Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 407

For today’s prompt, write a big event poem. Of course, big event is relative, isn’t it? For instance, the Brewer family had a big event earlier this week when we all traveled out to see the solar eclipse in the totality zone. For someone else, a big event might be a concert, wedding, or trip to the library.

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Here’s my attempt at a Big Event Poem:

“Totality”

& suddenly the light is impossibly weird
without any bird chatter
though plenty of crickets going wild
& snake shadows on the ground
before we’re able to take off our glasses
& cast our eyes up to the corona
this moment that we spent all day to see
& the children dance
& our hearts skip
as the moon completes a full eclipse
before crossing to the other side.

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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). He spent all day on Monday either traveling to, waiting for, and/or traveling from the eclipse…and those 158 seconds of totality were totally worth it.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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88 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 407

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Hiroshima
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    and as I watched the mushroom cloud
    far off in the distance, I thought
    about the people being vaporized
    on the streets, in their homes,
    innocents on school benches
    and street corners buying
    fruit they would never eat,
    newspapers they would never read,
    limbs children would never have.
    I thought about farmers and merchants,
    lovers and bullies, grandparents
    who now wore their organs on the outside.
    I thought about the thousands buried
    under rubble, and thousands more
    suffering radiation poisoning,
    while the world held it’s breath.

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. taylor graham

    TUESDAY

    These pleasant foothills so far from ocean
    with its storm-petrel, hurricane winds –

    the peace of this country road’s unmasked
    as it winds through woods to open

    farmland peaches and apples tart-not-bitter,
    a dozen eggs from a hen-yard –

    These country visions stop at a curve
    in the road. Stop.

    How to reverse one car speeding
    head-on no swerve, no unrolling roof

    from under wheels
    as it comes to rest on centerline.

    Three fire trucks, two gurneys, eleven
    emergency vehicles,

    lights pulsing red-blue at pasture fence
    the last shot of daylight.

  3. taylor graham

    SELF-PORTRAIT UNDER ECLIPSE

    We’ve driven from canyon bottom to a mile
    above sea level. I’m face to face with Sun,
    eyes closed as Moon passes between us. Near-
    sighted – legally blind in one eye – I’m without
    my glasses so nothing obstructs the encounter.
    It may not happen again in my lifetime.
    I haven’t come to see Sun disappear, but Earth
    in daytime without it – our Sierra ridged
    and contoured as my self eroding in wrinkles
    and flesh-slide; let myself be dark as Earth –
    Moon passing between, with its pull
    of time and changes – without the constant Sun
    so bright I can’t bear it. For now I belong
    to Earth. I’m going so dark you can’t see me.

  4. grcran

    walkin’ in the rain

    the wind and rain picked up a bit
    could not get myself out of it
    i wondered at the wind and rain
    and found myself one hurricane
    twenty inches fell and then
    the wind-swept rain-gauge filled again
    wind-speed pegged out at one-oh-five
    felt for my pulse was still alive
    brain-dead maybe some think no doubt
    stuff blew away i rode it out
    tis Murphy’s Law i stopped the drought

    gpr crane

      1. grcran

        thanks William! i’m a bit nervous about our home in port o’connor, but contrary to the poem, we bailed out and are staying in austin for a few days… still, the poetry helps me get through it… along with some walkin in the rain

  5. grcran

    amblin’ on to quittin’ time

    events come hittin’
    whammin’ slammin’
    spittin’ splittin’ benefittin’
    winds kazammin’
    imps flim-flammin’
    twittin’ fittin’ brows are knittin’
    water gettin’ high poor kitten
    stemmin’ dammin’
    feast or famine
    first you’re hammin’
    then you’re smitten
    events come hittin’
    home

    gpr crane

  6. taylor graham

    AFTER-EVENT

    When day went dark as night
    it took our breath away
    and set the pulse to play
    awestruck tattoos.

    Eclipse. Realm of science
    and myth and history,
    poem and mystery.
    We howled like wolves.

    When it was day again
    and Sun resumed its bright –
    relief? regret? Our sight
    was not burned blind.

    Yet each of us is changed
    though we can’t say just why.
    What passed behind the eye
    in flame-crowned dark?

