Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 365

Today is a pretty big day on Poetic Asides and for the Wednesday Poetry Prompts series: It marks a year’s worth (365 days!) of prompts. Wow! Sooooo…

For today’s prompt, write a “year in the life” poem. It could be a poem about something that takes a year to happen, a summary of a year’s worth of events, or even a top moment. Poems about tree rings, seasons, etc., are all welcome as well.

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Here’s my attempt at a Year in the Life poem:

“Nostalgia”

When Frank Sinatra sings “It Was a Very Good Year,”
I can’t help but wonder if he replayed his own moments
through his head, or if it was just another song, another
chance to let his voice slip from one note to the next;
and then, I can’t help but replay my own moments,
the real moments and imagined moments, the hopes
and dreams; and then, I get nostalgic for a moment
thinking of the good times and the bad, and I realize
my life hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been
good and will continue that way for as long as I can
hear someone’s voice and be moved to nostalgia.

*****

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 living the dream.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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85 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 365

  1. Jane Shlensky

    Yearbook

    They measure out their growing up
    with school pictures, when parents
    make an effort to smooth kids’ hair
    clean and press their clothes, see
    the immortalized child presentable.

    Eons later, we will reference
    a year’s passage thus: the year
    without front teeth, the frizzy
    perm, unruly braids, or braces
    year, the lazy eye or suspenders year,

    the Elvis or Beatles haircuts,
    the long straight or short curly years
    when she resembled Janis Joplin
    or Ethel Mertz, when he wore a skirt
    and she a bow tie to stick it to the man,

    the bell-bottoms and Marine Corps shirts,
    the unsmiling, sultry, cocky, brazen years,
    always remembering with fondness
    the fall each blossomed into
    personal gorgeousness, freckles

    gone, teeth straightened, his new muscles
    taut beneath his shirt, her new soft curves
    dangerously distracting, yet gentle enough
    for most any driver.

  2. G.Wood

    Week One of the Year of Grieving

    We gathered the depends and the medicine
    and the frozen bottles and threw them in a garbage bag,
    flushed the toilet of vomit,
    pulled sheets spotted with crumbs and blood,
    gathered the last laundry load,
    put foam pillows by the road,
    wiped the cracked eggs from the refrigerator,
    stacked into piles the pictures, prayers, letters,
    found the quilt,
    put the lamp shades back on and raised the blinds,
    sorted the clothes,
    picked through the pockets,
    divided up the makeup brushes
    and the Christmas cards that didn’t make it out in time,
    trudged south for the service
    and north for the spreading,
    stayed up nights,
    woke up Daddy when he was screaming,
    wrote thank-you notes on her stationary,
    answered her phone until it stopped ringing.
    Packed up. Went home.
    Saw through the rest of the rest alone.

    1. ppfautsch24

      A Year in the Making…
      What a year makes.
      Snow melts, snowflakes frosting.
      Sun shines, clouds floating.
      Fall’s lofted falling leaves.
      Spring’s eternal hope on whispering prayers.
      Saged wisdom and ageless dreams.
      By Pamelap

  3. qbit

    Tillage

    Like hard red wheat
    Ploughed under —
    This year, this season
    This month, today
    Roughed down into the
    Sticks and dirt.

    Bits of cinder block
    From the car park where you lost your keys
    In March,
    Slurry of August arguments over gristle
    and time wasted on abstinence,
    Composted
    And mulched.

    The setting sun
    digs into the horizon
    Like a spade on fire,
    Turning day over into night,
    Wake into sleep.
    The drag harrow of the moon
    Working deep
    The dreamtide.

    If tomorrow flinches
    From the sadness of cutworms,
    What of it?
    What do we owe the loam,
    What payment for the ferment
    Of a year in the life
    Of sand, silt and clay?

    1. qbit

      Sorry, tags didn’t close. Was supposed to be:

      Tillage

      Like hard red wheat
      Ploughed under —
      This year, this season
      This month, today
      Roughed down into the
      Sticks and dirt.

      Bits of cinder block
      From the car park where you lost your keys
      In March,
      Slurry of August arguments over gristle
      and time wasted on abstinence,
      Composted
      And mulched.

