Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 333

For today’s prompt, write an exhaustion poem. Luckily, I set my prompts for the rest of the year a while back, because today I really have been exhausted (two naps already). But don’t leave exhaustion to sleepiness; there’s also exhausting all your options and car exhaust. And I’m sure something else.

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Here’s my attempt at an Exhaustion poem:

“as the storm rages”

the wren fights the wind
to the porch railing
as if life depends
on finding somewhere
to grasp and hold tight
until the winds have
exhausted themselves

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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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80 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 333

  1. Rasia J. Nole

    Keep my eyes open

    I
    can
    barely
    hold
    my
    eyes
    open.

    The
    lull
    of sleep
    begins
    to
    pull.

    I
    can’t
    stay
    awake
    for very
    much
    longer.

    So
    I
    shut
    my eyes
    and
    sleep.

  2. De Jackson

    Whew.

    Me and you,
    we wrote our hearts
    out in some sort of inky
    sanctification of a year
    smeared in fear and stained
    in joy.

    Oh, boy. And girl. Swirled,
    grown. Moaning teens and
    all the silence in between.

    Are we out of ink? I think
    I’ve got a song or two left,
    right at the center of this
    indigo sky.

    .

  3. Alta

    We married for love
    You tested me at every turn
    First I looked away
    But then you took advantage
    I stayed because you were ill
    But you mistook my kindness for weakness
    I can no longer pretend
    Love is exhausted
    Can I leave without guilt?

    12/29/15
    Poetic Asides Prompt 333
    Alta Abbott

  4. lsteadly

    JUST LET ME REST

    After all the
    boozin’ and
    celebratin’ is said and
    done, I declare
    enough is enough-
    find me a
    good clean bed in this
    harried house and
    just
    let
    me
    nod
    off
    peaceful and quiet,
    reveling in
    silence before
    that next
    yuletide
    undertaking
    veers my
    weary way where we will
    x over to the new
    year
    zealously zonked

  5. SarahLeaSales

    The Day after Christmas

    Twas the day after Christmas,
    when all through the world,
    everyone lay a-sleeping,
    exhausted from too much holiday keeping.

    The Northern Lights are like a cloud of magic
    beckoning him home to the North Pole,
    the reindeer leaving behind lumps of coal.
    It has been a long night of noshing,
    crawling up and down fireplaces in snowy wonderlands,
    and in and out of windows in rainy summerlands.

    He was an old man—
    this giver of gifts—
    when he was given everlasting life
    almost two thousand years ago.
    With the help of his elves,
    he crafted the cradle
    for the Baby King in the manger;
    his wife, Ella, had sewn the blanket
    He was wrap’t in—
    a shroud of Bethlehem.

    When he and the Missus
    had touched the Babe’s head,
    death was swallowed up whole,
    and they were given a task—
    to be not the masters,
    but the servants of the least among them.

    He feels his light fading at times,
    for fewer children believe now,
    but the younger ones do,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven
    is made up of such.

    All the families, he knew by name—
    the ones who leave rummy eggnog in punch mugs
    and brandied fruitcake on tea plates;
    the ones who leave reindeer treats,
    and sugar cookies shaped like stars and snowflakes;
    the ones with nothing to give
    but letters of wishes and thank you cards
    and handmade keepsakes.

    It wasn’t till centuries later that
    the young Norman had captured his essence,
    for the boy had caught him unawares
    the year he’d left him a box of colors
    with which he’d painted the world—
    capturing the spirit of Americana,
    of happy times and auld lang syne.
    Norman had brought him to life through memory—
    imagination filling in the rest,
    capturing the awe and wonder
    so many children possess.

    As Santa nears home,
    the reindeer skating over the ice,
    he whispers to the midnight clear,
    “Happy Christmastide to all,
    and to all, a Happy New Year!”

  6. tunesmiff

    BURNED OUT
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ————————
    Minding my business,
    Doing my thing,
    Not really worried ’bout
    What tomorrow might bring.
    Way too much bad news
    To keep up with each day,
    Too many sad blues,
    What can I say?

    When I’m burned out,
    At the end of my rope;
    Oh, I know better
    Than to give up all hope.
    Exhausted, perhaps,
    But I’ll keep holding tight;
    ‘Cause I know the One,
    Who’ll see me through the night.
    Yes, I know the One,
    Who sees me through the night.

    The workday starts early
    Like each workday before,
    I feel a bit squirrelly,
    As I head out the door.
    The rush hour drive’s
    A bit longer each day;
    But I’m more than alive,
    What else can I say?

    When I’m burned out,
    At the end of my rope;
    Oh, I know better
    Than to give up all hope.
    Exhausted, perhaps,
    But I’ll keep holding tight;
    ‘Cause I know the One,
    Who’ll see me through the night.
    Yes, I know the One,
    Who sees me through the night.

    Yes, I know,
    Someone greater than me,
    Is always in control,
    And my rest,
    Won’t be my good,
    It will be,
    His best.
    Why settle for good,
    When He offers the best.

