Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 309

For this week’s prompt, write a poem just as something changes or is about to change. I guess this could mean big sweeping political or social changes, but what initially prompted this prompt (for me) was thinking about that moment when a candle is lit (or blown out), a room is entered, or an unexpected touch. Change can be exciting, scary, and, well, different.


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Here’s my attempt at a Just As Something Changes Poem:

“empty house”

it hung from the front porch
& swung with summer winds
but it held high its torch
with no birds coming in

i’d watch the empty hole
for hours at a time
like an expectant troll
or a metronome mime

seated in rocking chair
& hearing all the tweets
but lo no birds were there
inside above beneath

until this morn i saw
a beak peak from the hole
holding a piece of straw
& its song strummed my soul


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff.

Yesterday, he was excited to see a new occupant in the bird house his uncle makes from Kentucky license plates. And he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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392 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 309

  1. ppfautsch24

    Every Changing War
    Hope grows out small and awkward.
    Then sprouts its wings and soar.
    Sorrow grows out tall and majestic,
    But gets crippled quickly, for ever more.
    By: Savannah F., 4th grade writing student

  2. G.Wood

    Good Fences

    The seller’s realtor told me
    you had put up rope fencing to protect
    your grass from our moving van,
    and that you were concerned
    we might not see it, we might ruin
    the work of your postage stamp yard.
    Welcome to the neighborhood.
    We shook hands in the cul de sac,
    and you said you had kept up with our lawn
    for two years since the owners passed unexpectedly
    and the grass had gone wild.
    We should trim the bushes.
    The pines around the house needed to come down.
    The tricky part would be choosing which plants were weeds
    and which were perennials planted by the deceased—
    a plant lover like yourself.
    We left trikes in the yard. Right there in the grass.
    And soccer balls and a soccer goal.
    And sandbox toys filled with mud.
    And we didn’t actually call the pressure washer
    you suggested. We fired the mow-and-go team.
    And we let the kids run through the irrigation system.
    You and your wife plodded along in the yard
    one afternoon. You held the dog’s collar waiting
    for a beep while she crouched down
    to plant flags so the pluggers wouldn’t uproot the invisible fence.
    Flags everywhere like an insane game of miniature golf,
    beckoning the kids to come over and pluck them.
    I made a joke which you didn’t think was funny.
    When the grass came up, you groomed it. Dumped
    the grass clippings out back by the creek, blew the
    driveway, watered the flowers,
    hosed off the wheelbarrow and the Corvette and the Lexus.
    Hosed off the hose.
    Finished, you sat on your porch rocker overlooking
    the crayon-green spread,
    peered across the way to my overgrown playground
    and spotted me drinking chardonnay on the front stoop
    while the kids ran with bubble wands and butterfly nets,
    a hailstorm of happy on both sides of your ropes and stakes,
    views at a distance we could both appreciate.
    So, you nodded, and I waved.

  3. ReathaThomasOakley

    Loose change

    When I change purses,
    a friend said it ages me to
    call them purses, I should say
    bag, but that sounds too much
    like handbag what my mother
    called her purse, I think she sometimes
    said, pocketbook, does anyone even use
    that word anymore

    when I change that thing I carry to hold
    what I need to see me safely through
    the day I always find bits and pieces
    left behind from the last transition time
    gently used tissues receipts with offers printed on
    the back with expiration dates long passed
    a grocery list with essentials I never used to need
    a list for

    and in the bottom I always find a handful
    of loose change pennies nickels rarely dimes or
    quarters little reminders of how valueless even coins
    have become

    I recall the joy of finding even one
    penny on the sidewalk one penny I could take to
    Mrs. Kintzer’s neighborhood store her son built attached
    to her front door and trade that penny for a Tootsie Roll

    my goodness, I’ve gotten old.

  4. Doakley


    I sit beneath the tall ponderosa pines
    watching the bald eagles soaring
    on the warm air updrafts
    from the valley floor far below us,
    as they scour the sage brush
    and buffalo grass searching
    for the next meal opportunity.

    I see a tiny stretch of highway 16A,
    visible through a saddle in the foothills
    of the Bear Lodge Mountains,
    10.2 miles from where I sit under the pines,
    and watch the miniature cars and trucks
    scurrying to get where they are
    supposed to be this morning.

