Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 330

Here we are again: On a Wednesday in a month not named April or November. Must be poeming time!

For today’s prompt, write a shopping poem. I’ve been doing a lot of the “traditional” shopping lately with a bunch of big family dinners and such, but remember: People shop for husbands, shop for good music, shop for people with similar interests, and so on. Happy shopping for a good poem!


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Here’s my attempt at a Shopping poem:

“at the thrift store”

i find the disc
that once cost me
fifteen dollars
for three quarters.


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.


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102 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 330

  1. ReathaThomasOakley

    Shopping in Costa Maya

    Until today we could not find
    a handy wifi location, so I’ve been unattached,
    adrift in seas and ports, unconnected to things that
    give meaning to my life, but here, in this lovely
    thatched roof coffee shop, pretending it was built
    to give shelter to native families and not for us, we
    sip coffee and stare at tiny screens
    while just outside another world moves on by,

    I must buy postcards before we leave.

  2. icandootoo

    In line for last minute gifts

    In line for last minute gifts:
    “The problem,” Marge sniffs,
    “with kids today,
    is that they
    don’t know the meaning of thrift.”

  3. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    “Come on Mum! Hurry up, we have to do everything now!
    It must be done by a certain time! Have you got the list?
    Straight away, without delay, amid the appalling crush.
    We must get everything now, in a fast and furious rush
    We must get things under full control, time is passing by.

    A pair of slippers for Grumps, his are wearing out fast.
    A box of chocolates for Grandma to nibble by the fire.
    Toys for the kids, go for the best to ignite their interest.
    Uncle will welcome socks, in dazzling fluorescent green.
    Hampers all around the family, made up specially by us.

    For Aunt Mary, delicate, lacy white hankies are nice.
    The cousins will welcome a bottle of sparkling wine
    Two cases should be enough to nicely go around.
    We must do it all today, in a fast and furious rush
    Straight away, without delay, amid the appalling crush.

    This is a mega-market place, everything is right here,
    Piled up and for sale, to take home some Christmas cheer.
    The queues at the checkout are a mile long and waiting
    These places are always the same at this time of the year
    Very easy to enter and choose, but impossible to leave.

    Still once we get home wth the shopping done,
    We can raise a glass of cheer. Cheers everyone!
    Good job This shopping season only comes once a year.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

  4. taylor graham


    You never cared for Santa Claus.
    He didn’t harmonize with heavenly harps
    and shepherds bowing before a manger.
    He lived in the department stores,
    holding shoppers’ kids on his lap.

    Then, peer-pressure, friends at recess
    saying Santa didn’t exist; parents
    left all those presents under the tree.
    That afternoon you walked home
    invoking spirits of holiday.

    Your mother was fixing codfish
    gravy. You told her. “What did you say?”
    she asked. “My parents would never
    spend money so foolishly.” Wool scarf,
    lemon-flavor vitamins

    wrapped in tissue paper bright with
    Christmas cards of seasons past….
    Make do with what you have, fancied-up
    by your own fancy. Could Santa
    with all his gifts do that?

  5. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    It’s that time,
    Of year,
    When she,
    Says, “Dear,
    I need to find
    Me something new,
    To wear.”
    Well the old,
    Won’t do,
    You feel,
    It too,
    Won’t be long
    Until she’s,
    Not there.

    You know what it means,
    When she puts on her skinny jeans,
    She’s goin’ shopping,
    Bar hoppin’,
    Non-stop and,
    She won’t go home alone, alone,
    No she won’t,
    Go home alone.

    That’s how
    You met;
    Back then,
    And yet,
    You’re not ready,
    To make the change
    You know she needs;
    So the old,
    Won’t do,
    When did that
    Mean you?
    Won’t be long
    Till your broken
    Heart bleeds.

    And you know what it means,
    When she puts on her skinny jeans,
    She’s goin’ shopping,
    Bar hoppin’,
    Non-stop and,
    She won’t go home alone, alone,
    No she won’t,
    Go home alone.

