Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 343

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out yesterday’s post on the 2016 April PAD Challenge. Click to continue.

For today’s prompt, write a poem about a book. The book could be your favorite, or one that you loathe. The poem could literally be about the book, or maybe written in the voice of a character.

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Here’s my attempt at a Poem About a Book:

“Winesburg, Ohio”

There are so many stories to write
that nobody knows about. Paper
pills and hands, a man of ideas, or

the philosopher. Stories about
respectability, godliness,
loneliness, sophistication, and

adventure. The thinker, the teacher,
and mother. An awakening and
something a little bit queer. Drink and

departure from Tandy. The untold
lie and the book of the grotesque, all
of it swirling like a sudden death.

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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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132 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 343

  1. Rasia J. Nole

    The Thief

    He was caught
    On a rooftop,
    In between life and death,
    Death chasing him from behind,
    Life, somehow knowing that death would catch him,

    Eventually.

    After months of playing with
    The Queen’s property
    As well as her sanity,
    He has been caught.

    Finally.

    His heart raced and
    His eyes looked for a way
    To escape the temptress Queen’s wrath.

    His heart prayed to the gods in silent hope
    But they didn’t seem to hear him.
    If they did,
    They didn’t care to acknowledge him.

    She had chased him,
    Down the streets he knew so well,
    Into ally’s,
    Over roofs,
    But he wasn’t fast enough
    To outrun fifty guards,
    Focused on capturing him,
    And taking him to their cruel, yet beautiful Queen.

    She found him,
    Or rather her guards had.
    A satisfied smile filled her face
    As he was brought to her
    And his hands willingly were put into chains.

    He knew it was over.
    He’d had his fun,
    And he’d known the risk,
    Not even his mighty Queen could or would
    Save him now.

    It was over.

    For good.

    He cried out to the gods,
    Until he just gave up,
    Gave up hope,
    Gave up strength,
    Gave up the fight to survive.

    For weeks he laid in a prison
    Waiting for his sentence.
    Hoping he would be killed
    Rather than face whatever cruel fate
    She would dish out to him.

    His day of judgment came
    In a beautiful woman with stunning black hair
    And a cold smile that chilled him to the bones.

    “I have decided your fate…
    Thief.”

    His heart stopped
    Her eyes glowed with malice
    And the promise of pain.

    He called out to the gods,
    In one last prayer,
    Of goodbye,
    Of forgiveness,
    Of hope.

    “You will kill me?”

    His voice shook with hope.
    Death was better than
    Whatever punishment she had
    In store for him.

    Him,
    The one that gave her jewels,
    The one that left her notes,
    The one that snuck into her room by night,
    The one always watching her beautiful figure,
    The one who may have loved her,
    The one who had been foolish enough to be caught.

    Her smile widened,
    As if she guessed his thoughts,
    She shook her mass of black hair,
    Managing to make it look elegant even with
    Her
    Cool,
    Set,
    Features
    That the Thief wanted to hate,
    But could not.

    “Not so,
    Thief.”

    He forced his body to stop shaking,
    And prepared himself for what was bound
    To ruin his life
    If she wouldn’t end it for him.

    He studied her features,
    Beautiful,
    Haunting,
    And strangely, a wide grin spread across his face.

    Her hand connected with his face
    And sent his head reeling back,
    Dark hair flying,
    But he just grinned at her.

    “I have decided,
    That I will obey your laws.
    I will give you a punishment of old.”

    She spate the words at him,
    He shuddered,
    Old punishments were never good.

    “I will cut off your hand.”

    No! His thoughts shouted
    But his body stayed still,
    Bound by the chains he had woven
    With months of careful practice
    And months of careful planning.

    There was no way to escape from an empire,
    He’d built himself.

    Her smile tightened,

    “Fitting for a thief
    Isn’t it?”

    She said viciously,
    Not actually expecting an answer.

    “Not going to answer
    Thief?”

    She looked him up and down,
    Most obviously judging him.

    His dirty shirt,
    Worn by weeks in prison,
    His rugged hair,
    Falling in long waves across his head,
    His scruffy beard,
    In bad need of a shave,
    His skinny body,
    From prison food.
    His high cheekbones,
    Smudged with dirt,
    His face,
    Covered with bruises,
    His blue eyes,
    Filled with a defeated look of pure hatred.

    Finally she spoke,
    Her voice angry,

    “Is this who she sends for me?
    A mere boy?
    Does she not have any idea what I’m capable of?”

