Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 373

For today’s prompt, write a card poem. This poem could be a greeting card poem, I guess. But there are so many other varieties of cards too, including business cards, credit cards, sports cards, playing cards, and the St. Louis Cards. When it comes to alcohol and tobacco, many folks get carded. Some people are referred to as being a card. And well, there are many other possibilities in the cards, I’m sure.


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Here’s my attempt at a Card poem:

“Not in the Cards”

He walked up to the table
and thought he had a chance,
but no one wanted to cut him in
and let him have a dance–

so he went out to the stable
to fetch himself his horse
to find it had left with a girl
he’d recently divorced.

Yes, life can be real tough; in fact,
it’s sometimes downright hard,
but getting any easier for him
was never in the cards–

so he walked alone that evening
and thought about that girl,
who suddenly seemed the only thing
he wanted in the world.


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 really needs to be more poetic with his out-of-office messages.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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61 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 373

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    (“How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five)

    American Greetings
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    It’s All Hallows Eve
    and I’m expected to conjure
    up reasons to reach out
    to you in the hereafter,
    though I’m long past
    exchanging greetings
    with you

    The canonical that once
    tethered our hearts
    would also sever that union
    years later,
    divide assets
    raise armies
    usher forth new allegiances.

    It was easier that way,
    so that the next time
    I saw your white bones
    lying in a ditch,
    awaiting salvation
    I would feel…
    absolutely nothing,

    a Vonnegut moment.

    © 2016 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    1. ppfautsch24

      Card Carrying
      The torment of broken hearts and ghost of lost dreams, and memories creased between a card.
      Making me think of you even when you are not
      on my mind.
      Though messages screamed your voice
      loud and clear; I didn’t hear.
      Black, bold, filigree letters you couldn’t tell me
      what was in your heart.
      Gothic letters telling tales of shredded hopes.
      I was a card carrying fool for you.
      By Pamelap

  2. taylor graham


    At the old Stamp Mill, enough tons
    of downward thrust to pulverize a mountain’s
    rock, then by natural attraction
    mate mercury to gold. A park docent described
    the process before passing me on
    to a gentleman in the lower room. Black Bart.
    Most courteous of bandits, our
    Gold Rush highwayman poet. Dressed
    all in black but for the pillowcase under his hat.
    He handed me his calling card –
    spotless white handkerchief, laundry-mark
    FX07 that led to his arrest. Coal smoke
    drifted from a smithy on the upper floor. Black
    vest, black trousers, dapper moustache,
    and that white pillowcase cowled from crown
    to collar which – when no one was
    looking, he pulled down over his face,
    to look at me eye-level through slits of mask.
    Clear blue-grey intensity – steel
    blue in this house of iron – his eyes, his life
    story in pieces peeking through
    the holes. Did he rob a stagecoach here,
    I wanted to know, in our County of Gold? Yes;
    well, no. Black Bart was everywhere
    up and down the Motherlode. Right here,
    now. Handkerchief fresh-laundered
    from his last holdup, Nov. 3, 1883; a rain-
    washed verse to prove it.

  3. qbit

    True North

    My love I have been:

    Unrepentant –

    Four sins
    To the diamond points
    Of a compass rose,
    The bearings of a marriage
    So clear and bright.

    I am at times for a moment lost,
    Blinded by your transit of Venus
    From the bed to the bath.
    You are the morning star
    Before sunrise.

    Like a needle
    That cannot fix true north,
    My weaknesses
    Waver in the presence of your


    Yet brighter than all the rest
    From you I know the Pole and true north.
    You are above all else

  4. Beth Henary Watson


    I keep a file folder that oozes effusive greetings,
    Congratulations, thinking of yous, happy birthdays,
    Enveloped sentiments worthy
    Of shelf space in the mass market,
    Polished wishes I sign my name to,
    Avoiding responsibility for creating my own sorries,
    Sympathies, new baby enthusiasms
    That would require me to conjure up
    The shame of my high school poetry efforts,
    Which once they abandoned cliche
    Never lacked earnestness;
    Thus the commercial variety is better than
    Regrets for never sending a card.

  5. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    Devils, Witches, Wizards, and Goblins too,
    Rocking the night away.
    A banquet was served of deviled kidney stew
    As the monsters were at play..
    Sour cream sauce and blood red wine!
    Mingled together in a heady brew.
    Kept the evil frivolity under way.

    Bong! As a clang of the doorbell-gong.
    Announced a late arrival
    A phantom butler answered the door.
    Then jumped back in horror and fright.
    There in a shining white clerical collar
    Stood a ghastly frightful nightmarish sight
    A priest stood smiling broadly.

