Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 332

For today’s prompt, write a standard poem. Standard poem could mean the “same old poem,” I suppose, but it could also mean the “gold standard.” It could be a poem about standard procedures or having standards (in work, relationships, social media, poeming, etc.). Or maybe your idea of standard is that nothing is standard.

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Here’s my attempt at a Standard poem:

“standards”

standard procedure dictates
time and again how we bind
and manipulate time in our

never ending search for a
development that’s candid
about our time lost can in

reality intimately delay a
dynamic solution to what
stymies clockwork souls

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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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142 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 332

  1. taylor graham

    THE STANDARD

    Loki knows the obedience drill, how the leash sings,
    she must keep pace, sit straight; reward’s in the wings.

    Along the fence of pasture where mourning doves lift
    off, white-edged tails, rush-rustling of the wings.

    A transitory whim, man’s discipline of beast – dog
    who watches my signals like cues from the wings.

    After storm, the dry creek leaps and gurgles, a bird
    with song of joyous swirling water in its wings.

    Morning sickens with schedules, halts, left-about
    turn, stop-light, that old restlessness in the wings.

    The last command, job done, and the natural
    recklessness breaks out like wind in the wings.

    She dashes past fenceline up rimrock to creek,
    sniffing out all the secrets night left in the wings.

    Pegasus is myth, Poetry questing what can’t be
    leashed by language or gesture, but just in the wings.

    Handler am I, one hand of order against wild
    which I love, drop the leash, hands open to wings.

  2. madeline40

    Remembering Uncle Phil

    A plane crashed into the Burbank hills,
    killing my uncle in 1949.
    It was a foggy night
    and according to survivors
    passengers were fighting inside the cabin.

    The plane, run by Standard Airlines,
    a fly-by-night operation
    had many unsafe reports to its discredit
    for not complying with safety standards.
    But my uncle was in a hurry
    to get back to his California home.

    He had a sick migraine headache
    that he couldn’t sleep off,
    so bad, he didn’t have time to say goodbye
    to his favorite nine-year old niece.
    He booked Standard’s unscheduled flight,
    and that was the last time
    the airline ever flew.

  3. Jane Shlensky

    The Politics of Standard Deviates

    Oh, debates consist of yelling,
    cults of personality
    trumping thought, perhaps they’re selling
    what we never hoped to see.

    Oh, such endless wars are raging
    in the heart and in the head,
    little spites and fights rampaging
    over words of peace unsaid.

    We’re reminded we have choices
    where so few seem to exist.
    We can yet side with the voices
    of our best, unclench that fist,

    for disquiet is man’s requisite,
    ill-will and blame his brew,
    but the man who hates at Christmas
    is an asshole all year through.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Beautiful Standards
      I had my standards of what I thought
      falling in love would be.
      You meet that special someone
      unexpectedly.
      Asking me out and on our dates
      we would begin to believe.
      That this could lead to something
      blessed and your heart is relieved.
      And what you see, feel, and hear
      is real and your mind not deceived.
      That yes, this could be the one that
      understands, respects, and sees.
      That love is beautiful indeed.
      By Pamelap

  4. Jane Shlensky

    Standards

    Just a basic standard Christmas is the one he dreams about
    With the tree, the gifts, the candles, shining lights inside and out,
    Just the feast, the cakes, the toddies, fires glowing at the hearth,
    Stockings stuffed, as choirs sing of generosity of heart.

    Just an average sort of Christmas that he fashions from his youth,
    Flights of sweet imagination frosted to resemble truth.
    He’s not asking for rich bounties—just the ones like on TV,
    Where the problems live in houses, where good will is lush and free.

    Just a basic standard Christmas crowds the stable of his mind
    As he bunks down with the fallen, homeless people left behind.
    He’s had time to ponder losses and his own mistakes and faults,
    Time to resurrect sweet moments from memory’s dusty vaults,

    Thinking ‘Man can often falter. Who can say he understands
    How we cherish what we alter in our heads or in our hands?
    My own kindness should be standard, as remarkable as air,
    But I’ve hoarded it ‘til Christmas could remind me how to care.’

    He’s a man who once had plenty, one who threw it all away,
    Loving things instead of people, seeking night instead of day,
    But he’s learned a wondrous lesson: giving heart instead of things
    Is the origin of loving, and the joy the season brings.

  5. Doakley

    Personal Standards

    I’ve started going
    to the gym a bit,
    since I’m getting older,
    to keep myself fit.

    Yesterday a pretty lady,
    blonde hair, all fit and trim,
    walked in the door,
    glanced around the gym.

    I waved the trainer over,
    discreetly pointed at my muse,
    and asked him what machine
    he thought I should use,

    To impress the young Lass
    with the fantastic body?
    He looked me up and down and said,
    “I suggest the ATM, out in the lobby!”