    The Thief studied her,
    He knew her all too well,

    The cold hand in which
    She gripped her people,
    Only keeping her power with the help of fear.

    The enchanting green eyes
    That adorned her face like emeralds,
    The stories told around the campfires
    Of her poisoning her husband
    On their wedding night.

    Her tousled black hair,
    Strewn across her pillow
    As he crept in and out of her room,
    Hidden by the night,

    The coolness of her voice
    In desperate situations,

    The sound of her delicate feet,
    Walking the palace halls
    Over and over again,

    The sound of her breath,
    Coming out in ragged gasps after nightmares,

    The sound of her joyless laugh,
    Filled with scorn and hatred towards
    Life itself.

    The way her green eyes filled with triumph,
    As he submitted to her chains.

    He knew her
    And he hated her
    And yet he loved her all at once.

    The Thief finally found his voice,
    After minutes of edged silence.
    It was scratchy and raw,

    “If you didn’t know me
    Queen,
    I am my Queen’s Thief,
    I have snuck in your rooms by night,
    Evaded your-”

    “Yes,
    Until you were stupid enough
    To be caught,
    Thief.”

    She smiled at him like a tiger,
    Anticipating the kill of prey.

    “Enough with the banter
    Queen.
    I want to get this over with.”

    His blue eyes met hers,
    Defiant and beautiful
    Met the
    Strong and proud.

    But she noticed something in his marvelous, blue eyes,
    She noticed something that gave her satisfaction,
    She noticed something more than defiance,
    She noticed fear.

    She said her words gleefully,
    Revenge was hers,
    She had won.

    “As you wish
    Thief.”

    The hand cutter,
    The punishment executor,
    The horror bringer,
    Came out,
    Dressed in fine black robes,

    The Thief was led to a table,
    Where his life would change,

    Forever.

    “Get on with it.”

    The Thief commanded the cutter
    Dismissively,
    Hiding the fear he truly felt.

    The blade came down,
    Upon his arm,
    Loud and clear,
    It rang through the halls,
    And reverberated off the ceiling,

    And for just a moment,
    He swore he saw his gods,
    Laughing at him.

    Right before his world crumbled.
    Right before he crumbled,
    Right before he heard her laugh,
    Tinkling like a bell,
    As if he had finally made her happy.

    (Based on Megan Whalen Turner’s “The Thief)

  2. Beth Henary Watson

    The Reader’s Audience

    It’s hard to follow,
    Tegucigalpa
    This week, then on to
    New Jersey, sometimes
    Back and forth between
    Such unrelated outposts
    Fast as I can turn the page.

    You hear, sometimes listen,
    Even care about the highlights
    As I relate them,
    New favorites daily
    Flow like a migrant stream
    Out of my mouth,
    Neither rehearsed nor
    Sterile, but I just thought
    You would want to know
    About the little girl
    Who was violated
    On the train, and how
    Everyone was able
    To move on, just as much as
    You might be interested
    In the medical pioneer
    Who said doctors should
    Slice into flesh
    Using clean instruments.

    This is your fate, dear husband,
    A volley of disjointed
    Stories you are challenged
    To follow, brought to you
    From the library each week
    By the cartful.

  3. SarahLeaSales

    A Paper Existence, 1957-1960

    Like flowers in the attic,
    the four, Dollangangers—
    Christopher, the doctor,
    Cathy, the dancer,
    and the twins,
    Cory and Carrie—
    wither like blooms over their own graves,
    like petals long forgotten after a wedding,
    like flowers pressed into a book.

    To them, hope was colored yellow,
    like the sun they seldom saw,
    like the daffodils that grew in their backyard
    in Gladstone, Pennsylvania,
    like their mother’s hair that fell around her face
    as she kissed them good-night.

    It is in the wee hours of a morning
    on an indeterminate date,
    they are whisked away to Foxworth Hall,
    where “The Grandmother” lives.
    It is the goodliest of good golly days,
    that Cathy imagines milk and cookies,
    of a kitchen that smell of cinnamon,
    and a parlor that smells of potpourri,
    of knitting needles and kitten paws,
    of shawls over rocking chairs.
    Oh, but the mansion appears haggard
    in the moonlight,
    its windows blacked,
    like eyes without a soul.

