Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 342

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Ways to (blank),” replace the blanks with a word or phrase, make that the title of the poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles could include: “The Proper Ways to Write Poetry,” “10 Ways to Fall in Love,” and/or “Wrong Ways to Toronto.” Here’s to finding ways to poem this week!

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Here’s my attempt at a Blank Ways to Blank poem:

“so many ways to end a poem”

an image is usually effective
though an idea can be powerful
or a punchline to a joke

but then sometimes a poem
resists all conventions & just
ends when it’s supposed to

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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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101 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 342

  1. SarahLeaSales

    30 Ways to Be Happier

    For richer or poorer, marry for love, and you will figure it out together.
    Make your children laugh; find relaxation in play.
    Close your eyes sometimes, to better engage the other senses.
    Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
    Limit computer time during the day.
    Turn off the television if you aren’t watching it.
    Drive with the sunroof open or the windows down on a beautiful day.
    Open your windows and your curtains, and let the outside in.
    Go barefoot once in awhile.
    Appreciate each season, literally and metaphorically, for what it has to offer.
    If you can’t find meaning in every trial, make it mean something.
    Pay it back, and pay it forward.
    Learn from the mistakes of others.
    Live for experiences, not things.
    Listen, and you might learn something.
    Know that even the cashier is worthy of your attention.
    Do what you love, if you can, or find love in what you do, knowing that no job is forever.
    Don’t try so hard to like foods you don’t, but be willing to try them in a different way.
    Keep your eyes on your own plate.
    Find common ground with those who disagree with you.
    Be an example of lifelong learning.
    Seek to outpace yourself, not others.
    Exercise for the emotional benefits. The physical benefits will be a bonus.
    Seek creativity. Find an outlet.
    Share information. Mentor others.
    Try to look at the same things in new ways.
    Embrace minimalism.
    Know that you have value, and that no one can take that away.
    Find solace in spirituality.
    Read

  2. ReathaThomasOakley

    Ways to love the Palmer method

    So beautiful it was, gently sloping genteel
    letters floating across the pages of the notebook
    handed out the first day of third grade.
    How would I, slightly sloppy pencil pusher,
    ever emulate the lovely cursive script.
    My soul cried out for a steady hand
    the first time I took my freshly sharpened,
    sadly shortened from too much effort,
    yellow No. 2 and started the journey
    toward handwriting perfection.
    So entranced was I that one fall day
    I gathered all the courage one eight year
    old girl could possess and boldly walked
    into the principal’s office to ask if I could buy
    one copy of that rectangular book to keep
    forever as my very own. She laughed.
    From that sad day ’til this I’ve hidden that
    secret, until I saw, not one hour ago, a sample
    of which Mr. Palmer would approve, and was
    immersed in memory of that long ago love.

  3. cbwentworth

    I. One Way to Start the Day

    sunbeams find
    holes in moss and leaves
    cool morning breath

    II. Two Ways to Feel Anger

    rain washed sidewalks
    anger clings to
    each heartbeat

    leaves turn color
    clinging through snow
    red reminders

  4. barbara_y

    Enough Ways To Postpone

    enough ways to deny
    enough ways to forget
    to forget it for days
    forget it for years
    for years without threats
    years in a dream
    dream without those doubts
    dreams displaced by nightmares
    nightmares of time escaping
    nightmares of not enough
    enough days to delay
    what won’t stay forgotten

  5. shellcook

    Obtusification or
    A Million Ways To Be Obtuse

    The square either fits or it don’t
    The peg just floats in that hole
    I done know nuttin’ bout making it square
    So, i guess, i’ll be the obtuse.

    Im stickin all out there
    like a big rubber thumb
    I’m hammerin’, I’m bitchin,
    it jes ain’t no fun.

    So i think ill be stickin to
    what i do best
    By makin things harder
    for me and the rest.

    I don’t give no quarter,
    its them or its me.
    P’haps it’ll be better
    next time around.

    I am the obtuse,
    the one that don’t fit,
    So I’ll do it the same
    as i always did.

    Cause the tough, they get goin’;
    they do what it take
    when the doin’ needs somethin’
    it just aint that great.

    So I’ll just keep doing
    Like i always did.