  7. Walter J Wojtanik

    WHERE HOPE FINDS ME

                     < Lost boys
                          never quit
                      dreaming, schem-
                     ing of ways to stand
                       our ground with a
                             new found
                    respect for these abilities;
               the agility of a Pan, and the ner-
            vous sense of self not withstanding.
        Deman-     ding much from what      hope
        we can      muster, we may get       flustered
          from time   to time, but we are       never
            out of the game; never the same, bec-
                oming stronger the longer in the tooth
                    we find ourselves. Old gents hold these
                      glowing embers well into their
                    Decembers. They remain members
                 of life’s fraternity. Our battles are waged
                      and lost, and             hard-fought
                      victories over            hook hand-
                        ed bandits                lands us
                       firmly  on                   our feet,
                       ready if                      we chose
                       to roam.                  But the hope of
                      all lost                         boys will
                  eventually                  turn us towards     ^
                  home when                    all our villainous
              foes                                       are vanquished.

  8. Connie Peters

    Life Goes On

    Since your right side
    went on strike.
    The car had three flats.
    The toilet got plugged.
    The windshield cracked.
    The refrigerator quit.
    My email was hacked.
    Laundry piled up.
    Dirty dishes stacked.
    Essays and paperwork await.
    And everyone still
    seems to need to eat,
    take showers and go
    where they need to go.
    It would be a nice
    if there was a pause button
    on the little thing
    when the big things happen.

  9. grcran

    (big event, as yet untitled

    Went traipsing east from stormy Saint
    Joseph, the clipster fest
    Sought nothing less: totality
    Reached cloudlessness at last
    Outside Sedalia saw the moon
    Encroach upon sun’s face
    Crickets did chirp birds flew to roost
    Strange dawn to dusk took place
    Three minutes it was over
    Wary otter crossed the road
    He skipped as if the very sky
    Had thundered rained and snowed
    But before he left
    The otter turned, raised up his snout,
    And pointed off far to the south
    He seemed to indicate our bane
    Was Harvey, hurkin’ hurricane

    gpr crane

  10. Uma

    The first note of midnight tolled
    Cinderella knew it was time to go
    One more, she told herself
    She was having so much fun
    One more, then one more
    As the eleventh chime pealed
    she pulled herself away
    and rushed to the carriage
    Alas, she had left it too late
    Her dress turned to rags
    Her coach again a pumpkin
    only the glass slippers still twinkled
    The horrified guests gawked at her
    Stepmom and step-sisters guffawed
    Sassy Cindy raised a defiant eyebrow
    planted her hands on her hips

    (unaware that her ragged outfit
    was about to become a fashion sensation)

    and told the astonished prince,
    Well, I saved you a nation-wide search, didn’t I?
    Oh, and I make a mean pumpkin soup

  11. Sara McNulty

    My Father’s Gratitude

    I
    will
    never
    forget that
    look of happiness
    on my father’s face when he caught
    his first glimpse of World War Two Veteran’s monument
    in Washington, D.C. Though he was unable to walk, balked at using a wheelchair,
    tears of joy were evident as we toured this tribute to a time in which he was an active
    participant, a believer in justice.

  12. Kateland

    My thoughts compell,
    When words I can not utter,
    Nor recall to mind that day.

    My hand propells,
    With a silent prayer’s answer,
    A light to show me way.

    The paper speaks,
    Words glitter darkly against pale,
    Give rest to mind.

    Direction leaks,
    A soul is urged to share,
    These words unbind.

    A platform from which to speak,
    Being sought,
    I release a thought.

    Not my best, but my big event of the week is learning what and where to put my best.

  13. PowerUnit

    The Hill

    We shared our hands with friends
    and our smiles, a herd mentally

    We claimed our patch of earth
    a warm blanket on a hot day

    We planted our shields on the bridge
    and suffered the thirst within

    We waited for the unending pauses
    the calm before the song

    We endured the yawns of fireflies
    the ramblin rose no one knows

    We admired suits and ties
    a cackling and pecking without end

    We shouted obscenities to ourselves
    lest were seen with no banners of our own

    We arched our necks at the blinking gods
    eyelids fluttering to keep out the ash

    We let the drive to leave
    override the drive to be a part

    We write about our night to friends
    as if it were our own birthday

  14. De Jackson

    Everything’s Eventual

    The way the sky cracks open to the beat
    of her most unmetered feet. The way her

    heart tunes itself to a new hymn with each
    dawn. The birdsong that builds her heart

    a home, fills her throat with the thrum of
    grace, the space to breathe. The wilder

    -ness of whim and wishing, the swishing
    of stars on her tongue and the brave way

    they shimmer and simmer there, stung.
    The holiest of days, this. Ordinary. Flung.

