Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 413

For today’s prompt, write a recognition poem. A recognition poem could be about public recognition, like an award or a declaration in front of or directed to a group of people. Or it could be about recognizing something for the first time–like an epiphany. Or recognizing a person, place, or thing that you haven’t seen in a while.

Also, don’t fail to recognize that today is Random Acts of Poetry Day! Click here for a few ideas on how to celebrate.

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Here’s my attempt at a Recognition Poem:

“Hello Darkness My Old Friend”

It’s been a while, though it’s never quite long
enough between visits. Who have you been
troubling as I’ve wandered about in light?

So much sun, my skin feels singed; so much fun,
my heart feels binged; now, it’s time, with your help,
to purge the excess illumination.

*****

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 does listen to a little Simon & Garfunkel from time to time.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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171 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 413

  1. Walter J Wojtanik

    One last redux from April’s P.A.D.

    I SAW MY FATHER

    I saw my father this morning.
    It caught me off guard,
    without warning, without any
    precognition. The man’s been dead.

    Over ten years gone, and though
    I long for one moment more,
    it underscores my dilemma.
    I saw my father this morning.

    His craggy morning beard
    clearly heard when he’d scratch his chin.
    Internal debate whether to shave it,
    or save it another day, who’s to say?

    The wrinkles around his eyes
    that grew greater when pater smiled.
    He had a great smile, and while he was alive
    would strive to flash it at every turn.

    I’d learn his way and his charm came
    along with his name, my grandfather
    bore both, so I am told. Too old
    to remember him, but dad was clear.

    I saw my father this morning.
    He of the wise old face and cleft chin,
    he of the exuberant grin, carpenter hands
    the texture of leather caused by weather and life.

    Hard knocks smart, an old fart with humor
    and the aplomb to use it, sometimes abuse it
    along with us and my mother. A man of another
    time and age, sage with advice and super nice

    when the smoky brown bottle stayed away.
    Not to say it was right, but it might explain
    some of his apparent flaws. It gnaws at me.
    I saw my father this morning.

    The man’s been dead, that has been said.
    But as I look in the mirror and scratch my craggy chin
    in debate and count my crow’s feet framed eyes, I have to smile.
    I saw my father this morning. I see him every morning.

  2. rlk67

    Who planted that flower on my lawn?
    From where did that light post come?
    That beautiful tree, I pass every day?
    It seems my brain is numb.

    I rush and only see my thoughts,
    Such sadness, again I pout.
    Slow down one day and take a look,
    Or else we’ll just miss out.

  3. grcran

    formerly feral

    eleven years been with this yellow cat
    pick him up & tickle his ignition
    fine feline gets tamed simple as that
    with repetition purrs his recognition

    gpr crane

  4. Jane Shlensky

    Street Preacher

    He sees them everywhere, breathes in their sweat,
    the stench of misplaced hope and homelessness,
    the greasy head of sloth, the stain of shame,
    a loss that only indigence can name.

    He holds his breath while touching the unclean,
    lest he recoil, gag, or say something mean.
    They often try to hug him, take his hands,
    endure his prayers and suffer his demands

    that they clean up their acts and look for work,
    eschew all drugs, inebriation shirk—
    a vicious cycle—nothing left to lose
    becomes the downward spiral that they choose.

    They try to tell him of their hopes and pains:
    it’s hard to find a shower ‘til it rains;
    it’s hard to find a job with no address;
    it stinks to wallow in your helplessness;

    my family won’t claim me as their own;
    my friends don’t answer when I try to phone;
    I’m off my meds—no insurance, you know;
    beware, the feds deport us if we show.

    He barely listens—none of this is new;
    the need is constant and the perks are few.
    “The poor are always with us,” more and more,
    until he wonders what he’s praying for.

    He tries to love them, preaches it; he fails
    to love despite/because of. His faith flails.
    He recognizes scripture, book and verse,
    but working filthy streets? There’s nothing worse.

  5. qbit

    Life Craft

    The list of things you can’t know
    Includes songs of the New Hebrides –

    How to whistle south of the Solomons,
    And arias of who died in the Coconut War.

