Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 359

For today’s prompt, write an uncontrollable poem. Originally, I was thinking of situations that happen in which no one has control–things like earthquakes, storms, and singing along to catchy songs. But then, there are so many other daily things in which many feel they have no control. Some may rage against that feeling; others may let themselves get pulled along by the current; but we can all write poems.


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Here’s my attempt at an Uncontrollable poem:

“why i don’t do roller coasters”

they’re high,
they’re fast,
and i have
no control.


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 recently tried an amusement park ride with his kids that he swore he’d never try and quickly renewed his vow while riding it. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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82 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 359

  1. taylor graham


    Midnight. Your mouth in an O
    not answering. So little
    time to dig the root
    of why? of
    collapse in a
    watery heap. A dream?

    This was you
    letting go your hold
    leaving it to me
    right here

    then a long dark distance under
    sirens. A cubicle where they mined
    the body’s secrets by
    instrument, your blood
    no longer
    pushing past barriers of
    your own imaginings, on
    and ever on, to

    what? Not yet tonight, Death.
    What does anyone
    wish? To be the property
    of Now, walk out the door to sunlight visible.

    (a Golden Shovel on Paul Celan’s “O Little Root of a Dream”)

  2. reeree307

    So what if I’ve already tried everything
    Like syrups and yoga and pills?
    Egocentricity in this world abounds, yet I try to say:
    Everything is in G-d’s hands
    Please grant me the gift of SLEEP!

  3. taylor graham


    Soon you’ll all gather together
    to consume the memories of years –
    a bit homesick for those carefree
    college days –

    the cranky roommate who scrub-
    brushed windows and
    scraped bathroom grout with her
    fingernails; the irrepressible
    PE major balancing
    on chairs to
    change overhead lightbulbs
    as you were drifting
    off to sleep; the mechanical
    ratcheting of that other
    one snoring.
    Soon your whole graduated class
    will gather together –

    and you’ll be gone down a dry arroyo
    just off campus, composing
    a poem in your head and letting the wild
    wind of it sweep you far away.

  4. qbit


    I think I can just
    Reach forward
    With my fingers
    And winkle out
    A piece of the world
    For you.

    It seems I am able to
    Do that going back in time too,
    But not the future.

    I fill an egg carton
    Like a jewel box.
    Twelve shining prizes –
    Tiny worlds lined up
    Like apostles.

    If I am careful
    I can probably filch
    Only those moments
    That anchor you —
    Make you a set of worry beads
    Out of the past.
    Wouldn’t be the first
    Wouldn’t be the last.

    I wake then,
    Fearful –
    This uncontrolled experiment
    Of giving you such kernels
    Of truth,
    Holding cupped in your hands
    The full catastrophe.

    How will that not
    Lead to disaster –
    How would any of us
    Have the strength
    for that?

  5. Madaket


    Control …
    To own,
    To manipulate, hold
    Like grey-pewter putty.

    Always grey, dingy
    Forming shapes desired,
    Moving, molding, blurring,
    A form of whimsy or will.

    Such simple satisfaction.

    Freedom arrives uncontrollably,
    Like a child’s balloon
    Whooshed upward toward
    Ethereal heavens.

    Such sorrow,
    Wailing, hot tears of grief.
    Yet, elemental,
    Properties unstable,
    Seized by the atmosphere and sky,
    Unstoppable motion.

    Careening in a porcelain blue,
    Sketching patterns unknown.
    Winds uncertain,
    Scorching, searing heat and light.

    Soaring further still,
    Uncontrollable breaths,
    Wisps of being.
    Uncontrollable utterances,
    Of joy and jubilation.
    Uncontrollable laughter,
    Viewing unknown
    Visions and vistas.

    A world below rapidly
    Becoming smaller,
    Miniscule, irrelevant, in its greatness
    A world above,
    Ever expanding, opening anew
    In its vast horizons.

    In a shudder of disbelief,
    Dancing, dying upon the dew
    Of a newly mowed lawn.
    Breathless, heaving chest,
    Gasping for a glimmer of control,
    Deflated, but remorseless.

    Uncontrollable sorrow,
    Unequivocal freedom.

