Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 348

Here it is: Our first post-2016 April PAD Challenge prompt. It feels a little weird after a few days, doesn’t it? So let’s get back into a groove.

For today’s prompt, write a “when everything stops” poem. Maybe it’s that moment when you fell for a stranger across the room. Or maybe that moment when your car starts hydroplane and everything goes into slow motion. Or well, whatever other scenario you can imagine in which everything stops.

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Here’s my attempt at a When Everything Stops Poem:

“Jars”

all the anticipation
& excitement
stopped the moment

he bumbled on the screen
& soon it became
apparent the entire trilogy

was doomed to failure
& green screens
without any real light

only the dark side

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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). He’s also an avid Star Wars fan who suffered through the remastered trilogy and overproduced prequels and is excited about the newer movies. If you’re reading this bio and enjoy Star Wars, May the 4th be with you. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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200 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 348

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    (For me, the whole world STOPPED when the twin towers came down. I had trouble functioning for weeks. I remember asking my father years earlier about what it was like for him when Pearl Harbor happened. Sept 11th is my Pearl Harbor.)

    Sept 11
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    I remember where I was
    the morning of Sept 11th,
    when smoke billowed out of towers
    and made faces at the Manhattan skyline
    110 stories above God,
    raining concrete and steel
    glass and soft tissue
    amid pavement, parked cars, and rooftops,
    millions of tv screens the world over.
    200 jumped to their deaths rather than
    give in to the resulting fires,
    hundreds more killed by the impact,
    while the rest perished, trapped
    by toxic smoke and debris
    after the towers collapsed
    just hours after the first plane hit.

    This was the day
    my humanity was ripped from me
    by Al-Qaeda claws,
    3000 plus dead
    6000 plus injured,
    innocents sacrificed on the altar of religion
    and perception of American values
    while the World took stock of their lives,
    and I of mine.
    Stunned, numbed, crushed, embittered
    I held my breath and
    lit candles for weeks,
    unable to eat
    unable to sleep
    the television blaring 24/7
    while a great city bled
    and a great country grieved
    in the arms of sympathetic great nations,
    and everyone wondered aloud
    how could Hatred be so charismatic?
    And a President cautioned patience
    and implored his countrymen not
    to take revenge against his fellow
    Muslim-American neighbor while
    I nervously started locking my door.
    I cried and raged and
    lost my terrorist virginity
    as Ground Zero became
    the new Arlington cemetery
    of our generation
    and those still around me
    the new casualties of war.

    © 2016 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Shennon

    When Everything Stops

    When the students stay home
    When teachers pack up their rooms
    When seniors graduate
    When cooks put away trays
    When janitors haul heaving loads
    When summer school comes to a close
    When bells cease to ring
    When everything halts
    Summer finally begins.

    –ShennonDoah

  3. tunesmiff

    WE WANT TO KNOW
    G. Smith (BMI)
    =====€=====
    This old truck of mine,
    Runs along just fine,
    Till it won’t, till it won’t;
    What went wrong?
    I should see it coming on;
    But I don’t, no I don’t.

    With a shudder and a sigh,
    I pull over as it dies,
    Take out my phone, take out my phone;
    Slam the door, raise the hood,
    No way this is any good,
    Sit all alone, out here alone.

    When everything stops,
    We want to know,
    Why we didn’t see them,
    Starting to slow.
    There may have been symptoms,
    There may have been signs;
    But we may not notice,
    We choose to be blind;
    When everything stops,
    We want to know,
    Why we didn’t see them,
    Starting to slow.

    That old washer chugged long,
    Singing its laundry song,
    And then it quit, just up and quit;
    It was full, about to spin,
    But it won’t do that again,
    That was it, that was it;

    It shuddered once and sighed,
    Full of suds, it up and died,
    Just one last load, one last load;
    Every thing was wringing wet,
    It hadn’t rinsed the soap out yet,
    I shoulda knowed, shoulda knowed.

    When everything stops,
    We want to know,
    Why we didn’t see them,
    Starting to slow.
    There may have been symptoms,
    There may have been signs;
    But we may not notice,
    We choose to be blind;
    When everything stops,
    We want to know,
    Why we didn’t see them,
    Starting to slow.

    This is where you kissed me,
    Where is it that you missed me?
    How long ago? How long ago?
    You may not recall,
    You were my all in all,
    And it showed, how it showed.