    Years later, Cathy will wonder
    if the bus driver,
    whose name they never knew,
    whose face they cannot remember,
    remembers the four, golden-haired children
    who rode his bus that night.
    She will wonder if anyone who had
    memories of her father,
    ever wonders what became of the Dresden dolls.

    Their mother Corrine, like Christopher,
    is whipped for the sins of their father—
    sins she shared in the marriage bed—
    and they, these beautiful children,
    are the spawn of that sin.
    By Grandmother Olivia’s hand,
    the sins of her daughter
    is being passed on the second generation.

    Locked away in an upstairs room,
    they explore their small world,
    and find the attic—
    like a dusty, forgotten heaven—
    turning it into a paper Garden of Eden.
    The grandmother is like the snake who
    slithers below—
    tempting them by telling them of the sins
    they must be committing.
    It is the lie that will become a truth.

    Christopher and Cathy are innocents,
    as Adam and Eve once were,
    Cory and Carrie their children,
    as the memory of their father becomes vague
    in their minds—
    their father, whose death brought them here.
    Their mother has become like Lilith—
    Christopher’s first love—
    even as Cathy was her father’s first love.

    Cathy blossoms like a calla lily in an alley,
    and Christopher is entranced by his sister,
    who is blossoming into womanhood.
    He sees in her the mother he used to know,
    and loved without reason.
    When Grandmother sees Christopher gazing upon her,
    she pours tar on Cathy’s hair;
    unlike Samson, it is not her strength she diminishes,
    but her beauty.
    Christopher saves her crown of glory,
    seeing beyond the hair
    to the flesh that is as close to him now
    as his mother’s breast once was.

    Even as Cathy bleeds for the sins of Eve,
    Christopher bleeds for the sins of his mother,
    feeding his siblings the life of his body.
    It was love that saved Cathy’s hair,
    love that built the swing in the attic,
    love that fed them now.

    When Cory, the little mouse who didn’t make it,
    lies in repose in the basement—
    the hell of Foxworth Hall—
    Cathy breaks out,
    only to come upon her mother’s new husband
    in his sleep.
    Like a fairy in a dream,
    she kisses him,
    sealing a promise that she will return.

    Christopher, his eyes turning from blue to green,
    takes his sister as Amnon took his half-sister Tamar,
    and then begs forgiveness from the sister
    he never would have looked at had she not been the only one.

    Then these remaining children,
    malnourished and unloved,
    except by each other,
    escape through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,
    to redefine what makes a family.

  4. RJ Clarken

    Booking

    Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
    –P.J. O’Rourke

    I’ll never read eye-candy trash.
    Celeb tell-alls are balderdash.
    That is my public front, you see,
    ‘though I’ll still read junk secretly.
    O pretense! I’m a rubbish hound,
    but to my friends, I’ll just expound
    on virtues of some classic key
    ‘though I’ll still read junk secretly.
    I so disdain all ‘shades’ – such tripe,
    and twinkly vamps? I’ll loudly gripe.
    I’m erudite! Shakespeare with tea,
    ‘though I’ll still read junk secretly.
    I cross my heart. If I should die:
    My book? The Catcher in the Rye,
    or maybe Homer’s Odyssey…
    ‘though I’ll still read junk secretly.

    ###

  5. trishwrites

    Get your head out of that book
    and go on outside
    But what about the Famous Five?

    You’ll have to hand over that book
    You can have it back at recess
    But why can’t math be as delicious?

    Aren’t Saturday mornings meant
    to wander quiet shelves
    for what better way to lose yourself?

    If I stand accused of being a dreamer
    then aren’t my accomplices
    the poets and the wordsmiths?

  6. shellcook

    Darkness Visible

    There it lies
    in a pool of light,
    the book that
    changed my life,
    Darkness Visible.

    If you have known
    that blackest night,
    When nothing holds
    A piece of light,
    You will know
    what some may not,
    That darkness speaks
    Beyond the light.

    3/4/16

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Booking

    Whenever I have time to spare,
    you’ll likely find me anywhere
    good words can take me, in my chair
    with a book.

    I stack and shelve them, taste and savor
    plots and settings real and clever,
    characters my heart can favor
    in a book.

    Dark worlds of bastards, wars, and fright
    give way to heroes, science, light
    in circumstances wrong or right
    in a book.

    My reading habit’s ticketless
    and cuts out all the fuss and stress
    of packing. I can convalesce
    in a book!

    My home is filled with wordy friends
    but that’s now how this story ends.
    The world of thought and word transcends
    my books.

