Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 347

It’s kind of hard to believe, but we’re about to embark on another month of poeming daily in just a couple days. Check out the 2016 April PAD Challenge guidelines here.

For today’s prompt, write a preparation poem. Sure, I’m preparing for the 2016 April Poem-A-Day Challenge, but there are plenty of other events, things, and people for which to prepare. For instance, I’ve recently started running again and prepare myself each day for that. Or prepare to take a test, go on a date, or lead a meeting. And, of course, there’s the possibility of taking it the other way: lack of preparation.


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Here’s my attempt at a Preparation Poem:


Maybe in my youth, I did not care,
or, perhaps, I feared to ever dare,
but it’s true: I had a reputation
as someone who never came prepared,

whether it was for a celebration
or some other important occasion,
you could bet I came without my fare,
and caused my share of unplanned frustration.


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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111 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 347

  1. JamesJ

    After Katherine had fallen into her closet
    For the third time we knew of
    Our daughters intervened.
    Hanging her dresses on clothes hooks
    Along the walls of our room
    Even her jewelry
    Mardi Gras beads to cultured pearls
    Dangling over the thin bones of plastic hangars.
    Katie cried to be on such display.
    As her cuts and bruises faded
    We joked how it all would make
    For modern art at some marble floored
    New York museum
    Purchased for some astounding price.
    Now it was to be my suit
    The ties and belts gifted or chosen with care
    Of the meeting I was bound for.

  2. MikeGill

    I posted a more serious one earlier in the week. But I liked this one that I wrote too.

    Test? Today?!

    This cannot be!
    How many words do I have to spell?
    Welcome to my personal hell.
    I forgot that today was the spelling test.
    I will simply have to try my best.
    After class, I beg my teacher not to tell
    My parents if I don’t do well.
    He simply holds the paper up for me to see.
    I can’t believe it; I got a B.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Love Story…
      A friend in tow as she sits back to behold;
      the preparation of our love to unfurl and unfold.
      A love story to enfold.
      By Pamelap

  3. lsteadly

    Preparing the Will

    Yesterday we met
    the lawyer
    figured it was time to
    face the inevitable
    end of our days
    make a plan for those
    we’ll leave behind

    I couldn’t help but stare
    back at the law books
    their spines shielding statutes
    passed through the ages
    while our hands lay
    clasped on the table

    Our lawyer smiles
    the right amount
    phrases our future
    demise with trained timbre
    the perfect pitch
    to smooth a way
    for the will
    of our transcendence

  4. Julieann

    Preparation – or Lack Thereof

    It’s so hard to prepare
    When procrastination is in your blood
    But still I daydream about
    The current project in its completed state

    Just let me finish this page
    I’m reading, it’ll only take a minute
    Then I’m off to get a cup of coffee —
    Oh, the breeze is blowing softly

    As the old porch swing
    Beckons me, I just have to
    Sit a spell and listen to the birds sing
    While I envision what I need to do

    The day progresses onward
    And I’m no closer to starting
    That project I’ve thought about all day –
    Oh well, until tomorrow

    (I apologize if this is posted twice)

  5. SarahLeaSales

    The Changing of the Color Guard

    Flip-flops and tank tops,
    falling apart from use,
    are thrown out,
    and piles of scarves and sweaters,
    fuzzy soft and in need of a freshening,
    are brought out.
    Thick, flannel sheets are substituted for thin cotton,
    and Grandma’s denim and lace quilt is shaken,
    stirring the dust of time.

    She reclines on the white deck chair,
    soaking up the last of the summer sun,
    her iced tea glass below the slats
    sweating on the grass.

    The crepe myrtles will fall from branches
    like colorful, spring snowflakes,
    as the town approaches the threshold of autumn.
    Like a woman’s body,
    the Earth goes through phases.
    Fall is the time for exfoliating.

    The changing leaves are the
    last moment of clarity,
    before everything dies,
    or is covered with white—
    a sort of lacy shroud—
    shielding the bones and
    the rotting flesh beneath.

    She closes her eyes, sighs,
    dreaming of dancing barefoot
    to the bands on the beach,
    of garden parties in the gazebo,
    of a lightness of being
    in the heavy humidity.

    She sees,
    as if in a hypnotic state,
    the froth of the ocean,
    like the top of her daycap—
    her daily coffee with the steamed milk on top.

    She will be trading in her
    hot, gingerbread latte for iced chai,
    truffles for popsicles,
    vine-ripened tomatoes for winter squash.
    The house will be infused with the aromas
    of nutmeg and sage,
    rather than cilantro and dill.

