Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 358

For today’s prompt, write a distance poem. The poem could be about the distance between two people or several objects. It could be about someone going the distance in an athletic event or adventure. Long distance phone calls, distant messages from beyond, and distant relatives–they’re all fair game.

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Here’s my attempt at a Distance poem:

“the incredible shrinking planet”

It once took Jefferson 10 days
to travel from Monticello
to Philly by carriage. And so
it was news when an express train
made it to San Fran from New York
City in eighty-three hours.
That was just the start of powers,
because now a Chevy or Ford
can make the trip in under two
days, or less than one day by plane.
So, it’s difficult to explain
how big the planet once seemed to
be, but the space station orbits
it every ninety-two minutes.

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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 is interested in travel, history, and the way technology intersects with both. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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134 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 358

  1. aconnors2003

    Our love, a distant dream…

    A slice of silver sunrise
    Awakening a spider web
    filled with morning de
    Of diamond dreams
    On Egyptian sheets
    Spread in delicious
    Assortment of
    ripened fruits
    Tempting our tongues…
    So sweet the juices
    Dripping upon the quilt
    Painting memories
    Among the needlework
    Of hands gone by.

  2. taylor graham

    MOUNTAIN GOOSEBERRIES

    I wonder what he did
    most of the time he was lost –
    that little boy who wandered off
    up a clearcut slope, 5000 feet high
    in a maze of gooseberries.
    Sun-shimmers on granite, the ripe
    red globes as if lit
    from within. Blue distance
    swimming away across the canyon.
    Did he worry where home was?
    At last they found him mazed
    in gooseberries. Will he
    remember the sting of stickers
    on arms and fingers,
    sweet tartness on his tongue,
    that crimson inner light?

  3. Asha1000

    Between Us

    A hand span of six inches,
    a world of air molecules,
    breath.

    Yet I can do a hand stand
    spllt across the arc of heaven:
    one leg to the east,
    other leg pointing to the setting sun.

    We circle each other,
    like two cats, hissing and spitting,
    but the diameter
    spans the poles, north to south.

    We shout.
    Our words gather like water vapour
    and a train of storm clouds
    rumbles across the sky.

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

    1. ppfautsch24

      Short Distances
      From the bend of my knees
      To the crevices of my floorboard
      Is the distance needed to help
      Heal the world.
      From the bend of my heart
      To mending the cracks of brokenness
      Is a kiss and a prayer
      To help heal the world.

      By Pamelap

  4. seingraham

    LONG DISTANCE IS A LONELY BUSINESS

    There’s something about being far from home
    and hearing about tragedy in places I’ve been
    that are also far from home
    that makes the impact greater somehow.
    While in Cancun, Mexico I learn about:

    Two passenger trains travelling at high speeds
    from opposite directions on the same track
    colliding with devastating results
    On a rail-line in southern Italy near a town
    where I have summered several times
    These are trains I have used to go in
    either direction and the possibility to be involved
    in such a crash feels all too real
    Just viewing the carnage as the rescue workers
    attempt to recover bodies leaves me feeling faint.

    Not even a week later – Bastille Day – France’s
    famous celebration with fireworks and all types
    of revelry
    I am remembering a time six years past
    in Nice, that jewel by the Cote d’Azur –
    how picture-perfect and serene it seemed.
    Now in 2016, watching the festivities on TV
    (still in Mexico) – remarking the crowds
    filling the promenade, a wide boulevard
    closed to traffic and crammed with people
    Dark stains the sky as the excitement reaches its
    apex and all anticipate the fireworks.

    For a moment, it seems the partying has begun
    but quickly the television announcers’ voices
    register panic and the cameras are being
    moved in an erratic fashion as screens go dark
    What the …? A voice-over tells the viewing
    audience to stay tuned … that there is
    something terribly wrong in Nice, France.

    Never do I feel so far from home, from
    everyone I love, from anything that would
    make me feel safe
    Hotel guests begin to spill into the hallways
    and we make our way to the lobby
    and the wide-screen TV
    Perhaps we won’t feel so alone if we’re
    together when the news begins to come in.

  5. taylor graham

    OLD WEST DAYS

    Eerie wail from a harmonica
    but right here a little girl has her favorite
    bracelet on, charms of ponies,
    cowboy boots and branding irons
    and she’s jiggling a hand-dance to hoedown
    music of her own.
    Don’t mind the smoke from the blacksmith
    stall, it isn’t coal like in the old days.
    Eerie wail of wind through distances,
    folks traveled so far to get here,
    across prairies, mountains. So much
    they left behind. Renovation’s
    going on at the historical museum,
    its backside taped off –
    the yellow DO NOT CROSS
    sort. Making room for more outmoded
    stuff from household, field,
    and mining claim – cast-iron stoves, tubs,
    troughs and wooden dollies
    for 4 a.m. laundry; stamp-mill, ploughs
    and harrows, lethal-looking
    farm tools for living back-when.
    Eerie wail from a harmonica, what’s cast-
    away or passed away.

