Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 318

I got out of bed early this morning to try and catch some of the Perseid meteor shower, but my eyes were (and still are) too sleepy to view anything. And then, I couldn’t get back to sleep–so here we are.

Today’s prompt is to write a tired poem. It could be a sleepy poem or a worn out from exercise poem. Or it could be a “sick and tired” poem, I suppose. Take tired where you will, even if it means making a verb out of the noun tire.


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Here’s my attempt at a Tired Poem:


when i’m tired
i feel like slowing down

when i’m tried
i know what’s coming ’round

when i’m tiered
my layers start to show

when i retire
it’s time to go go go


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.

One of his all-time favorite songs from The Beatles is “I’m So Tired” from their White Album. And he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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338 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 318

  1. sppeac1987


    It tethers us to the bed,
    It thunders down on our heads,
    That sharp, sleepy shard
    That slows us down so
    And steals pieces of our spirit
    Until our old self is lost.

    It may morph into Misery
    Or other beasts of burden,
    Awaken the anxious ones
    Who fret in our frenzied minds.
    We can fight them no more,
    So we recoil from reality instead.

    They leave us shackled
    As they taunt and cackle
    At this sorry old state
    That we have collapsed into.
    And so they’ll prod and pick apart
    Leaving no torment unturned.

    The choice is ours now,
    To combat back for control
    Or to stay their hopeless slave
    In this war of the wits
    That will rage on always
    Until our self comes back to us.

  2. grcran

    tired but not done

    these leaves of thyme this scent of sage
    they season us e’en as we age
    and finding us at last fulfilled
    with red wine not the least bit chilled

    by gpr crane

  3. Shennon

    I’m tired.
    It’s way too early
    to be in school,
    says a voice in the second row.

    Although I agree
    with the boy
    who’s head now
    rests upon his crossed arms,

    I cannot risk
    being overheard
    by students
    or by administration.

    And so I sigh,
    with lips compressed,
    assign a chapter
    to be silently read.

    As the final
    page flips,
    I collapse in
    the swivel chair at my desk,

    Thankful for obedient students
    And the large cup of coffee in my grip.


  4. uvr

    Why am i so tired, you ask
    flopping limply on the sofa
    Innocuous words, yet they
    stir me up, my heart flapping
    like a trapped bird

    Why should you be so exhausted,
    my frazzled mind questions
    In the prime of 18-year-old youth,
    you should be frittering away
    endless confetti moments, not

    be already weary of life. You haven’t
    begun to live yet, your days not flabby
    with worry, your nights not flickering
    with fatigue. While my mind still fidgets,
    you bounce up and flitter away,

    leaving me weary

  5. strandedmoon

    Tired of small talk

    I am tired of today’s small talk
    I prefer to take the dog on walk
    And to listen to my thoughts

    Time and worries come along
    Whining spirit is so strong
    But I love the deeper conversations

    I am support to the folks
    Getting tired of the moles
    But sometimes I quit them all

  6. Doakley

    Tired and Alone

    Sitting in the weathered chair,
    mine on the left, yours empty, on the right,
    I watch as the rising sun claims its share
    of the horizon, wrapping it in dawn’s orange light,
    your memory as clear as if you were here.

    Your chair and mine, side by side, green when bought new,
    I brought the coffee, you had yogurt and granola crunch to eat,
    reading the paper, I quoted headlines to you,
    of stories to read from the pages I laid at your feet,
    your chair now sits abandoned, like a ghost in a pew.

    Breakfast sandwich, my new staple, comes from the corner store,
    I’m on a first name basis with the clerks, who wait on me.
    As I sit at our table, memories seep from my eyes to the floor,
    thinking of us and how life once used to be,
    content, knowing I will wear my tuxedo once more.

  7. ReathaThomasOakley

    Circle of life

    My mother-in-law depended on
    crackers, coffee, and reruns
    of Law and Order when she
    was too old and tired to cook.

    Last night I thought of Lois
    as I sat with reheated coffee, a
    handful of crackers, and
    that new library book.

  8. carolemt87

    Four in the Morning Blues

    Sleep steals away and I roam the halls
    Norwegian Pearl in the Atlantic sailing
    through dark waters, at four in the morning
    blues music walks along where
    two guys at the bar, three sheets to the wind
    oblivious to the night
    holler like jackpot winners.

    All the performers have gone to bed
    only the insomniacs and me
    wandering around in the cold
    looking for a quiet place
    away from the cleaning shift
    with their mops and vacuums
    away from the kitchen bang and rattle
    I walk to the back of the ship
    to watch the steel water roll
    on the fringe of not night
    of almost day
    when the dark rains near
    hovering at the edge
    of a forgotten dream.

      1. carolemt87

        I think I’ve posted this poem before. It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me and I apologize. I have written about a dozen new poems, but not all fit the format or the prompt and this one does.

  9. seingraham


    Looking back, she can barely remember the tired
    years; whole swaths of time when she couldn’t
    lift her head, never mind leave the bed
    It strikes her conflating that now she has energy
    and sleeps a normal amount of time, her life
    has become so wearisome
    It doesn’t bear thinking about – her wearisome
    life – but there are no stopping thoughts romping
    through an alert, wide-awake mind
    Maybe sleeping medication would be a good idea,
    she thinks, then just as quickly, discards the notion
    She’s sleeping just fine when it’s time to sleep; it’s
    the waking hours that wear her out
    It’s living of which she’s become tired, the whole
    kit and kaboodle, is just so fatiguing.

