Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 401

For today’s prompt, write a repair poem. Obviously, this could be a poem about repairing something mechanical like a car or a bike. But it could also cover repairing a relationship, your state of mind, or your body.


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Here’s my attempt at a Repair Poem:

“Morning Runs”

If we’re being honest, the hardest part
is to wake up in the morning, and then,
slowly lace up my shoes and put my heart
into taking those first couple steps when
I’d rather be sleeping next to my wife,
but such is the semi-athletic life,

and since we’re being honest, I’ll just say
that the run gets much easier from there,
though I won’t pretend my muscles won’t ache
or that I don’t move like an old bear,
but honestly, that’s the reason I run
to let myself know that it can be done.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Once he posts this prompt, he’s taking off for a morning run.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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112 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 401

  1. taylor graham


    I was looking for the totem of the place.
    I’d turned off the news of pesticides
    and messing with genes and blanketing
    the world with poison.
    I wanted to invoke the spirit
    of the place – its meadows greening
    over the honest bones of a fox,
    and a bird calling from the tangled edges;
    its wetlands rich with buzz of bugs
    and scent of mud, with generous decay.
    I wanted to soothe my mind.
    A shadow passed over –
    one blue heron in blessing.

  2. authorbrandikennedy

    This was a great prompt! I ended up using it for my Patreon poem last month, and my readers loved it – I’ve already found a great one for this month as well.

  3. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    mending fences
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    so i’m pounding on the fence with my father’s hammer,
    mending downed boards you’ve been long after me over
    where pushy cows with respect issues like me have
    gone and trampled your field work, when it
    suddenly dawns on me why i stay despite
    years of your constant abuse…
    — not mom’s grave on the back forty
    — not cause i’m not eager to get away from you
    — not for lack of funds odd jobs in town have afforded

    but simply because i actually love this farm
    more than i hate you.

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  4. taylor graham


    Such a rigmarole at the stroke
    of morning. The weathered back porch –
    recently shored up – began to creak
    and knock like pickaxes underground,
    an old dwarf petrifying to the stone
    of his calling; symptom of an old house
    standing too long in the same place,
    wishing to become bedrock.
    Was my trickster puppy, Loki – grown up
    but never tamed – dancing on dry-rot?
    Her avocation, to test each
    breaking-point till it fails, splits open
    like a geode to reveal its cavern
    stalactites, sun-crystal too bright to handle.

  5. qbit

    On Waiting for my Wife to Return from Surgery

    The surgeon’s hands
    And her hands
    Knitting, darning, mending
    The world –
    Frayed tendons
    Like stray thoughts

    Listening to
    The slow oxygen
    Of a spinning wheel,
    Spooling anesthetic its

    Click your needles
    Three times
    And return her to
    Scarves and sutures
    Shawl cross stitches,
    Gut tied in knots
    But not wrenched.

  6. writinglife16


    Dad decided
    it was time to do
    something about
    his loud snoring.

    Mom asked
    and cajoled.
    Threatened to withhold his
    favorite desserts
    if he didn’t tell her
    why he finally decided
    to do something
    about this.

    She decided it was
    sleep apnea.

    My sister and I
    overheard heard him
    tell his buddy,
    he woke himself up
    and he needed his sleep.

  7. thunk2much

    There is nothing
    more reassuring
    than the memory of
    my toddler son
    walking proudly
    plastic hammer in hand
    proclaiming loudly
    I fix it!
    as he whacked the oven
    or the light switch into shape.

  8. DMK

    Healing Recipe
    by DMK

    things broken needs fixing; to repair
    recipe needed for…living care
    to personally heal seems a personal dare
    invisible to many people that stare
    sometimes turning into a threatened bear
    fix and cut the hair…ended lacking fare

    Epsom salt plus frankincense water layer
    finally medication better than Bayer
    left a lone for mine and higher prayer
    the recipe starts with a call, a text, a visit, a holy spirit sayer
    would like a ruling from a heavenly mayor

  9. Jane Shlensky


    He judges how well wrought a piece may be,
    how old, used and how abused by lines
    like pores in skin, chips microscopic but there.

    She claims his mind when he handles a pot
    long ago, a hunk of clay created for use,
    beloved but battered about, functional, quaint.

