Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 435

For today’s prompt, write a reserved poem. A table or room can be reserved. A person can be reserved in their speech and mannerisms. I give full permission for poets to reserve the right to write without reservation.

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Here’s my attempt at a Reserved Poem:

“prom”

they reserved a whole room
when a table would do
and rented a limo
for a party of two

and i guess that’s just fine
if they’re willing to pay
but it seems a bit much
for just one special day

*****

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 loved seeing all the high school kids fancied up for prom this past weekend.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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115 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 435

  1. SH

    Halfway around the world
    Waking up alone
    Half a heart reserved
    For a love that never comes

    Time zones
    @_SarahHerrin

    (If you’re on Instagram, send me a message so I can follow you! Love the community here!)

  2. Jane Shlensky

    Sweet (P)reservations

    Twenty pounds of strawberries glisten
    in their flats, seeds freckling ruby gloss.
    What began as a two-hour task
    from plant to jar has become a full day
    and evening. And why? Because the sun
    was bright and the fruit warm on the stem,
    because the berries are beautiful and sweet,
    because I admire the pink froth of preserves
    bubbling up, because some time
    in a December snow, we will want May
    on our tongues, because I have a friend
    struggling with cancer who loves
    my strawberry preserves and peach marmalade,
    because in the moment of impulse
    picking and tasting, I over-imagined
    my strength, the task itself, the longevity
    of toil. Because I became strawberry greedy
    and now must pay the consequences,
    reserving the right to preserve a jar of sunlight.

    Near midnight, my back weary of standing
    in a kitchen, my hands stained with berry
    goodness, exhausted, I finally sit and sigh,
    listening to each jar pop cheerfully
    as it seals, each one a reminder that earth’s grace
    and human industry is everyday miracle.
    My time was well used, my labor fed joy,
    and I grasp a taste of May and cast it forward.

  3. tunesmiff

    RESERVATIONS
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ––···––
    When Mary first entered the empty tomb,
    In sorrow and in grief,
    The angel told her what was what,
    Then came her relief.

    When she told her story to Peter,
    He had to see it on his own;
    He wondered how could this possibly be?
    He’d seen them set the stone.

    Then they remembered,
    Then they realized,
    He spoke to them, again,
    They opened their eyes…

    First Mary, then Peter,
    Then Thomas, then Paul,
    Followed by me, the least of them all;
    Hearing His words, still missed the first call;
    Like Mary, like Peter,
    Like Thomas, and Paul.

    It wasn’t just Thomas,
    Who seemed to miss out;
    It wasn’t just Thomas,
    Who had his doubts.

    Fighting the story,
    It wasn’t just Saul;
    When he came face to face,
    Changed his name to Paul.

    First Mary, then Peter,
    Then Thomas, then Paul,
    Followed by me, the least of them all.
    Hearing His words, still missed the first call;
    Like Mary, like Peter,
    Like Thomas, like Paul.

    After all they had been through,
    After all He had done,
    It still took a reminder:
    He is the One, He is the Son;

    Like Mary, like Peter,
    Like Thomas, like Paul,
    Followed by me,
    The least of them all.

  4. Glory

    MAYBE
    Are you shy
    Or just a little reserved
    I wish I knew why
    Then I could try
    To change the way
    You look at me
    And maybe you’ll see
    Someone who loves you
    But just like you
    Is maybe just a little reserved.

  5. grcran

    the iceman returneth

    preserved they found the iceman would not thaw
    preferred his glaciated cave up north
    unnerved by global warming, used a saw
    emerged and swerved toward the melty warmth
    deserved a better fate than man-made clim-
    ate curved hors d’oeuvres perhaps fondue or such
    proffered apologies with salt and lime
    reserved Alaska flight back to his hutch
    it served him well inside its icy clutch

    gpr crane

  6. Nas

    It is dark sometimes.
    This place I call home.
    With a few windows and drawn blinds.
    It is empty at times.
    There’s the watched clock.
    That ticks like a metronome.
    In this place I dwell.
    Nobody knocks.
    No one would answer.
    There is only one room.
    But sometimes I get lost.
    A rare thing—a voice.
    Calling—saying a name.
    What?—I shake my head.
    The clock flickers.
    The lamps pulse.
    Yes—yes. I’m here.

