but for the ironing board
    and cans of spray starch
    and earrings carefully chosen
    for each of five outfits
    coordinated with my Day Runner

    Retirement has its perks.

  24. Caitix


    Takes your breath away
    Drys your skin
    Drys your lungs
    Fries your head

    The long distance image
    Revealed the hills
    Bejewelled with spotfires
    Gold against the dark hills
    Intense fires
    Immense beauty

    Robot voice on the line
    Said they were all okay
    The message
    The last words ever said

    The noise fills your being
    Without making a sound
    ‘Cause you know so many are dead
    When inferno engulfs
    Every tree around
    No one
    Is well prepared

    – Saturday 7th February, 2009

  25. seingraham


    They left for the vet
    right on time
    and I pretended
    to sleep in.
    I was so afraid he’d
    come back alone,
    without the wolf,
    and I knew I couldn’t
    be there for that

    It occurred to me
    as they were pulling
    away from the house,
    I haven’t been there
    for any of them,
    not one.
    There should be a
    way to get ready
    for this, I thought;
    beyond relieved
    a few hours later
    when I saw him
    help the old dog
    down from the car.

  26. candy

    Full Circle

    We prepare for the beginning
    Diapers and bottles
    Sweet little onsies and
    Stuffed bears rockers
    And cribs pacifiers and
    Teethers swings and soothing
    Sounds to encourage sleep
    But we try to ignore the end
    Depends and strained foods
    Side rails on beds rocking chairs
    Hospital gowns and pills to
    Encourage sleep
    We prepare for the beginning
    Then try to ignore the end
    And in doing so
    Miss the full circle that is life

  27. PKP

    Time to go

    He lay against white linen
    Crisp as he was limp
    Hair combed through
    With citrus cologne
    Wafting in that hot
    August wait for
    the tardy Reaper –
    they waited as well-
    each family member
    from toddler in arms to
    his swollen-eyed mother
    He lay against white linen
    Crisp as his face was soft
    in waiting eager repose
    Reaching for something
    beyond their wet clouds
    of mortal sight – He waited
    perfectly positioned -head
    reclined against a mound
    of crisp white pillows
    Breathing deeply
    Ready to

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      This is just amazing. I loved the use of “crisp” as contrast. I also think even though the form you wanted didn’t appear, what is there works.

  28. James Von Hendy

    Prep Chef

    The glory goes up the line.
    I see the head chef tip his toque,
    but it’s my minced peppers
    that made the saucier today,
    and his piquant remoulade
    that brought the toque his patrons’ praise.
    Anyone can burn a steak au poivre
    and slake it with condiments,
    but not every fool can dice legumes
    to bring their fullest flavor forth.

  29. taylor graham


    In a certain light, a silverberry tinge overlays
    the glass, mercurial as life. Breathe deeply as
    if to memorize. Each mirror-detail correlates
    to the room in which you stand; ever so slightly
    warped in reflection: a kind of duplicating
    bloatware, re-refracted light, a midnight pond
    glowing with moon as if alive. It’s time. Imagine
    a heron stilt-stepping to break the surface tension
    causing ripples invisible in air as you pass
    through the mirror. Everything is changed. That
    white tomcat you glimpsed so briefly – behind
    you, out your window, running headlong down
    the sidewalk – now he’s disappeared under your
    bed; as if he just slipped through solid wall. Who
    knows how he’ll reappear in a world where
    inside-out all comes together through the glass.
    You’re in the wild uncanny here. Steam from
    your cup of coffee, prelude to a storm.

  30. Karen

    Sans Preparation

    Staring at the blank page
    I gather I should have a plan
    some method, rhyme, or reason
    to find the words to pen prose
    with little or no provocation
    it’s like falling in love
    I avoid it and then I just do it.

