Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 440

For today’s prompt, write a generation poem. A generation poem could be about the X-generation or the baby boomers, sure, but it could also be about generating poems and/or power. Or re-generation of limbs. Or any number of other topics you wish to generate.

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Here’s my attempt at a Generation Poem:

“new generation”

call me old or call me crazy
but the new generation is
nothing if not loud and lazy

with their wild music and dancing
through the night and into the day
as if they’d prefer romancing

to getting tied down to a job
that pays well with a desk and pen
and stapler and a sweet key fob

instead it seems they would have fun
and i hope they keep that romance
until their generation’s done

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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 knows hope springs eternal in the new generations.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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121 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 440

  1. mayboy

    Gen-e-ratio-ons

    Which one I belong, I don’t know,
    which one I relate, I feel displaced.
    When I taste the generation flow
    sipped in the arc of wisdom for us,
    all, descendants from a galactic blow,
    on the journey of the life and death
    and aftermath the soul in the row.
    I know, the year I was born, is placed
    in the universe within a stone’s throw.

  2. PowerUnit

    We were never like the kids today
    We saw false faces on the news
    Our generation wanted to change things
    We hated the man
    We joined communes
    We picked up other people’s garbage

    Bras were burned
    Jobs were dull
    To work at a desk was death
    As deadly at ‘nam
    As deadly as marriage and kids before thirty
    As deadly as conformity

    I don’t know about kids today
    All the do is complain
    Don’t know how to grind it out
    They’re out of touch
    They have no experience
    They have no hope

    1. k weber

      it’s so interesting when you actually can FEEL the huge difference between your own generation and another. i recently hit a point where i felt like i wasn’t able to grasp some of the ways teens and younger kids today navigate through their days and interact… i feel so removed suddenly. your poem really explored that feeling!

    2. Bushkill

      Curious take. My wife and I were talking last night about how the youth of today are just like the youth of the sixties. Powered by animosity toward corporate greed and willing to do with less if less takes a dollar out of Big Bysiness’ pocket. Passion in all they do and a very narrowed field of experience and expertise.

  3. tripoet

    Future Generation

    The mother~ tugged hoping
    to extend the family line.
    The daughter~ reared up like
    a wild horse running in circles.
    The Offspring~uncertain, waited
    patiently in clouds, unknown.

  4. grcran

    generations

    this cranky old man i know
    first his throat dried up
    ran plum out of saliva
    then his pen ran flat out of ink
    his pencil used up all the lead
    finally, the clickety-clackety
    on the keyboard ceased to locomote
    at which point, the old man resignedly said
    this new generation, they won’t listen anyway

    gpr and da crane
    (yep, she wrote some of it too)

  5. Cam Yee

    Privilege

    I don’t know the name
    of the current generation
    who are speaking for their nation
    when we won’t.

    But they very clearly have
    the required inspiration
    that could fix this situation
    If we don’t.

    I don’t want their condemnation,
    (for which they may have justification)
    It’s like I’ve been on a vacation
    from my job.

    But if, instead of recreation,
    I spend my time in contemplation
    of the difference in my station
    from the mob,

    Then I might be spurred to action,
    Of which, perhaps a fraction,
    might make things feel a little less
    macabre.

  6. Sara McNulty

    Spanning Bridges

    I am always awed to see music,
    art, and film span bridges
    of generations. Concert audiences
    are invariably people of different
    ages. Young people attend classic
    films, and museums are schools
    of learning for students yearning
    to become that next great artist.

    As a child, bridges are vast; as a teen,
    short and narrow. Age may erase
    bridges for some, or build wider
    ones that know no bounds. Remember,
    your generation is one of many.

  7. headintheclouds87

    The Screen Generation

    We live in a generation
    That expects instant gratification
    Not only expect, in fact,
    But claims its God-given right to it
    When in reality, any creator would cringe
    At this self-obsessed state we’re in.

    Where photography is merely vanity,
    Imperfect beauty cruelly edited,
    Music is stripped of its tangibility,
    In favour of cold, stark accessibility,
    Stories and endings revealed thoughtlessly
    By reckless and selfish stupidity.

    This is the age of fabled technology
    Where children below a certain age
    May not know the precious days
    Of simple pleasures, and rougher play
    In the great outdoors, seen in wondrous gaze.

    Now, it is merely backdrop
    To forced smiles in staged shots
    Slowly slipping away from us.