    You laugh, but it is not your sons
    Who are fallen.

    I insist on archipelagos,
    Obscure republics and music of the spheres;

    You teach me to recognize my mother,
    Distant in the constellation of Virgo.

    Chiaroscuro that passes the time,
    Our hopeless conjuring as we drift.

  6. headintheclouds87

    Open Mic Night

    I scan the crowd as I speak,
    Hoping to claw a chuckle
    Or at least a little snicker
    From the expectant faces
    Of my vast and sudden audience,
    Praying that some will relate
    To my own rambling take
    On society’s sorry state,
    Finally with relief I spy
    A brief flash of recognition
    In at least one pair of eyes
    And with relief I sigh
    Thankful that someone
    Gets what the hell I’m yacking about.

  7. deringer1

    RECOGNITION

    I recognized our connection
    when we met, and the lure of you.

    I came to recognize your voice,
    your eyes, your step, your touch.

    And now I recognize the reality
    of your absence.

  8. grcran

    publishin’ bliss

    in one’s battle of attrition
    just a little recognition
    helps one prod the full fruition
    from a life of hard dentition
    wishin’ for the last edition
    to outstrip the competition
    count down slowly to ignition
    hit that mitt with the submission

    (or, i wonder, should the last two lines be:
    count down slowly to submission
    hit that mitt with the ignition) ?

    gprcrane

  9. lsteadly

    Talk to Me

    Since when did the world
    get so loud?
    So much noise-
    surround sound
    of cell phones steering everyone
    clear from all around us
    long forgotten eye contact
    shuttled away
    by words that mean less
    spoken than those typed
    in a tweet-
    Talk to me before
    I no longer recognize
    your voice

  10. Bushkill

    With a tip o’ the cap to Mr. S. Crane

    Hear ME, i beg

    The Poet cast his gaze to heaven
    He shook his bony fist.
    With furrowed brow and voice uneven
    He bellowed, “Sir, I exist!”

    The Universe in darkness yawned
    With nary a cosmic glance
    It seemed immune to Man’s dour groan
    And made purposeful Its stance.

    To Man It turned and spoke but bland,
    Un-pretty words that surely raised an eye
    “Your fact of birth awakes me not
    Why, care, should I?”

    …also penning the occasional prose at http://www.ktmorley.wordpress.com

  11. thunk2much

    Oh say, can you see
    over here, look at me.
    I’m a flag at half-mast,
    a broadcast, a warning,
    mourning every morning,
    noon, and night.
    Rights, wrongs, and songs
    for the dead
    play in your head
    as I sag toward land
    and you kneel, or you stand
    there hating, berating,
    deprecating life itself.
    Put me back on the shelf
    and listen with intention,
    dissention was the point
    of this joint from the start.
    Open your heart, pay attention
    and start learning,
    we’re all yearning to be free
    now stop looking at me.

  12. RJ Clarken

    Saints

    “One of my favorite movies is ‘A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” ~Liam Hemsworth

    I cannot say that I believe
    in promises pulled from a sleeve,
    but here’s to those who some call saint
    of screen and stage and word and paint.

    Genesius, St Vitus, and
    Cecelia? Patrons. I’ll expand:
    They recognize emotion stirred
    from screen and stage and paint and word.

    Veronica and Clare, de Sales,
    Columba, Benedict…there’s tales
    of brilliant work on written page
    of word and paint and screen and stage.

    We all crave patrons of our art
    and recognition fuels the heart.
    So beauty, that’s promethean:
    It’s paint and word and stage and screen.

    ###

  13. Walter J Wojtanik

    LIFE’S EPIPHANY

    The lesson becomes this. You learn by living. And you hope you’re allowed to apply all of these lessons before your living ends. You come to be a student of your own mistakes, taking what you can salvage and leaving the unnecessary flotsam for the plankton. We chose to dance; to cling to a life for the prescribed better or worse and try to nurse this wounded beast back to health (or some semblance thereof!)