    You know what it means,
    When she puts on her skinny jeans,
    She’s goin’ shopping,
    Bar hoppin’,
    Non-stop and,
    She won’t go home alone, alone,
    No she won’t,
    Go home alone.

  6. SarahLeaSales

    Window Shopping

    I wasn’t even shopping for a husband
    that day in Dayside,
    but I found one—
    so fetching in his baker’s cap,
    like a special-order nutcracker.

    He wasn’t brand-new,
    but he still worked;
    he’d been on the shelf awhile,
    but, like flour or dandruff,
    he could be dusted off.
    He wasn’t perfect,
    but I would be the sandpaper
    that would smooth his rough edges.
    I would make him mine.

    He wasn’t on clearance,
    so that was attractive to me—
    he wasn’t even for sale,
    but he talked himself into it.
    True, he had never been bought,
    but neither had he ever been returned.

    I decided to take him home,
    feeling I got a bargain,
    so I married him,
    getting a little bun in the oven as a rebate,
    a bun who came out smelling buttery sweet.

    Though there have been times
    I’ve wanted to return him,
    I cannot,
    for I threw away the receipt
    when I said, “I do.”
    He wouldn’t quite fit anyone else now
    (at least without much reworking),
    and neither would I,
    so I’ll keep him for the rest of his life
    (or mine).

    I go to play with my little loaf of bread,
    now rising and still rising,
    with the pretty pink tie at the top,
    as I happily await the next little bun,
    made with the same, all-natural ingredients,
    and yet unique and wonderfully made.

  7. PressOn


    Whenever I think I’ll go shopping,
    I fear that the start has no stopping
    until my poor purse
    goes from sickly to worse
    from its annual Christmastime whopping.

  8. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    And so she goes shopping again;
    Hopping again,
    From store to store,
    Buying more, more.

    Her arms are filled until she drags,
    Too many bags,
    Under the stars,
    Out to her car,

    So, how much do you wanna bet,
    Knee deep in debt,
    She only cares,
    ‘Bout what she wears?

  9. Nancy Posey

    Shopping at the Mill Ends Store

    After we studied the pages
    of the Sears and Roebuck Wish Book,
    and circled the dress racks
    in Children’s and Ladies’ ready-to-wear
    at the downtown Belk Hudson’s,
    Mama took us to the dry goods store,
    where bolts of cloth stood upright,
    gingham, dotted Swiss, batiste
    in solid colors, checks, and prints.
    She’d have the clerk measure yards,
    cutting with scissors tied to the table
    by string, as if it couldn’t be cut.

    She read the backs of patterns—
    McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity—the way
    mariners read the stars or long-haul
    trucker read their maps. After buying
    notions—elastic, interfacing,
    zippers, buttons—and matching
    thread to cloth, we headed home,
    already dreaming of the way
    our new dresses would swish and twirl,
    stiff petticoats underneath, and lacy
    socks in our new Mary Janes.

  10. Walt Wojtanik


    The toy store window was smudged
    by every little nose pressed up tight
    to get a closer look that night.

    Wide-eyed in wonder. Under the spell
    of Christmas bells and bright shiny things.
    It added to the anticipation that the day brings.

    Skittering from train set to baseball glove,
    erector sets and skating rig-a-ma roll.
    Feet cemented as if not meant to stroll,

    only stay put in the toy store window.
    Mechanical men with keyed cranks,
    and tubs of army men and tanks,

    fighting sandlot battles where no man
    is left behind. You find a peacefulness there,
    where dreams come true if you truly dare

    to have them. The toy store window
    was smudged by every little nose pressed.
    You get a much closer look at the rest.

    Memories of Christmases past fade fast,
    left for wordy old men to write of the demise
    with glimpses of each long treasured surprise.

