Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 329

This will be our final Wednesday Poetry Prompt until December. As many of you already know, we do a poem-a-day challenge in November that is dedicated to getting material together for a chapbook manuscript. Click here to learn more about the 2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge.

For today’s prompt, write a “you should” poem. A lot of well-meaning people are often ready to hand out advice; for instance, my two oldest boys like to tell me I should write a book that people read–like a novel. I’m sure you know folks like that; heck, I’m sure we’re all guilty of it from time to time. But today’s poem is to write such a poem: a “you should” poem. Can be from the perspective of giving advice, receiving advice, or an impartial 3rd party.


wd_poetry_awardsYou Should Win $1,000 for Your Poetry!

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 2016 Poet’s Market.

There are cash prizes for Second ($250) and Third ($100) Prizes, as well as prizes for the Top 25 poems.

Somebody has to win those prizes, so you should enter and give it a go. But act fast!

The deadline is October 30.

Click here to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at a You Should poem:


Mom says, “You should take out the trash
and do the dishes and do your homework
and be nicer to your sister and think about
the starving children around the world and
your mother,” but I already think about mother
(how can I not) and the rest is kind of boring.
Plus, it’s kind of a lot of work doing all that
stuff, so I try not to, but then, dad says, “You
should listen to your mother and make your
bed and get a job and think about college
and quit being weird and lazy and do the
laundry,” and a laundry list of other things,
like I don’t do anything or something, and
maybe I should: But I’ll read this book first.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


Find more poetic posts here:

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

281 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 329

  1. Sarah Metzler

    You should
    Write about what you know
    That’s what they say
    But what do you do
    When the black ink of your words
    Bleed across the parchment
    And leave nothing
    To look through
    But the center
    Of the O
    In the word

    It is a space
    Not big enough
    To hold
    The beauty
    Of the first star
    Glittering forth
    From the silk threads
    Of dusk
    Like the center
    Of the O
    In the word

    And yet
    Here I sit
    With my left eye
    Pressed to the page
    Straining vision
    Through its keyhole
    And my fingers hovering
    Above the page
    Like hawk talons
    Flexing above
    The blades
    Of rustling grasses
    Waiting for the
    Soft sable
    Of the mouse
    To appear

  2. KarenAWK1

    No Time For Should
    by Karen Koger

    I should have done
    the things I wanted to do so long
    ago when I was young

    a time when passion is wasted
    on puerile thoughts too naive
    to know what in life is gold
    lost in their own credulous desires

    if only I’d known then
    my true heart’s passion
    I could have begun long ago

    but time had other plans to wait until
    I could see the true worth of those
    things I should have done
    are ready for me now

  3. Cynthia Page

    Join My Quest

    You should see the mess you leave behind;
    white bags shredded by the tractor-mower,
    soda cans, beer cans that just missed the barrel,
    hot and cold cups of paper or styrofoam.
    I carry a trash bag when I walk the dog
    because I decided recently that I
    could no longer ignore the trash in my path.
    If I can reach it, I’ll pick it up. I soon
    discovered – that describes almost every
    piece of trash I see. Lately, nothing dissuades me.
    Since you could see what I see, could you act,
    open your eyes, and your heart? And if you
    see it too, pick up after yourself and
    others, too. I would not need to carry this bag
    of trash from one end of the park to the
    other. If you opened your eyes and joined
    my noble quest, my back would stop aching.

  4. Beverly Finney

    An “I should have” poem . . .

    It’s The Regrets We Remember

    I should have gone through with the summer romance.
    I should have majored in art anyway.
    I should have believed in myself, trusted my grit.

    I should have read more of the classics younger.
    I should have learned how to hang my own paper.
    I should have taken the risk on something bigger.

    I should have finished the memory book that I started.
    I should have mastered the art of the flaky pie crust.
    I should have turned down his proposal and waited.

    I should have come home from the office at five.
    I should have built a tree house out in the woods.
    I should have said I was sorry, made honest amends.

    I should have practiced piano, kept taking lessons.
    I should have conquered the clutch and the stick.
    I should have paused when angry, just walked away.

    I should have made peace with what wouldn’t change.
    I should have clung to the shoulds that I cherished.
    I should have denied the shoulds holding me back.

  5. strandedmoon

    Said “no”

    When I was young my mom
    Said “Go and find rich man”
    Then I harshly said “no”
    What is the cost of love?

    Today I am bit old
    And sure I know
    The love costs time
    That I should spare

    In living with the mighty one
    Unfortunately I didn’t find
    Then I should firmly go
    But my naivety said “no”

    When I should say “Go”
    To my daughter, I said “no”
    She will know when time
    Is right for her to find One in wild

    Of Love Life.

  6. ppfautsch24

    Haunted Night
    Willow branches scratch at the fogged window pane, winds howl in screeching pain. Leaves billow scattered on the ground and darkness covers the night in haunting sounds. Images lurking in the corner and under the bed, being alone on Halloween night; I do dread. Old scary movie scenes scroll across the TV screen. What was that, did I hear a scream? Blanket shawled and curled up on my sofa shivering. Popcorn popped and buttered with garlic; in hopes of keeping Count Dracula from delivering a bite upon my neck column. That would put me in a macabre state; undead, eyes peering and solemn. I should just look away.

      1. ppfautsch24

        Thank you, Press On, yes, I was going for a story building feel that has your heart beating faster
        as your anxiety builds when scared. I do appreciate your comments, they are very helpful!

  7. ppfautsch24

    We Should
    You should go to sleep on what you are trying to tell me.
    You should tell the ugly truths and I should not believe the pretty lies that is part of your disguise.
    You should stay where you are and I should leave.
    You should listen to your own advice and I should wake up to what I am trying to hear.
    By Pamelap

  8. SheepCarrot

    Misplaced Shoulds

    Raised where advice was handed out…
    “You should read, pray, attend.
    Only then
    Will you be…
    Never caring how I felt,
    From their shoulds.
    Uncomfortable in their house
    Of worship
    I stayed home.
    I detest their “holy” men,
    Those that “should” be
    A perfect…
    I rejected their shoulds,
    Feeling misunderstood and
    Instead found he who
    Completes me
    Encourages me
    Supports me.
    But still the shoulds return again,
    Trying to tell me what
    I should do, to be
    Why can’t they see?
    I already am.

  9. grcran

    to rhyme or not to rhyme

    oh poet know
    it is not good
    awranglin’ rhymes for would
    don’t sound your lines of love
    doves hovering above
    and never flood the bloody muddy crud
    but if you’re in the neighborhood
    you should

    by gpr crane

  10. grcran


    Believing things are how they’re meant to be,
    you should give thanks. Decipher when to move
    and when to stay. Surrender. Claim a victory.
    Make known those things of which you disapprove.
    You should be generous to those who need
    your help, reserving respite for yourself.
    Speak out against unbridled lust and greed.
    Know sin as sin; don’t blame mischievous elf.

    Treasure those few you’ll love with all your heart.
    You should be happy, healthy, strong, and true.
    Ignore your enemies. Adore your friends.
    Keep tasting for the savory, the tart.
    You should reveal some sacred wisdom. Too,
    do not foist values elsewhere. Here, this ends.

    by gpr crane

  11. Shennon

    You should
    kiss me
    just once
    before we
    part ways.

    A memory
    of laughs
    and time
    we shared
    so briefly.

    A glimpse
    of what
    may have
    but didn’t.

    So please,
    just once,
    kiss me,
    and linger.
    Don’t go.



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.