    I’m not reclusive, cats and books,
    (though there’s a story off the hooks),
    but I’m informed, reformed, outlooks
    in a book.

  8. grcran

    Deeper Than Gay

    Some few remark the gayness of the two.
    Not so. They shared a rare shade of true blue.
    His Samwise, loyal, selfless to a fault.
    Ringbearer’s burden monstrous, still he sought
    Sam’s wellness. Storyline took them through hell
    And back. Somehow. All changed inside except
    The love for steadfast friend, who left. Sam wept,
    recovered, made a life, new tales to tell.
    And Tolkien told it, textured, no intrigue.
    Not sex, this, beauty far beyond fatigue.

    gpr crane

  9. grcran

    genuflexion

    before the world was there was whirligig
    as astronomical translucence tried
    good God was weaving swirling bang was big
    and every second since then sanctified
    importance of belief true faith firm trust
    does vary humans have a choice on these
    acknowledgement of greater power a must
    denying this may force one to one’s knees
    with care sing prayer for giving as you go
    the genesis details no need to know

    gpr crane

  10. lsteadly

    I Hated That River

    The one in Appalachia
    where that girl was raped by
    her uncle, her own kin
    I should’ve stopped there
    but I had to know if her revenge
    was sweet, not that it ever is
    but still
    I kept on and so did the wrong
    that girl killed deer just to kill
    with not much forgivin’
    then she was sharin’ her bed with
    a brute nowhere near worthy and not mindin’
    makin’ my blood run so cold, colder than that river
    and it was me who ended
    that story before it was over,
    threw it down hard
    not wantin’ to know anymore
    of that river, those lives
    I had no strength for

  11. KarenAWK1

    And There Were None
    by Karen Koger

    World’s best-selling
    mystery masterpiece
    with unsuspecting
    people enticed to
    visit an island

    by a respected author
    of detective work
    and even a bit of romance
    loved by readers old and new
    worthy of being called
    a Dame

    or a title for the
    circus style
    reality show known
    as the debate

    Grown men without
    substance and pride
    vying for a position
    of fortitude and strength
    bullying and belittling
    one another

    nothing more than
    an embarrassment
    for all to enjoy
    on Twitter?

  12. seingraham

    WHEREAS BOOKS ARE LIKE CHILDREN

    Slip through eras, through pages, through time
    walk with the famous, the magical, the unknown too
    Get lost in Sherwood Forest, climb beneath the earth,
    help bake cookies, make a cape and fly, sew your shadow
    to your being, grow a pair of wings, whirl around the circles
    down below what’s real – lose yourself forever before
    deciding to come back … remember you don’t have to
    as long as you keep track, or a trail of crumbs, or feathers

    Travel with Death in war-time Germany, learn things you
    thought you knew (but didn’t after all) – go anywhere with
    Picoult’s characters; she’ll make you question your values,
    your sanity, your every thought … go back and read
    your classics – Anne Shirley is always such a friend
    And the March girls so much comfort, no matter what
    time of life you take up with them …
    Frost offers inspiration and consolation both – keep him
    handy – you can’t go wrong; and Sexton and Plath for
    different reasons …

    More recently – all the offerings about Europe – especially
    Paris – and young adult fare – quick reads that bring you joy
    Don’t forget the most recent finished – the award winning
    dog saga – so cleverly done – enriching in every way
    Pick a favourite? It’s never been possible and still is not …
    But be thrilled that it is not … books are like children
    Whether to be read or written – how could you possibly
    like one more than another?

  13. Anthony94

    The Imaginators

    They lived between the floorboards,
    that delicious, deciduous space still
    smelling of fresh piney two by fours
    and with ceilings, floors, and walls
    so sturdy you could hang endless
    postage stamp pictures and make
    halls and pantries and the greatest
    great room ever. Pod and Homily
    along with daughter, Arriety, were
    inventors and investigators and
    inveiglers. Imaginators. According
    to Homily, his wife, Pod possessed
    one of the greatest minds to ever
    be owned by a Borrower. Afloat,
    or aloft, their escapades were
    housed in old books with shabby
    blue bindings, way down the stacks
    under /No/ for Norton. Winner
    of the Carnegie Medal, 1952, and
    highly recommended by some sweet
    librarian, we only cared that perhaps
    something magical would be borrowed
    from the kitchen or beyond to become
    the latest addition to the most exciting
    family we’d ever known, hoping, too,
    that Pod’s success would engender
    yet another volume in which we could
    lay on our stomachs and peek under our
    own door sills to see if just maybe there
    were relatives come to visit at our place.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Romancing the Book
      Growth and budding; my childhood found in the folds of a Johanna Lindsey book.
      Tiny feet tucked in an oversized chair, head bent, spine creased, devoured each word upon each page.
      Romancing the heart of my twelve year old spirit.
      Summer sailed on captain ships; love’s adventure
      an English rouge.
      A tender rebel captured my heart and was my escape into a real world of make-believe.
      As each new book was my treasured and beguiling gem.
      By Pamelap

