Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 362

For today’s prompt, write a poem that captures a moment from a movie or book. You can include a hint in the title of the poem, let other readers know outright, or leave the poem as a standalone moment that some people will “get”–and that others just won’t.

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Here’s my attempt at a Book and/or Movie Moment poem:

“three men”

Three men singing in a boat
after drinking to each man’s legs
and comparing scars and stories
forget everything for a moment
until the shark brings the world
crashing back like the water
flooding fast into the hull.

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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 watches Jaws a few times every year and considers it one of the few perfect films ever made.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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99 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 362

    1. ppfautsch24

      Last of a dying falling breed.
      A love and fight that will last
      the test of waterfalls and river’s flow.
      A love that crosses and swims ocean currents.
      Undulating, turbulent, not dying; staying alive.
      In hope from shower’s rain, yearning for a touch
      that ripples a stream.
      As time slips away; the spirit and soul roars,
      “Just stay alive and I will find you.”
      “Last of the Mohicans”
      By Pamelap

  1. MatthewTM

    FINAL WORDS

    How my words took flight
    and lifted another toward the light
    of a lover’s open door
    Now, no longer in my control
    they soar, and if not so low
    the sun would melt their waxen wings.
    But I already took my fall,
    bells ring and the angels call
    and these final words, Roxanne, are yours
    as was every word that came before.

    1. tripoet

      Man From La Manchia? I especially like the line “if not so slow, the sun would melt their waxen wings.”
      Reminds me of poor Icarus who was, sadly, not “so slow”. Welcome, M.

  2. tripoet

    Gone With the Wind

    On the screen I witness the burning of Atlanta
    and I feel the heat even from my back row seat.
    I want to throw the popcorn away, run down the aisle
    and rescue Vivien Leigh. But Rhett Butler beats me to it.
    Though neither he nor I knew back then that the fire’s never totally
    out and the thoughts left smoldering in her mind,
    not the blaze set by Sherman, would eventually lead to her
    d e s t r u c t i o n.

  3. SheepCarrot

    How the River Flows

    As Simon falls
    the River turns
    pushed to the breaking point.
    She faces the anger—
    the rage-filled beings
    that no longer reason.

    Blast door close,
    sealing her fate in the eyes
    of those she was with.
    Her movements liquid,
    she flows as her name,
    a picture of grace
    in a sea of madness.

    She accepts their offer
    of the deadly dance.
    Axe and sword
    her partners
    in the violent ballet.

    Gossamer floats.
    Blood flies.
    Screams,
    war cries,
    gunfire
    echo off the walls.

    When the doors open,
    she stands alone.
    Her blades wet and dripping,
    their bodies litter the floor.

  4. qbit

    We have a whale
    For a pet.
    This is not for you to dispute.
    Nor that he roams about at night
    And doesn’t seem to care much
    For the ocean
    Anymore.

    Let’s be honest,
    “Pet” is a an overstatement.
    He isn’t domesticated really.
    More that he is sort of ours,
    Came with the house as it were.
    Or maybe even came with the island
    Back when.
    We think he is quite old.

    Having a whale in Nantucket
    Is fraught
    In so many ways.
    The shudder in them both
    Every time Bobby Starbuck
    Drives by in his plumber van
    And his sharp harpoon eyes.

    Bailing him from jail
    After a fight on the wharf,
    I could hear him yelling from his cell
    That he should have stove Tristram Coffin’s boat
    The very first day,
    Littered the Sound
    With the bones of men
    One for one.

    Claims he knew that devil Melville.
    I found the burned pages
    Out back in the grill —
    He says he used them for warmth last winter
    During the record cold.

    He spends most of his time
    On the widow’s walk
    But facing south to the open ocean
    Not north to the docks.
    Remorse for those first sightings of whales
    When the men would row out from the beach
    To get it done.