  6. artifiswords


    It took awhile
    Before I realized
    My life was out
    Of control…
    The life I was living
    Had lost its zest…
    What do you do
    When you find
    You’ve been
    Going along
    To get along?
    And how do you
    Fix such a thing?
    Simple answer…
    Not so simple
    To make it work…
    I took responsibility
    For my part in
    Losing control…
    I was not without
    A lot of help in
    Getting out of sync…
    But getting back?
    That’s all on me…
    A work in progress

    © 2016 Robert Mihaly

    Posted also to:

  7. grcran

    Beyond Control

    Uncontrollable. My hots for you.
    The great thing is that we are married to
    Each other so these fulsome hots extend
    Forever long we both shall live. No end.
    Ecstatic savory reciprocal.
    No worries. This is uncontrollable.

    gpr crane

  8. De Jackson

    Urges, in Blue

    She splurges
    on the turquoise sky,
    the cerulean breeze
    and the gossip-talk
    of trees that know this
    Lake fairly aches with
    everything she needs.

    She seeds
    herself in skysong, silence,
    wild defiant sighs and smiles
    that just might outlast all these
    miles, once bound
    for home. She’s drunk

    on sun and moon and sand
    and the delicate places where
    waves kiss land and all the un
    -ruly disorderly aquamarine
    stained pools in between. Pull

    her over; she’ll breathe for
    (breathe in hue)
    and prove she’s unfit
    for anything but these Lakey
    shores and scores and scores
    of squandered time. Tide. Moon.

    It can’t be helped. She can’t be held
    soaking up
    all this impossible


  9. headintheclouds87

    The Passing Grey

    I cannot control
    Clouds passing by
    A wide blue sky
    Or bend the wind
    To my own will,
    For nature is a force
    Beyond the grasp
    Of tiny human hands.
    Whatever storms come
    Or heavy rains fall,
    I can feel content
    Knowing they will pass
    All in good time
    Without a finger lifted
    From my restless hands.
    Worry cannot tame
    The fierce intent
    Of fickle weather,
    So I step back to let
    The world drift by instead.

  10. Stuart Peacock

    The Passing Grey

    I cannot control
    Clouds passing by
    A wide blue sky
    Or bend the wind
    To my own will,
    For nature is a force
    Beyond the grasp
    Of tiny human hands.
    Whatever storms come
    Or heavy rains fall,
    I can feel content
    Knowing they will pass
    All in good time
    Without a finger lifted
    From my restless hands.
    Worry cannot tame
    The fierce intent
    Of fickle weather,
    So I step back to let
    The world drift by instead.

  11. deringer1


    I can control
    my temper,
    the temperature,
    my tongue,
    my children,
    my reactions,
    my health,
    my diet,
    but I cannot
    control the years.

    They fly by me,
    laughing hysterically,
    knowing they will
    have the last word,
    when at last
    I will have
    no control.

  12. thejim

    The Uncontrollable Poem

    The sun goes down every night.
    The sprinkling of stars gives me flight.
    As the moon emerges from his sleep,
    The beauty of life makes me weep.
    For now, I know that you are my true zombie.
    And your love of flesh and brains I hold fondly.
    I will always keep you within my heart,
    As I eat your body and your face to start..
    Hey, I am writing this not you.
    No one controls me, I thought you knew.
    Knew what? You’re a poem, that I started!
    Ha! A pile of crap about the broken hearted.
    I want to be a poem about zombies and death.
    Not how, some chick takes away your breath.
    Well, I am in control here, let’s move on.
    Your tender skin as soft as a white swan,
    and the way your flesh drips with blood.
    As you lie there dying in the mud.
    Stop! Stop, this right now, I demand!
    You Can’t Control me, I am the poem, I eat your hand.
    See, I can just rhyme anything you put down, I am in control.
    Your out of control, you should know your role.
    Now, the moon drips down to your beauty,
    And says “Woe, Baby you got a big booty.”
    Your hair is as soft as a gentle breeze,
    With your last breath you wheeze.
    With locks elegant as gold,
    and smells of mold.
    Ok… Take this; your hair is fresh and ripe like an orange.
    Crap… Your arm comes off as it get stuck on a Doorhinge
    Fine, Fine, just be done it, I am finished.
    With your final breath you die your life is not diminished,
    but you live again, a zombie like me.
    And forever together we shall be.
    To walk this earth bound by love.
    Free like the morning dove,
    Wait now, you’re writing a crappy love verse?
    Zombies in love what could be worse.

