Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 383

For today’s prompt, write an “it can’t be” poem. That is, a poem about something that just can’t be true. For some, this might mean a heart-broken love poem at the end of a relationship. For others, it might be dealing with a death. Still, it could be as trivial as a sports team losing or running out of chocolate (gasp!).

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Here’s my attempt at an It Can’t Be poem:

“Tis the Season”

What’s this dread washing over me
as agents sharpen their axes?
Sadly, I think it cannot be,
but it’s time to do my taxes!

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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). And a person who pays his taxes.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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83 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 383

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    another school shooting
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    another school shooting,
    it can’t be!
    we haven’t finished recovering
    from the last one.
    why is this still happening?

    haven’t we learned enough
    to stop this madness
    from reoccurring over
    and over and over again?
    why aren’t the safeguards
    earlier put in place, working?

    another school shooting,
    it can’t be!
    we haven’t finished recovering
    from the last one.
    why is this still happening?

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    1. ppfautsch24

      CAN IT BE…
      Who says it can’t be my time to
      fall prey to young love.
      A cougar in training and trying to out run
      a young cub panting at my heels.
      His pursuit open and vast,
      touch gentle, and strong in one bite.
      I feel protected, respected, and wanted at last.
      Why can’t it be that love is real?
      His tender youth of passion reads in his eyes.
      Me with societal angst of tangled sheets and my youth running out of time.
      His kiss carved a niche in my resolve.
      His touch scratched my itch,
      as my nature skips a beat.
      Can’t it be that love has found me?
      By Pamelap

  2. qbit

    It can’t be
    My hips and shoulders sore
    From sleeping on the floor
    Of the empty apartment.
    It can’t be how far
    I can see across the river
    Just by looking up
    With no shades and curtains.

    It can’t be the gulls
    So near the window –
    I could scavenge one
    If it comes to that.

    It can’t be any of these,
    Here
    Without you.

  3. Walter J Wojtanik

    THE WAY IT WAS

    It can’t be the way it was.
    Everything changes.
    Life rearranges and what once was
    Is no more. It can’t be
    that way you remember,
    from January to December
    things have taken a turn
    and as much as you yearn
    for familiarity, your clarity
    has been skewed. When viewed
    with discerning eyes, the whys
    and wherefores matter no more.
    You can see it can’t be
    no matter how hard you wish,
    your dish has a different flavor
    and everything that was once savored
    is left to decay in a way that says
    your train has departed.
    You have left the station hard hearted
    and you have started to long
    for the long ago with the so and sos
    with whom you had grown accustomed.
    But, it can’t be the way it was.
    Everything changes!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

  4. Anthony94

    Hoping it Can’t Be

    Mourning doves glean beneath
    a dying sun, backs rippling
    steps liquid. They are small
    ponds in this wind and I know
    their backs would be silk
    beneath my fingers

    in this middle of February. It can’t
    be seventy-three yet it is, sending
    confusion through the feathered
    and the bulbed. Grass greens on
    southern sides of structures
    trees bud in early anticipation.

    They say we’ll be as dry as 1923
    so I order more hose and plot
    how deep to mulch. Feel on my
    face the sear of mornings gone
    by ten to fire shadows. Surely
    it can’t be another year of drought

    but only six weeks from true spring
    we wait to see if what we hope can’t be is.

    1. Jane Shlensky

      it can’t be better ’til it stops
      hurting, seeing my work
      reduced to squiggles
      and blanks–computer
      viruses as pranks tells
      me how lost we have become

  5. deringer1

    UNBELIEVABLE

    unbelievable that you have gone
    so suddenly you went away –
    you – the other half of me
    unique and special friend
    don’t leave me bereft
    they say you died
    I say no !
    it can’t
    be

  6. Tracy Davidson

    it can’t be the end
    of the packet already
    I can’t have eaten
    twenty white choc chip cookies
    in twenty minutes – can I?

    (by the way – the answer is yes!)

  7. DMK

    It can’t be true
    living without you
    squirrells looking for nuts again
    thanks for being a friend
    we will take a ride with a heavenly driving guide
    or you can drive if it wounds your pride
    might be there with you soon
    can’t seem to find the heavenly tune
    feeling all alone haven’t found much comfort here
    I would rather pet and feed the deer
    than let the deer feed me
    glad you are now pain free.
    looking forward to an end to my pain
    the pain tells me tho there is still for me more to gain
    pray with your easy access pass
    send help my way quicker than fast
    t can’t be true
    living without all of you.

