Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 366

For today’s prompt, write a “plus one” poem. It could be a math poem. Or a poem about including a guest (or “plus one”). Or a poem about doing something just “one more time.” Or the new person in a group, new task at work, and so on and so forth.


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Here’s my attempt at a Plus One poem:

“The Hardest Part”

For some, the hard part is getting started,
while others struggle to try and maintain,
and some folks fail to finish what they start,
but then there are those who can’t start again.


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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140 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 366

  1. taylor graham


    A sip of dry sherry in the afternoon –
    and then our old relations, one too many, came
    with their formulas for wrecked happiness,
    and finally we watched their taillights
    disappear as clouds broke
    in a sunburst vivid as carrot juice with a zing
    of puya in a cool glass.
    Sit down. The sun has sunk,
    and after comes the quiet dark and then
    the single breathing star.

  2. artifiswords


    He was the detective
    In the rumpled raincoat…
    Always pretending
    To be absent-minded…
    But as he was leaving
    There was always a final
    Oh…one more thing…
    That’s when the truth came
    Underestimated but
    Determined and sly as a fox…
    An unforgettable character
    Aren’t you glad you
    Had nothing to hide?
    You didn’t…right?

    © 2016 Robert Mihaly

  3. taylor graham


    All week I’ve tried to post a poem
    here, on Poetic Asides.
    I copy my poem and paste in the box,
    hit Submit and hold my breath,
    waiting for the screen
    to clear, to show my poem –
    the newest among all the rest.
    It doesn’t happen.
    My poem isn’t there.
    Through a week of tries
    I’ve failed. Again this morning,
    my poem isn’t there.
    So here’s my one last try,
    not the poem I wanted to post.
    We’ll call it a test
    before I say goodbye.

      1. PressOn

        This has happened to me. A more frequent irritation, however, has been a message telling me that I must be logged in to post, even though I am already logged in.

        1. PressOn

          This just happened again. I posted a comment on the landay form. As an exercise, I kept trying to submit, wondering how many tries I’d need before the system accepted my comment. It took 44 tries. Honest.

          1. ppfautsch24

            Smudges on my dreams can be wiped away,
            But adds to the memories of life.
            Smeared hopes of you and me got subtracted,
            And the addends didn’t add up to a sum of us.
            A multitude of problems that couldn’t be solved;
            Minuses our plus one.
            By Pamelap

  4. qbit

    The evening sky
    Shocked with flight,
    Wings released
    By Libra tipping
    The horizon’s scales.

    Startled back to beating,
    A heart that stopped
    By the high Southing calls
    Of the Equinox.

    Remembering of a sudden
    How Spring and Summer
    Play crack the whip
    With the rest of the year —
    Winter failing its hold on Fall
    And snapping loose,
    Wide and cold.

    That there is no adding
    To what time is left.
    No increase of one day or one hour.
    Nothing plus, nothing to gain
    For the geese in their journey
    Towards midnight.

  5. writinglife16


    More sweet words
    flowed from his mouth.
    Seductive but
    they had fermented.
    Like molasses into bourbon.
    She knew the truth
    behind his words.
    Those sickeningly sweet sounds
    that passed for truth.
    She had met his wife and
    child that day.
    As she bid him adieu,
    she thought she couldn’t have
    stayed with him anyway.
    She was pre-diabetic and his
    words would have been dangerous
    to her health.

  6. Beth Henary Watson

    Plus One

    Happy boy shrieks
    Travel unrepressed
    Through the house.

    Happy feet skip
    Like a puppet’s
    Amidst flying peas,

    Too happy to be real
    But sure as purple As
    Are the best letters

    And all fruit are apples
    We will soon again
    Be plus one.

  7. deringer1


    Yesterday I broke my leg
    and as I fell I lost my wig.
    Can there be any more?

    As it turns out, it seems there can,
    for the grease caught fire in the frying pan.
    So apparently there’s always one thing more.

    My best friend is dying
    and I found out my husband’s lying,
    so surely there cannot be any more.

    All this is giving me a rash
    and I’m running short of cash.
    It’s sanguinary likely there’ll be more!

    And sure enough, there was
    another tragedy because
    there will always be just one disaster more.