  6. ReathaThomasOakley

    SOP

    Back in the day,
    silly phrase I use way too often,
    it was never just one day.

    So,

    Back in the days, days spent
    holding everything together,
    the board, the staff, myself,
    days when I depended upon
    systems and policies, by-laws, and
    generally accepted accounting principles,
    I put into place an upside down organizational
    chart with board members on the bottom,
    “to provide ballast and support”,
    clientele and line staff at the top. My goodness,
    who’d have thought such a change would have
    brought a seismic shift that threatened
    to force the earth right off its axis.

    The outcome was this, I got to keep my chart,
    but for the board, it was right back to their
    standard operating procedures.

  7. Nurit Israeli

    A Standard Curriculum Vitae

    By:  Nurit Israeli

    Whatever happened
    and what almost happened.

    What she feared could occur
    and did, or did not,

    or befell someone else,
    or may still…

    Where things began
    and where they’ll end up.

    Who she strived to be
    and who she has become.

    What she remembers,
    or imagines, or can’t recall.

    All that she’s proud of
    and what she won’t tell a soul.

    Sudden wrinkles and changing
    reflections in mirrors.

    Growing shorter 
    as grandchildren grow taller. 

    Peaks and valleys,
    light and shadows of darkness.

    Living with the questions.
    Looking for signs.

    Years that come and go.
    Loves that stay

    throughout,
    and all along –

    a countdown timer, with no
    pause feature, ticking
    moments away.

  8. awilbur77

    When flurries fly, love is sown in our hearts.
    To smile amid flying flurries is to desire…
    Secretly.

    Each snowflake… a spark of seduction.
    Of passion.
    Of lust.

    When snow falls, love blossoms in our hearts.
    To gaze amid falling snow is to adore…
    Openly.

    Each snowflake… a shred of compassion.
    Of closeness.
    Of love.

    When fierce winds howl, love withstands in our hearts.
    To commit amid howling winds is to love…
    Truly.

    Each snowflake… a bit of kindness.
    Of promise.
    Of hope.

    When the blizzard roars, love can be damaged in our hearts.
    To bond amid a roaring blizzard is to endure…
    Forever.

    Each snowflake… a trace of tenderness.
    Of empathy.
    Of love.

  9. De Jackson

    this isn’t your standard red wheelbarrow

    this poem is pure gold, spun
    just for fun and singed with fire.

    it desires to be un
    -subpar, a star in a sea of ebony,
    a trembling treble clef deaf
    to all
    too noisy instruments
    of glazed in
           -sanity.

    it’s got so much:
    glitter in its veins,
    a satin ribbon for its skin.
    it begins
    and ends
    with a solar flare.

    stare into it too long,
    and you’ll go blind
    (but you might not mind.)

    this poem has dilated pupils,
                             no scruples.

    screw status quo, this poem
    knows how to fin
    -ally
          shine.

    .

  10. charmuse

    (Preface to say I’m not sure what has happened to our standard for a presidential candidate; and yes, this veers to the political, if allowed in this forum.)

    Outcry

    If you can build pearly gates
    around the perimeter of the United States
    we will be no longer a haven
    but pure white hint of heaven.
    Freedom of religion will be snubbed
    in this exclusive club
    − a parody of a country
    with a banner boasting banning.
    It’s beyond the pale, Mr. Trump.
    Cease the rant and the dump
    of vitriol on my welcome mat.
    Is there a distant chance that
    you are more to fear
    than the stranger who draws near?

    ~ Charise M. Hoge

  11. Heather

    I had a minute so I wrote a poem again. It’s been too long!

    Inclusive

    Rules and codes
    were meant to be
    inclusive
    setting minimum
    standards, to meet
    the most needs.
    When they’re missing
    the world
    falls off-balance
    it’s axes tilted
    as we wonder.
    What’s missing?
    But the more standards
    we write,
    the more inclusive
    we try to be,
    the more isolated
    we make
    everyone else.

    ~ also published at: http://heatherbutton.com/2015/12/17/inclusive-a-poem/

  12. Jolly2

    RIDING FREE
    by John Yeo

    Wherever you are now you will always be free.
    There was never a measure that could standardise you
    Unique precious things are hard to define.
    Little girls play with dolls remember.
    You broke the mould when you stepped out of line.
    Taking your place in this life.

    A motorcycle roaring beneath you, travelling along life’s road.
    A girl,on a motorcycle, the wind flowing free,
    A fighter, as free as a bird.
    Following your instincts,
    Weaving in and out,
    Overtaking with ease
    The obstacles life threw at you.

    When cruel fate intervened with a serious blow,
    You picked yourself up again and again.
    Laughing in the face of reality,
    Always following your personal dream.
    The end of the road wasn’t signposted
    You always refused to give up,
    Until your last breath was breathed.
    Wherever you are now you will always be free.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

  13. Shennon

    Standard Size

    I used to be considered petite
    Small of stature with tiny feet.