  8. Daniel Paicopulos

    The Less Screen Time Generation

    I like a house
    with books,
    and magazines and newspapers
    as well,
    not too neatly piled,
    please.
    I enjoy a home
    with smells,
    real ones
    from cooking and cleaning
    and such,
    no vanilla need apply.
    I crave a life
    with peace,
    yet welcome are
    the bumps
    and fever
    of sincere living.
    I cherish friends
    who last,
    the ones who know
    who I
    really am.

    1. k weber

      “…yet welcome are
      the bumps
      and fever
      of sincere living…”

      indeed. i love your wording here. such a new yet confortable version of the often-overused “warts and all.” 🙂

      1. ppfautsch24

        INITIATION OF LOVE
        Pure and delicious
        Sweet and good,
        Love you in all the ways I could.
        Would you open up and be true to me
        And the heart that I give?
        Living out love loud and clear;
        No worries, doubt, or fear.
        Mature hearts running free,
        lusting after a trust of intimate moments,
        Holding each other dear.
        To know you don’t belong to anyone else,
        Belonging here with me near.
        Through generations and year after year,
        Loving you in all the ways I should.
        By Pamelap

        1. k weber

          such a beautiful poem! i love how some lines rhyme and some do not… very symbolic of unconditional love and how that means we love in the best and worst times, the organized moments and the mess 🙂

  9. Daniel Paicopulos

    Generating Love

    There is nothing I would change
    about my life, even if I could,
    because it all brought me to you.

    There is nothing else I would build,
    not from paper, stone or wood,
    except that which created me and you.

    There is nothing I could say,
    not even if I should,
    that speaks louder in me than you.

  10. Anthony94

    For Great-great Grandmother

    Almost a decade now
    for these pastures to return
    to prairie although never
    virgin again but peopled
    with new generations
    black eyed Susans,
    purple prairie clover
    white snakeroot, wild strawberries

    this year we planted Jerusalem
    artichokes to help restore
    native flora, flagged Illinois
    bundleflower’s cerise cousins
    the sensitive briers blooming
    for the first time, broadcast
    coneflower seed ahead of
    hot rain

    St. John’s Wort and butterfly
    milkweed have returned as well
    sown by quail or bluebird, finch
    or oriole and this week the blessing
    of Big Bluestem that used to anchor
    the primordial prairies with roots
    ten feet deep begins to send
    up its chestnut awns

    once a Mandan Sioux woman
    looked out from her soddy
    onto the rolling Flint Hills and
    saw what I see now but
    little comfort for her great
    distance from the longhouses
    of her childhood

    so for this great great grandmother
    I celebrate and save these fragile links
    that hold us together leaf and stem
    pod and petal with their own elusive
    fragrance borne on a five o clock
    morning breeze whispering how
    though passed through so many
    generations it is still the land
    that binds us gift of Mother Earth
    the soil our native home

    1. tripoet

      Oh my goodness. This is SO beautiful. I hope that you publish it for others to share. I am right now sitting in Huchingson, Kansas where it is 100 degrees in a broken camper– no AC- and this poem comforts me. Imagine the temperatures your extraordinary great grandmother endured and how they led to you!

    2. PressOn

      For me, that Sioux woman is the center of this piece. This reminds me of Native American spirituality, at least as I understand it from people who know it. Such a superb poem.

  11. Nancy Posey

    Greats and Great Greats

    She had boxes of letters and photographs,
    their age discernible by shape and hue.
    Some were torn, some folded. Pencil marks
    looked like invisible ink in early stages.

    She searched online, thumbed through
    phone directories, high school yearbooks,
    court house archives to find them, searching
    for her people, the stories they had to tell.

    She found church yards, family cemeteries
    with weathered stone markers, some
    telling little more than name and birth
    and death. On her knees, she took rubbings.

    Her own story, her life, remains unheralded.
    She takes pictures on her phone, releasing
    them into some mysterious cloud, but rarely
    does she take time to print them for later.

    She hasn’t though to sit with her own children,
    their offspring, to tell tales no one else knows.
    Perhaps they’ll die with her, leaving behind
    all she’s cobbled together of others’ lives.

    1. PressOn

      I think this carries a profound message about what’s important. Wonderful. One question, though, is a “t” missing from “though” in the last stanza?

  12. k weber

    Sap

    I never wanted children with you. I never
    wanted children. I emerged as a leaf filled
    with chlorophyll and potential. I sat uneasy

    on a broken limb of my family’s tree
    for years. I feared babies in those dark
    treetops and the unpredictable weather

    patterns; everything was made of glass
    with no warning from the wind chime. I was not cradled and fell down. I got hit

    emotionally with each branch. Mothers
    everywhere seemed maternal. The mothers
    who mothered one side of me were manic,

    contentious. So was I but I wasn’t allowed
    to be. I waited everyday for a light breeze
    to carry me, rock me, or whisper sentiments

    of love through my bloodline. I never wanted
    children. I never wanted children with you
    as their aunts and grandmothers.