  7. LCaramanna

    Adam’s Reserve

    There’s a reserved cheddar cheese I know
    made in Northern New York where Great Lake breezes blow.
    The milk from local dairy cows that win best in show
    gives this cheese creamy texture and extra sharp gusto.

    This cheddar is aged to perfection just so
    to bring out the flavor before it can go
    between two slices of bread grilled awhile,
    or folded in eggs omlette style.

    On top of a burger, melted with mac,
    sauced over broccoli, on a cracker stacked,
    this gold medal cheddar is truly exceptional
    Adam’s Reserve – for cheese lovers it’s delectable.

    Check out the website and buy some, you’ll see
    just how cheesey your recipes can be
    with this reserved cheddar cheese I know
    made in Adams, NY, where Great Lake breezes blow.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  8. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    the gift of rain
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    mother nature and i
    are on a first name basis

    i love how, after a long hot spell
    i can ask for rain, and it comes gifted
    like a package left on my doorstep,
    purpley-gray storm clouds
    pregnant with moisture
    reserved all just for me.

    there is peace in rain
    the cool dampness a welcome respite
    against my forehead, temples
    shoulders, back
    a kind of tranquility surpassing
    anything a master could teach.

    it’s mother nature’s way
    of smoothing your hair back,
    quieting the demons
    lulling all to restful sleep
    while feeding a hungry crowd
    outdoors of millions.

    i love how, after a long hot spell
    i can ask for rain, and it comes gifted.

    © 2018 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  9. Cam Yee

    Ok, last time, but I finally found the title that references my inspirations perfectly!

    Last Stand

    The black snake was foretold.
    The water will be tainted.
    No matter that a sacred space
    was set aside, no matter that dominion
    over land and sky and water
    belonged to those who knew
    that there can be
    no dominion
    over land and sky and water.
    A man’s name casually sprawled
    on a worthless piece of paper
    does not make the paper priceless,
    a bond is not binding,
    the truth is not true,
    promises are shattered vessels,
    their water spills like blood.
    The black snake writhes along the river
    It’s head reared back to strike.

  10. Cam Yee

    Lost Cause

    The black snake was foretold.
    The water will be tainted.
    No matter that a sacred space
    was set aside, no matter that dominion
    over land and sky and water
    belonged to those who knew
    that there can be
    no dominion
    over land and sky and water.
    A man’s name casually sprawled
    on a worthless piece of paper
    does not make the paper priceless,
    a bond is not binding,
    the truth is not true,
    promises are shattered vessels,
    their water spills like blood.
    The black snake writhes along the river
    It’s head reared back to strike.

  11. Sara McNulty

    Restaurant Ambience

    New restaurant,
    let’s try it.
    We walk in
    little bit before
    dinner crowd decides
    it is late enough
    to dine. Maitre d’,
    haughty in his
    penguin garb, looks
    us over. Even his hair
    looks starched. Do you
    have reservations,
    he asks, grimacing.
    My husband says, yes,
    but we came anyway.

  12. writinglife16

    A SIGN

    She was prim
    proper and reserved.
    Manicures,
    pedicures
    and every hair in place.
    She was quite restrained.
    Never stepped on a crack.
    Used toilet seat covers with
    a religious fervor.
    She bought them by the case.
    Recycled them.
    She could not understand
    why social services workers
    wanted to talk with her.

  13. SarahLeaSales

    The Bookworm in the Big Apple Tree

    Pippin Applegate’s reserve of library books numbered the stars
    (the kind that danced on reality TV),
    but she hadn’t the time to read them,
    for though her textbooks didn’t outnumber that stack,
    they outweighed it by twenty pounds,
    and she,
    by significantly more.