  11. Anthony94

    The Shepherd Was Not for Sale

    On Saturday, the professora leads the two
    hour trip up the switchbacks into the mountains
    to Otavalo, where we decamp from the white
    minivan into a sea of white minivans together
    with the diesel belching buses snaking along
    Salinas on their way to the depot. No window
    shopping here through spotless glass panes, but
    rather I begin to browse an undulating tapestry
    laid out in squares as precise as those of an Iowa
    corn farmer’s acreages, sections and square miles.

    Cooking pots anchor corners, a spill of produce
    holds down another, while central Grandmothers
    and children watch for flickers of interest among
    the thronging visitors, shopping for the week.
    Languages blend, the soft Quechua, the
    Ecuadorian Spanish, the shriller squeal of
    today’s pigs and donkeys, the squawk of
    duck and chicken. I walk carefully, stop to
    finger scarves and ponchos woven from alpaca
    and llama, discuss the sizes of caps and mittens.

    Commit to a buy from the back side vendors
    working thread as they wait. We talk about children
    and families, of countries and jobs, and the sun
    warms our backs, even as the mugs of coffee
    steam in our hands, surrounding air redolent
    with warm tortillas, the moté cooking for lunch.
    I avoid the hawkers, content to haggle only
    in what I consider good taste for the hammered
    gold, the turquoise pendants. I am not really here
    to shop but to be warp and weft of clacking loom,

    to capture the shepherd boy’s black shadow
    stretching across the light colored llama in front
    of the white washed barns. To have him explain
    his giggles as he tells me how he’s puzzled
    they haven’t spit yet, and that I must be their friend.
    I leave him inside the camera as I toss the warm
    wool back across my shoulder and make my way
    down the path. I realize my shopping bag dangles
    emptily, but years later, I can still say I came
    back full of treasures from a successful trip.

  12. Nancy Posey

    Just Looking

    Just looking, they say, breezing through the door
    minutes before closing time, the bell ringing
    with a less friendly tone this close to nine.

    With no apparent sense of time, they wander
    up and down the aisles, fingering the sleeves,
    checking price tags, thinking themselves discreet.

    If I approach, swallowing impatience, wearing
    my polished retail smile, they both avoid my eyes,
    as if we’re polar opposites of the same magnet.

    Try it on, she prods him. And I know by her choice
    they’re only trying on for fun—the color, too grey,
    the cut, too conservative for Mr. Metrosexual.

    I know the smell of old men’s hats, Florsheim shoe leather,
    and wood still linger in the place. I know I told myself
    I would work here just until something better came along.

    Just my luck, when it comes, it will appear right after
    I turn over the Closed sign and slip out the back door
    to my car waiting with the trash cans in the alley.

  13. annell


    it is the season     shopping and good cheer      while at the bank

    i noticed      a small tree      with cards on it

    on each card      the names of children      in foster care

    i examined a card     she is four years old      a short list of things

    she wanted      for christmas      the first thing on the card

    was teacups      a simple request       today i will go back

    get the card      and i will go shopping      for a very special christmas gift    

    December 3, 2015

  14. grcran

    Shopping for a Prayer

    Top dog on list of prayers is Thank You God.
    Ave Maria comes in second, y’all.
    Om Mani Padme Hum (peace in a pod).
    Chant Hare Krishna. Sing Hallelujah.
    If long night horrors haunt, sometimes it helps
    to pray. It may be short and sweet is best.
    Soul supplicate. Subtract the sobs and yelps.
    When holy spirit heals, (s)he’s God’s own guest.

    by gpr crane

  15. Walt Wojtanik


    Lights strung high, blinking,
    thinking there must be more to this
    than kissing dignity a fond farewell.

    Store front Santa Clauses pause
    to pose, but those are rarely ever offered
    a pittance as “remittance”. The snow falls.

    Couples starry eyed, spy an open bench
    for a quick clench, a stolen kiss and mistletoe
    is nowhere in view. You scan the crowd for familiar faces
    traces of a smile in any aisle. Misery loves company
    and you’re it for the moment.

    Home seems a lifetime away and you’d stay there
    if these stops would shop themselves and deliver.