  14. Piddleville

    City in a Book

    In a book there’s a city
    and the city is empty
    except for the few
    in the desolate ruin.
    Abandoned to quiet
    and gangs of lost teens,
    and a nameless man
    with a misshapen thumb
    and a notebook he carries;
    the few left behind call him Kid.
    It’s a city of dark
    and a city of lights
    and of holographic images;
    and of families who live
    false-noted lives
    in buildings otherwise empty,
    and the real and the true
    become confused,
    and there is no beginning
    and there can be no end;
    there is just the idea
    of a devastated city
    and a notebook book carried
    by a man with no name.

  15. charmuse

    Mmm Hymn

    House Rules:
    one book out
    to bring one in.
    Making a swap
    from a swamp.
    Mmm hmm

    These shelves
    start to sway
    with a do si do
    of what gives.

    A partner goes
    off the wall.
    A fine jacketed
    fellow is a find,
    only a curtsy away.
    Mmm hmm

    ~ Charise M. Hoge

  16. Tracy Davidson

    On Reading Lord of the Rings

    It’s rather long-winded and boring,
    I gave up on page eighty-three,
    Take my advice – forget the book
    And just watch the DVD.

  17. PKP

    Little Women, Freud, Heidi, Mockingbird, Jane Eyre

    The small child with large eyes
    lived in a chilly quiet house cool
    with anticipation of unexplained
    awfulness .. everything in her
    house was cool to the touch and
    in its place – even a baby brother
    was quiet … her shining glory
    was her soulful retreat – book
    in hand – not sullying the stillness
    a grandmother’s house was
    cool and quiet as well – a place of
    silk slips worn as nightgowns and
    green velvet carpeting – cut glass
    a down plump chair and time …
    to fall into places .. of sisters and
    strawberries and sweet cream, of
    sweet hay lofts and a starry sky to
    slumber, an uncle’s text book heavy
    on her lap coded cascading clues un-
    locking secrets of self – righteousness
    wrapped in the length of fatherhood –
    loneliness found, lost and found again
    tumbled she down rabbit holes and
    through orphaned streets – up to arche-
    typal attics and through the underground
    those yawping years before ten – steeped
    in love – on the precipice of unthinkable loss
    she turning page after page feverishly em-
    braced by the arms always eager to hold
    her close and explain it all ….

  18. Stuart Peacock

    A Cave Beneath the Covers

    They always call out to me,
    But their faces tell little,
    With only a name and title
    To tempt my curious touch,
    That I will then know the story
    That each is dying to share.

    They sit in an orderly line,
    Hiding their heart and soul,
    Their very essence and core
    From all but true believers
    Who will spare the time
    To find the treasure inside.

    I observe each silent signal
    Pondering the potential within,
    One could change my life
    Another could teach and inspire,
    So that someday I form my own
    To join them on a widening shelf.

  19. uvr

    Silently the doors
    slide open
    as though they know
    here they are not
    permitted to squeak
    For a moment
    I feel the hush
    soothe nerves
    frayed by life’s
    incessant clamour

    My eyes feast on
    endless rows
    of temptation
    neatly arranged
    some fat
    some tall
    some slim
    I am pulled
    this way
    then that
    an eager child
    let loose
    in a candy store

    As the calm
    seeps into my skin
    relaxes my mind
    I pick a letter
    to start with
    Today it is S
    perhaps because
    the scent of spring
    that emanates
    from this row

    The rhythmic tilting
    of my head
    to read the titles
    lulls me into
    a happy state
    I pull one out
    lured by the title
    Beneath The Bleeding
    by Val McDermid
    It promises murder
    Blood and gore
    always attracts me

    I drop it into the basket
    then I meander through
    the other letters
    stopping at B
    touching V
    skimming L
    Reading R
    Some join the others
    in the basket
    others are left
    on the shelves
    for another day