  5. taylor graham


    Blue salvia releases a certain scent.
    He catches it muffled
    this morning, buries his muzzle in remembrance
    – not quite the same as sagebrush
    Sierra, 8000 ft, July.
    But better than moping at the edge of new-
    born puppyhood. The mother-dog
    won’t let him close to her brood; long list
    of bitch I-dare-you’s. She doesn’t
    need to say it with teeth, just a low growl.
    From inside her sanctuary
    comes their scent – each of the eight pups
    individual to his nose. It teases,
    reminds him. A little girl, Sunday blouse
    smeared with May, she’d been rolling
    in the grass with puppies –
    him and his litter mates. She’s in high school
    now; most of his brothers
    already buried. He moves on
    from sage to pyracantha, thorny branches –
    sharp cats-claws of acacia
    where he used to run sandy trails,
    old dog reading whole histories of passings.

      1. trishwrites

        Oh yes -so many great lines-like she doesn’t need to say it with teeth, just a low growl and your last few lines- too many to list, will run out of space!

  6. josephdaniel

    Gut Instinct

    It’s the culmination of everything
    that’s been tossed around in my head
    for quite some time.
    Something’s up, it’s in the air;
    and I can feel it in my bones.
    A heightened sense of expectation
    that sparks will fly, or maybe die.
    I’m looking out a window
    and seeing nothing there.
    Something’s about to happen,
    but it’s not exactly clear.

  7. Jezzie


    That moment, when I was taken away from my mum
    and bundled into a crate in the back of a car,
    that moment I knew that my life was going to change.
    I cried pitifully for my mum and my siblings.

    Next moment, the car juddered, engine started to thrum,
    the crate clattered, I cowered howling in the corner,
    far, far away, until I ended up somewhere strange,
    surrounded by different smells and exciting things.

    That moment I knew that I had suddenly become
    the centre of attention, Prima Donna, the Star,
    and I decided that it had been a fair exchange
    and that I would learn to enjoy my new surroundings.

    And here I am one year later, with my human Mum,
    loving a ride in the crate in the back of her car,
    excited to go to strange new places for a change.
    I cry no more for my doggy mum or my siblings.

  8. Jezzie


    Five p.m. Office empty ‘cept for me.
    As usual, I am the last to flee.
    I take one last look around just to check
    everything Is okay. Oh what the heck?

    Six a.m. There’ll be no need to get up.
    I can take my time with my coffee cup.
    My life has changed now, I’ve time for pleasure
    and doing what I want at my leisure.

    Goodbye to hearing office staff wrangles.
    Farewell to sorting out others’ tangles.
    No more wrong spreadsheets, no more month end stress.
    Now I can spend more time with happiness.

    That moment, that precious moment is here,
    anticipated for almost a year.
    This sweet moment fills me with excitement
    as I now embark on my retirement.

  9. ppfautsch24

    Hope Defined
    The hope of it all,
    the chance you will fall.
    Will your heart be caught,
    and the pain will be for naught.
    The blank canvas of muted colors
    hung on the wall placed in your heart.
    The strokes carefully crafted and divinely designed.
    To fill the vessel that had been our box of paints and brushes that spilled and had to be wiped clean.
    The picture we could not see shows up visualized unexpectedly. Water colored mixed and white dove flight, the picture becomes clear and painted in hope and sight.
    The picture has been painted and now I see the masterpiece in full delight.
    Oh, so bright, harlequined, and supremely outlined and defined.
    By: Pamelap

  10. pipersfancy


    Clack, clack, clack
    chains pull my train
    to advance up a lift hill
    aiming toward the peak
    of my emotional
    kinetic energy building
    along with cold sweat
    and trepidation
    while resolve to ride this beast
    diminishes with every
    clack, clack, clack
    along the track
    until we reach the summit

    a pause—

    Leviathan released!

  11. Sara McNulty

    Like Blue Lightning

    Neither one knows how fast
    each other’s heart is beating,
    while fleeting time flaps
    its wings in certainty
    of flight. Night music,
    light spilling from candles,
    clinking of ice against glass,
    and soft laughter–all would soon
    be past. They lean in closer,
    lips touch. Electricity crackles
    like blue lightning, as they will
    the wings of time to stop.

  12. PKP

    On the way to up

    Ten tiny toes
    flex brace, push
    and with a shivery
    shake slap the floor
    soles flat for the first
    time – in that second be-
    fore first solitary standing

    1. drnurit

      Read and enjoyed this poem before and delighted to read it again! So lovely, the image of first solitary standing! A truly creative take on this prompt, dear Pearl!