    But now you’ve gone away,
    And it’s just another day;
    Maybe for you, yes just for you;
    Without a shudder or a sigh,
    Our love just up and died;
    I don’t know what to do, what to do, to do.

    When everything stops,
    We want to know,
    Why we didn’t see them,
    Starting to slow.
    There may have been symptoms,
    There may have been signs;
    But we may not notice,
    We choose to be blind;
    When everything stops,
    We want to know,
    Why we didn’t see them,
    Starting to slow.

  4. annell

    When Everything Stops

    sometimes
    more often than i like
    in the rural area of northern new mexico
    the power goes off
    everything stops

    the silence can be deafening
    so loud
    i look for the volume button
    to turn it down

    suddenly i want to
    wash a load of laundry
    brush my teeth
    watch my favorite program
    need light to read

    and just a suddenly i remember
    i can do none of those things
    everything i depend on
    depends on energy
    and the power has gone off

    nothing to be done
    but to wait
    to remember
    i find myself moving
    to the music i hear in your head
    a little song forms on my lips
    the sun sparkles on the waves
    laughter is heard

    then i remember
    it is all here
    like the sun when behind a cloud
    more often than not
    just forgotten
    because the power is on
    i depend on it

    it does interfere with my inner life
    my thoughts
    my dreams
    my memory of you

    May 10, 2016

  5. qbit

    Pulling Out the Stops

    If we pulled out all the stops
    As they say –
    Kicked the blocks out
    From behind the wheels –
    Without those girds
    To hold the world in place,
    Might everything start to
    Slip away?

    Perhaps imperceptibly at first,
    But then
    That which we take for granted
    Could begin to shift, accelerate,
    Bits of our lives skipping towards the distance –
    Our present circumstance
    Running away from us into the future.

    Flowers, shoes,
    Thoughts,
    All rushing off
    Like they are late to their appointments.
    Dogs might start chasing each other
    In the park
    And get faster and faster
    Until they take off above the trees.
    Children
    Unfastened from their parents
    Waving goodbye as they lift into the air –
    “I can fly!”

    Don’t look up – you would have to witness
    All the nighttime streaked away,
    A galaxy of shooting stars
    All at once.
    So beautiful yet so terrifying
    As to be unbearable.

    But no, of course,
    That’s not what is meant at all.

    The stops are what open and close
    The great ventricles of song,
    The pipe music of the earth
    Cloistered organic in its core
    Bellowing up through mantle,
    Pneumatic, lifting past the seas.

    Aeoline, Bombarde, Celeste,
    Clarion, Diapason, Tierce –
    Each the name of an angel
    Waiting at rank,
    Ready at a moments notice
    To dance on the heads of mountaintops,
    Lavish them with joy.

    And the
    Flowers, shoes, thoughts,
    The chasing dogs and
    Children
    All a-throat with humming –
    Which then accelerates
    Into chant,
    Chorale,
    A vast song of the world
    Rushing away
    Into the distance,
    To that same future.

    Again so beautiful,
    And again yet so terrifying,
    As to be unbearable.

    Until everything finally slows.
    Everything stops.

  6. Jane Shlensky

    I’ll try out this new form while I”m at it.

    Flash

    The steady bleep of monitor
    reflects the pulse’s hop—
    a kind of final keeping score
    of every breath,
    of memories at deepest core
    that curse and bless,
    a last attempt at being more
    before we stop,
    accept, converge, then soar.

    1. PressOn

      Hmmmm… I was primed for something light, given the meter and “fourteener” feel, but this poem made me stop and wonder. I don’t think I’ll ever see an ICU in the same light again.

  7. grcran

    At the Post

    The default is that things just keep on going.
    Keep chugging. Could not halt them if you tried.
    Impelled inertia. Mad momentum mowing
    grass blades which may be growing sanctified.
    The chicken-fried procession of the usual
    Progresses mindlessly enough for most
    A ghost of chance at richness for the frugal
    Until the time it all stops at the post.

    The signpost where the car broke down ten miles
    From home. The postal notice from the bank.
    No money. Postage due. Nothing but smiles.
    We stop. We go til nothing’s in the tank.

    gpr crane

  8. seingraham

    THE BEAST THAT STOPPED EVERYTHING

    It is difficult to wrap one’s mind around
    Nigh on impossible, some think
    You get up in the morning and the sun shines
    The smell of smoke is omnipresent
    Spring has brought an early crop of forest fires
    But no one is alarmed; nothing is scary

    And then, chaos – the wind shifts – the fire creates
    its own weather and is a monster that jumps
    the highway by noon and is devouring the town
    street by street then too
    A mandatory evacuation is ordered – eighty thousand
    souls have to vacate this city – immediately

    It is the day the place stops entirely –
    But not the fire; no, that beast continues unabated.