    I pay no heed
    to the time
    noticing only when
    my basket is too heavy
    I can’t take them all
    so I find a quiet corner
    to sift through the pile
    whittling it down
    until I reach the limit

    Like a reluctant lover
    I leave some behind
    hoping they will
    wait to get into
    my good books

    The chosen ones
    I carry home
    eager for a
    cup of coffee
    and the wonders
    of a world
    I will step into
    on the first page

  20. Sara McNulty

    Prized Possession

    Robust rose protects
    my body of brushed gold-
    edged pages. My cover celebrates
    his genius. Strange characters cameo
    the sides, surrounding a towering
    girl, holding a tiny tea pot.
    My rotundity serves a purpose.
    I am weighted with stories,
    games, riddles, and puzzles.
    If you decide to buy me,
    you will forever have wondrous
    tales that are timeless,
    and you will never have to look
    at a pocket watch.

  21. James Von Hendy

    Poetry, A to B

    The box sat by the door, the first
    of many heavy with poetry,
    the dog-eared years of reading
    sealed for the move to new shelves,
    brighter light, a new home above
    a valley of evergreens and oaks.

    “Poetry, A to B,” my new wife exclaimed.
    She eyed the other boxes stacked
    behind the first. “C to D, D to F?
    Where does it end?” “V to Z,
    of course,” I replied. “Doesn’t
    everyone have two rods of verse?”

  22. Nancy Posey

    A Life Between Book Covers

    Before I write my own story,
    I know it’s hiding there
    between the pages
    of other people’s books,
    their stories woven through mine,
    breath to my lungs,
    food to my belly,
    travel without a ticket
    for any train or plane.

    Like the population
    of some small country,
    they line my shelves,
    memoirs beside make believe,
    volumes of poetry slid
    right next to self-help,
    a redundancy I only see now.

    Here the tattered bear proof
    of my love, my constant return,
    the unopened signal hope
    for hours ahead wandering
    in another place and time.

    Ink marks gifts bestowed.
    Pencil wisps, the marginalia
    left like dropped breadcrumbs
    for my next passage
    through these pages.

    All those words bound
    between hardcover, a heft
    satisfying in my hands,
    letting me live many lives.

  23. deringer1

    SPIRIT WALKER by Nancy Wood

    I feel the beauty of the culture
    that surrounds me. It is in the very air.
    It feeds my understanding and
    quenches my thirst for beauty and peace.
    I hear wisdom in the quiet acceptance
    and endurance of the ancient people
    who are everywhere around me.
    Their spirit walks with mine
    and together we discover
    the wisdom of the ages.

  24. taylor graham

    T O LAND’S END
    on Elihu Burritt’s A Walk from London to Land’s End (1865)

    Your book invites me along for the walk, Elihu,
    a hundred fifty years too late to keep you
    company – to watch your back, perhaps – as you
    cross Dartmoor Downs’ “cold, granite Sahara” –
    a wasteland where travelers can lose themselves
    in spite of crosses, standing-stones and kistvaens.
    How to tell trail-markers from the native tors
    and boulders? Follow a river down? Which
    river? You don’t tell me if your route skirts one
    of the Avons of Britain, or the Dart, the Jordan,
    Meavy, Tavy, or any of the 22 rivers springing
    from the highlands of this moor. I’ve heard
    they well from granite morasses. Ground-swells
    of heather tide underfoot. Sphagnum moss floats
    in stone basins of rainfill. There’s peat-bog,
    mire, wet-woodland where willow dips its feet
    in the flow, tangling with alder, fern, and bird-
    song. A traveler might want to stay forever.
    A traveler might not find a way out. I’ll come
    along with you, Elihu, if only for the read.

  25. ReathaThomasOakley

    The library card

    I was six and on the floor of
    the children’s room at the old library
    on Aviles Street in front of the shelves
    she said were filled with fairy tales.
    I took my carefully selected stack
    to her desk, watched her stamp the books,
    explain what everything meant, and when I left
    I clutched that magical piece of cardboard.
    The current edition still has power to propel
    me to places I never thought I’d be.
    The promise of fairy tales was true.

  26. seamuscorleone

    The Old Man and the Sea

    Hemingway was getting old: past his prime, they said.
    But he had not yet shot himself, in the head.

    He sat down to write a story about an old man
    who first catches a tuna, like they put in a can.