    He would like to tell her what she means to him
    if he had words, but all he has is clay, a wheel,
    his curving back, his hands, jars of glaze and pigment.

    Perhaps she knows their breaks as well as he,
    mistakes and angry words, times that were hard.
    Perhaps she sees their strength with her old eyes,
    trained to overlook the worst and knead.

  10. Jane Shlensky


    “Promise me you will fix this if I die,”
    he says of every broken thing he keeps—
    a lifetime made of tasks he’s getting to.
    I nod, but I know even if I try
    to do his bidding, my life surely seeps
    away like his. I wonder if he knew
    he couldn’t save the world when he began.
    Yet, as he works beside me, my heart leaps
    to feel his zeal to mend pass through
    to me, within my mind and heart and hands
    made new.

  11. JRSimmang


    It is in this moment
    I realize
    that a full-broken
    vase once shining
    be glued back together
    all at once.

    In much the same way
    the pieces of heart and spirit
    acquiesce as drops in a pool.

    Each piece must
    be first
    to another,
    painstakingly so.

    -JR Simmang

  12. Nancy Posey

    I am going to add hyphens in the word the site blocker though might be “inappropriate” to see if the poem will post.

    My Father, Never the Handyman

    He may have learned to plow with a mule
    to plant with the phases of the moon
    to whittle and fiddle and escape the cotton fields
    but he couldn’t fix a thing.

    His old used cars shaded a jungle
    of unmown grass beneath rusted frames,
    though we’d seen other fathers
    slide beneath their own, wielding wrenches.

    The La-Z-Boy he took apart and reassembled,
    leaving a bowl full of unused parts,
    reclined ever after all the way back
    to the floor like a c-o-c-k-pit at takeoff.

    We learned to ignore torn window screens,
    broken banisters, creaking stairs.
    We bought new coffee pots and toasters
    or did without when old ones quit.

    But faced with a daughter’s broken heart,
    he knew when to apply silence,
    when to use words or warm hugs.
    Unable to unbreak, he loved the broken.

  13. Heather


    stuck in
    an endless loop
    we dance
    in circles.
    Neither willing
    to step into
    each other’s company.
    That give and take,
    to and fro,
    back and forth,
    could mend us,
    but we’re so afraid
    of tripping
    of reopening
    old wounds,
    of being close,
    we don’t try.

    ~ also published on heatherbutton[dot]com

        1. Eileen S

          I had trouble posting on the Robert Frost farm blog. When I hit reply and added my comment it posted. A few weeks ago I wrote a poem about Margaret Mead and her research on primitive cultures and the poem never posted. I think the content had something to do with it. I think there is glitch somewhere.

  14. De Jackson

    Continued Triolet Play with Walt, if he’ll still have me…

    Soul Repair

    They write at will, and instill thrills to those who read,
    but they’re really just scribing work on their own souls.
    The very act of writing gives them what they need,
    as they write at will, and instill thrills to those who read.
    When they run out of muse, they just open a vein and bleed,
    for sometimes sweat and tears alone don’t make them whole.
    They write at will, and instill thrills to those who read,
    but they’re really just scribing work on their own souls.


    1. Walter J Wojtanik


      They’re really just scribing work on their own souls,
      poets need to believe in order to fix themselves and be appreciated;
      they have to know their own mind. They’re in control
      but they’re really just scribbling work on their own souls.
      They tend to rake their words over their internal coals
      and when people “get them” they are truly elated.
      They’re really just scribing words on their own souls,
      poets need to believe in order to fix themselves and be appreciated.

  15. thunk2much

    Clean Sweep

    When they come to clean it up,
    whoever comes to clean it up –
    maybe aliens, or evolved pets,
    or people who survived
    against the odds, underground –
    when they come to clean it up,
    they will ask us plainly:
    How did we let this happen?
    Why didn’t we stop the fall?
    And millions and billions of us,
    off the record for eternity now,
    boxes unchecked, names unknown,
    will mouth the words “we tried”
    through our ashen lips,
    shrugging our blanched shoulders
    as we crumble at last into dust
    for their sweeping brooms to catch.