    Soft jingle music serenades and pervades
    your thoughts. You ought to get something to eat.
    Your feet ache and you’d take a break
    if that’s what it will take.

    They accept credit at the kiosk, but it would be
    a mistake to push your limit.
    A mother frazzled, bedazzled jeans and a mean
    child screaming, “Buy me something!”
    Something. Anything to bring home.

    A flock of teenies hover near the food court,
    resorting to horseplay and obscenities,
    the amenities of a society run amok.
    Every F*%# loudly accentuated and negating
    any semblance of the spirit absent.

    Elderly gents bent and broken,
    spoken in dialectic bromides reside
    on the lounge couches. Coffees
    and stares found there when invaders
    breech their spaces. This place is filling in
    and spilling into any opening that offers
    breathing room. The snow contoinues.

    The lines define where “The Claus” takes his pause.
    Impatient parents ranting, panting like rabid dogs,
    you need not look twice for the naughty or nice.
    The naughty tug and fidget, ignoring any digit
    shaken in their faces. The nice await step by step
    for their moment to shine. They opine the verity
    of the man in red. But they believe instead of question.

    Lights strung, hung high and blinking.
    You’re thinking there must be more to this.

    1. grcran

      really good one Walt! you’ve made visualization of the scenes quite easy… the rhyming and rhythm is spot-on and quite pleasant, even more so when read aloud and/or a second time… ohyeah, and the comment on our society and our kids: very pithy and pointed and well-taken… rusty

  16. uvr

    Shivering in her ragged dress
    the cold creeping in
    through her tattered shoes
    she walked the bright streets
    with tentative steps
    her awed breath
    puffing out in a white cloud

    Jostled by teeming crowds
    she plastered her nose
    to the window
    and peered into the shop
    A big fat man in a red suit
    with a smile as wide
    as the chair he sat on

    Boys and girls
    in smart coats
    and pretty dresses
    lined up in front of him
    They sat on his knee
    whispered in his ear
    left with a brightly wrapped parcel

    She stood there
    till she was a block of ice
    then felt a tap on her shoulder
    What can I give you, little girl?
    asked the jolly fat man
    She looked up at him
    with big sad eyes
    and said, I want a home

  17. Sara McNulty

    Shopping Habits

    Mom never grocery shopped
    with a list. Psst! We never
    shop without one. Rule of
    thumb in our house is, three
    items or more requires a list.
    Not saying we do not go off-
    script. Odds and ends find
    their way into the cart. At
    checkout, no doubt, I will
    be surprised at his indulgences,
    and he at mine. It’s fine.
    While I pick up things
    as I see them, my husband has
    a hard and fast rule–non-perishables
    first, refrigerated second,
    and frozen foods last. Does not
    matter if you cross the store
    twice. If the cashier is slow
    or the line too long, he has
    been known to put the ice cream
    back. Makes me think of my dad,
    who whisked milk off the table
    as soon as it was poured, visions
    of spoilage dancing in his head.
    He never shopped with a list either.

  18. lsteadly

    Shopping for Parts

    I think I’d like to buy a new pair of eyes
    don’t get me wrong, I do like them
    brown but they don’t let me see
    unless I dress them up with glasses
    such a complete hassle
    and while I’m at it
    I’d shop for a few new joints
    as mine creak and crack
    startling the cat as I unfold from the bed

    what a racket

    and come to think of it
    a new pair of feet wouldn’t hurt
    as much as the bunions do
    distorting my shoes

    But who’s to say these new models
    would work the same way –
    trade my old eyes for clear skies
    I may never recognize
    new bones too quiet to tell
    the old stories

    would those new feet even know
    where to go?