    ::

  15. Eileen S

    Centerville Sportsman’s Steer Roast

    It is a beautiful August afternoon at
    the Centerville Sportsman’s club
    in Dracut, Massachusetts.
    Residents of Dracut and Methuen, Massachusetts
    as well as southern New Hampshire, look forward
    to Centerville Sportsman’s club picnic.
    Cars are parked all over Wheeler Road with families
    carrying folding chairs and beer coolers to the event.
    The field behind the pine trees,
    which is normally the archery station,
    is cleared for the food tents, moon bounce,
    water slide, face painting and other activities.
    On the loudspeakers, golden oldies music
    is played for everyone’s listening enjoyment.
    The food line offers hamburgers, hotdogs, barbeque,
    salads and the signature steer roast.
    For dessert, there are cookies, ice cream and watermelon.
    Everyone comes to this event wanting to have a good time.
    People who don’t know each other get seats across from
    each other at the long tables and introduce themselves.
    The kids enjoy the chance to partake
    in the activities before school starts.
    Hopefully these children will carry on the
    tradition of the club when they get older.
    As the Steer Roast is the annual fundraiser for the club,
    the goal is to create morale and
    make money to sustain the club.

  16. PressOn

    AN ERA IN SIX LIMERICKS

    In New York a canal spans the state
    and it once floated people and freight.
    It was spawned in a prison
    and met with derision
    but made a young nation grow great.

    When I think of the Erie Canal,
    I recall Clinton’s Ditch, and a pal
    who would pull fifteen miles
    down the watery aisles
    while the hoggee would ride his gal Sal.

    On the early canal, as a rule,
    the packet was pulled by the mule;
    whether single or married,
    the passengers tarried
    while gliding atop a great pool.

    But steam came along to the Erie
    and made of the idyll a weary
    excursion in motion
    devoid of devotion;
    commercial, efficient, and dreary.

    But then came the rail and the car
    and the plane, more effective by far,
    and the Erie was left
    of all business bereft:
    an old watery, wandering scar.

    So today, in this verdant locale,
    I remember, to boost my morale,
    bygone halcyon days
    when this Ditch could amaze,
    as I amble along the canal.

    1. grcran

      these segments groove together but imo, can also stand alone… very impressive, very pleasant… and having traveled through the area only last week, i can say that your words convey the culture and history and geography of the “canal zone” quite well

  17. deringer1

    THE BIG EVENT

    If you want to get the gift of gab,
    you must go to a certain place.
    You travel to a castle
    and climb a winding stair
    to the very top.
    Then get in line
    to kiss the
    Blarney
    Stone.

  18. JRSimmang

    LAMENTATIONS OF A DYING MAN

    In the middling mists of slumber,
    a dream stirs to find my fingers,
    a chill wind slips to catch my lips,
    and the moonlight naught but lingers.

    A dream I had of catching winks,
    of slings and stones and wishes,
    of jumping to the moon and back
    and splashing bushels of fishes,

    but dreams as often as dreams go,
    withered to a finite, vap-rous dust.
    A hero’s rise and tragic end
    had pierced my spirit raged with rust.

    My bed a constant companion be,
    my dark and dreary days abound.
    Zephyr (crazed) carried angered waves,
    my hopes were scattered ‘pon the ground.

    The dawn was as the dusk, as it was
    so much it was just like the night.
    Bedridden, bedraggled, a life bidden,
    I entomb’d myself in my plight.

    But was this the life I should enjoy?
    What of life if not to be savored?
    Left to my walls and echo’d halls,
    I questioned why I ever wavered.

    I shall not cease, thought I one day,
    to stretch myself into the sky.
    Why should I dwell on Azrael?
    Why should Death make me comply?

    I heaped my corpse upon the morn,
    I trudged to breath the Autumn air.
    I knelt upon the crispest dawn.
    I let my feet take me to where

    I fell into my cavern deep,
    and let no more my soul to sleep.

    -JR Simmang

  19. rlk67

    50 YEARS LONELY

    If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one there to hear,
    I’d like to think it doesn’t make a sound.
    When my calendar screams “Birthday!”, I won’t gain another year,
    If I’m all alone and no one is around.

    1967, and since then it was downhill,
    I never understood what bonding meant,
    Now it’s 2017 and there are no surprises here,
    Just house plants to observe the ‘big event’.

    So when people wait around for weeks to see the sun eclipsed,
    And all the hype when moon and sun align,
    I will sit alone and wait for my totality,
    For that’s my sign my sun will start to shine.

  20. SarahLeaSales

    Under the Floridian Sun

    They wore their special glasses,
    when it was twilight at noonday.
    There was a cessation of sorts—
    of everything that made the news these days:
    outrage at inanimate objects of long dead souls
    rather than living oppressors,
    wars and rumors of wars,
    and the 24-hour propaganda cycle
    that spun from both sides
    as the world spun out of control.
    It was during this natural phenomenon
    that the shades of Orwell’s 1984
    lifted.