  13. uvr


    Time suspended
    in idle reminiscences
    Life a tableau
    staged on familiar faces
    that bore the brunt
    of experiences
    I played with the pearls
    now choking my throat
    wanting to leave
    but staying because
    you were not here yet
    Then you walked into the room

    Everything changed

    The air grew electric
    my breath froze in my throat
    My heart pounded louder
    than the drums of a rock band
    My skin grew slick with anticipation
    My eyes waited to catch yours
    But you never noticed me

    Some things never change

    Uma Venkatraman

  14. trishwrites

    Before you fall

    The beat of electricity
    at hands first brush
    blush, fever climbs
    time, stops eyes meet
    breathe, remember how
    wow, feeling
    reeling like you knew him
    the sun rose, set
    like any other day
    But not you, him

  15. Kaulmer


    At the apex of the world
    I am lifted up, up, up off my seat – set free
    As if all gravity had let loose my bounds
    Released me to the sky
    That I might fly and float away.
    On the threshold of all newness,
    I am brought round, reminded
    That all things connected
    Hinge on a balance.
    And back to the ground
    I am drawn down and rooted
    Again, in all truth –
    To look back up at the sky.

    -Krina Ulmer

  16. james.ticknor

    The Carnival

    You’ve got a pass- Admit One. It’s almost time for the show
    Come one, come all- have fun, off to the Carnival we go
    See the strongest man on earth, broken by jilted affection
    Witness the fat lady’s girth, humanity her chosen confection
    Swords to swallow by a man, hungry to laugh at death
    The next blows fire cause he can, but drugs bait his breath

    Their pain is your cotton candy, round and round this carousel
    An inescapable ride so tasty, you love their torturing hell
    Bet on the blessed man, he sees your fortune and future
    Bearded woman behind the fan, armed with a smile to allure
    Strong men be damned to fall, put your coin into the slot
    To ride you must be this tall, hurry and find your spot

    At the Carnival

  17. De Jackson


    one of those days
    when dark comes in pieces
    and nobody knows the color
    of the sky. the sulfur scent
    of silence and rain that isn’t
    ripe enough to fall. the cold
    blue of flame at the center
    of the candle, waiting
    to be
    the smoke signals
    left hanging around like gray
    ghosts with nowhere else to
    go. the held breath. the
    envelope half open. the
    moment before you
    remember what you wish
    you didn’t know.


    1. drnurit

      Cusp of perfection, De! Always looking forward to reading your poems. Love the softness, the gentle reflections, the exceptional talent! Thanks for sharing your gift…

  18. Arash

    The change here happens inside the poem.


    by Arash E.

    I crammed the words in tight iambic feet.
    Speak in feet or hold your peace, it addressed
    me, just a voice like mine but one distressed.
    I speak in pain, of loss and rage that eats
    my bone at night, each day fatigues my heart,
    it twists my soul…and drains my love… – Silence!
    said the voice, relentless, raged defiant:
    I guard your heart and soul! This pain you’ll not
    contain without my aid, your rage impairs
    all your sense, so fear emotions unchecked!…

    Silently I let the words out, let them freely roam,
    atop my pain, we galloped past meadows in rain,
    till the air was bleeding juice of tart cherries,
    and cawing patterns dancing in the sky
    directed me, my tear-soaked face, home.

  19. Walt Wojtanik


    80 beats/second.
    Iridescent and persistent.
    Beak to stamen sipping,
    nipping as it comes.
    Oh, how she hums today!
    Wisdom, peace and love is ours
    now don’t fly away,
    Oh, Hummingbird!

  20. Walt Wojtanik


    Darkness is your antithesis,
    surrounding your protective shell.
    Nothing pervades your domain
    and you are not a strain on the grid.
    Instead, you are at best, at rest.
    You sense a surge, this strong urge
    to shine brightly. You do so nightly,
    rightly so! And so it goes,
    every time someone turns you on.
    They surely know how to flip your switch.

    Walter J. Wojtanik

  21. JRSimmang


    Out in the sunscreened days of our summer,
    my brother’s keeper and he slid down white-hot slides.
    Our parents, the geezers, the sneezers, the bummers,
    warned us of scrapes and bruises besides.

    “Be careful,” mom shouted, her hair all bedraggled.
    “Boys will be boys,” was dad’s only reply.
    Off we ran without heeding warnings, a gaggle
    of kid-geese, honking, and squonking on by!

    First to the sand-pit, then the monkey bars,
    then to the swings where the true war begins.
    I start off small, swing hard, jump out far!
    Flight, eunoia, hard fall, tumbling, bleeding shins.

    So, I’ll say it again without being so curt:
    It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

    -JR Simmang

  22. SestinaNia

    What a wonderful prompt! I’m enjoying reading everyone’s offerings–here’s mine!