  9. LCaramanna

    Serenity

    Mind deep
    in hoopla,
    thoughts of
    thingamajigs,
    whatchamacallits,
    doodads,
    whatnots,
    all jumble chaotic
    in my head.
    Oh, to be
    a sparrow
    perched on a ledge
    poised
    to take flight
    into cerulean serenity,
    to savor
    timeless bliss
    when everything stops.
    Oh, to be a sparrow
    in cerulean serenity.

    Lorraine Caramanna

    1. ppfautsch24

      Stopping Moments
      Waves rolling in slow motion;
      When your hand reaches for mine.
      Our fingers entwine, lock, and
      fingertips touching combine;
      hold the the embrace.
      The kiss of our hands grip me
      in the very place that I need to be held.
      In the palm of your grace; like a slow
      rolling wave in the dawn.
      When moments stop and my day
      begins.
      By Pamelap

  10. tunesmiff

    THAT MOMENT IN TIME
    G. Smith
    ===€===
    When everything stops,
    For that moment in time,
    And everything turns,
    On the proverbial dime;
    We see things more clearly,
    And feel things more dearly,
    When everything stops;
    For that moment in time.

  11. Tracy Davidson

    When the music stops

    after the last dance
    that final lingering kiss
    in each other’s arms…
    tomorrow will they even
    remember each other’s names?

  12. Julieann

    Guardrail

    Traveling down the
    Rain-slicked road
    Vision blurred by
    Rain, oscillating
    Between a drizzle
    And a deluge —
    A too close car
    A puddle
    Car spins through
    The air
    Abruptly, jarringly
    Stopping —
    The guard rail
    Curved around the car’s
    Front end

    1. Julieann

      Sorry – here’s the correct version. What a way to start a new year of poeming!!

      Guardrail

      Traveling down the
      Rain-slicked road
      Vision blurred by
      Rain, oscillating
      Between a drizzle
      And a deluge
      A too close car
      A puddle
      A frightening jolt
      Car spinning through
      The air
      Abruptly. Jarringly.
      Stopping —
      The guard rail
      Curved around the car’s
      Front end

  13. tunesmiff

    WHEN EVERYTHING STOPS
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ———–|||———–
    We start running before the sun is up,
    Get our breakfast from a cardboard cup,
    Bumper to bumper, next thing we know,
    Punch the clock and it’s go, go, go.

    Ninety miles an hour on a dead end street,
    Quitting time and we’re both beat.
    Chores galore when we come through the door;
    Get to bed in time to do it some more.

    But,
    When everything stops,
    And the noise fades away,
    And we catch our breath,
    For the first time today,
    We spoon in the darkness,
    You know what I’ll say;
    “I love you, you know,
    “In so many ways.”

    We’ve disagreed a time or two,
    But never about something we couldn’t undo;
    No harsh words in any of our fights,
    And we patched things up before turning out the lights,

    And,
    When everything stops,
    And the noise fades away,
    And we catch our breath,
    For the first time today,
    We spoon in the darkness,
    You know what I’ll say;
    “I love you, you know,
    “In so many ways.”

    There’s too much going on,
    To let things slide;
    But it’s worth all the work,
    To stay by your side.

    Because,
    When everything stops,
    And the noise fades away,
    And we catch our breath,
    For the first time today,
    We spoon in the darkness,
    You know what I’ll say;
    “I love you, you know,
    “In so many ways.”

  14. taylor graham

    BREATHLESS

    The world stood still as a tall pine crashed
    down, smashing manzanita and coyote bush as it
    fell. You’d seen the trucks gathering
    at the foot of the hill, then heard chainsaws
    high above, on your land –
    not by title of law but the free rights of walking.
    Were they clearing for a new subdivision
    on this green island in a rising sea of roofs?
    After the trucks left, you climbed
    your hill. There was the new skid trail. There
    were gaps in treeline at the top, like
    missing teeth. The barrier across the gape-
    mouth of the old mine was gone;
    gone was the crystal – chunks of quartz
    that used to litter the ground. Lumens
    of the earth, carted away.
    You were out of breath from the climb.
    You had no words for what you’d come to see,
    for what in the coming world must be.