  8. grcran

    Beyond Plus One

    I found your plus one status went beyond
    Far more than fond I popped the marry me
    You told me yes and wondrous sunrise dawned
    We wove the roots and twigs of family tree
    Within your grey there’s red brunette & blonde
    Pre-sunset as we’re seniors by degree
    Beyond plus one with no sign of a minus
    Don’t fret my dear we’ve found the final finest

    gpr crane

  9. angieinspired

    Kansas in August

    I’m the first born, so I pull chairs into circle formation.
    I receive them: daughters, brothers, cousins, forgotten Aunts.
    We gather around the punch bowl, chocolates wrapped in gold,
    And the Texas sheet cake. Shiny gooey squares sitting on little red plates.
    The strawberry slices on top look like hearts, or not,
    But we support their 50 bitter and sweet years of marriage.
    I pose them, because they never had the chance.
    Hand-in-hand, in front of these witnesses
    Mom cries through her repeat-after-me vows.
    And when the officiant asks what 1 + 1 is
    My Dad says “one” just as clear as day.
    It’s finally adding up to be something absolute.

  10. trishwrites

    Robert – I love this prompt! The summer has been so busy and when I logged in to poetic asides this week – I had to smile at this one.

    When One Plus One Becomes Two
    It was a Wednesday evening
    dinner cleared away
    when he knocked on the door
    asking for our permission
    to take her hand

    A wedding you think
    as every year unfolds
    second by second in your mind
    while he stands so earnest before you
    And you’re still stuck on when she
    picked her dress for the first day of school
    and those
    fragile fists that fit in the palm
    of your hand
    not so very long ago

    On a bright summer day
    the trees will whisper
    in delight
    a ring placed on their hands
    the eternal circle that
    can’t be broken

  11. Stephanie H.


    For years she thought
    Of going solo
    Of taking back those words
    Promises made
    With wide eyes
    And open arms

    Measuring her days
    With empty embraces
    And friendly hellos
    Waiting for reason
    Filling the blanks
    With words and dreams

    Knowing now
    The quiet calm
    Of unexpectation
    The solitude
    Of self-reliance

    There is peace
    In possibility
    Of what’s to come
    Plus her
    But minus

  12. Pwriter10


    you sideswiped my memories.
    I told a story about you the other day to a mutual friend.
    we laughed.
    But when she asked you about it, you frowned.
    You didn’t remember it the same way.

  13. headintheclouds87

    Plus One

    ‘Yourself and plus one’
    The invite kindly suggests
    In it’s snaky, curly font,
    Between the lines saying
    That if the ‘plus’ isn’t a partner
    Or an approved mutual friend,
    They a) already despise them
    Or b) bear no ill will just yet
    But dread you bringing one who’s
    ‘Alright when you get to know ‘em’
    Cementing their cold decision
    That they’d still rather not.

  14. Nancy J

    4 + 1

    Brand spanking new, affordable and
    compact, a great location, only needed
    a handful of furniture.
    It was absolutely perfect.

    4 + 1
    A clever concept that stuffed one floor
    into the basement, thus, no steel required,
    lower construction cost, lower rent.
    It was just perfect.

    4 + 1
    Deja vu, only this time I claimed space on
    the second, actually the third floor, facing
    neighbors’ brick wall, a window that had
    a view only if you leaned far to the right and
    touched the glass with your cheek.
    It was almost perfect.

    4 + 1
    It was ours for a brief moment, but it proved too
    small to contain my desires, too ordinary to claim
    my future, too filled with you to make me stay.
    Like us, it lacked a solid foundation.
    In the end, it was light years from perfect.

  15. Anthony94

    The Skew

    Oh, I could balance the books in the class
    on accounting, make credits and debits sleep
    in their workbook pages until the next day’s
    session which exposed the skew, my postings

    as flawed as obtuse angles in geometry,
    flying exponents in algebra although trigonometry
    made sense. I earned high marks on all the papers
    about great mathematicians but one I wasn’t,

    numbers slipping from rows and columns as
    easily as toddlers change clothes: always off.

  16. Jane Shlensky

    Plus or Minus

    The pounds come on in ounces
    yoyo-ing after parties and celebrations,
    jiggling and giddy, a naked dance.

    Two ounces up this week,
    I shake my head, knowing I’ve eaten
    like a bunny rabbit for a month,

    knowing some week months hence,
    I’ll surprise myself with being
    two pounds down—

    or up—the plus and the minus
    of things just this nutritional game
    I play, amounting to nothing much.

    I do not need a fork lift to move me;
    I do not eschew joy or salads;
    I do not binge on sugar, fat, or malice.