    1. DMK

      it can’t be true
      living without you
      squirrels looking for nuts again
      thanks for being a friend
      we will take a ride with a heavenly driving guide
      or you can drive if it wounds your pride
      can’t seem to find that heavenly tune
      feeling all alone haven’t found much comfort here
      I would rather pet and feed the deer
      than let the deer feed me
      glad you are now pain free
      looking forward to an end to my pain
      the pain tells me tho… there is still more to gain
      pray with your easy access pass
      send help; send it quicker than fast
      it can’t be true
      living without all of you

      1. DMK

        sorry having to walk to get internet and stress brought on another small stroke so late in correcting some typos. He did like to hunt and I am still missing him as well as the others that recently passed away.

  8. Sara McNulty

    Washed Out

    It can’t be
    raining again. No!
    Not after
    two straight weeks,
    black puddles of depression.
    Even dogs are down.

    Hillsides slide,
    backyards lie across
    highways. Trees
    topple down
    on water-logged, spongy ground.
    It can’t be raining.

  9. uvr

    Nostalgia descends
    like the fog shrouding
    a mountain top
    lending a rosy hue

    to baby pictures
    ensconced within
    the fraying pages
    of dog-eared albums

    a repository of years
    told in the chiselling
    of a chubby face
    and plump limbs

    to reveal
    a sparkling mind
    a steadfast heart
    marching to its own beat

    leaving me no task
    but to admire
    the unique tune
    as you dance

    out of your teens

    It can’t already be
    the month you turn twenty

  10. RuthieShev

    Unbelievable
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    What is this note?
    It can’t be
    No way
    I don’t believe it
    It can’t be
    The poem I wrote
    But it can’t be
    In the mail today
    I can’t conceive it
    It can’t be
    The judging is done
    It says I won
    It can’t be
    Or can it be?

  11. taylor graham

    IT CAN’T BE ANOTHER ONE

    High school photos in the paper, one after
    another. Girls who met under the bell tower,
    scaffold of metal curls and filigrees to catch
    the breeze down Main, from courthouse
    with its droning witness, past kitchen discard
    of Hangtown Fry – egg- and oyster shells –
    to the tower, its bell of alarm and beckon,
    rousting fire-brigades in Gold Rush days,
    now a rendezvous for friends and lovers
    after school. A honey-blonde, hair in careless
    love knots for the breeze to play with as she
    waited for him, and when he came, she
    disappeared. The next, hair dark as raven –
    did she twist a bit of cellophane into a love
    knot as she waited? and when he came,
    she disappeared. And then another, hair like
    char on a lightning’d log, doodling love knots
    in her notebook as she waited, and when he
    came, she disappeared. Does coxcomb-
    style become modus operandi? What
    happened to those girls? The wind whispers
    long-dead news echoing silent in the bell.

  12. candy

    It can’t be

    It can’t be bedtime
    There is laundry waiting –
    It won’t wash itself
    No matter how long I
    Ignore it
    And dinner dishes are
    Still stacked in the sink
    It can’t be bedtime
    My hair needs washed
    And I was planning a
    Facial tonight
    It can’t be bedtime
    I should make a grocery list
    And pack lunches
    It can’t be bedtime
    I just made a cup of tea
    And I’m going to read
    Just one more chapter –
    Really

    1. PressOn

      WHAT CAN’T BE, OUGHT TO BE

      It makes no sense. It just can’t be
      that her submission will not post
      with other poems we can see;
      it makes no sense. It just can’t be
      a reasonable thing to see
      that De’s poem is rendered toast.
      It makes no sense; it just can’t be
      that her submission will not post.

      1. PressOn

        Hmmmmm…. sloppy execution. It ought to have been that that one did not post, so let’s see if this one will:

        WHAT CAN’T BE, OUGHT TO BE

        It makes no sense. It just can’t be
        that her submission will not post
        with other poems we can see;
        it makes no sense. It just can’t be
        a reasonable thing for me
        that De’s poem is rendered toast.
        It makes no sense; it just can’t be
        that her submission will not post.

        1. De Jackson

          You’re so sweet, Sir. Thanks for this fun little poem. Still can’t post it today. It either says that I’ve already said that (“repeat comment”), or it acts like it’s posting it, and then it’s not there. Hilarious.

  13. seamuscorleone

    It Can’t Be

    It can’t be, that’s
    Been clear from
    The start.