  16. PowerUnit

    Bonner from Brussels

    We’ve both been working hard
    One for money and the other, for love
    Of the written word
    The road to magnanimity
    Is not paved, with adverbs
    And adjectives are only dead words
    Are met with the head down
    And fingers deciphering
    Notice waves of great big seas
    And now we sit, and sip
    Retired if not rested
    Sipping Belgian beers a l’au brassiere
    As retired people
    Have the right to do.

  17. lsteadly

    Cellular Rx

    I’ve been told by experts
    the answer lies
    in the healing
    hours spent sleeping
    over night
    the body sloughs off
    sins from the day
    regenerates cells
    to repair the damage
    done by over exposure
    to the sun, the wind,
    the truths denied

  18. De Jackson

    Lately, my soul’s best repairs come from running. This is new to me, just over the past few months. Right now, I’m in Lake Tahoe and the runs are rewarded by some time by the Lake.. Wrote this, this morning.

    run three, to Blue


    from me to You,
    where (g)race flows
    free from every
    rhythmic step. where sky
    and lakey sea
    make way for more
    of You
    and less
        of me.

  19. Nancy Posey

    My Father, Never the Handyman

    He may have learned to plow with a mule
    to plant with the phases of the moon
    to whittle and fiddle and escape the cotton fields
    but he couldn’t fix a thing.

    His old used cars shaded a jungle
    of unmown grass beneath rusted frames,
    though we’d seen other fathers
    slid beneath their own, wielding wrenches.

    The La-Z-Boy he took apart and reassembled,
    leaving a bowl full of unused parts,
    reclined ever after all the way back
    to the floor like a cockpit at takeoff.

    We learned to ignore torn window screens,
    broken banisters, creaking stairs.
    We bought new coffee pots and toasters
    or did without when old ones quit.

    But faced with a daughter’s broken heart,
    he knew when to apply silence,
    when to use words or bear hugs.
    Unable to unbreak, he loved the broken.

  20. Tracy Davidson


    I follow your tracks
    trying to mend a marriage
    that’s stuck on the rails
    hard as I try to catch up
    the distance between us grows

  21. Anthony94

    Summer of the Orange Vase

    Pottery shattered in the kiln
    that night, taking the pumpkin
    colored vase, some bubble lurking
    like a bomb so that I gathered
    shards into a discarded lunch bag
    the only proof that I had made
    anything rattling the sack.

    Later, I glued pieces together,
    puzzled them back into shape,
    scarred glaze, jagged cracks, divots
    where other pieces had ricocheted.

    I went to the five and dime later
    bought silk chicory, plastic daisies,
    set the vase in a place of honor.
    It wouldn’t hold water but neither
    would my wanting it in all its imperfections.

    I finally let it go with the last move,
    that first piece I ever threw on the wheel
    holding so much more than the slip
    between my fingers, the miles I pedaled
    to get to the center, the old shirt of
    my father’s I wore to protect my clothes.
    How much of the potter is in the clay.

  22. Uma

    Our life

    a wound-down watch
    waiting to be re-
    paired with time
    that has tick-tocked by

    in stalled years
    of unnoticed misery
    as solitude insidiously
    wound itself around me
    till I forgot how to be with you

    You can no longer fathom
    what makes me tick
    and I no longer want to tock

    so I linger like the wind
    that refuses to blow
    on a hot summer day

  23. Walter J Wojtanik


    A house full of dreams
    and all the minutia gathered over the years
    of cheer, fears and heartfelt tears,
    becoming an nearly empty nest at best.
    And deep in my chest all the “memories”
    assigned and attached to each book or toy
    are now being packaged for a new girl
    or boy. Photographs serve to preserve
    all the moments in cascade,
    a parade of smiles tinged with sadness.
    Another box taped and secured,
    carried to the car, for the recycle bin
    (or trash); no cash value for one man’s trash
    (once held as treasures)
    no pleasure in fixing what has needed “repair”
    It is there where reality resides,
    it hides in every pang and tug
    on a b-flat heart string,
    it brings me to this: once I dispose
    of these bins full of slightly worn clothes,
    I’ll know the girls are truly gone,
    dispatched to hatch memory preserves
    of their own making, taking a small seed
    to nurture future purging like this.
    The realization says this place is becoming
    too big for just two. It is true you can’t go home
    again. But would it kill you to visit a bit more?