    I have been here, in this moment
    just before you bluster in-
    to my life, for oh so
    long now—
    so long, that in this no-man’s-land
    foxholes have given way
    to domesticity.
    I decorate their tops
    with a cascade of flowers,
    pin drawings on leaf pages
    to sloped walls,
    and I invite the neighbors
    for picnics under the oak tree.
    I’ve settled here, in this vast space,
    made it my own. In the evenings,
    I crochet by the fire.
    This afghan I’ve created
    is big enough to cover the world,
    yet it is not enough
    to keep me warm;
    the bone-numbing chill will remain
    until this moment passes
    and you are, at last,
    with me.

    ~ Sara Diane Doyle

  23. Connie Peters

    June Showers

    It’s still raining.
    I’m not complaining.
    That’s a sin in the southwest.
    It rained almost every day in May,
    when it didn’t snow.
    It’s still raining in June.
    The radio announced a flash flood warning.
    Usually at this time, the fire danger sign is red.
    I feel like I’m in one of those movies
    where the main character walks out the door
    and the whole world has changed.
    It’s strange.
    Like instead of visiting Pennsylvania,
    it has come to visit me.

  24. Doakley

    Change of Course

    I was but a lad of twelve with a horse and no desire to remain a city slicker
    with my trusty cap gun and a little practice, no one would draw quicker

    Already the lesson of riding fast and roping a post was old hat
    invariably if you caught the post, no good would ever come of that

    I practiced my cowboy riding and roping for hours most every day
    felt I was pretty good at it so maybe I should also learn the Indian way

    they rode when circling the wagon train or ranch house of course
    on the Saturday morning shows, they rode hanging off the side of their horse

    A try or two and I could ride that way just like I was the chieftain’s son
    riding Indian style came pretty easy and then I remembered my trusty cap gun

    Rather than rope that post I would ride by it and holler and whoop
    hanging off the side of my horse looking under her neck, ready to shoot

    Preparation went quick, got the horse ready, caps in the gun, it didn’t take long
    pick out the target, plan my fast ride by the post, what could possibly go wrong

    Thundering down the ditch, hanging off the right side of my horse, no fear of getting hurt
    at the first pop of a cap under her neck, the horse leaps sideways and I am kissing the dirt!

  25. josephdaniel

    Which Way Do I Go?

    I’ve moved too often
    in the wrong direction
    Backward, forward, up or down
    My compass is completely
    out of whack
    I just need the arrow
    to point to a sign,
    redirecting me
    to where my stars
    finally align

  26. Nancy Posey

    Without Warning

    It wasn’t the bombing of Pearl Harbor,
    the shooting of the Archduke in Sarajevo
    or the sinking of the Lusitania—nothing
    that blatant, nothing hovering there
    in the gray area of cause and effect.

    But something happened, everything
    changed. One moment, you loved me.
    And then you did not. The sky still blue,
    the birds performing an off-Broadway
    song and dance across my back yard,
    no cloud or shadow crossed my path.

    You did not even call to say goodbye.

  27. James Von Hendy


    That’s what I like about it—the empty moment
    on the stage, the wonder and the eagerness
    to begin, the expectant front-row faces
    turned up, glowing in the stage lights, a mirror
    of my own. None of us know yet what will come.

    That’s what I like about it—the slow reveal
    of circumstance, occupation, and handicap,
    the boundary rules from which we create a scene.
    Pirates, fishing in the desert, an opera,
    sing your lines. None of us knows yet what will come.

    1. drnurit

      One of my absolute favorites, James: the topic, the central metapohor, the seemingly simple sentences that so poetently depict that “empty moment,” when “none of us knows yet what will come.”

    2. PressOn

      This superb poem reaches way beyond the stage, methinks. It reminds me, actually of something my mother used to say: “It’s a good thing we don;t know what’s coming.”

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      I love that hushed moment just before the curtain opens, just before the conductor raises her baton, just before the first words are spoken when the audience holds its collective breath…well, you know.

  28. PeanuttyO

    Current Events

    Feel foreboding on the wind
    The concrete breathes and sighs
    Lies push the storm
    Perfuming the moist cellar air
    Lingering like a salty kiss
    danger mingles and dances
    ferocious and waiting

  29. ReathaThomasOakley

    In an instant

    As a child of the ocean
    I knew about the undertow
    knew the children of a woman
    strong swimmer I was told
    drowned when she tried to pull
    a boy from the undertow

    insidious unseen force lurking
    just below the calm surface of
    the water ready to turn the world
    upside down to a changed place
    where the strong
    drown and the weak survive
    by not fighting by going with
    the powerful flow to
    the other side of the undertow.

