Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 403

For today’s prompt, write a poem about a useful item, though seemingly innocuous. For instance, I once wrote a poem about a pencil and another about fortune cookies. Maybe a poem about (or involving) lipstick, paper clips, or aluminum foil would do the trick.


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Here’s my attempt at a Useful Item Poem:

“What Do You Get”

When you take a spoon and a fork
and put them together? A spork!

There are few utensils that spoon
mashed taters as well as a spoon,

and fewer that can do the work
of a real ordinary fork.

But put them together and swoon–
assemble the bowl of a spoon

and sharp, pointy tines of a fork:
Voila! Let’s celebrate the spork.


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 should’ve known that eventually he’d get around to writing a spork poem.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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57 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 403

  1. taylor graham


    Those trails I hiked – dragonflies over the creek;
    flag-tail flight of deer; glimpse of fox. Rock
    heaps and knee-high grasses, weeds pesky if not
    noxious; snakevine twining up stockwire. And
    snakes – careful where I stepped; and still,
    the unexpected meeting. Buzz-saw sizzle
    and a coil of metallic scales glistering in sun.
    Cold pulse of rattlesnake. For the rest of the day
    I felt a slither at the slightest touch of breeze.

    Avoidance techniques? Rattlesnake-boots,
    effective against vipers. I ordered a pair, rough-
    out leather. I felt invincible. But at last,
    those trails ended, I lacked a need for snake
    boots. In my closet they gathered dust
    and memories.

    You’ve bought a piece of land, you’ll be clearing
    brush in snake country. You may have my
    boots, I’ll keep the memories. You’ll learn for
    yourself the joy of walking a rocky edge.

  2. Uma

    Once in a blue moon

    Only yesterday
    or so it seems
    my little girl wore
    a sunny smile
    and let me dress her hair
    in pretty ribbons
    and butterfly clips

    Now the young woman
    wears thunderclouds
    on her face
    and a cascade of
    unkempt tresses

    Once in a blue moon
    she puts the hairbrush
    in my hand
    and her tangled tresses
    at my disposal

    The clouds on her face part
    and I bask in the
    welcome warmth
    of that familiar,
    but now rare, smile

  3. Walter J Wojtanik


    I turn each page gleaning all I can
    from the information at hand.
    But, it has become a time clock
    of late. Ticking down every minute
    and second chance, a fated dance
    with my mortality. The reality
    becomes clearer the nearer the end
    rears its head. Another birthday looms,
    another Christmas passes.
    Another daughter to send off with her
    now and future lifetime friend
    and husband. Another year at a job
    that has served the family well
    (but not well off by any stretch).
    Here’s the catch. I look forward
    to the golden years (if they are granted me.)
    I’ll make no demands or make
    outrageous plans. Retirement may come
    and hopefully before I’ve expired.
    I’m starting to get tired. There’s a new
    calendar in my future. I pray
    there is a future in my new calendar!
    I turn each page while I can.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017
    Poetic Asides Prompt #403 – Useful Item

  4. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Look After This Tree
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Please look after this small fruit tree
    long after I’m gone.

    Don’t let it’s leaves
    gnarl and curl on your watch,
    or roots become
    unfertile and neglected.

    Allow not it’s yearly
    nibbly efforts
    shrivel and rot upon
    the ground uneaten.

    Leave it not unloved
    by the virtual power
    of rope and swing
    and bird nest duo.

    Please look after this small fruit tree
    long after I’m gone.

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  5. qbit

    Threaded Bushing

    I sense
    A single brass ring
    Among the steel washers
    At the hardware store.

    A crow who pads
    His nest with luck,
    I pluck it greedy
    As I swing past.

    Knurled, round, and simple
    To the touch —
    An efficient Buddha
    Of German engineers.

    And yet I cannot own this prize,
    This rosary of promise,
    That the world just might
    Fit so well together.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Drawer Pulls
      Innocuous, and oh, so pretty;
      twisted upon my vanity face.
      Opened with just a tug, my drawer
      pulls and holds my dreams, notes, thoughts
      of hope.
      The writing on the wallpaper of life’s hurts and hauntings, closed to telling past love stories.
      By Pamelap

  6. Jane Shlensky


    The funeral homes provided churches
    with cardboard advertisements
    glued to a flat stick
    like a giant’s tongue depressor—
    nothing great to look at,
    but it did the job of moving hot air
    when the power went off in the middle
    of a particularly tepid service.

  7. Anthony94

    What She Keeps

    Sometimes, she reaches for a handful
    of paperclips, begin to sort them
    into piles of rubber coated colored
    ones, then subsets. The over-sized bright
    pink, the tiny red and blue. Often

    there will be a yellow, but not today and
    she starts to wonder where it is as she
    passes quickly over the #1 loops of steel
    wire, some smooth, some ridged beneath
    her fingers. She pushes the jumbos aside

    edging them back into another tiny bin
    in the oak desk that was her father’s.
    Regular for every day, but some she never
    uses since she found them wedged
    in the seams below the dovetailed joints,

    loves the roundness of concentric circles
    in the 1936 Kurly Klip. He would’ve been
    24 then and rebuilding his first service station
    in the small town he landed in during the Depression.
    She loves to smooth the eyes of the 1908 Owl

    from before he was born, used to see them
    clipped to his gasoline account books, what he
    called his bookkeeping and worked on while he
    cracked a whole bag of peanuts into the waste
    basket between his knees after supper.