      The setting sun
      digs into the horizon
      Like a spade on fire,
      Turning day over into night,
      Wake into sleep.
      The drag harrow of the moon
      Working deep
      The dreamtide.

      If tomorrow flinches
      From the sadness of cutworms,
      What of it?
      What do we owe the loam,
      What payment for the ferment
      Of a year in the life
      Of sand, silt and clay?

  4. Nurit Israeli

    Calendars

    This year is two-thirds over,
    and I intend to stretch
    it’s last third –
    every bit of what’s left.

    Soon, I’ll need a new calendar.
    Calendars on my desk
    come and go all too often,
    each year a different color.

    We too come and go,
    each a different color, we rise
    and flow forward, till an outgoing
    tide comes for us in the middle –

    and the calendar doesn’t foretell.

    ~ Nurit Israeli

    1. Julieann

      I love “We too come and go,”…”till an outgoing tide comes for us in the middle -“. No one knows the time or place of our, shall I say, demise. What a beautiful picture you’ve painted.

  5. grcran

    and thirty-seven more
    (guess how old)

    the days we’ve spent together man and wife
    somewhere in there the best year of my life
    we two we do the work we work the fun
    go fish for free one more than fifty-one

    the weeks we’ve spent add up to tallest tale
    a whale a dolphin far beyond the kale
    no Sabbath day for us. retired, we rest
    stay busier than jobs. and yet unstressed

    our monthly checks come in. we spend ‘em well
    cold winter. still we fish. summer from hell
    our year winds down in zeph’rous autumn breeze
    the best three-hundred-sixty-five of these

    gpr crane

  6. Pwriter10

    OTHER YEARS

    It takes one year
    for my heart to circle yours.
    Not earth years. Other years.

    A year, after all, is a relative measure.
    Wrapped in the myths of
    stars and planets, and their yearnings
    to hurtle in consistent, elliptical orbits.

    Our truth isn’t so perfect.
    Days were never quite the same length
    (If you only count the good ones).
    And don’t get me started on minutes.

    And the seconds between your words
    and my ears,
    and how my lips parted but struggled
    to shape the words.

    And how you waited long enough.
    My heart should know what it’s doing by now.

  7. headintheclouds87

    Another Year

    Another year
    Same life
    Another few hundred apples
    Fall from the garden tree
    With a hard, loud THUD
    Onto that same old ground.
    The space around us stays still
    While our heads keep spinning.

    Wealth continues to elude us
    With dreams under construction
    And desire to escape burning brighter
    With each passing day
    Which then fade into weeks,
    Then melt into months
    Until another year passes
    And we ride round yet again.

    But each time we spiral
    This all-too familiar loop
    We get just a little bit closer
    To the sunset town beyond
    Where dreams come true
    And humdrum is left behind
    In the dust of years past
    Never to be seen again

  8. mjdills

    This, the Life

    Last year there were big full moons (all summer
    from the back deck); August
    was no exception. We began a cycle that
    voyeurs, vagrants and tomato aficionados
    missed out on. Guests
    filled our house with odors of sizzling fish
    frying in the pan, saffron and rosemary, yellow
    corn with melted butter between our teeth
    oozed down our chins. Drinks mixed in
    tinkling glasses. Summer ended with a sigh and we rolled
    into autumn with untypical fears of the future, questions
    of what might come of us. Us. There
    was uncertainty and not a lot of rain; we could never
    locate a damn umbrella.
    Winter
    sunk her uncaring teeth into our ankles and
    we were uprooted, tossed over like so many
    unwanted used women, skirts in the air, grasping
    for whatever we could hold onto, slipping away, greased
    by old gripes about things that no longer
    mattered. Spring was an illusion; filled with cigarette smoke,
    bad breath and messy hair. The trap
    that turned into summer
    was nothing like what we expected; sunshine
    eluded us, not one day at the lake… for a walk
    or a sleepy blanket spread out on the lawn, corners
    all bunched and sandals lost in the disarray. We
    wouldn’t have cared but our spirits were wounded, like
    bird wings after an unnatural beating. This year
    taught
    we can put up with noises in the night, men
    in bad shirts who give us a fright, not
    knowing where the money went and giving in to
    suitcase-dreams and ships that never reach the
    shore. August
    came and went twice while we waited for friends
    to make a new acquaintance. We
    waited for things to change. We waited for a miracle.