    Minding my business,
    Doing my thing,
    Thinking about
    What tomorrow might bring.
    There may bad news,
    But His good news will stay,
    Joy from the blues;
    What can I say?
    Joy comes from the blues;
    What can I say?

  7. Walt Wojtanik

    SICK AND TIRED

    A body can only take so much,
    and as such any body knows
    the limits of its situation.
    Contemplation becomes key
    and you see the solution
    as desolation, lacking elation.
    You resign to it.
    You resign from it.
    To overcome it you need
    to let it go. You can’t go on
    sick and tired.

    1. ppfautsch24

      EXHAUSTION: MISTED JOLLY
      Letting him sleep and rest his mind too.
      Trying so hard with much to do.
      Thought he would have good news by now.
      He is sticking it out and keeping his vow;
      being mindful of me and my feelings too.
      Exhaustion lapping at every turn making your
      thoughts doubt you.
      I can only give a smile, soft hands, and words to encourage as you work through your exhaustion and your efforts are due.
      I will be on your side when after your sleep you arise; and this sapping episode subsides.
      By Pamelap

  8. Jolly2

    EXHAUSTION
    by John Yeo

    A dash of yellow and black
    Signalled the Cheetahs approach.
    Flashing across the plain.
    Driven by hunger for blood.

    The deer was on full alert.
    Her ears pricked up in alarm,
    Speeding away at full speed
    Racing away from danger.

    The chase was harsh and savage
    As the deer was quickly run down.
    She was caught and fell in pain
    Overcome with sheer exhaustion.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

  9. taylor graham

    IRISH FIELD

    The airman recalls startled
    birds as he parachutes feet-first
    toward the ivy-green entanglement
    of soil, the cup of clay
    that foresees his death in some
    alcove or corner of time.
    He’s never felt so deep in air,
    so tenuous, exhausted or
    exhilarated, who can say; so tiny
    his shadow, the earth rising
    to meet him.

  10. Arash

    Associated exhaustion with death and a dying bird but then with a flame. Anyhow, on to it:

    by Arash

    By a starved or sick American crow
    And the spastic flaps of its frosted wings
    Signalling the passing of the life force,
    Under the huddle of slouching willows,
    Looking kindly as if the fledgling’s folks,
    I stood, my back against the aged barks,
    Reading proof of rime that God had composed.

    Suddenly now awash in a flurry
    Of bodiless feathers iced and rainbowed—
    Perhaps of a violet green swallow—
    Soft as tulip petals shielded with dew
    Or remnants of a flame long sapped, and sewed
    Into the darkness of a graceful corpse,
    Now anatomized by the glacial gust.

  11. ReathaThomasOakley

    Exhaustion

    It creeps
    it slinks
    in tiny sneaky
    tiptoed steps
    wily sly slithery
    secret invasions
    infiltrating head
    heart brain
    right elbow and left ear lobe
    sabotaging ambition
    destroying will leaving
    a wrung out husk
    an ancient ruin
    an echo of what could
    what should have been.

  12. Sara McNulty

    Weary

    A sad trickle of blue
    exhaust appears,
    like a leaky faucet dripping.
    My weariness wipes colors
    from the sky even as my head hears
    a vivid voice–Get it together. Stop
    taking naps. Do not let anxiety
    loose to do its mischief–Tired
    cycle of overthinking, like a dishrag
    wrung out until no moisture remains.
    Gains go forgotten when pains take
    their place. The night nears,
    spreading its dark inkblot
    across my mind.

    1. seamuscorleone

      I can hear your inner voice guilting you about being tired. Especially this time of year when things are always so busy and often exhausting! Thank you for sharing this

  13. candy

    Whew!

    shopping, baking, present wrapping
    not much time for meals or napping

    little sticky fingerprints
    cane shaped candy peppermints

    garland, tinsel on the tree
    stockings hanging jauntily

    Christmas program super star
    snowflakes landing on the car

    frozen turkey now defrosted
    is old Santa this exhausted

  14. Stephanie H.

    Time Well Spent

    “Sleep when your dead,”
    the old man said
    as he tapped the side
    of his pipe.

    “Bring me a beer,
    if you don’t mind, Dear,”
    and he motioned to hurry
    his wife.

    The leather was cracked
    on the edge of his boot
    a lot like the side
    of his face.

    His mouth turned down
    in a permanent frown
    of years
    he couldn’t replace.

    “I owned that land,”
    he said as he lifted
    his tired eyes
    to the north.

    “I walked those rows
    and plowed that ground.
    I made it
    what it’s worth.”

    “Did you give it up?”
    I asked, unsure of
    how his luck ran out.

    “First was my hip.
    Then was my heart.
    And, finally,
    it was the drought.”

    He stared for a while
    into the horizon,
    and I knew he was there
    in his mind.

    When the crops were plenty,
    his body was twenty,
    and all he had was time.