    Her smile is wistful,
    for every day is a holiday in the summertime’
    but Christmas and all its fancy trappings,
    pierces the blues of winter,
    and she turns over once more
    to soak up the healthy yellow,
    the wind at her back.

    Fall is coming soon.

  6. seingraham


    It seemed a harmless enough activity:
    going through old photos to find some
    for a bachelorette party
    We have pizza boxes filled with ones
    that I’d always meant to put in albums
    and some did make it in during
    the kids’ early years
    So, I wasn’t quite prepared when
    the shots of my daughter leapt
    from the box and landed on the table.

    I wanted to protest – no, no – I didn’t
    sign on for this
    Get back in the box – I’m not ready
    to talk to you, or see you, be reminded
    I am not prepared to deal with photos
    of you yet, and maybe never.

    It was a good thing I was sitting down;
    I could feel blood leaving my upper body
    I didn’t want to be there, dealing.
    Lest anyone think my child is dead and
    I, still grief-stricken, unable to view
    her pictures…
    It’s not so cut and dried – and for that, I
    suppose I’m grateful
    No, no – I am grateful – as long as she’s living,
    there’s hope that we’ll be able to fix
    whatever’s wrong between us.

    It’s just that I don’t know what’s wrong;
    she won’t talk to nor see me
    and it’s going on two years …
    I work so hard to put the idea of her
    out of my mind.
    I have to prepare myself for hours
    if I know I’m going to be reminded
    of her at all.
    It’s a bizarre way of living, I admit it.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Preparation and Other Platitudes
    “Those that fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Coaching slogan

    Every being feels its readiness—
    pupa ripping, shell cracking,
    buds unfurling, tender shoots reaching,
    babies pushing into the world
    when it is time, whether or not
    the world has prepared, whether
    or not the wind is cold, the grass
    high, or the heart cradled for change.

    Every being feels its own longing,
    its own ache to be, its own readiness
    to become, and then it is.

    I’ve felt this burgeoning self
    striving in me, chafing to be—
    what, I do not know—but I did
    not pine for success or wail
    at failure, those opposites that
    exist only as far-flung depots
    on the same driven rail line
    of wins, losses, and draws.
    Desire for usefulness leads me
    to learn, to grow, to befriend,
    to serve, to imagine that I am
    ready for whatever comes.

    1. Jane Shlensky

      oops. Don’t know how that happened. Disregard that next one. I was still tweaking. I look forward to seeing all you fine folk tomorrow and each day of April. Write your hearts out, friends!

  8. Jane Shlensky

    Preparation and Other Platitudes
    “Those that fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Coaching slogan

    Every being feels its readiness—
    pupas ripping, shells cracking,
    buds unfurling, tender shoots reaching,
    babies pushing into the world
    when it is time, whether or not
    the world has prepared, whether
    or not the wind is cold, the grass
    high, or the heart cradled for change.

    Every being feels its own longing,
    its own ache to be, its own readiness
    to become, and then it is.

    I’ve felt this burgeoning self
    striving in me, chafing to be—
    what, I do not know—but I did
    not pine for success or wail
    at failure, those opposites that
    exist only as far-flung depots
    on the same driven rail line.
    Desire for usefulness leads me
    to learn, to grow, to befriend,
    to serve, to image that I am
    ready for whatever comes.

  9. seamuscorleone

    Preparing for Battle

    I’m ready!

    If she says I’m a robot
    In need of a heart,
    I’ll say that she’s an emotional ice cream cone
    That’s melting.

    If she says I’m a squirrel that hoards
    All its nuts,
    I’ll say that she’s a foolish squirrel that
    Will be hungry come winter.

    If she says that I have more than my fair share
    Of the banana cream pie,
    I’ll say that I made the damn pie and she
    Should learn to make her own pie and stop eating mine.

    The battle lines are drawn
    In my mind
    And no matter what she says
    I have a ready comeback.

    I’m prepared like a gladiator
    Of imaginary conflicts.

    Just let her face me and we’ll see
    Who spent more time worrying over the conversation
    Ahead of time, like a favorite stone worn smooth
    By nervous fingers.

  10. Karen

    Poetic Timbre

    Trees have great style
    all gnarly and squiggly

    some have big hearts
    some have big smileys

    all nestled inside
    many nooks and crannies

    plenty of paper and pencils
    for inspired poets

    the verse embedded
    in branch and leaves

    imbued with color
    shimmy and shimmer

    nature all excited
    connects with a writer.