    2/26/16

  6. Scott Jacobson

    EASY WAYS TO SAY NO
    I am busy doing my taxes. You need
    to ask me at least three days ahead
    of time to schedule a meeting. I want
    to say yes, but you haven’t proved
    that it is religiously significant. If you
    like, you can wait for my answer on
    Mount Everest. The light bulb has gone
    out over the Pacific ocean. You
    probably want this in writing and this
    poem should prove to you I am illiterate.
    I can’t breathe with the smell of desperation
    in the air. The fine print needs a clause
    saying you won’t use biological weapons
    against Emporer Penguins. Of course,
    inclement weather could change my opinion.
    Hey, did you know all clownfish are born male
    and change sex to perform their reproductive
    function. You must agree to marry the person
    you loath the most. For every three steps
    forward you must take three steps backwards.
    I am sorry we are not getting anywhere,
    but the traffic is backed up on the 10 freeway
    so you need to start looking out the window.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Seven Ways to Ponder the Stars

    Eyes adapted to darkness
    can see more stars, must see
    more stars.

    Long-dead loves, cinders of sentience,
    still shine brightly in my sky.

    Aldebaran, bright bull’s eye,
    put on your goggles or be blind.

    How shall we drink the night
    when the dippers fade away?

    Bright diamond of light, bold beacon
    of scorching ambition, are you Sirius?

    Polaris, pilot me with your quiet glow,
    for I am lost in my own dark sea.

    Orion’s dogs are hunting hare,
    showering sparks of barks
    in late October.

    Sisters are lost and found.
    We watch your seven torches
    linger and disappear like sky freckles,
    your seed light planted.

    Infinite numbers of stars die every moment,
    but linger for millennia. Like memories,
    which ones will we miss?

  8. Arash

    iambic tetrameter
    Centillion Ways to Die
    by Arash

    Hospital, hospice, laid in bed,
    On freezing streets, in fancy rooms.
    In timeless spaces, sunless skies,
    Cubicles, prison cells, in tombs.
    In front of judges, parents, kids,
    Audience, friend or strange—their eyes
    Still staring from behind the lids
    That speak the feelings left unsaid.
    With prayers, with grating cries, with sighs.
    Unseen, known, unloved, unwed….
    By force or will, with guns. In wombs
    Of girls whose souls have parted too.
    Kisses on cheeks and pale foreheads,
    Holding of hands, and swallowed tears,
    With lonely aches and greedy fears.
    Mystery, grief…and peace one year,
    As pain searches, with wings unspread,
    For warm and kind suffering peers
    To help release the inner dead.

  9. Azma

    Is there a way to make you see?

    It’s not real
    It’s just a bubble
    The rainbow is just an illusion
    which fades.

    Hopes have reached
    dangerous levels
    secretly growing thorns
    of unmet expectations

    A hard fall perhaps
    on concrete actuality
    will wake you up.

  10. grcran

    Many Ways to Skin

    a cat. Don’t think about it. Just begin.
    Design a tunnel. Dig right in.
    Hail angel helper, halo friend.
    When fight commences, kick one shin.
    And rue. Stew. Be, not act, chagrinned.
    Thus: Do. Work. Pray. Try. Fences mend.
    These are the ways the cat gets skinned.

    gpr crane

  11. G.Wood

    1000 Ways to Dream You

    The tips of your fingers.
    The bend of your knees.
    Silhouette in the distance.
    Shadow riding shotgun.
    Leaning in an empty stairwell.
    A surprise.

    Through the window.
    In the breezeway.
    Across the courtyard.
    Under the heaving night.

    Your water face
    becomes lost
    against the light.

  12. victoriahunter

    4 Ways to Get Me to Like You, Alot

    Say, my skin, is deep chocolate delicious,
    like Africas feet
    say my hair, is fine the way it is,
    so shinny, clean and neat
    like the dinner table,
    when everyone sitting at, is in love
    say, my crazy laugh is cool
    as a person, who will share their cigarette
    on break at work
    say, my eyes are cherry sweet,
    as your mommas kiss on your forehead
    when your falling asleep,
    with an angry fever.

  13. Karen

    Rhythm Sways Tonight

    Heat in the room is palpable
    denim jeaned hips sway that way
    sultry sounds rhythm of blues
    eyes of cobalt hues penetrating
    past the ordinary—
    crimson waves can’t feel my feet
    I am swept away!

    1. Karen

      Rhythm Sways Tonight

      Heat in the room is palpable
      denim jeaned hips sway that way
      sultry sounds rhythm of blues
      eyes of cobalt hues penetrating
      crimson waves can’t feel my feet
      I am swept away!