  15. mjdills

    When Everything Stops
    Typical Seattle day; partly sunny, partly cloudy, Seahawks meet Vikings in eastern time schedule and whip their butts – 38 to 7. Turn off TV….silence. I smile with victor’s satisfaction on this ordinary afternoon. A meeting at the library, quiet Sunday, going to help plan to save my treasured radio station. Birds leave nests, packing up for winter, head south, twitter and whistle as they go. I park half a block away, sniff crisp fall air, head down the street, make a quarter turn to watch flashing lights on my car flash as I beep alarm. Lock things up. Safe and sound. Walk through backdoor and turn the corner, eying a meeting room, chairs set up in neat orderly rows, like an alphabet, a graph, a tidy plan for a civil gathering. No one there yet and I, I who am always early, I who parked so close, I who check the time on my phone much too often, I head to the front door to see if anyone else is coming to this meeting. Lights, blue, red, white, flash through the plate glass windows, Temple Beth Shalom in my line of view. Sirens deafen, sound like hundreds, sound like Beirut, sound like Belfast, sound like Bosnia. Screaming, scuffling, diving, yelling, shouting, head to center, head to bathrooms, get away from the windows!!!!!!! Gunfire like I have never heard. Never have I heard this kind of real, authentic, bona fide barrage of bullets. Sitting on the floor, another volley of bursting, banging, hammering ammunition bouncing off walls of sanctity, the hallowed library. People reach out, hold hands, comfort children, speak in hushed hoarse voices. Tall blue uniform pops into doorway, armed, alert, disappears again; another one. And then silence. Everyone waits. Everything stops.

  16. RJ Clarken

    When the Music Stops

    “Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.” ~Louis Armstrong

    …and even if I turned the volume low,
    the tune would still continue to play on.
    I believe in the music’s ebb and flow.
    Let’s croon the incantations, ‘til they’re done.
    A sound may fade but it can never end
    unless one chooses to let it just cease.
    I’ve found it’s something I can’t comprehend.
    Transgressions like this afford me no peace.
    But what of the makers of music? Can
    they create when there’s nothing left to give?
    A rut can bring down the scatting jazzman
    or negate a composer’s will to live.
    …and the blue incessant thrumming that lurks within?
    Evanescent, it plays like an old violin.

    ###

    The form is Beymorlin Sonnet. I just found out about it, thanks to The Poets’ Garret – a great compendium of poetic forms.

  17. tunesmiff

    when everything stops
    G. Smith
    ===€===
    when everything stops
    and grinds to a halt,
    then the noise level drops.
    when everything stops
    the music still bops
    with its aural assault
    when everything stops
    and grinds to a halt.

  18. SarahLeaSales

    When Winter Became a Memory

    Sometime in the latter half of the Third Millennium,
    the earth warmed so that snow no longer fell,
    and ice formed only in man-made freezers.

    There was no more skiing,
    or blizzards,
    or ice skating on a pond.
    Trips to tropical paradises
    were no longer game show prizes,
    for Scandinavia enjoyed endless summers.

    Sweaters and socks had been replaced with
    swimsuits and sandals,
    and outdoor activity ceased
    between the hours of ten to four.

    Some would sleep,
    for the night would be cooler
    and lit up like that particle of time
    in which a lightning bolt struck,
    illuminating the moon-dark.

    Timeless was the ice cream cone,
    that was now enjoyed indoors.
    Endless was the dawn
    of night chores.

    The earth did not become a desert,
    for as slowly as it had evolved,
    through human intervention,
    it stopped via the same route.

    The air did not so much stir as hovered,
    like a hummingbird over hollyhocks.
    The waters of the ocean were warm,
    and stepping into the pulsing foam,
    was like stepping into a lukewarm bubble bath.

    The raw, masculine energy of the sun
    fueled the livelihood of the planet’s inhabitants,
    so that life did not cease,
    for what was life without work?

    Stables became comfortable places
    for humans without homes to stay;
    fireplaces had become hiding places.
    Athletic stadiums had become like
    The Colosseum,
    for even the night was too warm for
    such strenuous activity.