    She won’t part with those, though she’ll use
    the 1902 Ideals with their interlocking triangles,
    two acute and one equilateral until the whole
    thing looks like a monkey puzzle. She mounds
    them now into the black Clipwell she found

    in the top drawer, shoves his sliderules to
    the back where she still keeps them for luck.
    Ready now to face the day, she reaches for coffee
    as the phone rings. Beads told, she almost
    feels again his hand upon her back.

  8. Daniel Paicopulos

    A Forest Is An Acorn

    Would you have hope, offer one penny.
    Would you have dreams, proffer one cheer.
    Would you have health, eat one small apple.
    Would you have success, work for one hour.
    Would you have fun, unschedule one day.
    Would you have humor, smile at one joke.
    Would you have beauty, open one eye.
    Would you have music, make one simple sound.
    Would you have faith, accept one unknown.
    Would you have agreement, let one bias fall.
    Would you have quiet, sit still for one minute.
    Would you have love, hold on to one hand.
    Would you have peace, just love one another.

  9. Heather

    Ode to my fourth toe

    I cried out in pain
    That’s when I knew
    how important you were
    how you fit in my shoe.
    The first and the fifth
    stretch out for balance
    but you little friend
    aren’t there by chance.
    Now swollen and tender,
    purple and blue
    I hobble along
    in pain because of you.

    ~also published on

  10. Arash

    A Chewed Up Old Pencil
    by Arash

    Perhaps I am a chewed up old pencil
    but this body had once wrote beauty,
    against the page had once sizzled,
    a silhouette of seduction satisfying
    the white face with sounds so tender
    they melted into memory’s honeyed fountains,
    had once tickled the pages with laughter,
    once filled them with insights of such richness
    no books could contain them nor hearts without
    whispering them among silences of wonder―
    dazzling celestial bodies in the darkness.
    This body but I mean that I also
    wrote masterpieces even, my
    own Malvina and Vanessa.
    Here’s something I have learned in my long life:
    Whether or not it is turtles all the way down,
    it must be pencils all the way up, for we write,
    get written, and we’re the means of writing,
    and words that move through our chewed up
    bones, will have our signatures too somewhere
    deep inside their marrow.

  11. grcran

    Ode to Some Old Urn
    (apologies to John Keats)

    Slight solace in the substance of an urn
    These scenes depict routines, profiles, fine blood
    Used as a vase, forgotten, then relearned
    But not to resurrect, only to thud

    gpr crane

  12. lsteadly

    Paint Brush


    it has to feel right
    balanced in your hand
    easy to grasp and pass
    from left to right then back
    again all day each bristle
    holding the stain only
    to release it effortlessly
    over the aged
    cedar clapboards


    I stand on the dilapidated
    wooden ladder while you work
    high on the aluminum thirty footer
    each of us with our bucket
    of stain and brush offset
    so that your drips don’t
    fall on me
    the sun’s rays chasing us
    around the house that stands
    waiting for protection


    when the two of us
    work like this
    together we can finish
    staining the whole house
    in a single day
    how sweet the reward
    a day on rungs leaves us
    with everything brushed
    new again

  13. Sara McNulty

    Pipe Cleaners

    On occasion, Dad smoke a pipe.
    I discovered that the white,
    ropey stick could be coerced
    into stick figures
    or strange animal shapes.
    Later on in life, my friend
    Nick smoked a pipe, a different
    type of scent from Dad’s
    cherry. Four of us road-tripped
    out to Montauk, Long Island
    in the summer, and pipe
    cleaners came along
    for the ride. My friend
    Kathy was wont to shape
    the innocent cleaners
    into nooses, and hang
    objects from them. Now,
    having matured, though slightly,
    I use pipe cleaners to tie
    up batches of fresh oregano,
    drying them upsides down–
    much like a noose.

  14. taylor graham


    Just a simple fencing-tool
    with its single graceful claw
    (they call it a prong) at one end
    of the arc’d head, short-nose
    hammer at the other, above
    the central compass-rose
    of cutting edges
    sleeking out to the two long
    bow-legged grips.
    It could do just about any
    kind of work I needed. OK,
    it couldn’t take the place
    of pliers or screwdriver. But
    it fit my hand so well, it gave me
    courage. A mistake to lend
    such a tool. It got lost
    out in the weather; rusted
    terminally shut before
    I finally found it. Now I keep it
    in a kitchen drawer. Inert
    relic. But it still can hammer.
    It still can mend some
    fence-gaps in my mind.