  31. Connie Peters


    In preparing
    for April PAD month
    I’ve got to reassure myself
    that it really doesn’t matter.
    I’ve got to lower my expectations
    so I won’t trip up on perfectionism
    or fear of my idea well running dry.
    Instead, I’ll make it my goal
    to write a useless poem,
    and then If I manage
    to squeeze in time to write,
    I’ll just write words,
    like I’m doing now
    and maybe I’ll end up
    with just a pile of words.
    Or maybe
    I’ll actually write
    something worth reading.

      1. strandedmoon

        Everything is worth-reading. April PAD for sure is important, but the inspiration is more important.. Nice job. It’s better without expectations 🙂

  32. De Jackson

    readying for rain

    we scrutinize the skies, list
    -en to the forecast, gather
    clouds and silver-stitch our
    names along their edges.

    we battle drought and
    doubt and drizzle,
    trade dry land
    for the steady
    of windshield wipers.

    we pilfer puddled hope;
                 buy umbrellas.


  33. PowerUnit

    I had told a common friend I was going to play the Grunfeld
    But I lied.
    There is no honor among gossipers.
    I played the Tarrasch instead, and caught him
    Unprepared for its intricacies.

    I try to rely on fundamentals, the moves
    Making up strategies, hardly seems possible
    Without fundamental knowledge,
    You cannot win a war without the humble foot soldier.
    You must know the pawns.

  34. Jonesstyle

    It is still dark,
    So even though the day has begun,
    It feels like night.
    The air is still.
    The house is quiet.
    The room is dark.
    So dark all I can see
    are my own thoughts.
    They mental list
    of a busy mind.
    So many should do and could do’s,
    But knowing is not doing,
    Like darkness is not day.
    So I lay still like the air in the room,
    And do nothing,
    But review everything
    In this busy mind,
    In preparation for the day.

  35. strandedmoon

    New preparation

    When I prepared for the University
    Surprisingly I found so much diversity
    Of Bars, Lounges and Wine tasting
    With headache so pure and everlasting

    But one day I woke up my vision
    In moving to the best result-exams
    Then I found myself in big confusion
    What to do with everything I think I can

    I stayed up from day to night
    In reading all my topic’s clam
    I found myself into mind’s trap
    But sill I overcame my lazy crap

    And then I went to the Varsity
    Years went away as great Calas
    With thoughts and sweat in this epoch
    Became a children’s game and crashed

    Today I prepare for morrow
    Of life and managing the tact
    Goals and results are to follow
    There is no change without a fact

  36. Ann M

    move at your own risk

    i made my plans
    and packed a bag;
    mapped the road
    and said good-byes.

    the house was shut
    the mailbox locked–
    no one was left
    to keep me back.

    the rain had gone
    i drove all night
    the road was clear
    my map was right.

    i got there fine
    but what’s to say?
    i lost my self
    along the way.

  37. Daniel Paicopulos

    Mise En Place

    Umami is my friend,
    and I like to cook like I mean it.
    I’m no gourmet chef,
    but I find it a holy thing
    to serve food to others.
    In some ways, every meal is a miracle,
    especially when eaten with friends.
    Beauty can be coaxed
    out of the ugliest of vegetables,
    if the preparation is done mindfully.
    It’s all in the details.

  38. Nancy Posey

    All Packed up but. . .

    I’m having a Miss Havisham day.
    I said my goodbyes. My books
    are in cartons, alphabetized,
    my favorite ones, by age, by size.
    My files haphazardly shoved
    into boxes without order, culling left
    for another day—or never.

    The surprise party for my leaving
    was no surprise, though I feigned
    astonishment, shed real tears.

    How can I tell them all,
    those who celebrated by leaving,
    not begrudging my good fortune,
    that Fortune herself, that fickle bitch
    had once again played bait and switch?

  39. catprincess16

    Oh where, oh where has my muse gone

    Prepping for
    thirty days of poems
    pen, paper
    time and grit.
    I think I am ready but,
    where is my muse at?

    (Used one of favorite forms for this)


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