    Those textbooks–
    as dense as her aunt Bobbi Dean’s triple butter buttermilkfat 5-pound cake,
    (and Aunt B.D. herself)–
    made her feel just as weighted down,
    like Mr. Jonathan McIntosh when he was sauced.

    Once she’d learned what she needed to know for a semester
    (rather than a lifetime),
    she returned to a life of wine, men, and poetry,
    and,
    when she was feeling fat,
    spent her sweet tea breaks noshing on the cake pop version of that pound cake,
    to which her frenemies referred as “her daily dozen.”

    Then came along Little Miss Honeycrisp,
    demanding loads of dough from all who craved her,
    making Pippin feel even more rotten,
    for she–
    a wannabe tart who’d been trying to pass as a Granny Smith
    (the best for baking)–
    was,
    sadly,
    more suited for mincemeat.

  14. headintheclouds87

    Save for Later

    Save me a space
    For once I’ve figured out
    What I want out of this place.
    Keep that seat warm
    Should I ever be cold enough
    To leave the current one empty.
    Hold my number in the queue
    For when I’ve weighed up
    The infinite pros and cons.

    Just don’t mention it –
    My hesitative nature, that is
    Call me a careful thinker
    With an eye for analysis
    And an aptitude for planning,
    Who knows, they may just buy it
    And not simply figure out
    That I’m a chronic ditherer
    Just muddling his way through.

  15. PowerUnit

    The Appointment

    I showed my card; because even the privileged have to prove their right
    Come on in, he’ll see you in a minute, right after the other hard case.
    The old ladies stare at my @ss, wondering if it’s different, trying
    to see if hundred-dollar bills slip out of my pockets.
    He lights it up wide, deep, runs his fingers along the trails
    searching for beavers and holes, in the dams he sees blockages.
    There is one, he proclaims, a leaky little varmint, wish I could shoot it
    but I can hardly see the rascal. Might kill an innocent, and you
    wouldn’t want that to worry about, too. It’s as if it mattered not.
    To him, I smiled. I’ll see you next week. Hope you can see me too.
    If you stop feeding the things, they’ll move on, find new homes.
    Find a new place to hang out, a place that doesn’t require reservations.

  16. Connie Peters

    Hotel Reservation

    The check in time at the hotel,
    we reserved was not until three,
    but we arrived in Dublin at five AM.
    So we went to the hotel anyway, hoping
    we could at least store our bags there
    while we wandered around town.
    But lo and behold, it was ready,
    even to the desk clerk’s surprise.

    So we slept in comfort all morning,
    ate a slightly over-priced lunch,
    turned down raw salmon and ate
    what they called a ham sandwich,
    but to me it was more like bacon,
    and wandered around in the rain,
    shopping till we about dropped
    and found our way back to our hotel.

  17. Kateland

    The Shearing 5-9-18

    Frayed ends snap and rise
    Curl in Humid summer
    Every stroke brings out our ire

    Rubber bands burst and pull
    Tearing thread-thin hairs
    Evoking rage, as rule

    Glossy shears glimmer, light
    Release the straw-like ends
    While young tot girl, bucks and fights
    Shakes her head with all her might

    Tempers rise as soft strands fall
    Tresses soon soften and glow
    Wear a while, trim loose ends
    In 6 months time, begin again

    Kateland Smith

    1. Kateland

      I suppose this isnt technically a reserved poem

      But, if aanyone has cut a toddler girl’s hair, you certainly feel very reserved about it.
      I know I put it off a bit longer than I should. Just finished my 3 yr old’s trim this morning.

  18. taylor graham

    THE RESERVE

    What did they reserve on Reservoir Street,
    that back alley behind Main? No
    reservoir anywhere near. Just walk the one-
    way cobbled roughshod lane and
    here’s what you’ll find: dead-end adits dug into
    the uphill bank, remnants of old mining;
    on the downhill side, locked back doors of Main
    Street commerce; occasional steps down
    to narrow brick canyons between buildings.
    An old-time harrow sits behind a metal door.
    And of course, Tree of Heaven –
    this alley’s a reserve of the weed with
    the beautiful name, invasive species hated
    by the nurseryman. It thrives on parched
    cutbanks, in poorest soil. It traveled far across
    ocean to naturalize here. It’s a survivor.
    It’s reserved itself a seat here behind and above
    the likes of Main. Nobody waters it,
    but in summer it’s the lushest, loveliest green.