  30. grcran

    one peace of this one day

    clamshell sunset came
    it twinkled in my eye, and i
    knew i’d know the night
    it opened the night
    as the day had been opened
    decades before
    orange-y sundog gave tangent
    rays spread from sunrise point in the east
    as purple red pink colored the end
    of this one day

    by gpr crane

  31. Doakley

    Time for a change to be made

    All alone in a sterile world
    it may as well be mars,
    here in this tiny confined space,
    looking out between the bars

    The things I think I want,
    are there where I can see,
    neatly placed just out of reach,
    clearly meant to torment me.

    I raise a ruckus, kick the bars,
    first the front and then the rear,
    what the heck, am I alone?
    does no one check in here?

    The aroma of powder and perfume
    have long since gone away,
    from this tiny confined space,
    where I am forced to stay.

    My warden hears the fuss,
    and steps up to my crib
    “what’s this all about?” she says
    and tickles me on the rib.

    When she leaned into my bed,
    her nose did come in range,
    sent the message loud and clear,
    it’s time to make a change!

  32. Shennon

    Delay of game
    Was caused by rain
    A thunderclap
    The sky dark gray

    Rain coat?
    What for?

    Chilled to the bone
    Soaked to the skin
    What he wants to know
    Is can he go home?

    His shoes start to slosh
    He’s drenched and he’s cross
    But then, suddenly
    He yells, “Oh my gosh!”

    A glimmer of sun
    Some light from above
    A rainbow appears
    Rain seems to be done

    Time slows to a crawl
    Breath is held by all
    Til the umpire cries,
    “It’s time to play ball!”


  33. grcran


    “Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry” Robert Heinlein

    comes a time when i know i am adept
    at something perhaps practiced past inept
    feeling the love sensing the tool being the balmy
    quit thinking about it losing the qualmy
    and from there
    proceed to

    by gpr crane

  34. summersetsun

    Unmoved Movement

    Does it move?
    Move it does!
    R U sure.

    Does it skip?
    Skip it does!
    R U sure.

    Does it swim?
    Swim it does!
    R U sure.

    Does it sing?
    Sing it does!
    R U Sure.

    Does it morn?
    Morn it does!
    It doth morn.

    Does it laugh?
    Laugh it does!
    It doth laugh.

    Does it live?
    Live it does!
    It doth live.

    Does it die?
    Die it does!
    It doth not die!!!

    Doth not die
    Not doth die
    Die doth not
    Doth not


  35. barbara_y


    She had ceased waking, and walked,
    ate, slept in a doze of heavy pillows.
    Every character projected by her dream,
    even the minor ones–man walking two
    chihuahuas, woman at bus stop in blue–
    trailed dense layers of significance.
    She trailed fifteen packings of the same
    black suitcase, cried as if the rest
    of the play depended on her tears, heard
    her husband chuckle warm through
    the feathers and promise again to walk
    the Boston fern and feed the dog.
    The airport was a pipe of echos, the plane
    was the thought she was coming down
    with a cold. She asked for orange juice,
    swallowing just as a spotlight of sun
    flooded the porthole. And it seemed
    that there ought to be music swelling.

  36. DanielR


    The hazy gray where night meets morn
    and the beauty of a new day will be born
    a silence resonates just then
    before the echoes of life begin
    that moment before the breaking of light
    when flapping wings in haste take flight
    rushing toward the waking sky
    there is no questioning of why

    Daniel Roessler

  37. annell

    A Piece of Yarn

    i opened the door    startled a pair of fly catchers    they flew in unison

    a perfect circle…     then another     before they flew skyward

    i ride my weary steed     across rough ground      we travel south

    the sun already high in the sky…    sunrise/sunset      quickly go the days…

    these words follow me      reminding me of their truth

    is this the little boy at play      i don’t remember growing older      when did you

    it seems only yesterday      you were small      then…     you went away

    another summer/fall/winter/spring      happiness & tears      one season following another

    i did not think i could bear      yet loneliness & sorrow stand

    they are my companions      i am learning to accept them

    sunrise/sunset      swiftly fly the years

    blue pavilions rise on the horizon…     how to keep all that is past

    is it like a piece of yarn      wound on a spool      to be unwound later

    to read the words written there      weave into the fabric      that is my life

    dry the tears of yesterday…     follow the scattered bread crumbs home

    June 9, 2015


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