      1. k weber

        reading your poems since the april challenge really made me feel like it was time to get more off my chest and onto the page. not easy but there is nothing wrong with survival and taking care of yourself!!!

        1. Poetjo

          I think that’s great! I have found writing honest poems about my own experience has helped me ‘own’ it all and if it helps other people write their own truth as a way to survive and take better care of themselves, that’s absolutely wonderful.

          If you’re interested in exploring ways to use writing as a powerful avenue to good self-care, shoot me an e-mail at jo@aylard.ca and we can talk about it!

    1. k weber

      oops the line break should be between “…I was” and “not cradled…” not a big deal really but here’s the correct format since i need to update my original too 🙂

      Sap

      I never wanted children with you. I never
      wanted children. I emerged as a leaf filled
      with chlorophyll and potential. I sat uneasy

      on a broken limb of my family’s tree
      for years. I feared babies in those dark
      treetops and the unpredictable weather

      patterns; everything was made of glass
      with no warning from the wind chime. I was
      not cradled and fell down. I got hit

      emotionally with each branch. Mothers
      everywhere seemed maternal. The mothers
      who mothered one side of me were manic,

      contentious. So was I but I wasn’t allowed
      to be. I waited everyday for a light breeze
      to carry me, rock me, or whisper sentiments

      of love through my bloodline. I never wanted
      children. I never wanted children with you
      as their aunts and grandmothers.

    2. Bushkill

      It’s interesting how trapped family makes us feel. You’ve powered each phrase to supercharge the angst and fear a toxic environment might have on the young and your inability to protect them from such is heart wrenching.

  13. StoryMom

    The Big Sigh

    This new generation is like a zoo.
    What is the world coming to?
    The future looks bleak for me and you.
    My Grandma said in (19)’42.

  14. Walter J Wojtanik

    THE HOME YOUR GENERATIONS ONLY KNEW

    An unfamiliar place with no trace
    of anything you can recall.
    So many thoughts and ideas
    given birth as your mind unearths
    sorrow with little hope for a tomorrow.
    Webs cobbled in fine silk
    milking memories from misty midnight menageries.
    Windows to the world, a soulless place
    replacing what once was held dear,
    here where love blossomed
    and generations of sons
    and daughters grew in tune.
    Airy, left in decadent decay –
    a shell of better days
    ghosts of confiscated youth
    ripped from the grip our longing hearts
    by upstart degenerates and renegades
    where as children we once played.
    Zombied now and denigrated to
    wait for a wrecking ball or an overhaul.
    In dreams you find your mind returning,
    yearning for what long ago was your domain.
    In dreams you can certainly go home again,
    but why would you want to?

  15. Rayn Epremian

    Lost Teeth

    lose a tooth and
    a new row grows in
    do the new retain the memories of the old?
    the taste of scales and brine
    passed down by teeth, not tongue
    the sensation that this
    has happened before, the tooth
    immortal in its
    replaceability
    like snakeskin
    like lovers without love
    lost teeth spinning through the sea
    the taste of scales and brine
    without a mind to share the data with
    or maybe this shark
    tastes the whole ocean
    immortal in its
    irreplaceability
    a hive mind of bee-teeth biting
    at salt, at water and sand
    the taste of scales and brine
    and plastic left by land-walkers
    immortal in its
    indigestibility

  16. connielpeters

    Curiosity

    Maybe it’s because we too often hear the adage, “Curiosity killed the cat,” that the average person suffers from a terrible lack of curiosity, when it comes to their lineage. How many of us know much about our ancestors past two or three generations?

    Ancestors years past
    I wonder about them now
    Their loves, trials and dreams

    In Scotland, I listened to the wistful tone of a bagpipe and remembered how my grandfather loved to hear them. I watched a genuine shepherd command his dogs, each one eagerly waiting for his own signal.

    To the whistle blast
    The dog leapt into action
    Joyful in purpose

    I stood by the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond as the song “You Take the High Road” describes and wondered if perhaps my great, great, great grandparents fell in love there. I could picture them, laughing, as they rowed their little wooden boat.