  10. Bushkill

    318. Tired

    They enter by ones and twos,
    Sometimes in groups.

    Talking, laughing, sharing,
    Their lives a kaleidoscope of opportunity
    And emotion.

    They take their seats
    Still laughing and sharing
    Bright eyes turning.

    Equations I share with them.
    Like glyphs to some.
    Confusion clouds vision.

    Searching, reaching, teaching,
    I reach out to them.
    And they to me.

    How was that again?
    Will this be on the test?
    I saw you at the game yesterday.
    Are you going to chaperone the prom?

    Can I
    Go to the bathroom?
    Charge my phone?
    Use my calculator?
    Use my phone’s calculator?
    Work with a friend?
    Borrow a book, a pen, some paper?

    The answers?

    Most work
    Some work hard
    Others hardly so.

    Until the bell rings
    When they shuffle off

    And then again;

    They enter by ones and twos,
    Sometimes in groups.

    Talking, laughing, sharing,
    Their lives a kaleidoscope of opportunity
    And emotion.

    I breathe deeply,
    Empowered by their energy,
    And push back the exhaustion.

    Equations I share with them…

  11. Jane Shlensky

    Just Like Mom

    The children gather along
    the rails of the ferry
    snapping pictures of the lady,
    her scaffolding down,
    her solemn face welcoming
    muddled masses of tourists.

    One small boy sadly shakes
    his head when he is told
    how long she has been watching
    the harbor, her light aloft,
    a beacon of hope for so long.
    “Man, I bet her arm’s plenty
    tired of holding that torch.”

  12. Jane Shlensky

    Weary Blues

    I tire of optimism.
    Painting on that face
    to meet the faces,
    cheery sentinel of
    all’s well hell.

    Hope is wearing,
    tearing at my seams,
    raveling my nerves
    to threads of uselessness.
    I’m tired of yes
    and wonder if it might
    be right to honor no
    as the liberator of us all,
    no reasons why, no do
    or die, no questions
    asked, no actions risked.
    Just no. I don’t want to.
    Even if it’s a good cause.
    Even if the need is great.
    Even if you personally know
    the people involved.
    Even if I can, I surely can.
    Even if the world will be made
    brighter for my efforts.

    I need to lie down. Rest.
    Listen to my pulse thump
    in my ears, dearest percussion,
    and for just a few minutes
    entertain the notion that
    the world’s gone mad.
    Pessimism, long ago
    sacrificed to idealism,
    lays his cool hands
    on my throbbing temple.
    Ah. Hello, Old Friend.

    1. Bushkill

      Well articulated and the sense of weary comes through in so many places. For me, though, pessimism and optimism would be reversed as I try to internalize your words to my own experience.

      I applaud your wisdom.

  13. De Jackson

    smallish tirade

    this poem is tired.

    it was all wired up and ready
    to go, until it ran out of self

    it’s a mean
    little sucker
    with teeth,
    suckling sleep
    -ily at
    a whole lotta

    this poem used
    to be somethin’
    with wings, until
    it got plucked
    and shucked
    and gunked
    up by phrase

    this poem is a scar.
    (no, wait: a star)
    too soon, swooned low
    by a rising crimson sky.

    this poem has no sense
    of place, no where
    or how or why. it’s
    just hanging around
    waiting for one last good



    1. Jane Shlensky

      This is a whole wonderful story in a few words. We used to have visitors that showed up every Sunday evening right at mealtime and hang around until we broke down and fed them. A-wearying is exactly right.

  14. taylor graham


    I woke up tired. All night I dreamed
    of drought, dust, dead grass brittle, news
    of wildfire sparking every hill.

    I woke to black before dawn, soft
    whimper of my puppy Trek. All night he slept
    quiet, now awake. It’s morning!

    I open his wire crate. Is this the pup I put to bed
    so tired, just a few hours ago? He loops
    and circles, stretches his spine and lets flow

    an amber stream of puppy-do; camel-
    humps his back, dumps yesterday’s waste.
    And now he’s whirlwind in all directions,

    every shift of mind, a wild thing tattering
    the household before I’ve turned on the lights. Tail wagging him all a-whimsy.

    A newspaper shredded. Pure joy dancing
    with my slipper. Dawn breaks
    from its pale egg, golden yolk all over easy.

  15. Jezzie


    I looked in the mirror.
    My mum looked back at me.
    “Good grief, girl, you look tired.
    You’re not the girl you used to be.”

    Mum grinned, I looked again
    “You’re looking old I fear.
    Don’t you think it is time
    that you retired, my dear?”

    “It’s time for you to stop
    now that you’re seventy.
    Remember when I told
    you that a writer you could be?”

    So now I spend more time,
    as my mum advised me,
    with my young dog at home,
    relaxed and writing poetry.

  16. De Jackson

    circadian rhythm in b flat

    sleep now, love.
    lie loose and cold and worn,
    torn by this world and lulled
    by this breeze. hold hands
    with the sky, and wonder
    how it sings. lullaby your
    way to silence. shall we
    la-la-lu these stars together
    one last time? give me your
    tired limbs,
    your poor soul,
    your huddled, puddle
    masses. your longing.
    just be.



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