    The whole of truth lies in this lesson: love, deserved respect, and forgiveness all seem to be equally important. These make a life well lived. I had lost sight of the importance of the life I had been given. I tried to strive for poetic perfection, bucking the system; thinking myself above the flock. I went on this journey to find a higher plane, without realizing I had already arrived. The time wasted trying to honor and glorify my abilities, skewed my sensibilities and priorities; it almost destroyed me. I became what I had always been, a small grain of sand on a vast lakeshore, a speck in the early evening sky.

    We learn the lesson; we learn by living. And hopefully we’re allowed to apply the lesson before our living ends. Whatever happens in this life, we own that moment.

    Visions through love’s eyes
    Brings vistas to clarity.
    Love rarely fails.

  14. Anthony94

    Unexpected Visitor

    He comes into my hospital room
    earnest, concerned about oxygen
    and levels, night and day, numbers
    marching across printouts in their
    various colors but I am suddenly

    back in the library classroom where
    he was simply a student in middle
    school struggling with the rules
    gf grammar in all its complexities.
    I am standing over his right shoulder

    and willing him to get it right this time
    but somewhere after those years it
    all fell into place and here he is, young
    Doctor P. smiling now in recognition
    back in that classroom with that subject

    he hated unlike the mysteries of medicine
    the engagement of bedside conversation
    almost making me believe those nights
    of grading papers worth it, the hoping for
    hem when it all seemed too much.

  15. Walter J Wojtanik

    AND HE FORGETS

    When he loves, he begins to forget.
    ~ from “A Man In His Life” by Yehuda Amichai

    All his life he tried to please her
    and he sees her now in misted memory.
    A lost love in the span of years.
    He hears her tender voice;
    it has been her choice to remain
    as his brain languishes in lost thought.
    From the moment he met her,
    he swore he’d never forget her, but
    his mind paid little heed to such promises.
    He loves her with all his heart,
    from the start of their first moments
    together, until his disease let her
    slip from his grasp. He no longer
    expresses what she has known for years
    and amidst her heartache and tears,
    she fears he has bid her farewell
    without a proper goodbye. No matter
    how hard she’ll try, she will cry
    until dawns early light; all through the night.
    He has loved her for a long time,
    but now when he loves, he begins to forget.

  16. AsWritten

    RAINBOW WIZARD

    The rainbow wizard
    squanders his sense of self.

    What else explains
    so little time to sit back

    and remember the world
    the way we first misinterpreted it?

  17. Alphabet Architect

    Revelation

    The face I daily scrub, pluck,
    Moisturize, conceal,
    Smooth, bronze, and
    Highlight is familiar;
    Pleasant even.
    Why then am I shocked
    By the face peering
    From this photo-
    So unlike
    The one that grins
    From my mirror
    Of a morning?
    This face is pale, splotchy,
    Lined, wrinkled, old…
    Much like I remember
    My grandmother’s.

  18. Uma

    In the pause
    between contemplation and action,
    you muse, will we fit?
    I think about flesh and bone
    curves and planes
    and sketch lipstick lines
    on the napkin to bare my heart

    They twist and bend into each other
    smudging the gaps into a whole
    You look at the meshed squiggles
    a smile tugging at the corner of lips
    I ache to feel on mine
    gently crush my clumsy attempt
    in hands I envision drawing me into you
    Our fingers fit into each other
    And I know, so will we

  19. Marie Elena

    Epiphanies (inspired by My Favorite Things)

    Toddlers that “get it,”
    That first sense of humor!
    Ultrasound showing
    There’s two in her womb, or

    Suddenly noticing
    His shy, sweet stare.
    These are some things
    That are special and rare.

    Seeing my mother
    In my own reflection.
    More often noting
    Decreased recollection.

    Pleasant occasions
    In which I take part.
    Still finding plenty
    To capture my heart.

    Years fly quickly,
    Oh, so quickly!
    Decades swiftly pass.
    So value your loved ones,
    Your home, and your life.
    Acknowledge your brim-
    full glass!

    © Marie Elena Good, 2017

    1. Bushkill

      AWESOME! I actually sang it to the music in my head (I will deny singing it out loud in my office even if my hand rests on a stack of varied religious texts)

  20. taylor graham

    LAST FRIDAY

    We drove there to see the old barn, relic
    of the canyon’s history—once a gold-strike
    mining town, now a road to somewhere
    else. What memories in the crevices?