  19. MET

    One of my great uncles wrote

    He had left home at eighteen,
    Wandering the west and other places…
    He wrote home a year
    After the battle of the little big horn…
    The battle the Sioux had won…
    But in the end had lost…
    He talked of seeing
    The Sioux living
    On reservations
    Their spirits broken, and
    Their former lives
    Sent from homelands
    And cultures broken…
    There was a sadness in his letter
    As he spoke of the mighty Sioux
    Defeated and broken
    But safe on a reservation.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 9, 2018

  20. MET

    Reservation

    I have place reserved for me
    At a banquet I am to attend…
    I will be greeted by those
    Who have loved me…
    And what a joyful meeting
    It will be…
    I have no date set
    For this banquet…
    It is somewhere
    Out there in the future…
    I just know it will happen
    For I received my invitation
    The day I believed in you Lord Jesus…
    The day you set me free
    The day you hung on that cross, and
    The day you rose again.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 9, 2018

    For those who do not know it… in my mother’s last days ten years ago. She told us(her sitter Sherry and myself) that she had a banquet to attend… she proceeded to plan her meal and to invite about 200 dead people… She told us about mid March 2008 that she would attend this banquet either the end of April or the first of May… She died on April 29,2008… since that time whenever anyone dies… I say welcome to your banquet…she also told me a year before she died that she saw men dressed in white with flames around them building two beautiful houses on the ridge… She worried that they would set the woods on fired… I never saw them… my last sibling Joe Todd, Jr. died on Feb 28, 2008 and she died two months later…there is a verse in the gospel of John that Jesus speaks of going to prepare a place for us…. I have no doubt that is what she was seeing being built…MET

  21. Anthony94

    She Travels like a Nomad

    just what she can carry
    her lumpy pack with frayed straps
    knobby walking stick that spikes
    air above her head, helps her
    ford pebbled streams, beat
    for snakes. Now and then she finds
    crumbs from old granola she’s baked
    crumbled into bits for nibbling
    licks her finger to snag a flake of oat

    strikes full out eyes darting
    to yellow thickets of St. Johns Wort
    tall stems of early milkweed
    Sweet Rocket brushes her knees
    but she’s in search of pawpaws
    their maroon cups dangling from
    green threads deep in the woods
    just something she can photograph
    with her heart, their swinging bells’
    muted notes perhaps the only thing
    she’ll admit to keeping in reserve.

  22. De Jackson

    Hesitations of the Dawn

    We forget her scar
    -let dress is just for
    early risin’, surprisin’
    us with all its crimson
    silk applause.

    Pause,
    take a second
           look
    ,
    and book a table
    for two
    near the horizon.

    ::

    1. Poetjo

      “With all its crimson
      silk applause.” – what wonderful phrasing!

      “and book a table
      for two
      near the horizon.” — fantastic!

  23. Daniel Paicopulos

    I Reserve the Right

    to find beauty in everything,
    in the children, of course,
    and family, friends, and lovers,
    but also in the catalog of daily living,
    in the exotic succulent,
    the mundane marigold,
    the common fern,
    all capable of giving birth
    to beautiful poems.

    I reserve the right
    to believe, regardless my sources,
    no matter the topic,
    that the truth will come out,
    honesty will triumph,
    love will trump cuteness,
    every time,
    each wonder-filled heart
    generously giving birth
    to beautiful poems.

    I reserve the right
    to be sensitive to each moment,
    open to all possibilities,
    receptive to miracles,
    aligned with love,
    in a safe place, constructed
    on the edge of nowhere,
    too far into the wild for problems to reach,
    the kind of place written about
    in beautiful poems.