  11. ShirleyB

    Daphne’s Diet – Day Two

    Ok, the fridge is free of naughty stuff.
    The weight is coming off – she’s had enough.
    She’s stocked with salad leaves, tomatoes,
    a variety of peppers, avocado –
    for the nutrient intensity, and chicory –
    for minerals and fibre. Nothing savoury
    to sabotage the dietary plan.
    A cabbage stew is brewing in the pan.
    The carrot sticks are ready in a pot –
    along with celery. She’s got a lot
    of fruit and varied vitamins from Boots.
    Tonight she’s stirring something hot with bamboo shoots.

    The determination’s strong – that’s for sure.
    It’s a shame about the peanuts in the drawer.

  12. candy

    PAD prep

    I’m not prepared
    my pen is out of ink
    and I just used the last page
    in my journal for
    a grocery list – maybe
    I can call it a poem
    I’m not prepared
    My poet hat is in the
    laundry with my
    lucky socks and
    my muse just left
    me a “dear candy” letter
    I’m not prepared
    I think I’ll go outside
    soak up some sun
    admire the blossoms
    listen to the sparrows
    I’ll stay up late
    waiting for the moon
    and fall asleep
    surrounded by it’s glow
    then I think
    I’ll be prepared

  13. Stuart Peacock

    Through the Eyes of a Worrier

    A river of possibility
    Lies just up ahead,
    But the strong current
    Could pull me off course
    If I let it snatch me in
    With its cursed whirlpool
    Of worries and what if’s.
    To prepare I must be strong,
    And keep a steady head
    In these waters of fear itself.

  14. grcran

    preparation of the form

    got ten ninety nines double u twos
    tax scuffling with nothing to lose
    retired i may be
    but they’re still taxing me
    ‘least i don’t hafta work for my blues

    gpr crane

  15. Sara McNulty

    Weighing Pros And Cons

    Plane trip planned,
    a nightmare of numerous
    deeds to do. Does the ranch
    have room for two dogs?

    Set aside that money.

    Two hours of online browsing
    to check air fares,
    departure times,
    and if seats are available.

    Total your cost, then add
    more for seats in which you
    can actually move.

    Car rental–best deal
    to put you behind
    the wheel of a luxury
    auto, which they will not have
    when you arrive.

    Estimate cost; most likely
    it will change.

    Pack only what you need,
    then add meds and cosmetics.
    Pack up dog food, treats, meds,
    and instructions. Drive out
    to ranch night before you leave,
    and cry all the way home.

    Stop. Think. Is it worth it?

  16. trishwrites


    There’s no preparing for
    how to remember
    the day you left
    or the life you lived
    measured in smiles
    not years

    I recall a full moon came out
    to beckon you home

    They say it gets easier
    but I think it gets longer
    the distance between
    you and me

    Days slip by
    your stamp still on them
    A smile, a laugh
    in my daughter’s faces
    And there you are
    branding our hearts
    all over again

  17. Beth Henary Watson

    Preparing for today

    Bash the old cliche to bits:
    Today is not a new day.
    Well, maybe for God it is
    Because He can start over,
    But, no, today is very
    Much rooted in yesterday,
    In further ago than that,
    Feast or famine that began
    At the family table.

    Preparation for today
    Started with nursery stories
    Before the first day of school
    And continued through last year
    And the decades before it.
    Even last week tells us more
    About what today may be
    Than today herself, which hides
    Amongst her activities
    Wondering what she’s doing here.

  18. Angie5804


    Vitamins and iron
    Pack the blue suitcase
    Breathe in sure and slow
    Then breathe out with grace

    Focus past the pain
    Try to be prepared
    When that first cry sounds
    Nothing can compare

  19. grcran

    form of the preparation

    spilled coffee on that one and then
    began to drink wine when my pen
    tore holes in the sheet
    got red as a beet
    submitting tax form late again

    by gpr crane

  20. De Jackson

    Counting Sheep

    I am all weird and weepy today, un
    -prepared for the wily way the world

    twists and turns to and fro and far
    and wee. Can you see the sun be

    -hind all this gray? Let’s breathe,
    and ask these clouds to play a game

    of fear hide-and-seek. Will You keep
    me safe? I’ve got miles to go and very

                                             little sleep.