    Mother Earth, like a woman in menopause,
    was going through The Change,
    but The Change would not last forever.
    Solar energy was like the hormones,
    regulating Her body—
    a temple not of doom,
    but a temple of promise for the future
    of the nature
    of humankind.

  19. mschied

    The room

    Two statues
    one looking at the other
    one looking at the floor
    one willing one to speak
    one willing the other
    to leave
    in the silence
    between the
    second hands
    so hard to predict
    which one will
    blink
    first

  20. De Jackson

    all good things

                           p
                       u
    what goes
    must come
                     d
                         o
                            w
                                n
    ,
    they say. also:
    every new beginning comes
    from some other beginning’s
    end. it’s always darkest be
    -fore the dawn. we yawn.

    every day has its tiny funerals,
    its rest in pieces. its thrill, and
    spill. its fill of pain and fear
    and tremble. trouble. if we
    doubled over every time our
    hearts stopped beating or the
    world stopped treating us like
    royalty, we’d all be bleeding in
    the streets.

    read the signs.
    it all stops, Love.

    pain.
    clocks.
    heartbeats.

    .

  21. writinglife16

    MY WORLD STOPPED

    She told me
    “I don’t want to see you.”
    My world started slowing down on its axis.
    She told me
    “It hurts to see you.”
    The axis started to crumble.
    She told me
    “I can’t bear to have you around.”
    Pieces of dust rose in my
    throat to choke me.
    With her words echoing in
    my head,
    My world stopped spinning.

  22. Amaria

    I combined this prompt with Magic 9 poetry form:

    “everything stopped when you said goodbye”

    I didn’t notice a thing
    when the words poured out
    didn’t hear the birds sing
    or notice the trees stop swaying
    how could I notice anything
    when you said goodbye to me
    those little lines still sting
    frozen in place, I can’t get out
    so I diminish into nothing

  23. Asha1000

    The Termite Swarm

    Virgin kings and queens
    don their fairy wings
    swarm and glitter
    like pixie dust
    in bright night lights
    for the nuptial flight
    after the first rainstorm

    The lucky male
    and female alates
    break off their wings
    mate for life
    in newly burrowed nests

    But for the rest
    everything stops
    their pixie bodies
    now protein feasts
    for hungry ants

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  24. taylor graham

    OFF THE FOREST ROAD

    The 10-point buck, gray squirrel,
    jackrabbit, cougar must have thought
    the world was ending

    when miners felled the tall pines and cedars,
    aimed their Monitor
    to water-blast the earth into craters.

    A hundred years ago and more.
    Miners took what they could
    and left

    the craters still there.
    Logging roads dodge around the old
    pocked mine-field. Scars

    overgrown with bear-clover,
    tall pines rising from the mined-out depths.
    Watch your step.

    My dog shows me coyote scat
    along the way. Raven says Man comes
    and goes, the forest stays.

  25. trishwrites

    Why didn’t everything stop
    when the Doctor stood before us
    and his mouth moved
    his words turning the world
    monochrome

    Why did people still laugh
    smiles shouldn’t remember how to
    shine

    Why did music makers still
    make music
    a new favorite song
    Shouldn’t the sun dissolve
    spiral resolve
    to cry permanent tears

    Shouldn’t there have been
    a moment
    when everything
    stopped
    Even the raindrops
    frozen
    because
    they too knew
    the world could no
    longer
    continue
    without you in it

  26. MikeGill

    After a discussion at lunch about today being Star Wars Day….I couldn’t resist sitting down and writing a quick little homage.

    Hyperdrive(n)

    Han pushes the lever forward
    The Falcon pauses
    The stars start to zip by
    May the fourth be with you

    1. PressOn

      I’m not a Star Wars person, but for me this recalled a four-on-the-floor Ford Falcon, missing a gear. My guffaw might be misplaced, but it was genuine.

  27. Azma

    As if the Earth stood still

    The microwave hums in artificiality
    boasting its power to nourish humans
    with instantly prepared food.
    The television amplifies emotions
    of soap characters, whose drama
    notifies neighbors of their presence.
    The cellphone floods its owner
    with endless summoning beeps
    handcuffing thumbs to itself.
    The air conditioner sings in pride
    of how his presence relieves
    and keeps humans bound indoors.
    And then, a fateful power cut
    silences every machine
    and grounds them.
    Except for one sound in the hush
    racing heartbeats

  28. MikeGill

    The Moment

    Do you remember that day?
    When I looked at you
    And you looked at me
    And we smiled at each other
    And walked on—
    Hand in hand?
    Do you remember that day?
    I do.
    That’s when I knew.