    Sometimes that’s
    How it is, with
    Matters of the heart.

    You take what
    You can get while
    It’s for the giving,

    And then it ends, and
    You separately go
    On living.

    It is worth it just to
    Have found a person
    Worth your time,

    Someone who
    Fits with you, like
    A word and its rhyme.

  14. headintheclouds87

    The Last Page

    It’s always the way
    After holding an adventure
    In our restless hands
    And losing our heads
    In the saga it holds,
    Upon reaching the final words,
    Then comes the inevitable cry
    Of ‘This can’t be all!”
    Even if all loose, frayed ends
    Have been tightly resolved
    And each burning mystery
    Is now answered in full,
    The familiar pain is still real
    Of having to finally put down
    A book that has bewitched us so
    Until fate blesses us with another.

  15. De Jackson

    It Can’t Be {This} Much Trouble

    It can’t be this much trouble
    to post a poem today.
    I’ll post one on the double
    (it can’t be this much trouble).
    I hate to burst your bubble,
    but the comment box does say:
    It can be this much trouble
    to post a poem today.

      1. PressOn

        PERSISTENCE

        You’ve got to give her credit,
        the way she kept on trying;
        because no one has read it,
        you’ve got to give her credit
        for taking time to edit
        without recourse to crying.
        You’ve got to give her credit,
        the way she kept on trying.

        1. De Jackson

          It Can’t Be Meant to Be

          To post a poem today,
          she’s tried and tried and tried.
          With her non-triolet,
          to post that poem today,
          that comment box just won’t play.
          She’s cried and cried and cried.
          To post a poem today,
          she’s tried and tried and tried.

          1. De Jackson

            What on Earth

            She’s tried and tried and tried,
            (and every other poem has gone).
            Her brain is getting fried,
            for she’s tried and tried and tried.
            With persistence, and no pride,
            there’s just this other one…
            But she’s tried and tried and tried
            (while every other poem has gone.)

          2. De Jackson

            Lost Poem

            While every other poem has gone,
            there’s one that just won’t post.
            She’s tried hard, and she’s tried long,
            and while every other poem has gone,
            that comment box cannot be conned.
            One poem’s still a ghost.
            While every other poem has gone,
            there’s one that just won’t post.

          3. De Jackson

            Some Day My Post Will Come

            There’s one that just won’t post.
            (Yes, it’s still true today.)
            The one I liked the most
            (the one that just won’t post) –
            apparently, it’s toast.
            Persistence doesn’t pay.
            There’s one that just won’t post.
            (Yes, it’s still true today.)

  16. grcran

    Not the End

    Zeal. Blow the kazoo. It can’t be true. This.
    You smile. Blow kisses too. Ignoble son.
    Weal. But not for all. Pratfall & stumble.
    Stub toes & step on others. More than you know.
    So blow. Blow empty victory. Then look around.
    Ungrounded charges boomerang. Continue pain.

    gpr crane

  17. PowerUnit

    Assumption tops Holy Trinity,
    a basketball game made in heaven,
    all prayers answered,
    all sins forgiven.
    What are the chances something could go wrong?

    His intention was to make a promise
    but the prospect of success was hopeless,
    all views bleak futures,
    all trust flimsy notions.
    The fear of being correct shut his mind to further possibility.

    Her expectations of a phone call or text
    died with the forecast of loss,
    all lines in-spliced,
    all accounts deemed false.
    What is the outlook for man when the likelihood of love
    is no longer a slam dunk?

  18. tripoet

    Just Kick the Dang Ball

    Ending Super Bowl Ll- It Can’t Be

    “Hands to yourself
    true too with your feet”,
    said my mom and my teacher,
    “except when you compete.”

    So I found it annoying
    when we were ready to win
    to get knocked out of field goal range
    such a capital sin.

    So I’ll try not to cry
    Such a sad Falcon end
    Hats off to Tom Brady.
    Here we go again.

    1. De Jackson

      We don’t have cable, so we missed much of the second half of the game. I remember thinking, well, it’s not like there’s much chance we don’t already know who wins, anyway. Joke’s on me. Was pulling for those Falcons.

        1. tripoet

          :-)))))))))))))))) My brother who lives in NYC said that this has happened to his Jets’ team so many times that he knew what was coming. Sadly, I didn’t. ( I should have because my Chiefs have been known to blow a lead or two.) On a literary note, you both are lovely poets. I enjoyed reading your work each week. Annie

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