  19. Amaria

    I took Robert’s shop for husbands idea and ran with it:

    “the husband shopper”

    what can I say she had a gift
    collecting husbands like diamonds
    she had to – she was a spendthrift
    what can I say she had a gift
    seducing every man she kissed
    she had it down to a science
    what can I say she had a gift
    collecting husbands like diamonds

  20. Walt Wojtanik


    Souls at a premium,
    black market and Craig Listed
    double fisted with cash
    or plastic or cheques.
    The effects of a spree have me
    dizzied and weak. Seeking
    the next new thing. Come spring
    it will be a distant memory.
    I remember shopping as a chore,
    but now it’s more a matter of survival.
    Dead on arrival.
    Paper or plastic?

  21. PowerUnit

    Fingers raw, the corded handles on decorated bags are winning
    the impracticalities a seasonal sacrifice
    on sale
    sale on sale
    marked down from inflated heights
    make them feel like winners and they won’t complain
    of losing the race while rats empty their pockets
    and bottleneck the checkout lines

    Trees decorated with imitation quality
    un-refundable trifles, non-returnable mistakes
    that watch I always wanted but no longer need.
    How can a person keep track of time if they can’t keep track of money?
    Seasonal visions always abused
    mid-reading failures begging the tree for shelter.
    Merry Christmas to all, especially those with a dollar

  22. taylor graham


    Shopping for land – stepping onto a parcel on
    a plat, putting down money, saying “this is
    ours.” A sense of power? of rooting into earth?
    After so many years, memory’s jaundiced
    by piddling tax bills. That lot above muddy river
    that floods annually, half a continent away;
    a piece of desert – 2 rock knobs over a lap of
    chaparral cut by waistline (wasteline?) of county
    chip-seal between somewhere and nowhere.
    Taxes come due in different months; we forget,
    we’re delinquent. Guile or downsizing, to sign
    over grant-deeds to your kids? Two parcels
    we staked by snowshoe, as newlyweds, under
    shadow of Denali – so many anecdotes, family
    legend now: bush-plane drop-off on a frozen
    lake, miles from where we meant; finding our
    way by compass and creek-ice; setting corner-
    stakes; trudging muskeg and alder thicket –
    banging pans to let Grizzly know we’d come
    to fish our land in blueberry summer. Too old
    now to travel there again. Give it to the kids.
    Can’t hold on to everything, just some of it
    in memory.

    1. PressOn

      Thanks for the journeys
      to deserts and to lakes
      and sometimes to canebrakes
      and mountaintops devoid of shops
      where wanderlust awakes.
      We thank you so much.

      Sorry about that, but your last line triggered the old song, Thanks for the Memory. This poem was like taking trips with you. Wonderful.

  23. Walt Wojtanik


    Neil’s wife reads to excess.
    Tome and volume turned up and blaring
    not caring the space they replace on her book shelf.
    I myself read when I can. Just a man whose obsession
    with words comes from within. It is a sin sometimes that I’m
    not more of an explorer than she.
    And soon, she replaces the placeholders,
    removing the older books for new. You’d think
    the local library had opened an annex.
    Neil spreads them on the table at work,
    gifts given to those who take solace in books.
    I look at the titles. One thin bit to entice me.
    I rediscover Poet McKuen’s “Twelve Years of Christmas”.
    It speaks to lost childhoods and
    long lost friends buried within me.
    That I could be Father Christmas isn’t far
    from the truth. The days of my youth linger
    in memory. I cherish this “gift” adding to my collection.
    It gives my spirit direction.
    Thank you, Mrs. Neil!

  24. Walt Wojtanik


    The circulars end up in the square file,
    I smile at their demise. It is no surprise
    that you won’t see me in endless lines,
    clutching future returns as money burns
    a hole in my pocket, out-turned and empty.
    Any attempt to include me are pre-empted.
    No black Friday.
    No cyber-Monday.
    One day Christmas will be
    self-serving for those deserving of their own
    kindness. Mindless crowds and loud speaker shrill
    do not thrill. Homemade, hand-made are worth the time.
    I’m doing my shopping within and I grin.
    There are plenty of non-shopping days until Christmas!

      1. PressOn

        I don’t know how that happened, but my comment applies to the “observations” piece, above. I like this one too, especially “doing my shopping within and I grin.”


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