  29. MikeGill

    The Pause

    I awake into the quiet of the night.
    Not the jarring awake of a noise
    Or a fright, not a wide awake of sleep
    Being done. No, just the gentle stirring
    Of appreciation for the quiet stillness
    When the whole universe seems to sleep,
    When existence seems to pause.
    I lie abed , eyes closed
    And listen to the susurrus rush
    Of ocean waves on the beach
    Outside the open window.

      1. MikeGill

        I blame it on PAD having my brain charged. And trying to figure out subjects and ideas for the “Magic 9” form has been on my mind.

        Then again, this prompt just spoke to me, I guess.

      1. MikeGill

        I don’t remember when or where I first heard it. But I remember liking the sound of it, the way it felt saying it. I looked it up myself before using it to make sure I had the meaning right in my head. I liked the sound of “susurrus rush” to represent the quiet pounding of waves at night.

  30. Walter J Wojtanik

    ALL ROADS LEAD TO YOU

    A heart is a sanctuary.
    It is a destination.
    It is the journey and
    you’re the journey’s end.
    We start off as shy glances,
    a chance to alert ourselves
    that although the shelves
    have been empty for years,
    our fears were unwarranted.
    We take that step. We follow
    with many other steps,
    distances close and it boils down
    to three little words:
    location, location, location!
    My train will always stop at your station,
    my plane with taxi on your runway.
    For no matter how far apart we are,
    my compass will remain true.
    All roads lead to you!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

  31. Anthony94

    Stopped

    After the bulldozers shut down
    and the bobcats stop whizzing up
    and down the side yard, it’s as if
    everything has stopped. In the
    space of emptiness void of the
    metallic grind and whine, much
    however, is magnified: what was
    routine and unnoticed in the din
    becomes, in the sudden silence,
    the deeper red of the roses, the louder
    buzzing of the bees at the nine-bark.
    Everything has a sound in that space.
    Oriole and mockingbird, the
    burble of water coming into the
    lagoon, the beeping of the sump
    alarm, the ticking of the clock in the
    front room. The machinery clicks
    as it rests, metal against metal, some
    robotic stretching of buckets and
    hydraulics. Silence stretches longer,
    cradling the sounds that never stopped.

  32. Walter J Wojtanik

    JOURNEY OF REASONABLE CAUTION

    She stands
    heart full of fire.
    Consumed by her soul’s desire,
    for she knows steps she has taken
    could be so mistaken.

    She walks.
    Passions inflamed.
    She wants his muse to notice.
    Sharing the desire to dance
    if they just took the chance.

    She basks
    in the sun’s warmth.
    She stops, feeling its embrace
    like his arms over the miles.
    She stands there and smiles.

    She knows
    passions can burn.
    She wants to feel all she can,
    no promise or demand, just heat;
    an all-consuming love.

    She sighs.
    She wants this more
    than anything else she knows.
    He continues to grow on her,
    touching every moment.

    She steps,
    moving closer;
    feeling alive with passion,
    his words entice her to want more;
    lead her to their dance floor.

    She feels
    alive and well
    desired. Fired by him
    who writes love as he writes his heart,
    letting the journey start.

    © Walter J Wojtanik – 2016

  33. deringer1

    Everything Has Stopped

    today I’m flat on my back
    stopped in my tracks,
    put out of commission,
    side-lined and stressed.
    I cannot do this!
    Bad timing!
    Lousy luck.

    Blood pressure rising,
    annoyance building,
    may I scream?
    all the things I must do
    circling around me,
    getting in my face,
    asking when?
    when will you do this?
    you simply must get to that!

    all in good time
    I tell myself.
    stop obsessing!
    I’ll build Rome tomorrow.