  14. Anthony94

    Proven Ways to be Lost

    Follow the trail pounded through
    the Big Bluestem, the tougher brome.
    Make for the fence. Push aside the
    blackened multiflora and duck beneath
    spiked hedge. Search for the barbed wire
    strands the horses always step over and
    discover the fence, newly taut, and no
    rust in sight. Choose, then, a different
    route and search out the high yellow
    heads of compass plants left over from
    the native prairie. You will be saved by
    those desiccated silvery leaves pointing
    north by south. Look at the basal clumps
    and gather their giant mass in your arms,
    every direction possible, they spill unaware
    of their higher destiny in the well-thumbed
    guidebooks. Forget the horizon in these
    heavy clouds, although for the moment you
    track the geese moving toward the state
    lake or are they just dropping onto the
    fishing pond at the Thomas’ place? Still,
    there’s hope of finding a shagbark hickory
    where the bright green stellate moss grows
    surely on the north side. Working from
    the ground up you discover its emerald
    weavings girdling the trunk and in this flat land,
    you accept that night is coming on and the only
    thing left is to keep walking back to that fence
    line to see where it leads since you are lost.

  15. candy

    5 Ways to Play My Heartstrings

    pluck gently to make them vibrate or
    strum slowly for the sweetest melody
    hammer-on for that smooth sound
    the classical beat
    add a pull-off for a t(h)rill
    bend the strings of my heart –
    raise the pitch of my song

  16. Tracy Davidson

    (still writing those darned addictive tricubes)

    Three Ways to Upset Your Wife / Girlfriend / Significant Other

    buy frying
    pans as a
    birthday gift

    get other
    girls’ lipstick
    on your shirt

    refuse to
    hold her hand
    in public

  17. Sara McNulty

    Oh So Many Ways To Be Scared

    You can start out with Stephen King–
    Salem’s Lot, Christine, The Shining.

    Hitchcock’s suspense is all
    your own imagination, or a shower stall.

    Further back, there is classic horror–
    Werewolf, Mummy, or Vampire’s ardor.

    Bloody scary is not for me,
    for others, it might be their cup of tea.

  18. uvr

    So Many Ways To Die

    You can end life
    by your own hand,
    holding a gun
    or a knife
    or even a bottle of pills,
    perhaps less gory,
    surely neater
    not such a mess
    to clean up
    So considerate
    even in death
    they may think

    But why devote thought
    to how you will end it all
    Death preys on your mind
    because you are already dead
    in all the ways that count

  19. candy

    Sideways (in)to Heaven

    the line at the main entrance
    was way too long
    so she picked up her back pack
    and tucked in her wings
    to look for another way in
    she tapped at a window
    but got no response
    the line in the back
    wasn’t as long but she
    didn’t have a backstage pass
    she turned the corner
    and there she saw a
    small door covered
    by vines and guarded
    by doves
    in her pocket she felt
    crumbs from her
    last blueberry scone
    placing them like an offering
    on the ground
    the doves granted her entrance
    and she slipped sideways
    into heaven

  20. Amaria

    “the ways to love someone”

    there is no right or wrong way
    when you are loving someone
    despite what others may say
    there is no right or wrong way
    to put your love on display
    if he or she is your one
    there is no right or wrong way
    when you are loving someone

    by Arcadia Maria

  21. Amaria

    “so many ways to lose yourself”

    we try our best to stay true
    but life’s road is filled with curves
    bringing things out of the blue
    we try our best to stay true
    but our plans sometimes fall through
    and we end up in reverse
    we try our best to stay true
    but life’s road is filled with curves

    by Arcadia Maria

  22. deringer1

    THREE WAYS TO FIND PEACE

    Peace is an elusive idea,
    a word misunderstood,
    a concept seldom grasped.

    Countries seek it, statesmen
    speak of it, but cannot say
    precisely how it might be harnessed.

    It can be found, however in the
    hidden depths of our souls,
    in the spirit within us.

    Look inside yourself. Find three options.
    Press forgiveness, then activate.
    Find love and let it flow.

    Press acceptance to change
    what you can change, and
    leave the rest to God.

  23. seamuscorleone

    Various Ways to End a Relationship

    I moved away!

    To Antarctica.
    I’m doing a decade long study on the
    multitudinous colors of ice.
    I’ll look you up when I get back!

    This user’s mailbox is full.

    Hello? Seamus? Never heard of him.
    My name is Dingo, and I just got this
    phone number yesterday.

    I’m dying.

    I’m super religious now. But we can still be friends!
    Would you like to come to church with me?
    It’s Neighbor Sunday! Wednesday Friendsday!
    I have church meetings almost every night of the week now!

    I married someone else.

    The whole thing happened really fast.
    We met and just clicked and figured, why not make it forever?
    I know you and I have been engaged for a decade, but
    it just never felt right, you know?

    Honestly?