  6. qbit

    Caesura

    It is close to midnight
    In the house of time.
    The charnel clock
    Ticks off the pause
    Between one heartbeat
    And the next,
    Counting down the breaths
    That mark where you begin
    And I might end.

    This pilgrimage,
    My footsteps sad and sodden –
    I‘ve measured each trudge
    Of a journey that twists
    From rags to ditches,
    From soup to cuts,
    From stem to burn,
    The way turning back
    Again upon itself –
    My leap
    Out of the dying pan
    And into the fire.

    And you, foraging
    For your soul,
    Rooting about
    Like a truffle pig
    In the cursed and recursed
    Thickets
    Spreading in your body
    From snout to tail.

    The moonlight
    Plays shadow tricks
    Across our faces –
    Your eyes marking the hours,
    Mine the minutes and seconds of arc,
    All the tangents and excuses
    That suspends our prayers
    And lets us
    Keep our distance.

  7. Cynthia Page

    Color Blinded

    I cannot see the sunset for the words
    roiling in my head, sight shortened
    to barely past my nose.
    What glorious nuanced shades
    pass unseen beneath the tread of tires
    toiling toward a future far too distant
    from my present, and my ever sought goal.
    My ever fraught soul is blinded
    to the colors of today, with yesterday climbing
    over, inside, bounced upon, trounced upon
    today. I miss my exit; angry, hungry, lost.

    1. Cynthia Page

      (Additional lines missed in first posting: )

      Over that horizon sunshades change,
      and fade to dark, too dark for my horizons
      with thoughts of destinations lost and
      bound up too deeply in iconic yesterdays.

  8. Arash

    “Feet”>/b>
    by Arash

    I hear between you and I
    explosions that wail
    that sting the skin like hail
    griefs crystallized in time.
    With my fingers sense
    sympathy’s frostbites
    mutations of distance
    carved into the hearts.
    I see myself but only
    with your eyes falling off
    the Earth into the clouds
    pouring into oceans
    sinking down a million feet….
    Oh how I miss hearing
    the sound of your feet….

  9. ely the eel

    Marie Elena

    I think of her often,
    living far away,
    in a smallish place,
    a friend to so many,
    all living vastly flung.
    I choose to think of her
    with a broad smile,
    sometimes a loud laugh,
    at all times huggable.
    I never consider
    the possibility of frowns
    or headaches,
    or any other form of discontent.
    It’s my daydream,
    and I’ll have in it what I want.

  10. carolemt87

    Better late than never….enjoy!

    Between us

    Often I think
    of barely touching
    upon a wide berth
    the shift of mattress
    between our breaths
    gentle swell
    of slumber
    while warm skin
    whispers.

    This morning then
    you speak of knowing
    I’ve climbed out
    this far away
    this far away
    from your
    warm
    wrinkled
    cotton
    sheets.

    Carol J Carpenter

  11. lsteadly

    That Time Before

    Halfway between you
    and me there

    lies space a valley
    wide

    so full
    of thoughts dreams wishes
    unspoken under
    stood

    we hover
    over err-
    or
    so much want
    weighting breath

    waiting

    unbroken
    until we

    kiss

  12. Azma

    Snake in the grass

    Summer this year was like a delicious snack
    except what it did to my sweaty back
    The uncovered distance between my fingers and the itch
    turned out to be a very critical glitch

  13. Tracy Davidson

    Distance

    How wide the space between us grows,
    even as I’m holding your hand.
    This is not the parting I chose.
    How wide the space between us grows,
    as the beep of your heartbeat slows…
    your sand clock has run out of sand.
    How wide the space between us grows,
    even as I’m holding your hand.

  14. Nancy J

    Going the Distance

    When I was five, I had a turtle who lived alone in a clear
    shallow bowl with several stones and a plastic palm tree.

    We lived in a dreary basement apartment, and I felt the weight
    of my shelled friend’s solitary existence and limited options.

    I preferred playing outside, and, I assumed a tiny turtle
    dreamed of swimming in the ocean.

    With the best of intentions, and believing he would come home
    when he got tired or hungry, I flushed him down the toilet.

    Like someone standing on the pier seeing a family member off
    on a world cruise, I waved as he disappeared into the sanitation system.

    I checked the toilet bowl every morning for months, certain
    that my little friend would return with tales of exotic adventures.