    The Party-Host, a satanic prince, looked hard,
    Scrutinised the interloper closely.
    Who are you? Can I see your invitation card?
    This is a private haunting party.
    The priest, put his hands up in horror and said
    “I am not here to party, I am here to complain.
    Would you kindly keep the noise down.

    The noise in the graveyard is waking the dead.
    It was then the turn of the host to smile
    As he motioned the priest to enter.
    “Here is a special invitation card.”.
    “Stay with us for a while.”
    While we wait for our friends from the graveyard.”
    Stay and enjoy the party.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

  6. headintheclouds87

    A Life Played in Cards

    You gotta play the game, kid
    The one with unspoken rules
    Hidden behind false smiles
    And all those slimy handshakes
    From the ones who hold the cards.
    Pretend to be an expert player,
    Cheat and steal selectively
    So as not to show yours all at once.

    Keep those cards close to your chest
    Breathing them out at the right time
    To keep smooth-talkers on their toes,
    Tease the pack one-by-one,
    Slip them your story slowly
    So they keep coming back for more,
    Turn over the harsher truths
    And discard less desirable parts.

    You’ll of course lose the odd round
    In this cruel, cryptic challenge
    Change the deck, dust yourself off
    Stand back up and shuffle it
    Until finely tuned to your liking.
    Find the cracks in your competitor
    And force them to show the face
    That spells the weakness inside.

    Cut through those time-wasters
    And find the worthy opponents,
    As well as valuable accomplices
    In this whole wretched confusion
    That some choose to categorise
    As some small simplistic ‘game’,
    Where carefully crafted card houses
    So often fall into formless heaps.

  7. Jane Shlensky


    She cries watching card commercials,
    cards that might leave her cold
    were they not presented by actors
    portraying a beloved grandmother,
    an illiterate father who has saved
    his daughter’s cards until he can read them,
    the college student with her retiring professor,
    teenaged boys turned into gentlemen
    by the light in a girl’s eyes, a string
    of ungrateful children who nevertheless
    love their mothers at least once a year,
    all of us turned into purring cats
    by sentiment. She cries each time
    remembering all that’s gone wrong
    in her life, the people misplaced
    or disregarded, the feelings tamped
    down when they need release,
    and mutters, when love threatens
    to overflow, “There should be a card
    for this. Isn’t there a card for this?”

  8. DMK

    card came with the flowers stuck on a stick
    nothing that can be fixed
    sorry for your loss came to my mother
    by a friend of my brother
    a couple people sent a message fb text
    feels like with the weight I might be next
    for the sending of cards and flowers
    when I return home
    can’t pick up a broken phone
    too many just left me alone
    someday i and already you
    will get the welcome home

  9. writinglife16


    He bid high.
    Usually too high.
    In card games
    and in life
    His greedy id drove the train
    right into losing.

    I bid low.
    Knowledge guided me.
    All games need
    He went high and I went low.
    Won every time.

    The years past.
    He still bid too high.
    I went low
    And wondered
    Would he ever realize.
    Or maybe he had?

  10. Sarah Metzler

    Old Trump cards—
    I can tell the king
    Used to be a joker

    Pokémon cards—
    All the characters
    Collecting characters

    Solitaire cards—
    The softening of her edges
    Over the years

    Mother’s cards—
    We shuffle
    Into new roles

    Christmas card collection—
    The wrinkling
    Of their faces

    Administrative day—
    I collect, collate, and analyze
    My business cards

  11. Bushkill

    Nature’s Card

    I saw it all,
    Writ large across
    The evening sky.

    In colored hues
    Long since fallen
    From barren branches.

    Before the dark descended
    And threw its shroud
    Around the world;

    The clarion call
    Drowned in the silence
    Of stalking night.

    To wake in dim half-light
    And muffled sounds
    Of freshly fallen snow.

    And see the hand
    Of God at work,
    Leaving nothing but nature’s card.

  12. lsteadly

    Robert, I really like your poem!