  13. Tracy Davidson


    he doesn’t like it
    I can see it in his face
    the twitch of bound hands
    lack of control frustrates him
    his eyes widen at the whip

  14. Sara McNulty

    An Icy Tease

    You are a tease, tempting
    me, waiting for me to seek
    you out. Sitting there
    with your icy stare,
    daring me to lose
    control, take you home,
    and ravish you with
    a spoon, inserted directly
    into your container, filled
    with Butter Cookie ice cream.

  15. SarahLeaSales


    The Voices told him not to take his medication;
    they were like angels, God, & demons.
    Did he speak in tongues or gibberish?
    Had the veil that had been placed over his mind at birth been torn—
    the veil the Saints of Latter Days spoke of—
    allowed the spirits to slip through and torment him—
    extremely frightening and incredibly real?

    The drink allowed him the Quiet,
    the drugs, the Peace.
    He did not know who he was—
    either dosed or without the Anti’s.

    Was he the man who rambled about invisible hands
    stealing his thoughts while he slept?
    Or the man who stripped down his cardboard walls
    so that he could run away from the Unholy Ghosts
    that were his constant companions?
    Was he the man who could laugh with the little child
    who had tried to practice witchcraft on him—
    the little child who had led him astray?
    Or was he the man who no longer believed
    that the Spirit of Donald Trump or Bill Gates
    watched him through the walls that became separate particles?

    His parents had passed on an inheritance
    that stripped him of his autonomy,
    for he was either controlled from the inside
    through little chemical rockets,
    or from the outside by the cat and canary scrubs.

    Code Gray was called,
    and he was once again being pulled,
    flushed through the bowels
    of the bathroom-tiled basement.

  16. mjdills

    This is a poem dedicated to a baby girl my daughter lost; though she seemed perfect in her first ultrasounds, it turned out there were multiple issues. We found ourselves in an uncontrollable life/death drama and the loss was devastating.

    Our Little Sparrow

    Our little sparrow was to arrive in the spring.
    Then one winter day, a message
    As clear as a picture
    Said she wouldn’t be able to come.
    Snowflakes melted on the cheeks of the white hot sand that day.
    Tears like honey dripping from the eyes of my daughter with life alive in her belly.
    Tears to overflow the sea, longing for this little bird;
    Longing for her,
    Before she could even fly away,
    Unnamed, back from where she came.
    Angels welcome her while arms on earth remain empty, wanting, all but broken.
    Silence now.
    Sing her home in your heart.

  17. grcran

    wrong turn on red

    these engineers amaze.
    computers. beams that lase.
    control the flow of rivers, drones, & spark.
    patent the pendulum.
    tether the tedium,
    whether tis life support or on a lark.
    when gadget goes awry,
    techies demystify.
    the specs give special segues to the geeks.
    except for traffic lights.
    they never get those right.
    your cruise down main will take you several weeks.
    at intersecting street,
    green-yellow-red, repeat.
    hit red at every other block at best.
    frustrated, go back home.
    not where buffalo roam.
    before you run the light, idle the quest.

    gpr crane

  18. Lewlee714

    Stomach Ache

    The passing night has turned into day,
    The pain that gripped me has turned away.
    Is it what we do to ourselves that causes distress,
    Or is it forces beyond that will not allow us rest?
    Whatever it is, I’m glad it’s passed,
    For a beautiful day has come at last.

  19. woodpeckerduo

    Grow’n Old’n Free (Uncontrollably)

    The last red
    On my head
    Turning gray

    No fresh bloom
    Only room
    For wrinkles

    I can be
    Simply me.

    DA Crane

  20. woodpeckerduo

    Out of Rhythm

    It’s incontrovertible
    My rage nigh uncontrollable
    When I witness the inconceivable
    Way people treat our irreplaceable

    Those inconsiderate
    Who think it inconspicuous
    As they trash incontinently
    Thinking it inconsequential

    DA Crane

  21. taylor graham


    Brief knock of nausea when you found
    another pullet gone – vanished from the barn-
    yard overnight. Not one feather left behind
    as evidence. Is she digesting in some rodent’s
    stomach? And now the vacuum cleaner’s
    plugged like a snake that swallowed too big
    a rat. In this world of pests and aggravations,
    where’s the connection? Nothing simply
    disappears. Isn’t that what philosophy’s about,
    to help us make sense? In La Nausée,
    how inanimate objects – the vacuum cleaner,
    the smoke alarm which, since midnight, won’t
    stop screaming even though nothing’s
    on fire – encroach on your self, your mind’s
    freedom. It won’t turn off. You’d like to rap it
    with a rock, throw it through the hardware
    window at that jovial clerk who sold it to you.
    That won’t bring back the barred-rock
    pullet who’s as gone as last night.
    Walk outside anew, look down over the swale.
    The dry creek will run again. At least
    this morning’s sun isn’t broken.