  24. Walter J Wojtanik


    The phoenix had risen, back from the dead.
    Lazarus called, he demands his life back.
    Lost in the depths of a broken spirit,
    left in the lurch with so much more to say.
    You stand in silence, wishing for the return
    of your sanity, and
    your security, and
    everything else you think you’ve lost
    that leaves you feeling empty;
    dead from the floor up.
    The randomness of your words
    tossed together with ease
    and having a flair that brings your voice
    from deep within you and gives you
    cause to express every heartfelt pang,
    poem and passion, delivering your work
    to a once appreciative audience,
    offering peace and confidence
    to your lifeless rhyme. Infusing
    your heart and soul with the breath
    of a million soft sighs, the poet
    has found his promise and drive.
    Once again alive. Repaired;

  25. headintheclouds87

    Awake to Amend

    I sat on the bed and stared
    At an indifferent ceiling
    In a state of optimistic despair,
    A rather curious feeling
    Stirred by the midnight air,
    (That hour for sudden epiphanies)
    Realising I still had time to repair
    The cracks in my damaged reality.

    So now I stand
    With vague plans in mind
    Meeting only my own demands
    As I leave my half-sleeping self behind.

  26. grcran

    (a line of prelude (postlude?)): “those fit to fix the problem ended up by chokin’”

    Cold broken culture
    Could there be repair
    Big boxy stores entice
    Strip wallets bare
    Politics divided
    Shrouded looking glass
    Looking at the screens instead
    TVs Phones En masse
    Techno Info breakdown
    Working far too well
    Fall of Roman Empire
    Poignant parallel
    Most unrepresented
    America unspoken
    Far past the fixin’
    Culture cold and broken

    gpr crane

  27. Angie5804

    Moleskin for the toes
    Duct tape for the windows
    But where is the tie that binds
    My heart when it’s breaking
    My days when they’re fragmented

    Rubber cement for the vase
    But the cracks will always be there
    Like my shattered dreams
    That no one sees
    No one feels

    Holes can be patched
    Only so many times
    Until there is nothing left to be mended
    Like my worn down spirit
    A chasm that can’t be crossed

  28. Marie Elena

    look before you leap
    some roads should never be crossed
    some things can’t be fixed

    keep your eyes on me
    I myself go before you
    repent and be saved


  29. SarahLeaSales


    For what is broken
    can be mended,
    but what is shattered,
    would be like trying to gather
    all the tar balls from Pensacola Bay;
    with cracks,
    a pitcher can hold,
    with stitches,
    a garment can hold together,
    but with pieces missing,
    too much is revealed,
    the water sloshes,
    spilling out what was left
    that was still good.

  30. MET

    Heart repair

    I have gotten good at repairing hearts….
    Repaired others often enough, and
    Finally got around to repairing mine…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 12, 2017

  31. Eileen S


    The little white pills help fight the disease.
    A pill each day, taken with food.
    Some days are great; some days are horrible.
    Sometimes the stomach gurgles.
    Some days the body wretches in pain.
    The medicine kills the cancer cells as well
    as the healthy ones.
    There’s so much not knowing.
    Going to doctor’s appointments,
    lab tests are ordered,
    lab work is reviewed.
    More appointments.
    More discussions.
    It’s a long tedious journey
    to find out if the pills
    killed the cancer
    and cured the patient.

  32. taylor graham


    In this evolving world, we humans make
    amendments to Nature’s balance, hoping to give
    an edge to threatened species. You build nest-
    boxes for birds whose natural cavities (holes
    in old dead branches and rotting fenceposts)
    are cut down in the name of progress. How many
    boxes you’ve built, and repaired! How many
    baby swallows, bluebirds, titmice and wrens
    you’ve brought to the stage of fledging.
    And now, this: you reach inside a box,
    expecting eggs already hatched; expecting –
    scales? and a muscled pulsing against
    your hand. A snake! No eggs or tiny birds.
    Snakes must eat, too. Nature has her own
    ideas about fixing the natural balance.