    Echoes of the past
    Ripple across gray waters
    I smile for photo

    In Ireland, my niece and I strolled along the River Shannon which bears my maiden name. The County Clare most likely nurtured my father’s side. Did they fish along the river? Did they hunt the green hills? Were they part of the many who dug the rocks out of stubborn soil and built those countless walls?

    The River Shannon
    Flowing along through the years
    Withholding secrets

    It’s odd to think that in a couple generations I will be forgotten. No one will know my joys, sorrows, quirks. They might have a vague idea they had a poet in the family.

    My dad’s diary
    I eagerly opened it
    To find the weather

    Let’s leave our loved ones stories so when curiosity catches up with them they’ll be satisfied.

    They’ll read my journal
    But what will they discover?
    Daily to-do lists?

    1. Bushkill

      Your style here is very nice. I like the openness and the narration you’ve provided leading into each haiku. And what do we really leave behind? Are we affecting the lives around us? Are we soaking ourselves like a rock tossed into a river in the lives of those we meet? Or are we cruising past overhead, a rock skipping across unplumbed depths?

  17. Bushkill

    Youthful Indiscretion

    Sometimes,
    When night wings
    Forward from its lair,
    I get lost in the past’s luster.

    Sometimes
    These wild things,
    These images of fantasy,
    Grant reflection on yesteryear.

    Most times
    They are just sad
    Machinations of youth
    Misspent a generation ago.

    My past
    Shades my present.
    Though, in truth, it no
    Longer defines me. I am now free.

  18. Daniel Paicopulos

    This week we are invited to write a “generation” poem. My attempt, a triolet.

    Picture This

    Standing back from the easel, I see that it’s complete,
    even as my life is still a work in progress.
    Maybe too many blues, perhaps a dab of joyful pink, and yet,
    standing back from the easel, I see that it’s complete.
    Some lush strokes, others thinner, the whole of the canvas
    is what matters, and not every mistake should be fixed.
    Standing back from the easel, I see that it’s complete,
    even as my life is still a work in progress.

    1. PressOn

      I admire this. It’s as good a definition of a balanced life as I’ve ever read. I especially like “… the whole of the canvas / is what matters…”

  19. Jrentler

    they trumpet the loudest

    those who feel the prickle
    of end
    on their hide

    for they’ve plodded this course
    stampeding through lands
    gathering the calves
    to the lip of this pit

    but legs like columns
    sink fast
    & all that stored bounty within
    cannot be jettisoned

    so flap your ears
    gums

    & mind the tusks
    once ivory
    turned knives
    slashing up the herd

    crows don’t wait
    for fear to leave the eyes
    before plucking

    so best to let the tar
    gestate you down
    to a memorandom of bone

  20. taylor graham

    STILL MEADOW

    for Cindy

    An old-time family in these parts –
    they settled that land below
    the overland route. Their hearts
    grew still and full on meadow.

    They settled that land below,
    where horses grazed free grass,
    grew still and full on meadow
    deaf to traffic headed for the pass.

    Where horses grazed free grass
    she was born to horses and the land,
    deaf to traffic headed for the pass.
    Field and woods would understand

    she was born to horses and the land.
    She knew the forest’s every nook –
    field and woods would understand
    she read a horse better than a book.

    She knew the forest’s every nook.
    Weather and trails, the canyon deeps
    she read. A horse – better than a book –
    the land where a body’s spirit keeps

    weather and trails, the canyon deeps;
    its overland route; the hearts;
    the land, where a body’s spirit keeps
    an old-time family in these parts.

  21. Poetjo

    Until It Stops

    My
    father
    was
    terribly
    hurt
    as a
    child
    by
    someone
    in his
    own
    family
    and
    so
    he
    hurt
    my
    mother,
    my
    brothers,
    and
    I.

    Whoever
    hurt him
    was hurt,
    and on
    and on
    and on
    it goes.

    Until it stops.

    My
    brothers
    and
    I said
    ‘no more.’

    We paid
    a heavy
    price
    because
    we lost
    our
    mother
    when
    we said
    those
    words
    but
    I have
    no regrets.

    We had
    to do it
    so that
    entire
    generations,
    of children,
    our children,
    our children’s
    children,
    and on
    and on
    and on,
    have
    hopefully
    been
    saved.

    It was
    worth
    the
    terrible
    price
    we
    paid.

    1. tripoet

      What impressed me about your poem, besides the honesty of the important subject matter, was one of the techniques you use. You present your poem in a linear form but it is a circular story and the effect is powerful. I see your poetry sharing as a personal journey and it is always interesting to see what you will share. I think you assist a lot of readers. God bless.

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