  9. Shennon

    One year will never be
    enough time
    Only one year,
    maybe less,
    to enjoy your smiles,
    your laughter,
    your gentle caresses
    That loving look in
    your eyes
    when you gaze at me
    first thing in the morning,
    when you get home from work
    in the afternoon,
    by candlelight
    each evening,
    will haunt me
    when you’re gone
    Memories we’ve made
    melt my heart
    There are so many more
    I wish to create
    But one year,
    it just isn’t enough time.

    –ShennonDoah

  10. Sara McNulty

    A Year In The Life Of America

    A contentious campaign
    began in our nation,
    then droughts, wild fires, pelting rain
    brought moaning sounds of ululation.

    Hatred reared its monstrous head,
    gang violence at an all-time high,
    black citizens shot down dead,
    and lasers flashing, drones in sky.

    Little causes us to shock
    anesthetized as we’ve become
    to all horrors, cheating jocks,
    homeless Vets, and Wall Street sums.

    We can’t control Mother Nature,
    we can show respect we hold
    for others. Pass legislature–
    ensure no one is left in the cold.

  11. Connie Peters

    College after Fifty

    My first year of college, after fifty, I
    studied at night when I wasn’t taking
    care of people, or cleaning the house,
    or writing my novel, or working on
    something for my writers group, or
    completing a devotion assignment, or
    writing poetry, or doing yardwork, or
    critiquing manuscripts with a friend, or
    attending meetings, or doing paperwork,
    or going to church, or attending women’s
    Bible study, or praying, or eating out,
    or playing Words with Friends, or reading,
    or coloring owls, or making phone calls,
    or walking, or watching dumb TV shows,
    or talking on the phone to my children,
    or perusing Facebook posts and videos.
    I studied at home in Colorado. I studied
    in Arizona, Wyoming, Nebraska, South
    Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and
    Florida. I took a break on a Caribbean
    Writers Cruise and then all of a sudden
    my 1st year of college after fifty—gone!
    And now almost my second.

  12. SarahLeaSales

    Lost and Found: A Year in the Life of the Student
    Known as “The Absent-Minded Professor”

    Lost her contacts—the kind that goes in your eye.
    Lost library book on “Fertility Foes”;
    found it long after due date.
    Sneaked it back in,
    never checking back,
    or checking out again.

    Lost the top she could no longer wear;
    found it when she could fit back into it months later,
    only to gain and lose her shirt again.

    Left Downtown Brown in car
    during summer in the Deep South.
    Became Downtown Mud.
    Bought Nantucket Red.
    Washed her out.
    Got Baton Rouge.
    Self-explanatory.

    Lost her marbles once,
    only to find them,
    albeit one at a time.

    Walls are shingled with pink and yellow Post-Its.
    She reminds herself to look.
    37 logins and passwords—
    sticky-noted above the monitor.
    Her mind is like a computer
    with seven tabs open at once.

    Misplaces phone,
    forgets phone—
    not always in that order.
    Can’t no one ring seven times before hanging up?

    Looks for her shoes.
    Often under the loveseat—
    never in the closet.
    Socks don’t have to match with pants.

    Goes into store for one item.
    Leaves with 10.
    None the item she went in for.
    What did she go in there for?

    Coffee goes cold.
    Still an optimist.
    Cup half full.
    Rest is left in microwave overnight.
    Timer is essential ingredient for baking cookies,
    especially when on Facebook.
    Timer is going off.
    Time to set Trisha on the potty.

    Forgot to make Trisha pick up crayons.
    Front door is now Graffiti Threshold.
    Now Trisha thinks “Dammit” is her first name.
    Looks for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser,
    and oh, when did she last wash the blankets?

    Walks into a room,
    only to forget why.
    Picks up something,
    only to forget she did,
    spending 30 minutes looking for it.