    Best to focus on vital issues and organs,
    the stuff of brain and heart, thought
    and feeling, logic and love,
    necessities for the well-lived life.

  17. RJ Clarken


    Need a distraction today? Not only does 12+1=11+2, but the letters “twelve plus one” rearrange to give you “eleven plus two”— Neil deGrasse Tyson

    So…twelve plus one’s equivalent
    to something else. Ambivalent?
    Eleven plus the number two’s the same:
    the game is ‘What’s in lieu

    of numerals that entertain
    the teasers made to trick your brain.
    Distraction? Yes, but ten plus three won’t work
    (a quirk?) Each letter’s key

    unlike the digits in this scheme.
    Too bad. It’s such a nifty theme.
    So…letters plus some numbers may be cool,
    thus you’ll count anyway.


  18. cjmurphy1982

    I’ve been a ‘plus one’
    I wanted to be ‘the’ plus one, to the one who made me her plus one
    That hurt
    I’ve had plus ones
    Maybe they wanted to be ‘the’ plus one for me
    Maybe that hurt
    Then you meet the one, and all the plus ones you ever were or ever used
    become surplus ones.
    The one isn’t just the one though, as usually there will come another one
    Because you, plus one, is two, plus a little one is three and that’s a famil.
    Then you will have all the ones you’ll ever want to be your plus one.

  19. DMK

    john, a performer and we were dating so at the door I was the plus one
    john and I are no more because of his mostly dumb
    he could have just given my name maybe he thought I might not go
    change it before the opening show
    I am never alone when I pray; father, son, and holy spirit, plus one; that would be Mary
    seems to be his plus one brought the total plus ones to five if you quarry
    I had a night out at the show
    praying for things no to blow
    no giant disaster ever happened when I was around
    the band quite sound even with john being a clown

  20. mjdills

    I Valued You

    I valued you. I valued you
    from the first moment
    I remember knowing you.
    I looked up to you and
    thought you were some kind of
    special world to me. In my eyes
    you were strong and brave. I think
    that all I ever wanted was for you
    to value me. I think you found use in me
    when I took care of some of your secrets.
    I was there for you.
    I panicked for you
    when you were too far away
    to even know the danger.
    I wanted you to
    value me
    I didn’t always follow you;
    there were times we walked together.
    I thought then perhaps
    we were equal but
    one day I realized how little
    you valued me;
    it took forever to
    come to this awareness. I thought
    I might have been crushed by some
    big thing of the earth;
    some huge, heavy bell-like weight.
    To know you were never steady,
    to know you somehow
    faked my significance in your world and
    all I ever meant to you was an
    albatross type attachment,
    like the ancient mariner who had to
    drag around a dead animal
    attached to his neck.
    Had I known your true feelings,
    would I have still valued you?
    I treasured you.
    I only wanted to be
    That’s the worth of value
    when someone loves you.
    You live in them.
    They live in you.
    That’s value.

  21. Sara McNulty

    Total Count

    One plus one
    makes me think
    of two, makes me aware
    of addition, and makes me
    remember how awful
    I was (and am) at math.
    Grammar school taught me
    ground rules for basic
    mathematics. Then they raised
    the bar. Pardon me for
    not grasping the ‘x’s’ and ‘y’s’
    of algebra, or the triangles
    and other assorted shapes
    of geometry. Those with logical
    minds, organize, problem solve,
    and teach mathematics or science.
    Those like me, write poetry,
    draw, and wander through daydreams.

  22. SarahLeaSales

    Plus/Minus Me

    I was a Plus 1,
    till I became 1 with Minus,
    who totaled me out to O.
    I became my worst,
    plus-sized and multiplied
    for less did not equal more.

    He was the dash,
    but I was not his dot,
    turning me into a Double Negative,
    canceling me out,
    making me Positive.

    So I became a heroine–
    not a zeroine–
    in the right man’s book,
    gaining British pounds while
    losing American ones.

  23. Amaria

    “one more kiss”

    one more kiss before you let go
    I don’t want to forget this time
    for I loved you at first hello
    one more kiss before you let go
    before I’m force to be solo
    hope you’ll still think of me sometime
    one more kiss before you let go
    I don’t want to forget this time

    By Arcadia Maria 9/7/26

  24. Walter J Wojtanik


    You touch the light switch,
    you touch it again.
    One more time for good measure.
    A treasure to be sure,
    but battling a compulsion
    and repulsion that threatens your
    sanity. There is no vanity
    in your foible. A matter of mind over
    repetitive matter, repetitive matter.
    Rest assured.
    The light is out.
    The door is locked.
    Your slippers rest at the edge of the bed,
    facing south,
    and crossed the way
    your feet hit the floor
    every morning.
    Every morning
    despite your malady, the reality
    is that I wouldn’t change a thing about you.
    I’ll just remain here and we’ll get you through.
    We can do this, together.