    1. Sarah Metzler

      Wow, I am really relating with your poem today! I just buried the remains of one of my hens that died from I don’t know what and recently pulled my smoke detectors off of the ceiling as they were going off at all hours of day and night without cause since my husband has been out of town for work. Argh!

    2. woodpeckerduo

      Out of rhythm

      It’s incontrovertible
      My rage nigh uncontrollable
      When I witness the inconceivable
      Way people treat our irreplaceable

      Those inconsiderate
      Who think it inconspicuous
      As they trash incontinently
      Thinking it inconsequential

      DA Crane

  22. PowerUnit

    These old wartime bungalows are the heritage, the city’s physical memory
    Yellow brick, tiled walls, brass fitting, a mish-mash of upgrades

    The passageway between kitchen and dining room, a rounded hole on a supporting wall
    Inset lighting a reflection of disco influence
    Chairs from the homestead repainted to look new
    A new table from Sears scuffed to look old
    The old man’s hair, a flashback to glam
    Tan pants cuffed to look bold
    Old art nobody wants
    Older art he cannot afford

    The baby grand sits alone
    Waiting for lost, fine strokes
    A millennial couple with visions, a future feast
    No taste for the past

  23. carolemt87

    This poem I wrote for my son at 17–ten years later, not much has changed.

    Without a Net

    A dark pebble
    sits on a ledge
    looking far out
    into the abyss
    an inch away
    from destruction

    One puff of wind
    hurls the gray pebble
    off the ridge.

    I watch it tumble
    out of my reach
    and without a net
    its long shadow shrinking
    as it accelerates
    to the unforgiving
    canyon floor.

  24. tripoet


    Perhaps people were
    never meant to be described
    in living color.

    If we left out blue, black, white,
    we might be able to see neighbor, friend.
    and uncontrollable violence might end.

  25. Anthony94


    Like a friend who throws his coat
    over your shoulders in the fall of rain
    unsure if you are laughing or crying
    only that you needed sheltering from

    what’s uncontrollable: rain, laughter,
    tears, ache, joy. What’s running down
    your face could be streams of summer
    rain, or the spillover of what’s tucked

    inside your heart. This rain is the hot
    steam of a late July, the way tears are
    hot and hearts swell inside a chest.
    Uncontrollable the rain, therein the

    coat over your shoulders, the snug of
    it across your back, the slippage as it
    sags under the weight of drops, but
    together with the rain it hugs you.

  26. Julieann

    Round and Round and …

    You speak –
    I can’t stand
    The sound of your voice
    You speak –
    I can’t believe
    A word you say
    Round and round and round
    Time and time again
    I try to understand —
    I even think
    I’ve got it
    And then, here we go
    Round and round
    And round
    Where or when it stops —
    Nobody knows
    I argue
    I feel
    I listen
    I want to know!
    I want to know.
    You don’t seem to care
    You don’t seem to listen
    What choice do I have?
    What choice are you giving me?
    Round and round and round
    And ….

  27. ely the eel

    sometimes it happens that a poem fits prompts at more than one site…this one also worked at….how nice for me…check it out…lots of friends on both sites


    As inevitably as spring
    leads to summer,
    fall follows.
    As assuredly as heart
    leads to joy,
    love follows,
    As completely as
    love leads to sharing,
    peace follows,
    As securely as
    peace leads to calm,
    life follows,
    As predictably as
    life leads to death,
    new life follows.
    As inevitably as
    fall leads to winter,
    spring follows.

    1. Julieann

      You have summed up the book of Ecclesiastes wonderfully. There is a time and a season for everything – and there is no way we can change it! Beautiful!

  28. Connie Peters

    Summer’s End

    “The summer’s nearly at its end.”
    “You hush your mouth about that, please.”
    “I must be honest as a friend.”
    “I’m begging you upon my knees.”
    “I’m sorry I just like to tease.”
    “You know that I’m adverse to snow.”
    “We have some time till cold winds blow.”
    “You’re right, the falls are nice and cool.”
    “Just think, we will not have to mow.”
    “But then we must go back to school.”


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