  15. Eileen S

    Obsessive Fragrances

    Sweet smell of perfume leaves
    a splendid presence that brings
    connoisseurs to olfactory oblivion.
    Purer minds looking into mirrored glass see distress.
    Blue sky turns serene as clouds float by.
    Two chilly breezes calm the consciousness.
    Merciful winds.

  16. AsWritten

    POETRY by Ken Bentz

    Soldiers died for us.
    I wrote a poem.

    Cancer overwhelmed us.
    I wrote a poem.

    Poverty crushed us.
    I wrote a poem.

    We destroyed Nature.
    I wrote a poem.

    We watched children cry.
    I wrote a poem.

    I didn’t know what to say.
    I wrote a poem.

  17. rlk67

    Ode to Aluminum

    Our huge prized trout sat on the counter,
    Wrapped in silver foil,
    Should we eat her? No, let’s mount her,
    Show off all our toil!

    The feline crouched in deepest night,
    Her specialty is hiding.
    Now’s her chance! Her appetite
    says, “No time for deciding!”

    The leap’s a cinch…just one more inch,
    A purr-fect meal is near!
    With raised up paws, it’s time to clinch,
    That fish will disappear!

    She comes down hard and gives a yowl!
    She’s scratched with pointy tin!
    They wrapped it well, so she cries foul!
    She’s saved from mortal sin.

    It’s so not fair, she slithers back,
    Her plans all spoiled! Then…
    She cries out loud, “I’ll hit the sack,
    Oh, curses, FOILED again!”

  18. deringer1


    You have an honored place in my home.
    You show up in every room.
    Before you came I used tape—
    so messy and sticky.
    Now you remind me
    of all those things
    I must not

  19. SarahLeaSales

    The Usefulness of Things

    Mary Kay Downtown Brown lip shade
    for whiter teeth;
    Wet n’ Wild lip gloss
    for wet, Foxy News lips.
    Hair crimper,
    for when you have
    fine & frizzy
    white girl hair.
    Pink diary,
    for when you need a friend
    who’ll just listen
    (& maybe an alibi).
    White board,
    for working quadratics,
    & reworking quadratics—
    a representation of my memory,
    which is continuously being erased,
    & recorded over
    with solvable problems
    I don’t quite understand.

  20. headintheclouds87

    The Power of the Paperclip

    Those temporary connectors
    Of possibly-related papers,
    Not yet ready to commit
    To cold finality of a stapler,
    The clips merely keep order
    To hurried notes, wild ideas,
    Until the time finally comes
    To bind them to practicality;
    If able to be tamed at all;
    Some may resist the steel call,
    Escape the wire loop of elasticity
    And be lost in a snowy vortex
    Of pure unpinned insanity.

  21. Daniel Paicopulos

    Found some change,
    In the usual way,
    under the cushions,
    on housecleaning day.

    Received a dollar
    in the daily mail,
    please fill in the query
    about this thing that they sell.

    Got five bucks more
    from my Milwaukee sis,
    with blessings for frolics,
    no problems with this.

    Won ten at lunchtime
    at cribbage I’m hot,
    no place to spend it,
    so into the pot.

    A friend gave me twenty,
    he paid back a loan,
    I don’t really need it,
    now what have I done.

    One hundred was entered
    in my bank account,
    a reversal of charges,
    of just that amount.

    Now, if a thousand
    should slyly appear,
    I’d likely be happy,
    I might even cheer.

    But, man, with a million,
    (no taxes at that),
    I’d shake like my Chevy,
    right after a flat.

    My life is too good
    to be spoiled by money,
    with wife, friends and cats,
    I’ve no need, but my honey

    might say something different,
    might jump at the luck.
    She’d know how to use it,
    with aplomb and with pluck.

    Our families would profit
    And friends would all learn
    how generous she is
    with fortune unearned.

    Her charities likely
    would gain what they need,
    especially stray kitties,
    oh my how they’d feed.

    Our housing is perfect,
    no reason to change,
    location, location
    must not rearrange.

    But Macy’s and Nordstrom’s
    And Chico’s, for sure,
    would garner new sales
    they have such allure.

    Yet after the rush
    of a bounty so vast,
    we’d come to reality,
    hopefully fast.

    There just isn’t much
    we don’t already have,
    nothing to wish for,
    nothing to crave.

    So let that big bonus
    find a home with another
    and leave us in peace,
    in love with each other.

  22. PowerUnit

    You can’t come in
    I’ll tell mom, you hit me in the chin

    Know magic words
    To make you feel like your strumming the right chords

    You’ll have to kick it down
    I’m not opening it, he said with a frown

    Also know the magic words, for
    Opening up this bathroom door.

    Go away, stop spying
    Your words are fake; you’re lying.

    The magic of an uncoiled paperclip
    and the magic of saying I love you
    with a stiff upper lip
    kept me smiling whenever I felt blue
    and life beginning to slip


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