    I don’t want to wake up in fifty years and think I could have done better.
    I don’t want to hurt your feelings.
    But if I don’t do this now it’s not going to get any easier…

    Also, the CIA called, and they need me for a super secret international mission.
    I’ve got to go save the world.

    Thank you for understanding!

  24. PowerUnit

    Five New Ways To Like

    I like it when friends I don’t know post something new for me but old for the world
    I’m an information sinkhole
    A bottomless pit of lost knowledge
    News of an Egyptian toddler facing life in prison for political heresy
    The life story of an irreplaceable dead judge, the love and hate of constituents who never cast a vote for him and who likely don’t know they can’t
    Quirky restoration projects, that old building up the street
    Gentrified for stray cat occupation
    And data-points reset so fast I hardly notice lost bytes
    The flood of nonsense is burned deep in comical, political, social, anti-social, anti-political, and anti-comical
    Ultimately irrelevant and sad buckets of useless knowledge
    Dumped in the pit
    Covered in spit

    And no new emojis are preparing to clutter the digital visage, beside the hole of likes
    New holes will bore into my mind
    Tunnels of laughter and astonishment
    Pits of sadness and anger
    The deep, dark dungeon of love
    I thought my hopes for independent, original, creative thinking were, stuck in the mud
    But now that we’re being directed what to think
    how to think
    When to think
    Why to think
    Where to think
    Who to think of
    And who we are not to think of
    What hope is there for the little child, who can never learn to dig his own holes
    And pan for his or her own golden nuggets of knowledge?

    John

  25. Connie Peters

    Twenty-Five Ways to Procrastinate on a Writing Project

    Sleep, eat, watch TV.
    Cookies! You can bake!
    Make those phone calls
    you’ve been meaning to make.

    Peruse Facebook posts
    and tweet on Twitter.
    Read a magazine.
    Draw a cute critter.

    Practice autographs
    for when you’re famous.
    Make up some lyrics
    for “You Can’t Blame Us.”

    Clean off your desk top.
    Blow bubbles with gum.
    Google your name and
    your friends’ names for fun.

    Watch out your window
    till you see a cat.
    Build a blanket fort.
    Design a new hat.

    List interesting names
    for your next hero.
    Count from 1,000
    by tens to zero.

    Write a letter to you
    ten years from now.
    Walk seventeen blocks.
    Try a new hairstyle.

    Sing some silly songs.
    Try mediation.
    Write a poem about
    procrastination.

  26. PressOn

    THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO SLIM A POEM

    You can scan your stanzas with scanty thought
    or trim a nonet down to naught
    or oddify what Crapsey wrought.

    The ways are endless to construe it
    and if you fail, just say you blew it;
    but always, no matter how you do it,

    don’t expect the muse to cooperate.

  27. taylor graham

    TWO WAYS TO BE HOME

    live in my heart and pay no rent
    – Samuel Lover (1797-1868)

    Cordy settles into her temporary corner
    between storefront and the fierce north wind,
    between her master’s backpack and feet
    walking without watching the plebian sidewalk.
    There goes a well-rounded – no, fattish terrier
    so exquisitely groomed, you know it has a home
    with roof and walls. It growls in passing.
    It could learn manners from a homeless mutt.
    What’s home? Shakespeare would have a word
    for it. Her master converses with Cordy
    in Shakespeare as they walk the moor of this
    stranger-city, on their way to the next spot
    of green – the growing, giving kind, grass
    a dog likes to roll in. Not shattered green like
    glass in the gutter, or parched green of a dollar
    bill. Her master’s getting old. Lear, they call
    him as it rhymes with near and here, a sound
    of welcome. Soon the two of them will be
    on their feet again, into the bright unknown,
    a gleam as of the moon in transit. Cordy
    is her master’s home.

  28. De Jackson

    seven ways to wish upon a star

    tremble the sky loose
    with your own salt, fill
    your hands with indigo
    and ebony. ask orion

    a rhetorical quest
    -ion or two {in pig latin,
    or martian, or sioux.}

    welcome broken. speak
    only when spoken to,
    by breeze. watch for the
    slivers that fall too far

    for anyone else to see.
    stand under this
    fabled falling sky
                 with me.

    .

  29. Walter J Wojtanik

    WE HAVE OUR WAYS TO MAKE YOU TALK

    You sit in silence, straddling the fence
    of boredom. Am I preaching to the chorus?
    You abhor us for our lack of etiquette and tact.
    It’s a fact that you know your stuff,
    but you’ve had enough of this guff.
    Sadly, you have the answers, but
    it leaves a rancid taste in our mouths.
    It seems a total waste to let you balk.
    We have our ways to make you talk.
    Should we start with “Pretty please?”

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