    Across the way stood a house behind a trellis,
    so well-groomed and flowered, I hardly
    recognized. But passing through the gate,
    I saw paint fall away from walls,

    hedges from lot-lines. The guest-house
    became a shed with rusted tub for washing.
    I found a discarded apron in my hands
    to show my dog: “find Gracie!”

    The road shook off its pavement,
    beckoned up the hill
    toward a wooded ridge where wind spoke
    in its native language, Ghost.

    1. MET

      I understand this… shells of places speak in ways that houses and places that have people living in them don’t… my Aunt Vennie’s lovely old house has stood empty for years… and it is a shell, and I can almost hear the ghosts as I ride by it and all that we lost… but then I live in a house I share with ghosts….we usually do okay….sometimes things of mine go missing like a small cutting board I have never seen again…I think they do it sometimes to remind me they are there…. lovely poem brings the reader right there…

  21. Sara McNulty

    Attraction

    She peered out
    from under thick
    coal lashes. Caught
    a glimpse of chocolate
    eyes darting away
    then dancing back.
    A flicker, a softening,
    slight raise of eyebrows–
    enough to recognize magnets
    of equal desire. She peered
    out from under thick
    coal lashes, and met
    his eyes, and knew.

  22. MET

    Recognition

    I never wanted the lauding…
    Given to me in my last years…

    Just did my job every day
    The best I could with as much kindness
    And patience though I was short of patience
    Sometimes….
    My finger that I let the pen rest against
    Had a ridge in the bone, and sometimes
    I felt so tired the blood
    Just drained from me breath by breath
    Drop by drop…

    For my work, I dried many tears,
    Let the broken cling to me as they sobbed,
    And let my heart bleed a little more
    For I knew I could not heal all wounds
    Especially those cut by cruelty
    That never heal, and
    Break open with the least provocation…
    I know, I had my own wounds that bled
    Drop by drop
    Cut by cut…

    There I stood getting an award, and
    I thought of those who worked
    As hard as me…and cared as I did
    And bled as I did;
    I wanted them there with me.
    These people who worked with me,
    Warriors, we were,
    And now that is behind us.

    But still on that day,
    It would have been good if one person
    From my immediate family
    Had been there cheering me
    But I was used to that…
    I went to music recitals alone…
    Ma had not felt well,
    But as my friends and two cousins,
    And other people
    I did not know
    Clapped their praise…
    For a moment like all the other moments
    I felt alone, but it was fleeting,
    And then I felt thankful
    That all that bleeding had been noticed,
    Worthy of all my efforts.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 4, 2017

    1. MET

      In 2004 I was named Social worker of the year for the state of SC…by the Foster Parent Association…. a dear friend had nominated me to help restore my good name…. these are some of my thoughts that evening when I was recognized…I worked with really wonderful people

      1. MET

        thank you and yes it is a difficult field and working before any services available and with out cell phones made life on the edge often…. but those devices will not protect those who work from all the heartache they will feel if they stay as long as I did which was 28 years…

  23. Maria Grace

    The Mouse
    (The library during renovation)

    A little brown and sudden swiftness:
    a mouse, an upturned refugee,
    unhomed and looking for a space
    of solitude and quietness.

    But all is noise. This library,
    no place for things of peaceful tastes
    and you, with your unsettledness
    are lured and caught. In sympathy

    I meet the mirror of your face
    reflecting my own wildness:
    We are kindred, you and me
    –I bid you, go in peace.

  24. candy

    this poem ….
    would like to recognize
    the lined paper and pink-ink pen
    that made my appearance possible
    without their support I would
    be a random thought escaping
    into the atmosphere
    they pushed and prodded my
    words into being
    arranged them and rearranged
    them until they were ready
    to shine a light in the darkness
    to offer hope to the hopeless
    to make a wish for peace for
    all who read
    this poem

  25. Jrentler

    Graze Anatomy

    lids rise
    or shut

    eyes see
    or not

    ears hear, mouth opens
    tongue tastes, lips kiss
    or close

    lungs fill with air
    or smoke
    time permitting

    & though
    my blood
    most days

    reluctant to commute
    its forever loopty-loop

    it still can
    while this bone chapel stands
    till not

  26. JRSimmang

    EACH STEP TAKES US FURTHER
    (from each other)

    If
    it
    were up
    to us, we’d
    turn off the static
    mudding the air, making the
    sky a uniform grey, and relax into sublime
    recognition of the infinitesimal space between us. Isn’t it up to us?