  34. Charley

    The Smear*

    It ceased
    the universe held its breath
    I hung suspended

    below a chasm
    above the boundless sea of clouds and sun

    Hanging suspended
    by a filament of unreason
    I observed those who
    moved and worked and lived below

    plotted trajectories
    determined outcomes
    not godlike I
    more a strategic architect
    a landscape artist
    painting with life

    It all ceased because the creator hit pause

    too much too long
    had flowed toward me in me through me

    clarity and sanity rebelled

    I, like the coyote who runs
    past the edge of the precipice
    stopped
    it all stopped
    before the big long fall

    I looked

    The bird was gone
    leaving only a wake of dust
    ____________________________________________________________________________________
    * – The smear was first heavily used by legendary animator Chuck Jones. The technique is used to allow the moving object to move with a sudden burst of speed; often being depicted in a single frame of animation. Movement in animation is created by the use of key frames (the beginning and ending point of a smooth transition) and the in between frames (the frames in between the key frames that help create the illusion of motion). — http://theanimationarchive.com/post/36818100997/the-smear-an-animation-technique-in-1942-the

  35. PowerUnit

    Nobody said that life would be easy,
    but does it have to be so hard?
    It’ll pass, a friend said, a spiral
    whizzing through my hands.

    How can we learn from mistakes we cannot catch?
    Don’t yell at me coach, show me
    the fallout of my ways.
    My life an H-bomb of success.

    I’ll pray for you, my mother said.
    My life nothing more than a Hail Mary.
    Pop the pigskin, throw it into the world,
    pray the other team doesn’t catch it.

    We all catch it, in the end
    We’ll all walk off the field with our heads bowed.

  36. Jilllyman

    At the Literary Ball
    (honoring two grand poems!)

    Eliot and Alighieri waltzed cantos ‘cross the floor
    Dante’ clearly played the lead
    his partner a well-coiffed bore
    who never quite got to the deed

    ‘though T.S. showed little regret
    A heated discussion ensued
    an inferno regarding the steps
    Fate reluctantly there to intrude

    Austin and Brontes three
    when asked would later agree
    when the music did cease
    Alfred’s frock showed no crease
    while poet and sage, with the son
    all went free
    ‘twas merely a gaff of divine comedy

    Combined prompts:
    Day 3 of 28 Days of Unreason
    “As with dancing you have to learn the steps”
    ~ Harrison

  37. Nurit Israeli

    Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and this poem is written in loving memory of my grandfather, killed in Auschwitz, and all my family members who perished in the Holocaust.

    AMID ENDINGS

    Because I was born
    to bear witness,
    I went to Auschwitz
    to see for myself.

    Because I was born
    to survive,
    I won’t stop trying –
    stretching as far as I can.

    Because I was born
    to look after,
    I weave safety nets
    to catch the falling.

    Because I was born
    to carry on,
    I cherish the chain –
    in awe of every link.

    Because I was looking
    for answers,
    I went to Auschwitz,
    and there –

    where only the questions
    live on – I saw blue flowers
    emerge amid the remains
    of a gas chamber.

    There, amid endings,
    I heard flowers of hope
    or perhaps my own voice
    whisper: Never Again.

    ~ Nurit Israeli

    1. MikeGill

      After reading this, I don’t know what to say other than WOW! and even that is not enough to express how much this pulled me into the story, how much the first line of each stanza built the echo of the first stanza and how much that was pulled out of me to a new beginning with the last two stanzas……just WOW!!

      I can only hope and wish to write this well one day.

      1. Nurit Israeli

        Mike, I am touched! Not only did you take the time to read my poem, but you took the time to offer generous feedback on a poem that was difficult to write and that obviously means a great deal to me. I am truly grateful!

    2. PressOn

      As far as I know, none of my ancestors died in places like Auschwitz-Birkenau, but it doesn’t matter. The sheer horror of such places makes me wish I could’ve stood on that ground just once, because it is so important to bear witness and realize, with Niemoller, how close we all are to it. Your poem, especially those flowers, gave witness and a glimmer of hope that indeed it be never again happen. But vigilance, or witness, is key. Your poem did that, too. Thank you for writing it.

      1. Nurit Israeli

        Thank you, William! I will never forget my visit to Auschwitz. My grandfather was murdered there exactly a week before I was born, and most members of my extended family perished in the Holocaust, along with far too many others. Since you mentioned Niemöller, his quotation that still guides me (I often quote him to my children and grandchildren):
        First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Socialist.
        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.
        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  38. Jo

    349 Days

    Time
    stopped
    when my
    brother
    told me
    that my
    mother
    was dead.

    It’s been
    almost
    a year
    and it
    still feels
    that time
    hasn’t
    caught up
    to itself
    yet.

    There
    are
    moments
    when I
    still live
    in that
    curious
    limbo
    of time
    standing
    still,
    when I
    found out
    that her
    heartbeat,
    the first
    sound I
    ever
    heard,
    was
    now
    silent.