    But then he gets hooked on a huge Marlin instead,
    and it looks like he’ll hang on until he is dead.

    It’s a fight to the death when the sharks attack,
    it looks for a time like no one will make it back.

    The old man makes it home without the fish he had caught,
    so in the end all his fighting seems to have been for naught.

    Apparently the old man is supposed to be Christ
    because of his struggle and all he sacrificed.

    The author’s work pays off and he wins the nobel prize,
    though it is less than a decade later that he dies.

    Which just goes to show: you may work hard, and win fame,
    but we all end up in the grave, just the same.

  27. candy

    book ends

    I feel bereft, alone
    as if a good friend
    has died
    the end came much too
    soon, I swoon with
    remorse trying to
    remember the best
    a turn of phrase that
    left me stunned
    a turn of page that
    kept me up until
    the dawn
    I sit alone, wanting
    more, there must be more
    not another page
    remains
    my favorite book
    is now fini
    but as I reach to turn off
    the lights, to lay my head
    on the pillow and sleep
    my eye spies a new
    favorite book and
    I begin again

  28. PressOn

    BIBLIA

    Just as a Boy Scout
    is taught not to flout
    good deeds
    and young chickadees
    must learn to defreeze
    good seeds,
    so we can debate
    and appreciate
    good reads.

  29. De Jackson

    Knowing Q

    I grew
    up on Klickitat Street,
    knew that a dawnzer
    gave lee light, and that
    Mr. Nosmo King
    might arrive at any
    moment.

    Also:
    Q is not a question;
    it’s an answer. A moniker.
    And it should have kitty
    -cat ears,
    and whiskers.

  30. De Jackson

    Mockingbirds

    It never occurred to me to kill
    anything, to consider color
    in such a way that didn’t
    reflect the sky. My stones
    were saved for rivers, wishes,
    wanderings where I might
    need to know the way back,
    might need to track my steps
    with something older than my
    own shallow skin. Begin

    on page one, and trace a finger
    along the words you love best.
    Memorize their place. Dog-ear
    a page or two, a tiny triangular
    wave to call you back. Track
    your own fingerprints, heart
    -beats, song, when you see a
    smudge, the budging of a cover,
    the wonder underneath that
    never fades. Blades

    of grass made proper bookmarks.
    Bandaids work, too. Library card.
    Business card. Cocktail napkin.
    The curious glue that holds to
    -gether
    (gather)
    the years spent being
    a scout,
    and following
    boo.

    .

  31. Anthony94

    Years Later

    It was from Johanna Spyri’s Heidi that
    I learned the perils of leaving the soft
    white Kaiser rolls on the closet shelf,
    the hopelessness of hoarding bread
    against some future trip to the Alps.

    Likewise, it was within those glorious
    pages that cheese became a glistening
    roasted confection, so that even now
    sharp cheddar between thick planks
    of bread is pure comfort food.

    Heidi taught about the orneriness of
    goats, their inability to follow instruction,
    and how I cheered the untameable
    Distelfinck’s hair-raising adventures on
    the steep cliffs surrounding the cabin.

    Chapter by chapter, I learned about fairness
    and injustice, the division of classes, the
    haves and have-nots and how hearts can
    break, and tears remain unshed. How little
    girls can walk again with a Peter’s ingenuity.

    There was some kind of happily ever after
    depending upon for whom you cheered,
    and while I gloried in the drawing room
    intrigue, I read it again and again to memorize
    haylofts and bluebells, the comfort of cheese.

  32. carolemt87

    Feels like a double down day!

    Gone Girl (spoiler alert!)

    In Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn twists her characters,
    infuriating readers but dragging them
    along for the ride.
    Once committed, we cannot believe
    the diabolical nature exposed in
    Amazing Amy and her husband Nick.
    Hundreds of times I set this novel aside,
    literally pissed off by the author
    who gave me two antagonists and
    no one to root for.

    Flynn introduces Nick as a good guy
    whose wife has disappeared,
    only to discover that he’s just as evil as Amy.
    Nick’s mistress, Andie Hardy (what a name choice!)
    doesn’t help the cause here and neither does
    Amazing Amy’s supposed hero, Desi Collings.

    This cast of horrible characters
    would keep a psychotherapist busy
    for the rest of his life.
    My goodness, I hated them all.
    Did I stop reading it? No. Why not?
    I’m no quitter and, let me tell you,
    the book was torture. Of course,
    I watched the movie. I already knew
    how it all played out. If you feel the need
    for punishment, read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
    The writing is good, don’t get me wrong,
    but I cannot, in good faith
    or under any circumstances,
    recommend this book.