    Last night, moonless & starless at 3AM
    His drunken chanty rasping through the humidity:
    “Our boots and clothes are all in pawn
    Go down blood red roses, go down
    And it’s mighty draughty around Cape Horn
    Go down blood red roses, go down”

  5. grcran

    oliver takes ownership

    “ ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more’… There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance…’That boy will be hung,’ said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. ‘I know that boy will be hung.’ ” Charles Dickens

    we’ll figure out this thing someday or will we not
    with war? with peace? with grub? peas porridge hot
    how will we feed the haves half portions when they caught
    gene-gilded silver spoons, and oft do naught
    to help the needy give them half shouldn’t we ought
    everyone says best things in life cannot be bought
    whirled harmony as worldwide juggernaut
    to move beyond the common who-has-what

    gpr crane

  6. Jane Shlensky

    Orphaned Queen

    My cat belongs to a better kind of place,
    as disdain etches on her furry face,
    her big eyes taking in the failed feng shui,
    her tipped nose ever ruing the sad day
    she, in her need, adopted you and me—
    allowed herself to feel indignity.
    So she is pulled between two opposites—
    Dickensian or Bette Davis bits—
    of wanting more porridge, although she’s plump,
    or channeling shrill Margot: “What a dump!”

  7. headintheclouds87

    The Dark Jungle of the Heart

    His name was Kurtz
    A label meaning little
    In these dark outskirts
    Of thorns and thistles.
    This jungle solitude
    Tempted him too much
    And its secrets soon imbued
    With its prickly touch.
    It whispered these truths
    In soft, black breaths
    Releasing lusts so uncouth
    His soul meets inevitable death.

  8. Madaket

    Vessel

    Do we not all
    Drift aimlessly,
    Bobbing in the swells,
    Hunger our constant companion,
    Thirst our rarely satiated demon
    With nothing more than
    The sky and the rain,
    Courageous spirit and will,
    Accompanied only by our own
    Bengal tiger?

  9. Daniel Paicopulos

    Bill – you’ll know this one, I am certain

    Prepared

    “Ram, Ram”, he said,
    said it aloud,
    “Ram”, the Hindu
    word for God.
    Non-violent leader
    of a violent nation,
    shot dead by a fanatic
    in a railway station.
    Shot three times
    in his stomach and chest,
    independence would follow,
    but you know the rest.
    He had fasted, walked freely,
    aware of the danger,
    yet he died with a smile,
    no hatred, no anger.
    His hands in front of him,
    prayerful and steady,
    “Ram, Ram”, he said,
    “God, God”, he was ready.

  10. seingraham

    J.B.

    He has come down from on high to take her father
    but when we see him, he’s so damned fine looking
    it’s impossible to believe he has anything to do
    with death
    There is such an air of innocence on this blonde
    hunk’s face – no wonder we can’t take his messenger
    of death status seriously
    Especially after he falls in love with her – the man’s
    daughter for heaven’s sake (no pun intended)
    The scene that stays with me is at the indoor
    swimming pool (yes, they’re that wealthy)

    The young man and the old man’s daughter
    have a discussion during which they cannot
    help gazing deeply into each other’s eyes
    Without quite knowing how it happens they
    are making love and it’s apparent that for the
    man, it’s his first time
    It’s the look on the man’s face at the moment
    of orgasm, a look that is one of disbelief, of
    miraculous revelation, that is so fantastic
    It makes the movie, lifts it from mediocre
    to astonishing
    And it stays with me, even now, years later.

  11. Findingmyshoes

    Devotion and Pride
    Face to face
    An acrid ire between them
    His open heart, his metal frame
    Their conflict brink of mayhem

    Pride smirks and jeers,
    whir and flash
    his gleaming dancing foil
    Devotion holds, unbent, unbowed
    his metal straight and loyal

    “Your hardened heart,
    your empty shell”
    Devotion meets antagonist,
    “With out your shield, what are you then?”
    “Genius, playboy, philanthropist.”