    1. MikeGill

      Thank you for sharing. I really like the two images of her heartbeat. It really brings out the power of mothers in general and yours in particular. (and I am sorry for your loss…we lost my father a bit more than a year ago now and my family still reels from it)

  39. Stuart Peacock

    To Take Back Time

    A wish to be sealed
    Within single moments
    Would seem quite strange
    To those who sprint
    Without thought to the next.
    But with eyes burning ahead,
    They don’t see small beauties
    That wrap each and every second.

    The feel of fingers in mine,
    As two hands become one,
    And bare flesh collides
    While rain patters down outside,
    That is one such moment
    I long to seal and bottle up
    So I could then drink from it
    When lost in the desert of life.

    In this tiny, treasured twinkle
    I see water splash on the window,
    Seconds and minutes trickling away.
    To stay in just one small drop
    Of that precious time, with them
    Before it falls to the ground
    And bursts in a bottomless puddle,
    Would be truly the greatest gift.

  40. annell

    A different Realm

    when everything stops    in the silence after    get down to business

    make a list     throw out the trash    pay the bills

    so much to do    &bsp;or nothing at all    the clock ticks in the hall

    the hands on the face   &bsp;either spin out of control    or seem to have stopped

    wait for the mail     pinch yourself    to see if you really are

    turn on the tv    they are    speaking a different language

    you can’t understand     no one can explain   you are in a different realm

    you are neither    king nor queen    just passing through

    May 4, 2016

  41. timphilippart

    Running On E

    Share an emotion,
    Mine turned up missing.

    Hey, buddy,
    Can you lend me a tear?

    Smiles are infectious
    Breathe this way.

    Full of anger?
    Give me a fist full.

    Numbness need not apply,
    Nor apathy.

    Spare a giggle,
    Or one eye, slightly moist.

    Empty tanks,
    Rust.

  42. uvr

    Last lines dribble out
    from deep recesses
    wrung dry by the demands
    of a feverishly active mind
    seeking the exact words
    precise syllables
    perfect phrases
    Surely after emptying
    the inner dictionary
    one should be happy
    to rest and refill
    But when all is quiet
    the demons within
    grow louder

    For they awake
    when everything stops

  43. ReathaThomasOakley

    Denouement

    In that moment,
    before the moment
    when everything stops,
    will my past come
    rushing back, will I
    regret or rejoice,
    recall a touch, a voice,
    lean ahead or hold back,
    cry out or laugh?
    So much to do
    in that moment,
    before the moment
    when everything stops.

    1. MikeGill

      Love it. The rhythm of the first three and last three lines is so striking to me–there was, in my mind, a heart’s beat pause at the end of each line.

  44. Piddleville

    When I Stopped

    I imposed abstentions
    incrementally
    and with consideration.
    No one was disturbed.
    No one noticed.
    I did not tell anyone.
    I “forgot” to call people back.
    If I spoke, it was
    of tedious things
    like poetry
    to make myself
    forgettable.
    I wore brown;
    always brown.
    I looked like shit.
    Dogs sniffed me.

    I felt free for a time.
    I even believed it.
    I began to sleep again
    but can’t recall
    the dreams I dreamed
    when I stopped.
    but I remember
    how it felt
    to be stopped;
    to have halted
    and not be going
    although the world
    continued going.
    My limbs softened,
    broke down,
    sagged and
    drooped me to the earth
    where I almost got away.

    Bills came.
    Liens denied
    that I had stopped.
    “We don’t forget,” they said.
    Numbers and demands
    don’t let go so easily.
    You are stopped
    but we are not
    and in our going,
    you go to.”

    From the earth,
    they drew me up.
    From my dreaming,
    they pulled me back.
    As slowly as I stopped,
    I began to go again.
    I moved as I am moving now:
    always going;
    paying every bill.

    William Wren

  45. PressOn

    SOULS

    Across a crowded room;
    across a barren canyon;
    it matters not when everything stops,
    that moment of abandon

    when recognition strikes;
    you’ve seen that face before;
    perhaps one night in indigo light
    along an ancient shore.

    It’s funny, how that happens;
    you know it can’t be true;
    you’ve never meet before, and yet,
    those eyes are part of you.

    1. Nurit Israeli

      Love the way you start — with an allusion to South Pacific, and where the poem ventures off from there… Beautifully written poem, William!

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