    A small part of me still believes that turtle is swimming happily in
    the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

  15. James Von Hendy

    Leaving

    Long before daylight revealed itself
    it was already too late

    the wilderness around things
    a flat field tilted down toward

    the situation a gravity
    mute in the passenger seat

    some naked dummy for what was
    lost in the rearview mirror

    even before absence became
    regret whizzing past loosestrife

    invasive in the median strips
    of interstates that lay between

    the familiar and foreign as air
    stale with someone’s cigarette smoke

    exhaled and left hanging over
    the unspooling road and what we’d give

    to take it back to something
    akin to truth begun long ago

    when nothing seemed a detour
    the engine first turned over

    and hand in hand we still thought
    starting out was coming together

    in departure what we had in common
    distance a weed the rock-strewn soil

    threw out in the shade of if you lived
    here you’d be home now empty

  16. Sara McNulty

    Ends Of The Earth

    He thought he would go
    to the ends of the earth,
    surely a dearth of reminders
    would exist in a remote place.
    Yet, her face haunted him.
    Each cloud bore her countenance,
    she was carved into every tree.
    He waited for time to pass,
    and make her a distant memory.

  17. Julieann

    Time Closes the Distance

    You left when I was seventeen
    The distance seemed so great
    I longed and prayed
    To meet you at the gate

    Before I could adjust
    Others left to be with you
    They were the fortunate ones
    I thought with a youngster’s view

    Daddy came next
    Leaving me a broken heart
    I desperately wanted to know
    When I was going to start

    Through the years
    I’ve continued to wait
    Watching time’s distance grow shorter
    Until I reach the gate

  18. SarahLeaSales

    Gap Year

    He was a sprinter,
    she, a long-distance runner,
    but he fell for her when
    she was the girl next door,
    with only a fence separating them.

    Now, there were hurdles,
    and with each sprint,
    she kept going,
    while he fought against time
    to close the distance.

    Out of breath, he finally caught up
    just enough to reach out and touch her,
    but her hair slipped through his fingers,
    and he remembered then
    that she hadn’t been a swimmer.

  19. grcran

    Perspective

    “From a distance you look like my friend
    Even though we are at war
    From a distance I can’t comprehend
    What all this war is for
    From a distance there is harmony
    And it echoes through the land
    It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves
    It’s the heart of every man” Julie Gold, songwriter

    The distance causes me to change my stance
    It takes a looking forward not askance
    We take for granted what the goddess grants
    Something not fully fathomed with a glance
    And, once experienced, perhaps by chance
    Sad losers substitute the cans for can’ts
    Bad dancers boogaloo by God they prance
    Balloons don’t burst when pokered by a lance
    True wholly spirits animals and plants
    And none of it by simple happenstance
    Don’t matter if you’re mammals or you’re ants
    You’re looking good to me at that distance

    gpr crane

  20. deringer1

    DISTANCES WITH NO CONNECTION

    there’s two—me and you
    fast river between
    can a bridge be made?

    I wish you were near
    I cannot see you often
    we speak on the phone

    there’s no end it seems,
    vistas go on forever
    in New Mexico

    the end seemed so far
    years ago when I was young.
    I can see it now.

  21. grcran

    His stance is so far from the plate
    He’s keeping his distance of late
    They won’t pitch him in
    Home run swing again
    But big miss, outside pitch, perfect bait

    gpr crane

  22. Connie Peters

    The Sardine Express

    We traveled the two-thousand miles
    In a small car, two kids and I
    From Colorado we’d begin
    Yes, it’s true, we didn’t fly

    We’d pray for weather to be nice
    And that we’d surely stay alive
    It seemed to take forever then
    Speed limit only fifty-five

    I’d say, “This could be good or bad.”
    Depending if you play or fight
    So over mountains to Cheyenne
    And we’ll see Grandma P. tonight.”

    So we’d stay there a day or two
    And visit many in-laws there
    One morning, we’d be on our way
    Off to Nebraska with a prayer

    Two sisters, husbands and their kids
    Made eastern Nebraska their home
    So we’d stay there a week or so
    Then to Pennsylvania we’d roam

    One sister and two kids piled in
    We’d go a thousand miles, no less
    Our kids were packed in back so tight
    We called it The Sardine Express

    And we would spend a week or two
    We’d visit grandparents, and kin
    It always seemed no time at all
    To drive the whole way home again

    Every year we would make that trip
    How many, would be just a guess
    We miss grandparents very much
    But not so, the Sardine Express

    1. shethra77

      We didn’t go as far, but having all of us packed into the car was still like that: “She’s touching me on my side of the seat!” Ours was dubbed the Monkey Buggy by my grandmother. 🙂

  23. taylor graham

    SHE LIVES ON THE RIVER

    The current cuts through rock and loam
    close to home.

    It cleaves canyon, releases gold
    and heart’s hold.

    Is this the truth her morning knows?
    The river flows

    from far up-country’s distant snows,
    reworking landscape like men’s lives.
    What’s touched by its cool waters thrives.
    Close to home and heart’s hold, the river flows.