    A Bear Visits

    at the end of the summer
    the bear left

    his calling card in the yard
    a black pile flecked with seeds

    from berries and nuts and who
    knew what else from his feastings

    I watched it disintegrate into nothing
    more than a matted spot in the grass

    as the birds pecked away and chipmunks
    sifted through, all grateful in the sharing

    unlike us with our toxic carbon
    footprints we leave on the mountains

    in the valleys and rivers, clouds even
    no bears will touch them, crows fly on by

  13. seingraham


    Some say it’s all in the shuffle, and others,
    in a particular deck
    Did you choose the multicoloured one from
    Romania, or the one that looks other-worldly
    (all silvers and pale blues) – as if it arrived
    from the future?
    Then, of course, it depends on how the cards
    are stacked and how you cut them, then cut
    them again—and finally once they’re
    spread on the cloth before you, usually a heavy
    damask or velvet thing—how carefully,
    you select each card to make up
    the formation you’ve decided will tell you
    what it is you need to know.

    Are you asking the cards something
    specific? Or hoping to find something
    or someone? Once, when I had my tarot
    card fortune told – I was so freaked
    by the woman’s eerie accuracy about my
    past and present, when she told me
    about my future – and the child I was carrying
    – as she turned over the Queen of Cups …
    I began planning a nursery without even
    realizing I was doing it.

  14. grcran

    But Did It Sell

    The greetings inside rhymed with “card”.
    They could not be read. It was hard.
    The words were absurd.
    What’s more, they were blurred.
    Italics. In bold. Triple-starred.

    gpr crane

  15. Nancy Posey

    Undelivered Mail

    Friar John might not have even been the first
    to fail to get a letter in his care
    to its intended reader. Just today
    a cell phone caught a mailman at his worst:
    dumping his bags of letters, unaware
    of witnesses as he went on his way.
    In wartime, pilots hauling bags of mail
    were shot down, tumbling seaward from the air:
    with love notes, Dear John letters, cards to say,
    “I’m still alive.” Words undelivered sail

  16. terri9869

    Thinking of you in your time of Need

    Days turn into weeks
    Weeks turn into months
    Months will turn into years
    If you let it

    As time passes
    We refer to our loved one
    In the present
    As if they are with us now
    In the next room
    Talking freely
    Expecting results

    With this
    It is truly,
    My deepest symphony
    In your time of need


  17. terri9869

    Thinking of you in your time of Need

    Days turn into weeks
    Weeks turn into months
    Months will turn into years
    If you let it

    As time passes
    We refer to our loved one
    In the present
    As if they are with us now
    In the next room
    Talking freely
    Expecting results

    With this
    It is truly,
    My deepest symphony
    In your time of need


  18. elishevasmom

    Vanity vs Sanity

    Few and far between
    the ones not flattered

    being carded up into
    their forties.

    All the while
    dying those roots—

    lying those looks requires

    (FYI – smoking adds
    a sentence of ten to twenty.)

    Suddenly, with sixty
    in the rear view,

    let those roots grow—
    shake that silver

    with pride.
    Each shining strand

    to wisdom.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2016
    a card poem for PA

  19. SarahLeaSales

    Pinky Tale Creations

    Pinky Tickles penned greetings for anonymous givers—
    cards for every anni, quarrel and bicker—
    cards for divorces and broken engagements,
    for the neutralizing of toxic friendships,
    and friends-with-benefits relationships.

    There were cards for congrats
    on being canned like a tuna,
    or sacked like a potato chip;
    for being kicked to the curb
    by roommates growing herbs.

    There were cards for bad bosses,
    “You’re welcome” cards and “Sorry…not!”;
    for unhappy birthdays and ugly afterthoughts.

    There were unsympathy cards for deadbeat dads and
    “Don’t Get Well” cards for mommy dearests;
    “Happy Lonely Valentine’s” days,
    “Santa Hates You” Christmases,
    and “Thank You for Climate Change”,
    for those who fired up the works on Independence Day.

    Pinky was a minus sign in a plus-sized biz suit—
    a fractious little number—
    but the day she finally got some shag,
    her heart bloomed into a redrum rose and
    her words became sweet as a lollipop gag.

  20. taylor graham


    It’s what the hometown girls do, these fair-
    grounds days, in memory of how fashion
    was made here in the olden-times. Reminds
    me of my sheep-running years. For purposes
    of this competition, the sheep are already
    shorn – I know that drill – the fleece washed
    and dyed; and carded. Did these girls do that,
    separating fibers the old-fashioned way,
    by hand? And now it’s crunch time. Which
    team can turn out a finished garment in the
    quickest time? Here, the teams of girls will spin
    and weave their fleece. Our Miss Fit Spinners
    chose a plain weave pattern to show off
    the homespun beauty of their wool – warp
    of white Shetland lamb’s pride with dyed
    mohair; weft a pastel blend. The shawl comes
    lovely off the loom – then shrinks
    15 inches in just ten minutes. Was the fault
    in carding? spinning,? weaving? Let’s call it
    a fit of sheep-whimsy. I know that drill too.