    Carol J Carpenter 2016

  33. Connie Peters

    “Perfect Strangers”

    Perfect Strangers with tattered pages
    Survived several readings through the ages
    Her biological clock kept ticking
    He had guilt firmly sticking
    They made a pact, a bit courageous

    He’d marry and sire for his wages
    She was plain, he had rages
    Both beyond romantic picking
    Perfect Strangers

    The two sported emotional cages
    But their love grew in stages
    Their positive traits began clicking
    Then the baby started kicking
    Perfect Strangers

  34. carolemt87

    The trouble with Facebook

    I’m writing a novel
    I tell myself but
    there are dirty dishes in the sink
    and clothes to wash
    and Facebook

    I’m writing a novel
    I tell my friends but
    there are places to be and
    choir songs to learn
    and Facebook

    I’m writing a novel
    I remind myself but
    the characters are stubborn
    and have gone quiet, and there’s
    always Facebook.

    I’m going to write a novel
    I tell myself again but
    something always
    pulls me away and distractions
    are everywhere, and of course,
    there’s always Facebook.

    Carol J. Carpenter 2016

  35. Domino

    “A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life-raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead.”
    -Caitlin Moran

    A lonely child, too much asked
    of a child, too much
    (r e s p o n s i b i l i t y)
    burden
    for one so young.

    Expectation of seriousness,
    of thoughtful helpfulness
    (r e s p o n s i b i l i t y)
    too much to expect
    of one so young.

    A child’s job should be to play
    to learn, to be free to dream
    of life beyond, of what
    (r e s p o n s i b i l i t y)
    she wants to be and do
    and discover who she is.

    A child, though, can find the freedom
    she craves, taking her far from the
    (r e s p o n s i b i l i t y)
    place and time she lives
    if she can find some
    b o o k s.

  36. annell

    The Empty Book

    a life could be thought of as a book     usually never written     just lived

    so many stories     never told     just lived

    words left unspoken     perhaps jotted down on little slips of paper  &nbs;  waiting

    a pencil and piece of paper     a perfect gift      a blank book

    a journal     even so      left by the bed

    empty     i thought i would get around to it     the sands in the hour glass run out

    will you remember      all that wasn’t written     in the empty book

    March 2, 2016

  37. PowerUnit

    In the spirit of the novel (2015 Giller Prize Winner) the name is in the poem. *The book uses a poetry style of François Caradec.

    Fifty endogenous Houdini-poets
    A canine craziness of survival
    A Majnoun race to happiness
    Some die quickly, most die sad
    Only one dies leaving his life a full circle, sealed from the past
    No apologies demanded
    No lighting bolts thrown
    A hermetic life spent roaming, searching
    A masterful ending

    1. seingraham

      Nicely done! I just finished this book and was tempted to write about it, but you’ve done such an eloquent job – I’m leaving it alone. As you mention in your title, the book’s poems are done in the style of Francois Caradec, one of the originators of Oulipo – and that was one thing that really fascinated me and was in the afternotes. The author talks about each poem in the book having each dog’s name worked into it in an Oulipo fashion – for those who took part in the Found Poetry Challenge in 2014, it was all about Oulipo … absolutely amazing to find it referenced anywhere, but especially in this book. Again, a really superb poem PowerUnit.

  38. Walter J Wojtanik

    THE BOOK I HAVE YET TO WRITE

    I have thoughts,
    little ideas pasted
    like cranial Post-it® notes,
    mental nudges that fail to budge me
    from my intellectual congestion.

    It isn’t a question
    of what to do with these scraps,
    shards of words dangling like participles
    on hiatus. It is a matter of prioritizing and making
    wiser use of my time. I am mired in rhyme

    and I am fine with it.
    Every snippet or flicker of dialogue
    gets bogged down and pushed around
    by a more comfortably metered muse
    refusing to relegate the floor.

    I view my words more
    like vagrant thoughts dancing with the wind,
    hoping to land on my page, as a storied collection
    that tells a grand tale. But I tend to fail in this pursuit.
    The book I have yet to write

    might never get done.
    I’m having more fun on a smaller stage,
    my poetic page blankly stares me down
    but it does not confound me for long.
    No matter what I write, I’m never wrong!

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