  24. Pwriter10

    HUMMINGBIRD PERSPECTIVE

    The distance between its wing-waves
    at any point
    is trivial.

    Like one second rolling
    to the next
    (If time is real).

    Or one molecule of water
    that blends
    into the ocean.

    But its movement is real
    That, we know
    from flowers

    and the way they open themselves,
    or close,
    depending

    on whether you move
    forward or
    backward through time.

  25. MikeGill

    I walked outside at work today and it smelled like a campfire. Just over the first set of mountains to the west of work a 12,000 acre wild fire is burning. So, the smoke in the distance (and not so distant) made me think of this.

    Wild fire smoke lifts
    Skyward behind dry mountains:
    Colorado summers

  26. thejim

    A LONG WAY AWAY

    We are going to go see my cousins today.
    I remember, they live so far away.
    Last time we went, I thought I grew beard on my face,
    Cause it takes forever to get out to their place.
    I packed my bag with games and toys,
    Dad said, “Bring what you want but, nothing with noise.
    He said we can’t scream, shout or fight.
    We have to play together, and be polite.
    My cousin is like a cowboy, he lives on a farm.
    One time he fell out of a tree and broke his arm.
    I will ask a zillion times, “Are we there yet?”
    And dad will say, “Take a nap, like your brother Brett.”
    Hours and days and centuries go bye.
    And right before I’m ready to cry.
    Dad says, “Were here,” and we pile out of the car.
    I guess across town is not that far.

  27. taylor graham

    NOT THE RIVER’S END

    After the bigger, wilder rapids – the crux,
    you thought, of this whole trip –
    you’ve come to where the river runs shallow
    over polished bedrock
    warm as the stone a masseur would use
    for working muscles out of their pain.
    Canoe secured onshore.
    You wade downstream past alder and willow,
    one proud incense cedar
    dark above the bank. Tingle of scent
    on summer air.
    The long, curving, quiet distance of river, headwaters to ocean
    before it ascends again to cloud.
    Unfathomable. You ache for the current’s
    cool fingers, incessant flow
    that swamps your cares
    with the sweet of its water secrets.

  28. Stephanie H.

    Unspoken

    The space
    Between
    What dwells inside and
    What makes it to the surface

    A breath
    A blink
    A billion miles

    From where I want to be
    From you to me
    From me to me
    From where I need to be

    Another sun
    Another moon
    Another wish
    Unspoken

    A breath
    A blink
    A billion miles
    It seems

  29. ReathaThomasOakley

    Distance

    How long does it take
    to span the gap between
    this world and the next?
    Is it an eye blink or
    a lifetime measured in years,
    the distance between
    first breath infilling infant lungs,
    and the final one taken
    in weary resignation?

  30. Anthony94

    Between Storms

    The distance between sky and earth is
    but a stilled whisper. Not a leaf moving,
    humidity like cotton candy spun round
    and trapping the very breath. Across

    three counties you are, and yet we are
    at such a distance as not to know the
    other anymore except in memory. Do
    you think of me sometimes when the

    traffic stills on the main street and the
    students drop to a trickle through the
    shoppe doors? The borders you set
    by hand still stand, the plants sturdily

    contained. But perhaps other borders
    are made for jumping as by a curious child.
    Mine will not be the whisper that reminds
    to sit still and only imagine you in the distance.

  31. candy

    Road Trip Memories

    Love in the backseat –
    kids singing off-key.
    I’m tapping my feet
    we’re feeling carefree

    Kids singing off-key
    still keeping the beat
    we’re feeling carefree
    memories bittersweet

    Still keeping the beat
    I’m tapping my feet
    memories bittersweet
    (of) love, in the backseat

  32. mjdills

    Distance

    The foothills are within sight. I can see the snow is beginning to melt.

    You live there. Just outside the city, where foxes come into your yard and steal fish out of your pond and you don’t know whether to be amused or angry.

    Your collection of cars keeps you busy and the auto shows are a priority for you. Having no children, these hulking machines are like your babies.

    Sometimes in my dreams, I carry you on my shoulders. Other times, you are down a long road, maybe alone, or with others, and I call your name but you can’t hear me. You’re too far away.

    I had to leave behind the flowers you gave me three years ago because there was just too much to pack. Now I wish I had them. It’s sad to have nothing of you.

    I worry about you when I die. It will be over then and you won’t have done the things you need to do. I will be gone and I can’t save you.

    I often think about the time we assumed you were lost at sea and the terror that invaded my nights for weeks to come. I got over it finally.

    This last Easter Sunday, you couldn’t come because you had other plans. It was too bad; you could have helped us remember details of the time you chased the robber all over back yards of the neighborhood and the cops eventually caught him. You would have laughed with us. We laughed until there were tears in our eyes.

    (this is a poem I wrote for the pad in april and this gives me a chance to share it again. it ha been slightly edited. thank you.)

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