    A calendar reminds her of the day—
    sometimes the night.
    Thirty-first birthday gets mixed up with her thirty-second.

    Suffers from self-serving echolalia so whatever thought isn’t lost
    upon changing rooms,
    which is fitting.

    Looks for something else,
    so she’ll find what she was looking for the last time.

    Rejections come in,
    but they don’t deject,
    for she’d forgotten she’d sent them in the first place…
    or was it third?

    Husband thinks she doesn’t listen,
    but she’s simply trying to remember what she’s forgetting.
    She finds her contacts,
    but no, no, that wasn’t it.

  13. Daniel Paicopulos

    This Year

    I’ve reached the age where
    life becomes conditional,
    largely ephemeral,
    most things provisionary,
    all things temporary.
    the big things,
    the small stuff,
    it’s a time when I’ve
    earned, owned, had enough.
    Now, everything’s contingent on
    the time remaining,
    a simple fact of life,
    each day self-sustaining,
    sometimes in joy,
    others with strife.
    No matter the years,
    the many, the few,
    it’s simply the truth,
    we’re all just passing through,
    briefly posed between
    two eternities,
    and that, my friends,
    is the year’s only certainty.
    If there’s a year ahead,
    what to do?
    Read another book?
    See another movie?
    Walk another beach?
    Or, boldly experiment
    with something new.
    Maybe I’ll just think about it.
    For a while.

  14. De Jackson

    365 too-small rooms in a too-long hallway

    you will need
    a flashlight,
    and something to read
    and (’round some corners) the energy
    and prowess of one thousand
    ninjas.

    you will want
    to bring comfortable shoes
    and sunscreen
    and perhaps a Snickers
    bar cuz you’re not goin’ anywhere
    for awhile.

    you will cry
    a couple hundred rivers
    and dry
    your eyes on the sleeves
    of many. watch your back.
    some have sharp claws.

    you will love
    a handful,
    if you’re lucky. place
    your own dark beat
    in their hands and stand
    beside them, tick off the squares
    and stare into another sun.

    you will drag
    your feet and give your
    seat to an elderly woman
    on the train and stain your sheets
    with tears and madness.

    you will twist
    and turn and burn
    through sun and moon
    and swoon at fallen
    stars. you’ll wish. you’ll
    warn and swear and stare
    and spare no small change
    and rearrange your schedule
    and shuffle slipper-quick
    into something you won’t
    be able to get back
    out of. still,

    you’ll stink
    at something
    and blink and miss it
    and think too much
    and perhaps drink too much
    and you’ll think
    you won’t make it
    but then

                   you will.

    .

  15. tripoet

    The Year of the College Freshman

    stockpiled
    like a full pantry
    he’s ready
    to go.

    suitcases
    parked
    by the door
    for the past year

    every meal, mom’s chance
    to serve up
    conversations
    stuffed with advice

    at first the quiet
    of the dorm, frightens.
    he listens for the comfort
    of the footfalls in the hall.

    the roommate,
    from Kalamazoo
    more nerd than he
    how did that happen?

    don’t forget classes
    start Monday.
    Maybe a cute girl in
    Chemistry class

    to replace the pretty
    one he’s left behind
    in tears. Or is she already
    going out with his best friend?

    Trying to save money
    accidentally sent text
    books to home address.
    Let’s hope for an understanding prof.

    the eagle has landed.

  16. PowerUnit

    We spend a year of our life on a can, sitting
    Thinking what we’ll produce, in those other 82 years.
    The strife, rife with trouble
    You take a dull knife to your stubble.
    Don’t sit and wonder at your lumber
    Get off your stool and stop being the fool.
    We don’t build lives with tools floating in pools.
    Spew forth and splatter your creativity on the world.