  15. Ub40nut

    ~ Tired ~

    I’m so annoyed with being sick and tired,
    Regretful of the shift for which I was hired.

    Resentful of every single, witnessed wrong,
    Of misery, injustice, and their tortuous song.

    A ghoul who sleeps when there’s fun and sun,
    Any normalcy in life unraveled and undone.

    Submerged in insomnia at almost all times,
    A victim of the graveyard shift and its crimes.

    I’m very thankful to be blessed with a job,
    I’d just prefer to work a shift that doesn’t rob.

    I’m lucky to be employed when so many are not,
    My zombie lifestyle plaguing my body with rot.

    My eyeballs throb with stabbing needles of pain,
    My weary back bowing from the demanding strain.

    My muscles feeling atrophied and severely dried up,
    My scrambled brain struggling to retain or sup.

    Protection of my wonderful children my primary goal,
    Being a loving and supportive parent my rewarding role.

    Their health and happiness being coveted and desired,
    My two children the people who I’ve always admired.

    Fatigue is a constant companion in my exhausted life,
    Perpetual aches and pains tormenting me and proving rife.

    Rest is an oasis that’s out of reach and never truly acquired,
    My kids’ happiness a small price to pay for always being tired.

    Copyright © 2015 by Adam Aldrich
    All rights reserved. This material or any portion thereof
    may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
    without the express written permission of the author.

  16. seamuscorleone

    my thoughts are exhausted

    thinking all of the goddamn time is
    exhausting
    i need a break

    some time to stop
    thinking
    and start doing

    what doesn’t matter
    as long as it is
    mindless
    drudgery
    something that will exhaust
    my body but will require
    none of my mind

    digging
    hoeing
    running
    lifting
    moving
    scrubbing
    exerting

    drinking

    smoking

    fucking

    it does not have to be
    good for my body

    if it does not require
    thinking
    then
    it will be good
    for my soul

  17. James Von Hendy

    Staying Up With My Father Until All Hours of the Night>/strong>

    I watch my father nod asleep and think
    about the years before when he would fight
    the urge each night and win until the brink
    of dawn, a book propped up before the light.
    He shared his thoughts with childish glee, each thing
    he brought to light a question, wonder-filled,
    offered with mischief and delight. He’d bring
    his joy of not knowing to us unwilled,
    and we’d dive in, our sureness less and less
    with mischievous inquiry’s every turn,
    but oh, infectious was his ruthlessness
    for learning’s sake, and ours he made us earn.
    But now it’s age and time that run the clock.
    My father sleeps, his thoughts a fleeting flock.

    1. James Von Hendy

      Well, drat! Asleep at the switch apparently. Didn’t close out the bolding in the title. Didn’t mean to shout the whole poem! LOL!

      Staying Up With My Father Until All Hours of the Night

      I watch my father nod asleep and think
      about the years before when he would fight
      the urge each night and win until the brink
      of dawn, a book propped up before the light.
      He shared his thoughts with childish glee, each thing
      he brought to light a question, wonder-filled,
      offered with mischief and delight. He’d bring
      his joy of not knowing to us unwilled,
      and we’d dive in, our sureness less and less
      with mischievous inquiry’s every turn,
      but oh, infectious was his ruthlessness
      for learning’s sake, and ours he made us earn.
      But now it’s age and time that run the clock.
      My father sleeps, his thoughts a fleeting flock.

  18. Anthony94

    Before the Cold Moon

    Moiling clouds cover the sun,
    sealing the horizon to the winter
    reddened fields of old grasses
    wizened rose hips and brown hedge balls,
    the whole picture a study in exhaustion,
    the year, worn out, the solstice marking
    the end, but without it, no beginning.

  19. PressOn

    ONCE UPON A ROCKET

    I once had an Olds 4-4-2:
    it had four on the floor and was blue;
    it had dual exhaust
    but its carb was star-crossed
    and its brakes couldn’t stop an old gnu.

  20. taylor graham

    O CHRISTMAS TREE & THE NEON MACHINE

    It’s December of an exhausted old year.
    In the far corner of the pizza place, they stand
    together by the Restrooms alcove. The tree
    is temp; the machine permanent, mysterious
    dispenser of made-in-China trinkets, its face
    wreathed in circling reversing jitterbugging
    lights like a Xmas string on steroids.
    A vending machine. It sells – excess exhaust,
    like urban photo-pollution. It almost obliterates
    the Christmas tree whose lights glow steady
    but self-effacing; topped by a flightless
    angel. What I see, beside my pizza, is an eye
    in the wood-grain veneer of our table;
    in the pupil of the eye there’s a spot of light
    inexhaustible, heart of forest; not drawn to that
    flashing machine of cheap wishes, but eying
    the Christmas tree. Sad make-believe
    of Douglas fir. In this season of wishes, I wish
    for it forest feet in snow rooting into mountain,
    boughs reaching for natural sky; a raven
    alighting on its tip, dark angel with real wings.

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