  21. Anthony94

    Sins of the Fathers

    Granma sank the milk into the stream
    that ran through the spring house. Hung
    the hams high in the rafters of the smoke
    house, and threw the house scrapings into
    the pen for the pigs. Chickens laid fresh
    eggs almost daily and except for an occasional
    black snake, left them neatly in the orange
    crates inside the chicken house, until
    gathered. So there is no history

    of preparing for such things as a failed
    compressor. Within a span of hours ice
    glistened, cubes dissolved. Favorite bananas
    became sticky paste, and yogurt passed
    from its frozen state back to the milk from
    which it came. The thermometer’s mercury
    rose slowly but inevitably, until only a steel
    box remained, hulking testimony to fate,

    unlike that once remembered stream flowing
    around earthenware jug, and butter wrapped
    in cheesecloth. The surety of it all born of seasonal
    preparation, the hacking out of ice from the far
    pond mid-winter, the sawdust and burlap layers,
    the coolness of thick walls, the singing rivulets
    merging back into the rock lined water. Every
    part to be counted upon with gear-like precision
    unlike the unpleasant surprise of today’s epic fail.

  22. MikeGill

    On Getting Suited Up

    toss your keys in the bin
    heave your bag on top
    Remember the training mantra
    Let the day begin

    scanner belt draws them forward
    slow as syrup—pat yourself down
    Remember to put on a mask of calm confidence
    Let the day begin

    “walk through”—no beeps today
    gather your gear and walk to the bench
    Remember to keep your emotions in check
    Let the day begin

    belt slides through the loops, interrupted
    by radio holder, cuff case, chain and clips, OC case
    Remember to have your co-worker’s backs
    Let the day begin

    cold metal rings stamped with your name
    fall in the slot—plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk
    Remember to keep your eyes and ears open
    Let the day begin

    handcuffs secure, pepper spray too
    keys strapped in, radio turned on
    Remember to go home safe and sane
    Let the day begin

    prison bars slide open
    fear is swallowed
    You need to forget
    Let the day begin

    (hopefully I did this right and the third line in each stanza appears as italics—if not…)

  23. taylor graham


    It was always there, wild park on the secret
    side of freeways chained to interchanges;
    beyond the carousel with its piped
    organ-marches, where once I rode in circles
    never able to grasp the magic ring;
    above sidewalks where folks stamped in mud
    that hardened their footprints into stars.
    It was still there, looking down on where I sat
    under the spell of letters in books. I might
    have been writing the morning or
    climbing its wild chaparral hills toward stars
    of a real heaven; might have tried to learn
    languages of coyote, rattlesnake,
    wren as sun moved its natural-light shadows
    under sycamore and white-blooming chamise.
    All that was just preparation.

  24. Connie Peters

    PAD Preparation

    I usually write
    off the top of my head,
    not giving much thought
    to planning for PAD.
    But if I did,
    what would it look like?
    Perhaps list possible forms,
    or things I’ve been thinking about,
    or topics of interests.
    How about experiences,
    or interesting words for “wordles”.
    Or maybe a theme
    which all 30 plus poems
    would reflect.
    I’d examine my schedule.
    When am I going to write said poems?
    I’d make a plan of attack
    like a general off to war.
    Maybe I’d read blogs
    on poem writing and revising.
    Or maybe I’ll just
    take of my perfectionist’s hat
    and write off the top of my head.

  25. writinglife16


    See baby,
    Freedom will be yours.
    You told me it was.
    I didn’t believe you.
    So, I waited.

    Freedom was mine.
    It always was.
    But I wasn’t ready for it.
    Like a peach blossom
    I wasn’t fruit yet.

    I got ready.
    Bursting with sweet juice,
    I left home.
    Freedom became mine.

  26. PowerUnit

    Momma never warned me about people with stilted faces who shake your hand like a friend
    She never taught me the fineries of wine nor the intricacies of coffee roasting
    I was never taught that not all noodles come with meatballs and not all people with money are friends
    I didn’t know cheese didn’t come from a bottle
    Or that in liquor stores B is for beer, W is for whisky
    And the remaining labels are reserved for the names of the dead
    Nobody told me apples grow on trees nor the meaning of on your knees
    Life has been an eye opener, and I haven’t begun to learn about women

  27. Cynthia Page

    Why Bother

    I dress for the day
    that never happens
    Choose clothes for
    the wrong weather
    Grab purse, forgetting keys
    Return and find I’ve gone
    halfway down the block
    in the wrong direction
    Reach for water forgotten
    Park and return
    Leave and return
    Omitting my destination
    as too trivial for the hassle
    then wake without
    cream for my coffee.

    1. Karen

      Just got my Writer’s Digest magazine in the mail and read again your poem, “Snowtime Blues” it is as lovely and emotive as the first time I read it. Congratulations, I look forward to reading your PAD poems.


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