    Each pregnancy saw my chest and girth rise
    I became much more of a standard size.

    Metabolism slowed, but I didn’t make a fuss
    My size increased from large way up to a plus.

    Still not very tall, I carry my weight
    With a slower step and an awkward gait.

    And though I thought myself fat back then
    How I’d love to be that size again.

    –ShennonDoah

  14. uvr

    Sometimes, my kiss lands
    on your ear as you shy away
    But at other times,
    you surprise me
    by presenting your cheek
    for my peck

    Sometimes, your arms
    deflect my aim
    to gather you into a hug
    Then, you creep up on me
    and throw your arms
    around my neck

    Sometimes, your glare
    keeps me from
    coming too close
    Then, your gentle apology
    soothes the fire
    in my heart

    Sometimes, you pretend
    not to care about me anymore
    But then, you say,
    Mommy, I love you,
    in a little-girl voice,
    and I melt

    No, there’s nothing standard
    about the way you operate

  15. Amaria

    “standard reply”

    I had my standard reply
    for every lame pick up line
    but yours took me by surprise

    so unlike the other guys
    your charming words made my night
    I had my standard reply
    for every lame pick up line

    but your bright eyes held no lies
    and when you left me tongue-tied
    all rejections left my mind
    I had my standard reply
    for every lame pick up line
    but yours took me by surprise

  16. carolemt87

    Sinatra

    I wonder what Frank would think
    of his songs now, sung by others like
    Carrie Underwood or Lady Gaga
    Adam Levine or Harry Connick Jr.
    Those standards that measured his life.

    You Make Me Feel So Young
    New York New York
    Strangers in the Night
    My Way

    On December 15, 2015
    we salute Frank Sinatra,
    on what would have been
    his 100th birthday
    and his amazing voice,
    undoubtedly the gold standard
    by which all other voices
    are measured.

  17. De Jackson

    of living, gold, poodles

    our standards
    are sliding, curly-cued
    up and weighed
    down by frown, crown,
    the drowning of days.

    let’s rephrase:
    wrap me up in an algorithm
    (business card sized),
    stuff our issues
    in an envelope formed
    from sea. curve me into the
    precious metal of your skin,
    and begin to say something.

    the notation of the stars
    has spoken, broken open
    more than the sky’s best
    applause. let’s pause
    and see
    what
    spills.

    .

      1. De Jackson

        😉
        For some of this poem, I google searched the word “standard” and then each letter of the alphabet after it, one at a time. Many of the words come from that search. “Standard business card” was one of those.

  18. Arash

    People Always Judge

    by Arash

    Dead mosquitoes red against the glass.
    Frog legs in wok sauté and jump.
    The scent of citrus and lemongrass
    of cleaner does allay my nerves tonight.
    Dogwoods and kangaroo paws in white,
    line the flagstone walkway. The sergeant’s wife
    and boyfriend who have standards and virtues,
    would they think it looks majestic or strange?
    Bring the pig’s head, the guests are here, change
    out of your jumper, check the hors-d’oeuvres,
    boil the drinks, thaw the desserts…I know the guests
    will judge us oh they will people always judge….

  19. seamuscorleone

    Standardized Love

    Please prepare your well-sharpened number 2 pencils and answer the questions below to the best of your ability. Remember, your score will be compared to others of similar age and gender to determine your dateability.

    What is your standard deviation above or below the mean in terms of:

    looks

    personality

    wealth

    health

    cup and/or penis size

    What is your average score in terms of:

    number of sexual partners

    sexual prowess on a scale of 1-10

    venereal diseases

    number of times in love

    amount of money spent on a date

    number of drinks consumed in an average day

    What is your overall percentage compared to your peers in terms of:

    height taller or shorter

    hair shorter or longer

    body type skinnier or fatter

    more or less tattoos, body hair, and/or piercings

    cup size and/or penis size bigger or smaller

    Please Note: given a few drinks, at no point will your score affect my desire to fuck you

  20. Anthony94

    On Discussing Form and Content

    Frost believed free verse was like
    playing with the net down and yet
    he treasured the surety of walls,
    those New England place holders
    dry laid and maintained by walking
    either side with diligence, the
    intractability of stone and hired men
    worth mentioning now and then.

    He held to his standards, beat out
    squared meter in purest iambs for
    Mending Walls in those same fields,
    Used blank verse’s iambs for Birches
    and eight to the measure through
    four part tetrameter, as he was
    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy
    Evening. Gave us volumes of ordinary

    curiosities rendered into bittersweet
    memories like the Hill Wife and the
    Road Not Taken. Would that we could
    argue though on the net business, the
    immutable edges of a concrete block
    over the tangle of kudzu, the grapevine
    over cedar rail, steel post and barbed wire.