  25. PowerUnit

    Do I know you?
    Not yet.
    I’m on my way to dinner, with family.
    That’s too bad, maybe some other time.

    When life slaps you in the face, don’t raise a hand
    Don’t turn the your cheek away from possibility
    When that missing key is found, try it in the lock
    Before you hang it to dry, alone on a hook

    Your actions matter more than to just you
    Love is deciding not to be the fool
    Your progeny will thank you
    And likely curse you too

    The Wilson table please, and we need
    An additional setting

  26. Arash


    by Arash

    This last Sunday I was the plus-one
    So self-conscious I was half only
    Sam were there too but minus four
    Saw him tear up there on his phone
    Phil was there but plus two little ones
    Adding up to innocent shrieking fun
    Tim was plus-one too but a different one
    His date used to be my one and only
    Tanya was a plus-one but all alone
    Her partner too as always a no-show
    Chantelle for a change without her wine
    Because her plus-one was a zero point one
    Zoe showed up with another handsome one
    Rated him out of twenty a twenty-one
    The night was long and maths confused
    I ate and drank so much I left plus few
    And yet I felt like a big fat zero
    At home crying looking in the mirror
    Next time though I’ll try something new:
    I’ll count only me and only you

  27. Shennon

    Each morning
    I shuffle
    to the scale
    ever hopeful
    to be down
    a pound.

    Imagine now
    my deep chagrin
    numbers mounting
    to yesterday’s
    Plus one.


  28. Julieann


    She always wanted twins
    Boys, girls, either/or
    Two of a kind
    She felt for here
    Were in store
    But when the doctor
    Told her
    It was only one
    She refused acceptance
    As her desire carried on
    Each new appointment
    Was met with hope
    Still the message
    Didn’t change
    It is one and only one
    So a single this, a single that
    Duplicates were returned
    Until, at last,
    The time had come
    For her one –
    “Plus one!”

  29. PKP

    Happy Birthday – Tomorrow…

    If you added all the numbers
    of all the objects animate an
    in and lined them in a gyrating
    circle around this earth and
    spiraling off into the helix of
    the Universe – the total tally
    of my love would
    still need to be

    1. PKP

      Awwww with the birthday guy and peeked in – in between festivities… Thank you .. delighted you enjoyed… I am a lucky gal to have this fellow and lucky to have you folks with whom to share 🙂
      Enjoy the upcoming weekend and again many thanks… 🙂

      1. seingraham


        All our married lives, I’ve been the accompanying person
        The one attending the conferences and doing the fun things
        with all the significant others
        We got to get mani/pedi/cures, tour cities not ours,
        ride horses, ride zip-lines, get massages, throw pots –
        And when the daytime meetings were over,
        I’d join my husband for lovely dinners, sometimes a dance –
        sometimes a boring talk or other.

        Now, he’s retired and I’m the one working
        When our children were small, I was lucky enough
        to stay home with them – at least at first;
        later, I became quite ill and spent time in
        and out of the hospital
        Finally, years after the girls were grown
        and out on their own, and my health at long-last
        stabilized – I began to write seriously.
        I’d always written but mostly in my journal

        Now that I was well, I began to write in earnest
        – mostly poetry
        Poems seemed to be the best way I could express
        things: what I felt, what I remembered, what I feared …
        Before long I sought ways to learn more about the craft
        Luckily, there are many online courses now,
        and workshops to attend also
        I began honing my skills, writing and reading as I went
        All the while working towards becoming a real poet

        Several publishing successes and half a dozen years later
        my husband suggested we take a road trip
        A poetic tour of sorts – he thought, given that a workshop
        was being organized by poetry friends in North Carolina,
        we should kick-off our tour there
        So we did. Hickory, N.C. was the first place my husband
        became my plus-one, and he liked it
        He really liked it
        Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City – my plus one
        accompanied me to all these places
        When I wasn’t involved with poetry, we explored the cities
        and environs

        We’ve just returned from another such road trip and my
        plus one was just as delighted and delightful this time
        Life is proving very interesting.


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