  17. De Jackson

    the year of the dragon

    of living dangerously
    of fire and steam
    and dreams that go up
    in smoke.

    of chalking the street
    with our tumble-numbered
    days and wonderwandering
    through the slew
    of things we thought
    we wanted.

    of scales
    and skin
    and the places deep
    within us that don’t
    always see the light.

    of flight.
    and fight.
    and scream and silence
    and the long-born right
    to bare
    our souls.

    of ancient skies
    and secrets.

    of tails
    whipped right ’round
    and stripped of sound
    and steeped in sorrow.

    of pages
    and leavings
    and the heavings
    of chest and breath
    and unspangled hands,
    unspent.

    of talons and teeth
    and familiar fragile face.

    of scrim rent.
    of thorned crown.
    of drowning in indigo
    and star-spilled grace.

    .

  18. taylor graham

    VIGILANTE

    Joy of the stick dance, of running full tilt
    from front door to bone-yard to catch – at last –
    that ground-squirrel who shadows our garden,
    our chick-yard, our dreams. Joy of five acres
    of fence to run, scouting gaps of possibility.
    Disappearing on the bedtime walk reappearing
    out of the dead of dark keeping his secrets.
    A year in my life: constant vigilance over this
    puppy – long and tall of him still growing
    even now, as I surprise him with the remains
    of a box of wheat crackers pilfered from the
    pantry left ajar. The pillow returned to its natural
    feathered state – downy white all over the carpet.
    Joy of this teenager who lacks the concept
    of “yours” and “mine.” He’s family ever since
    we brought him home. I watch him.

  19. Walter J Wojtanik

    TWENTY-TEN

    2009,
    A much read and ballyhooed lead-in,
    a beginning to a life of rhyme
    of which I have grown accustomed.
    A word guy, an ersatz poet
    (you wouldn’t know it by my feet)
    and a sweet introduction to a “family”
    separated at mirth to earning a berth
    as a laureate of poetic protrusion!
    The intrusion into a world where words
    become absurd when used to excess,
    a holy mess gathered into a neat style.
    I smile at the thought that I ought
    to be (or not to be) writing my wit,
    and to wit be with writers who deserve
    as much for their efforts as well. I can tell
    that this proclivity of activity has brought me,
    to wear the laurel wreath in that year that will never end.
    It sends me to thank my poetic friends
    for their support and drive during the year
    in which my voice had come alive.
    2010.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

    ** A good chunk of the Poetic Asides “year” was the basis for my becoming a poet. Starting in 2009 during my first PAD to the fateful day in 2010 being selected as PL, I had on heluva year!

  20. Anthony94

    Acorns in a Wheelbarrow

    Walking the Jack Russell, we talk again
    about who should host Thanksgiving,
    Christmas. Pros and cons about seating,
    spaces. These annual celebrations marking
    years in which we see the changes: recipes,
    the cost of feasting and gift giving, lines drawn
    on faces and between relationships. As the year
    unravels, it is now the end of August, but the
    fabric store has placed ads for Christmas in the
    weekly paper. Candy coupons herald Halloween,
    and everywhere there are stock up sales. By the
    birdhouse lot where each spot beside a plant holds
    a feeder or wooden home on a pole, we decide on
    locations, begin to worry about the weather for
    those distant, wonder about availability of siblings
    and cousins. Blissfully ignorant of what it is that
    concerns humans, it’s just another day in the life
    of the Jack Russell, busily sniffing the acorns in the
    little wheelbarrow owned by the garden gnomes.

  21. Julieann

    Looking Back, Looking Forward

    The course of time and seasons change
    With expected regularity
    Nothing static, always fluid
    Change hoped for
    Worked towards
    And sometimes, like the seasons,
    Just comes around
    With conventional regularity
    A year – forever, interminable
    A year – brief, ephemeral
    Life’s static routine
    Evolves into the unknown
    Of capricious hoopla
    From 9 to 5 regularity, dowdiness
    To 24-hour excitement, expectation
    Corporate ladder
    To home and family
    So goes the course of human events

  22. De Jackson

    365

    ticktockticktockticktock
    it says and we listen
    and then don’t; pace
    ourselves and rush,
    blush at the thought
    of another sunrise.

    winterspringsummerfall
    it moans and we groan
    that we’re too cold or too
    hot or not just-right-tepid,
    temperate and ready for
    the next balmed breeze.

    10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
    we count down to the new
    and release the old, swept
    into the closet next to last
    year’s bones and the stones
    we chose not to throw.

    .

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