    -JR Simmang

  27. SarahLeaSales

    The Brown-Haired Scholar

    She was a brunette Elle Woods,
    with her retro candied apple lipstick
    & Eighties crimp,
    filling out the vintage colors she wore
    a little too snugly.
    Through 12 semesters
    of caffeine binges,
    math lab hours,
    writing tutors,
    extracurriculars,
    solidifying soft skills,
    sharpening hard ones,
    & breaking her own records;
    through changing her mind
    (if no one else’s) &
    learning from examples,
    as well as her own,
    inspired by those examples,
    she found herself more capable
    than she had ever allowed herself to be.

  28. Eileen S

    Reunion Sorrows

    End of the class reunion
    will it be well attended?
    Or will it be disunion
    with no bad feelings mended?

    Bad feelings are like nightmares;
    growing bigger over years.
    Communications can help
    shed love’s therapeutic tears.

  29. taylor graham

    BEFORE THE DOLLAR STORE OPENS

    Her progress here seemed slow as a glacier,
    but the queen of shadow – I recognize her
    now, sitting in the strip-mall’s only sunny spot.
    First Tuesday of October, 44 degrees
    by the clock atop the bank downtown. But
    this is upper Broadway. It’s early, nothing’s
    open, no one’s about except the other shadows.
    The only traffic’s going somewhere else.
    In thrift-store faded black she sits considering
    her one banana which she’ll save for later,
    when she’s hungrier. Soon more traffic
    will begoing somewhere else. She’ll
    cast less shadow as the sun climbs higher,
    till you’d think she isn’t there at all.

    1. tripoet

      I could see this lady so well in many different towns and places in the US. I like how you used thrift store and dollar store for Place and the way you used time with the change in shadow which mirrors her prospects– less sun — “till you’d think she isn’t there at all”. Well done.

  30. Daniel Paicopulos

    Dr. Seuss Does Panic Attacks

    From the halls of Montezuma to a hedge-lined nursery, I’d no idea what it was, what was happening to me. It was a beautiful day, early in May, children at play, free to be free. There were flags unfurled to a mid-Spring breeze, no reasons to fret, and all was at ease. Such a sunny scene, no fear of showers, no nerves at work, I was just buying flowers. Suddenly it hit me, bright lights, roaring sound, the flowers went flying, me too, to the ground, with chest beating wildly, gasping for air, no idea what to do, I just had to leave there. Eventually I calmed, tried looking back, realized this wasn’t the first such attack, with thoughts of death, pure fight or flight, with no clue as to cause, try as I might. Later, in treatment, I learned what it was, it became all too obvious, the reasons, the cause. The children that day were all Vietnamese, no danger to me, nor their families, but that has little to do with the truth, don’t you see, there’s no logic to emotions in PTSD. I’m better now, but I’ll never be free. It’s a life sentence, this thing, this PTSD. I have coping skills now to assist, and people who know, and little by little, it improves as I grow,, a little bit older, a lot more wise, so now when the attacks start, I just close my eyes, notice my breathing, count the beats of my heart. It’s not a total solution, but hey, it’s a start.

    1. Bushkill

      Powerful and provocative. I read it twice through to catch the nuance more deeply. You’ve done a beautiful job of describing turmoil and confusion and a shattered psyche.

  31. tripoet

    Happy “Random Acts of Poetry Day”, poetry mates. For my random poetry act, I will try to keep my computer close by and read each person’s poem today!

  32. PressOn

    THE JILTED WIFE SEES HER EX FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS

    With a start of delayed recognition,
    amazed at his social position,
    she banished all guile
    and she flashed him a smile,
    though she wished him consigned to perdition.

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