  12. Findingmyshoes

    Devotion and Pride
    Face to face
    An acrid ire between them
    His open heart, his metal frame
    Their conflict brink of mayhem

    Pride smirks and jeers,
    whir and flash
    his gleaming dancing foil
    Devotion holds, unbent, unbowed
    his metal straight and loyal

    “Your hardened heart,
    Your empty shell”
    Devotion meets antagonist,
    “With out your shield what are you then?”
    “Genius, playboy, philanthropist”

  13. Sara McNulty

    At Charlie’s Place

    What do you say
    we go downtown
    ’round to our favorite
    spot, have a tot,
    and wile away this
    afternoon in company
    of friends.

    Oh look–no–over in that
    corner booth. Why it’s that
    lovely nurse, and doctor.
    Why don’t we join them?

    I believe the doctor wishes
    to speak with me. No, you wait
    here. I will be right back.

    After you, Doctor. What’s that?
    Well, you bring up a good point,
    but I must say, “I have wrestled
    with reality for thirty-five years,
    Doctor, and I’m happy to say
    I finally won out over it.”
    If you will excuse me, I must not
    keep my friend waiting.

  14. mjdills

    What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate
    Chains around Jesus, keeping the
    faithful from truth, is that
    who you think you
    are? Your shotgun
    mouth and smug lips, your
    Tiger by the Tail
    is under lock and
    my key. You hear that,
    boy?
    MY key. And when you are
    dead, you are
    nothing
    to
    nobody.
    We will crucify you for an
    egg. For a nice rounded car-washing
    ass. For a spike, for a
    shovel. We
    will be
    too good to you
    and you will know as
    you fall dead
    upon the deck
    who is your Captain.

    1. mjdills

      Thanks for all the comments!
      For those of you who didn’t get it…Cool Hand Luke, with Paul Newman. Line spoken by Captain, played very well by Strother Martin and later, unfortunately repeated by Luke (Newman). One of my all time top of list movies, the symbolism is striking. My pastor used this movie in a class I took that studied movies with underlying religious themes. Pastor was a rebel, too. 😉

  15. SarahLeaSales

    Office Space Cadets

    Human beings were never meant
    to sit in peninsular cubicles,
    serving as the isthmus
    for absent CEOs to trample them
    underwater.

    Human beings were never meant
    to pine away in cushioned cubbyholes,
    like an unopened letter in a post office box,
    their world reduced to a monitor,
    the glow of the sun replaced
    by the glow of a screen.

    Human beings were never meant
    to live inside their heads,
    their handiwork reduced to clicks on a keyboard,
    the uni-dextrous movement of a mouse,
    developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Human beings were never meant
    to be compartmentalized
    to the smallest of details,
    not knowing how to do something
    from start to finish,
    but just a very small part—
    a “cogette” in a conglomerate.

    Peter could feel his life
    being siphoned out hourly,
    the clock watching him with a blank face,
    and hands that barely moved,
    until he was out of gas.

  16. taylor graham

    ALMOST SOMEWHERE

    and needing to be somewhere else.
    Five fingers and a palm gripped to your
    trek-stick – backbone of some tree
    once rooted in earth – you make it march,
    tapping its tip against granite and scree,
    sweet spot of trail between cutbank
    and drop-off. It holds you.
    Last night you unrolled your mummy-
    bag under stars that look down
    over everywhere. When does such
    a journey end? Just stick to the route.
    A walking stick takes care of
    Your paces. How many miles today?
    Does it matter? Look!
    up there, a doe’s staring down
    as if only she
    knows your name.

    1. seingraham

      It’s funny how poets tell stories knowing from whence they came, but readers try to fill in the blanks in vain sometimes (and I’m sure my poem is equally frustrating in this area) … this is another where I kept feeling as if I knew what it was, but then – poof! I wasn’t sure.