    I reserve the right
    to trust that all the hurt, all the bad,
    all the worry of the world
    could be swallowed up there,
    never robbing people of their God
    without giving them a better one,
    full of harmony, receptivity, peace,
    taking time to celebrate what is right,
    the small wins, what is going well,
    doing so in a beautiful poem.

  24. tripoet

    Aged *

    like wine held back
    in the cellar, delayed
    gratification, reserved
    for the banquet day.

    The creases in her face,
    an origami of pressed
    lines, ready to fold into the
    perfect welcoming smile.

    *Reserve wine is wine of a higher quality than usual, or a wine that has been aged before being sold, or both. Traditionally winemakers would “reserve” some of their best wine rather than sell it immediately, coining the term.

    1. k weber

      really enjoy that origami imagery as well. i have never seen it used describe a face. and here it is, such a nice surprise. very nice use of the “reserve” prompt also!

  25. Jason L. Martin

    A Reservation for a Marriage of Two

    It is like a call to reserve a table at our favorite restaurant.
    But that’s not how it should be at all. We gave our hands, rings
    to seal our union. Now, every morning we are so nonchalant,
    no kiss goodbye. We dutifully pay the check, go about our day.

    Our friends maneuver their steps and their glances to avoid
    our table. ‘I know we can’t talk about it to them, but you know
    they must be having problems.’ At a safe distance, they spy
    our routine, notice how we don’t speak in between mouthfuls.

    Our kids keep us united for the sake of our family of four,
    seating us at our table, forcing us to hold hands, which we do
    for them. While they can’t say what they see for fear it’s true,
    they think, ‘What’s going to happen to them? What about us?”

    One day turns into two, then one week becomes a month.
    One year turns into many, a permanent table, a reservation
    we are bound to not break. Neither of us flinch. Predictability
    is better than the unknown in trying a new favorite restaurant.

    1. tripoet

      Your concept for this poem is so good and strong. It would be perfect for a Marriage Enrichment Manual to help couples find purposeful and positive changes. Thank you for sharing.

    2. k weber

      your restaurant analogies and mentions of predictability make this poem so relatable. even for those who haven’t experienced the same level of routine and keeping up appearances in a relationship, you have really invited all of us in to glimpse this uncomfortable comfortable life 🙂

  26. k weber

    reserve

    nearing the sallow
    fen, the natural

    eye spots
    a cardinal, up-

    tick deer.
    golden

    ragwort
    walks the trail.

    sun escapes
    behind a yawn

    of trees stretching
    limbs to form

    an awning. rock
    and dust

    sleep here
    every night without

    complaint.

      1. k weber

        thank you. this means so much! i always feel like nature is tremendously inspiring, but it is also too easy to get away from it with our busier modern pace of life, technology, complicated relationships… but it is always there whenever we need to go back to it.

        1. SH

          Thank you so much for reading!

          If anyone else is on Instagram, send me a message so I can follow back. I’m amazed at how the poetry community is on there!

          @_SarahHerrin

  27. Poetjo

    Love and Reservations

    I love you
    without
    reservation,
    he said.

    Well, maybe
    I have one
    or two.

    I reserve
    the right
    to punish
    you if
    you cry,
    get mad
    at me,
    fight back,
    have an
    opinion,
    disagree
    with me,
    dress in
    clothes I
    don’t like,
    or stand
    up for
    yourself.

    If you don’t
    do any of
    those things,
    I will
    love you
    without
    reservation.

    I reserved
    a seat on
    the next
    bus and
    left the
    next day,
    because
    I reserve
    the right
    to cry,
    get mad,
    fight back,
    have an
    opinion,
    disagree,
    dress how
    I like and
    stand up
    for myself.

    I reserve
    the right
    to wait
    for love
    to show up
    that has no
    reservations.

    1. k weber

      so powerful! really like how you used different meanings of the word “reserve” throughout the poem, too. your poems about difficult and strained relationships are brave and bittersweet.

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