  21. Anthony94

    After the Fields are Bare

    In the dim corner, she pulls the wool across
    the wooden paddle, cards it again and again
    to make the rolag for spinning later. It is
    silent work, save for the occasional scrape
    of paddle against paddle, the wire teeth
    flexing, grabbing, releasing. She prefers
    the goats and lambs springing through
    the pasture, butting now and then,
    climbing the bales, pulling down leaves,
    Yet this part fills the dark hours and when
    the barns are full against the bitterness
    of winter both inside and out, she’s more
    or less content to sit and pull the wool
    across, likes how her hands soften with lanolin.

  22. candy

    Card Reader

    “Pick a card

    any card”, she said

    “Let me read your


    I stepped into her

    veil draped tent

    and sat across from

    her at a round table

    She fanned the cards

    in front of me and smiled

    an evil smile

    I chose a card and held

    it up – she frowned and

    shook her head

    “Your future looks quite

    dismal dear. Maybe a few

    more coins will help”

    I took that card and folded

    it into a lovely crane

    Then sent it sailing far

    and high – I smiled at her

    wished her well

    My future’s mine to tell

  23. De Jackson

    i fold

    it’s not about the dirty laundry
    or the origami
    of us – the barely held together
    creases and the
    places we’ve broken, and broken
    through. It’s not
    even about the reality: that you
    hold all
    the cards. Okay, it’s a little bit
    that. And
    a little bit the cold hard fact that
    i (remember
    have never seen the movie
    named on this
    tiny folded ticket. And there are
    two of them –
    and apparently, two of you. So
    adieu. Turns
    out, it’s my golden ticket out.

  24. deringer1

    Card Curtal

    This formal card which you are reading now
    is totally inadequate to tell
    you how much you’ve always meant to me.
    Just thinking of you makes my heart o’erflow.
    Back then there was no way we could foretell
    what lay ahead, for we could not foresee
    that I would stay and you would go away.
    But now I can remember oh so well
    how we would dream of someday being free.
    Now there is nothing more that I can say—
    we loved.

  25. madeline40

    Playing Cards

    Remember those kid’s card games
    Go Fish and War? My brother and I
    would play for hours and hours
    with multiple decks of cards.

    Then I graduated to gin rummy
    with my dad. He was a cagey player.
    He had a ready-made poker face
    even though his game was gin

    until he gave gin up
    to go to school to learn
    Goren’s new rules for contract bridge.
    He taught me that too.

    I’d play at our standing card table
    partnered with a friend against my folks
    or at our high school’s student union
    during lunch or a free break.

    But one of my faves,
    were the sleep overs at Joni’s
    We lounge on her bed with four decks of cards
    and play Canasta into the night.

  26. KM

    her big 5-0
    dozens of texts
    not one card

    second date
    playing the marriage card
    too soon

    tarot reader
    sees riches
    in her own future

    looooong election
    even Trump
    outta trump cards

  27. seamuscorleone

    One-Eyed Jack

    I play it straight,
    No wilds,
    One hand to win or
    Lose with;
    No do-overs,
    Just like life.

    She wants more chances to get it right:
    Seven card draw,
    Aces and deuces wild
    And let’s leave the jokers in.

    Then she makes it really savage:
    One-eyed jacks and
    Suicide Kings;
    Black Maria and
    The Butcher of Baghdad.

    Soon every card is wild and there is no
    Way to find out who wins.

    Do six aces beat
    A run of seven?

    Is a six car flush better
    Than five of a kind?

    Still, I reach over and touch her hand,
    Glad to live in her undomesticated world,
    If only for one night,
    It doesn’t matter who wins.

  28. tripoet


    A postcard
    fills a shoebox,
    then another
    that fit under
    the arms of
    Joyce Hall.
    They enter
    Kansas City
    held tightly
    hid under
    his bed.
    The stuff
    are made of.

  29. Michelle Hed

    What She Was Dealt

    She had a plan,
    a course
    she was set to follow

    but fate dealt
    a different course.

    She tried to fold
    life was adamant,

    so she held her
    and played her best.

    The hand is still in play.

  30. PowerUnit

    An Afternoon In Wisconsin

    We rode single file
    Our bikes, beasts in a field
    Our face-card engines roared under us
    Echoed into the growth
    The hard seats delivering the lumps and ruts of six feet of topsoil
    Into that later, relaxing, refreshing bath
    Before the bedtime game of Euchre
    The Green Giant walls, deadening
    The calls for dinner


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