  17. De Jackson

    kissing the stair post

    though love be a day
    and life be nothing,it shall not stop kissing).
    – E.E. Cummings

    everything isn’t ever always
    wonderful, of course. but there
    are those moments when you
    find yourself delighted by the
    very token broken thing that
    drives you crazy, find yourself
    craving the cracks and the scars
    and the cacophony of sounds
    that mean home. find yourself
    rich in ways you didn’t know,
    running, gleeful, through
    the snow.

    .

  18. Connie Peters

    Parking

    He’s alone in the car with her
    just as he had planned.
    When he begins making his moves,
    she’s ready with bare shoulders,
    bright shiny eyes and a smile.
    He shrinks back in terror.
    She’s his mother.
    He’s got to get back to the future.

  19. MikeGill

    Daddy

    “If you EVER call me
    Daddy
    Again, I’ll finish this fight”

    Ever since I heard this line
    As a tween, I’ve wondered
    What Jacob McCandles wanted
    Why he was so upset.

    Was it simply a matter of formality?
    Of respect?
    Then why is old SOB ok?

    Maybe it was the contempt
    In his son’s voice that sparked
    The outrage. Was it all to
    Assert Alpha status?

    Maybe it was to make a point
    To all his sons—that this
    Was a time to grow up—
    That they were not children
    Anymore and had to face
    The harsh realities ahead.

    Whatever the reason, there is still
    A part of me that cringes with
    The memory of those lines
    When my children call me
    Daddy.

    1. seingraham

      I have mixed feelings about this part of the movie, wonder what kind of respect a father is demanding when he can’t ask to be called Father instead of Daddy without going off on his kid. I remember feeling like that when I first saw the movie and feel like that more so as I age. And I’m a John Wayne fan so it’s not that I don’t like the Duke.

      1. MikeGill

        Exactly! I understood why, in the context of the script, he did it. It was a statement about respect. But, at the same time, the resulting behavior disturbed me and seemed like an overreaction. So, I have always tried to look at that scene and understand what the underlying factors might be. What was it that the writer wanted us to understand about Jake?

  20. PowerUnit

    Rodin, you idiot
    You sheltered fool
    What kind of man watches a horse die from a bellicose club
    And sees no wrong
    And feels no sympathy
    And uses it at the model of his own deformed station in life

    You did not even benefit
    You still wore rags, and dragged your sorry ass
    Through Leningrad, through the fear you created
    Into the hole in the boreal that was too good for you
    You did not find salvation in Jesus
    Your new god did nothing for the axed woman

  21. Anthony94

    Apologies to DeMille

    Sunday service and the pastor describes
    his favorite moment from the movie:
    he says it’s when the “creepy green cloud”
    swims its way through the Egyptian’s
    houses amidst a cacophony of weeping
    and wailing while among the cramped
    abodes of the Israelites with the bloody
    doorposts and lintels, it simply swirls
    on its way. Nothing, he says like the
    red sea, which was “pretty cool,” but its
    own menace among these fickle folk
    who fail to heed warnings and have
    to be shown the wrath of the Almighty.

    I’m distracted by the pulsing fluorescent
    above pew four, even when I fasten my
    gaze to the ambo and try not to notice
    his cell phone set on note taker peeking
    over the edge. He is a powerful speaker,
    but I like to imagine the little boy watching
    the ghostly green cloud, remembering
    like it was yesterday to share with us today.
    He reminds us that the scripture is about not
    being afraid but four days later, I’m trying to
    recall if any clouds topped the red sea on
    that Saturday after the new puppy came home
    and I think it was just puppy and the three
    hours of sound and fury putting me to sleep.

  22. Julieann

    Western Lore

    War-whoop
    Indians charging
    Arrows flying through
    The air
    Easy pickings of
    Farmer settlers
    Escaping in wagons
    They stop –
    Except they don’t circle
    A battle of arrows
    And bullets
    John Wayne yells at
    Buffalo Baker
    “Are you ready?”
    “Already told you,
    I was born ready!”

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