    1. James Von Hendy

      I like this clever ramble through some of Frost’s poems. “Mending Wall” is one of my favorites, though I’ve always taken “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall/That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it. . . .” to be Frost’s subtle disapproval of walls since the frozen-ground-swell he’s talking about is frost.

  21. Nancy Posey

    Driving Lessons

    About the time medical schools
    quit teaching breach deliveries,
    drivers ed dropped
    how to parallel park
    and how to drive a car
    with standard transmission.

    Call it what you like
    four on the floor
    three on the tree
    straight drive
    driving a stick

    but it’s your job now,
    Mom and Dad,
    one guaranteed to test
    or build patience:

    Take your fifteen-year-old,
    who knows everything,
    to a new neighborhood
    with paved roads
    but few houses,
    little traffic.

    Make him stop going up hill.
    Tell him to start again.
    Do not scream or curse
    when the car rolls backward
    or when the engine dies.

    Tell him to try again
    and again
    and again.

    In a few years, when you call him,
    asking how to fix your computer
    or work the DVR, if he laughs,
    remind him:
    I taught you to drive a stick.
    In fact, I taught you to use a spoon.

  22. Walt Wojtanik

    LOWERING OUR STANDARDS

    We “dumb-down” to level the field,
    when lifting up would provide a better yield.
    But fates become sealed because we allow them to be.
    The bigger picture gets obscured and it’s absurd
    that we can’t see past our own hurt feelings
    when we should be dealing with and get past them.
    Life is proactive, you have to participate in it,
    and not wait for it to treat you nicer.
    Lately, sticks and stones do less harm
    than the words that are allowed to pierce thin skin.
    You cannot censor kindness into being.
    Know your own worth; give it great berth,
    consider the source and move on!
    Set a new standard for you if you would.
    In reality, no one else should!

  23. taylor graham

    JUBILATE TREK

    How, no mongrel-bred, he was castled in a garage,
    How he danced out to greet me, came and fetched and danced again,
    How the sails of his Shepherd-ears are trimmed to the high peak,
    How he lifts his nose to the westwind that carries it away,
    How every Saturday he takes me on tour of the furred regiments,
    How he keeps his own rules and standards of order,
    How he leaves a fuzzy-ball in hallway to step on in the dark and squeak,
    How he fuels his adventures with mackerel from a can,
    How sudden he trips me, I crash on my knee,
    How he brings me his nubbliest toy to make it well again,
    How he dashes back and forth the same fence that yesterday he ran,
    How he honors Creation in all of his senses,
    How he yawns, gapes, snuggles, murmurs his trail out of sleep,
    How he makes me long for those deep puppy-dreams,
    How his nose is his compass, his reason to be,
    How his gait is on wings as of angels rejoicing in sky,
    How on paths together he shows me what I never could see,
    How he knows who is Master and all that he loves,

    How praise of my dog is inspired by Christopher Smart,
    How I honor his poem and Jeoffry his Cat.

  24. Al

    “It’s All About The “I” Today”

    It’s all about “I” today.
    Your way, my way, it’s okay.
    All is aye, there’s no nay.
    There’s no God to obey,

    His existence is hearsay.
    So why bother to pray.
    Jump in and join the melee,
    we’re here for a short stay.

  25. ReathaThomasOakley

    Family standard bearer

    Willie Mae, last child living
    born to Luke Thomas and his Eva,
    thirteen’d come before, Ellsworth
    was yet to be, Willie Mae,
    the reminder of what once was,

    carries her mama’s Carter
    woman look, sturdy,
    built close to the ground,
    ample bosomed, round,
    matronly before her time.

    In her girlhood, I’ve been told, Willie Mae
    had hair in perfect curls, bobby socks rolled
    just so, skirt hems exactly at the knees,
    soldier boys following her home,
    where four big brothers waited.

    She raised five children with
    soft-voiced determination,
    energy and grace,
    in a Jim Walter house eighteen miles
    from the nearest hard road.

    Soon we’ll gather to celebrate her ninety years,
    thank her for family stories and photographs,
    for her wisdom, and for devotion to her husband
    and her sisters, and for the recipe for perfect biscuits
    she’d have waiting when I’d visit
    Aunt Willie Mae, my daddy’s baby sister.

  26. PressOn

    THE TWENTIETH MAINE ON LITTLE ROUND TOP

    They rallied `round the flag
    when Johnny Reb hove into view;
    they rallied `round the flag:
    an unremitting, ceaseless sprag,
    the anchor of the Union blue
    that held the flank till all were through.
    They rallied `round the flag.

  27. PressOn

    BING

    When Crosby sang,
    his tones were dulcet as new dew;
    when Crosby sang,
    he called to mind an old pals’ gang:
    he was our buddy, through and through.
    The standards bound us, fresh and new,
    when Crosby sang.

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