    Their eyes were watching God today.

    For all that was seen was this crossover
    in the visible heavens.

    And while everyone else was looking up,
    they were looking at each other,
    not blinded by that which was extremely bright
    and incredibly far away;
    they were not eclipsed by the seeming merging
    of two superpowers.
    For he was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen,
    only because,
    he’d first been
    the most beautiful thing she’d ever heard.

    The hour of the eclipse
    was a time of calm
    in diverse spaces—
    like dots on a map—
    bringing with it a new awareness
    and a coming together of souls
    that looked beyond
    what was around them,
    to what was above them.

  21. serenevannoy

    We whisper, loudly,
    in awe enough not to speak in full voice,
    but not to be completely silent,
    as though the mass of wind and noise
    that hurts our ears,
    fills this basement,
    cares if we shout
    cares about us
    at all.

    You grew up here,
    in this flat, angry land,
    with the lightning bugs,
    and the trailer parks,
    and the longing.

    I’m a newcomer —
    never seen this heard this known this
    clamoring sound and rage of wind.
    Where I come from, south of the Hollywood sign,
    when the earth tries to kill us,
    it doesn’t blow trees and red wagons
    past our windows.
    Instead, it slams and rolls like a waterbed
    that just got hit by a truck.
    Hard jolt first,
    and the waves after,
    sometimes for days,
    sometimes for days,
    and it feels deeply wrong
    for the world to move like that,
    like water,
    like something not solid.
    I never got used to it.

    This storm will pass in under an hour,
    and will cause more damage
    than all but the worst of our earthquakes
    back home.
    But it’s noisy,
    and we’re safe in here,
    and it’s thrilling,
    while the wind does
    what the wind is supposed to do,
    and I whisper to you,
    “Wow.”

  22. Daniel Paicopulos

    parade

    it’s my usual o-dark-thirty time,
    and it’s chilly, maybe even cold.
    not Wisconsin frigid, nor Seattle dank,
    but cold for here, for this time of year.
    how shall we dress today?
    long pants? long sleeves?
    but gee whiz, my Pride Parade look is
    PFLAG ball cap, no ear flaps,
    shorts and a logo tee (“gay, fine by me”).
    not that it matters,
    the sun will come out,
    my pals’ daughter Suzi’s in town
    and grown men beam.
    grown women too.
    has to be some warmth in that,
    a day in the life with friends

  23. thunk2much

    Rough weather

    I think it was that day I caught you laughing
    in the corner of my eye as I punched angrily
    at the heavy bag, unleashing my fury into
    something safe, something intentional.
    You, arms crossed, leaning and amused
    by my clumsiness and bulk attempts
    to grow muscle, to dump the dumps,
    to gather strength for a storm I didn’t yet expect.
    (Although I think now I must have smelled it in the wind.)
    It was a light-ening strike, the crackle of it
    shooting through my muscles and bones,
    setting my teeth and soul on edge.
    Yes, I’m certain now – I still feel the shock –
    that was the day our bridge caught fire,
    though it would smolder yet awhile before
    bursting into flames for all to see.

  24. Tracy Davidson

    First steps

    he takes his first step
    then a second,
    we all smile proudly
    through our tears…

    seven years after the bomb
    that nearly claimed him
    this day is one
    we never thought to see

  25. headintheclouds87

    Chasing the Days

    With bated breath we await
    Some achingly distant date
    Whether an exotic escape
    Or simple shift in daily fate.
    The weeks before all fade
    Into gruelling hours of grey,
    Then colour returns upon the day
    That vague desires have made,
    Ceasing the torment and pain
    Until there is another day to chase.

  26. taylor graham

    GROUNDING UNDER SKY

    Up the long ridge from town, headed up-
    country, we pulled off here by chance, not
    memory. Pilliken road.
    Then I remember – years ago, down this dirt
    track, a hunter was lost in canyon. Dark
    as night in ancient forest without a moon.
    Found before daylight.
    Now, it’s morning.
    We’ve driven up-ridge for the eclipse.
    On the car radio, nothing but talk of the event
    seen through scientific, historic, naturalist,
    and spiritual glasses:
    how a total eclipse once changed atheist
    to man-of-God and, conversely, church-goer
    to scientist. We’ve come to ground ourselves,
    to watch less-than-
    totality on earth. I walk down the dirt track,
    not for a missing hunter, but to see
    by daylight before all goes dim.
    Suddenly, opposites
    come together. Moon and sun. Light-snakes
    in needle-shade of trees; road tiled with
    sun-crescents.
    I follow my transparent shadow the way
    lost things go, to reappear new. Day is night
    is day, as science is belief is true.

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