  33. taylor graham


    What kudos for piles of stuff we kept.
    Who wept
    for old spoons? Why be heavy-set
    with regret
    as if that vase verified our worth.
    Let’s regain the great all-giving earth
    and, conversely, direct our course
    toward open water, find our source.
    Who wept with regret? Unberth!

  34. rlk67


    When heart are broken,
    Emotions spent,
    Living life
    At twenty percent,
    The final straw,
    The back has bent.
    It’s now routine,
    Just get that stent!

  35. Jrentler

    white star down

    i always told the stewards,
    hold the rocks
    no need

    till the waters
    swallowed me

    & my boudoir locks
    rusted shut

    my ballrooms turned pools

    barnacle bejeweled

    furnaces cooled
    where tiger sharks

    dont raize me
    or i’ll split

    for i belong to the sea

  36. taylor graham


    What kudos for piles of stuff we kept.
    Who wept
    to lose them? Why be heavy-set
    with debt
    conversely, to verify our worth.
    In rebirth
    we’ll gain the great all-giving earth.
    Clearly it seems more direct
    to give stuff up. May we reconnect –
    who wept with debt – in rebirth.

  37. seamuscorleone

    An Absence of Fathers

    When the relationship broke down
    You were quick to give up,
    To renounce your paternal crown
    And lone the prince will sup.
    You took from him the purple gown
    And from his lips the cup,
    You left him in the deep to drown,
    Like an unwanted pup.

    Without words nothing can repair
    The damage that was done,
    Impossible to clear the air
    Between father and son.
    Some feelings are too big to share,
    Too fast to be outrun
    And so this absence I do bare,
    And fathers, have I none.

  38. timphilippart


    They were quite the pair in High School,
    married two weeks before the diploma,
    twins born one year after
    strolling to Pomp and Circumstance.

    He began the first year
    of the first decade
    at the steel mill.

    She balanced a twin on each knee,
    wondering, for the first time,
    what might have been.

    After three decades of
    sweating over rolling steel,
    he wanted out.

    After sending four babies
    off to conquer the world,
    she wanted in to life.

    They agreed on things like,
    too young, never grew up,
    we were just kids, never tasted life.

    Adult kids wept like babies
    when the divorce came through,
    and the pair went their ways.

    Two weeks before the class of ’66
    reunited at their 50th,
    a few witnessed the wedding.

    They had given up living to taste life.
    Now, they spit it out.
    The former pair is re-pairing.

  39. Domino


    With delicate fingers
    and fragile focus
    she kindly knits the threads
    of his broken heart,
    kissing his wounds,
    murmuring encouragement,
    clasping it close
    it flies free,
    ready to love again.

  40. Walter J Wojtanik


    Freshly repaired and painted,
    deck chairs freshly stained and remain
    side-by-side. Bamboo screen, pristine —
    hiding the world from our view.
    Fields, a dream come to life,
    the grass undulating in waves
    waiting for nature’s next breath.
    The cloud pocked skies are azure
    in hue, and through the lattice
    the breeze finds its way.
    The front porch on a perfect day!

  41. Connie Peters

    Through the Fog

    A stirring in her heart and mind, a cry
    A nudge, a poke, a groping through the fog
    A search, a hope for a repair, a sigh
    The flow of thoughts come jammed like stream with log

    A quiver and a try to find her way
    A wrinkle grows impossible to fix
    The crushing weight of time’s demanding sway
    Patchwork of light and darkness in a mix

    She goes full steam ahead and gathers strength
    So like a blasting rocket, she won’t stop
    The charm compels her swiftly go the length
    She plugs along and pushes for the top

    Her hands grasp other hands in simple peace
    At last she breathes and laughs in sweet release

  42. carolemt87

    Scissors Rock Paper

    I compare my notes to his and
    I learned what not to do
    but I was astonished at how much I missed

    A blank slate before me
    addiction, divorce, bankruptcy
    you were my last line of defense

    I’ve never taken myself seriously and
    I think about the road I sidestepped
    when I needed a place to go

    There is nothing that doesn’t fascinate me
    and jumping off the edge
    I hurt more than I bleed

    After coaxing someone off the ledge
    something has been born
    but it’s not my cup of tea

    I’m happy cutting and pasting because
    it’s not a good idea for me
    to be left to my own devices

    Carol J Carpenter


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