Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 444

For today’s prompt, write a number four poem. I’ll give everyone precisely four seconds to figure out what inspired today’s prompt, but there are so many ways to incorporate the number four in a poem: four-syllable lines, four-line stanzas, four-stanza poems, or write four poems with all these elements (which I might dub The Big Four–and see if it sticks). Beyond that, your poem could happen at four o’clock (a.m. or p.m.), could include four people, mention four objects, or any number (though mainly the number four) of other possibilities.

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Here’s my attempt at a Number Four Poem:

“four”

the number four
is better than
the number three
if you ask me

squares have four sides
and four corners
and are better
at holding things

than triangles
which only have
three sides and three
pointy corners

the number four
includes one more
number that I
completely adore

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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). His favorite number is eight, which is a multiple of four.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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98 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 444

  1. stepstep

    THE FOUR

    Happy Birthday to me
    Fist month, Day Four, of every year
    A celebration occurs, whatever it is
    Filled with love and lots of cheer.

    Depending upon what state you’re in
    It could full of snow
    No matter where you are or land
    Number four will let you know.

    Usually the day of the week it falls
    Doesn’t really matter
    Number four will party hard
    It’s the ruler of the master.

    LaSteph

  2. LCaramanna

    Four Minus One Equals Melancholy

    We four sat in a booth
    Regulars on Saturday nights,
    Adult beverages,
    Pizza,
    Laughter,
    Stories shared,
    More laughter,
    Dessert with an after dinner drink.
    We four friends,
    Two couples,
    Shared stories,
    Laughed
    In our favorite restaurant,
    Regulars on Saturday nights.

    Without you,
    Three in the booth
    Left an empty space.
    I was out of place
    In our regular restaurant where
    Pizza had lost its pizazz,
    Conversation was no longer comical,
    And I struggled to sip
    White wine salted by my tears.
    Odd woman out
    I skipped dessert,
    Faked a goodbye smile.

    Home alone
    Wrapped in melancholy,
    I ached for the days
    When we added two in the booth,
    Four regulars on pizza night,
    In our favorite restaurant,
    Adult beverages,
    Saturday’s laughter.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  3. grcran

    Four Bearing

    The culvert cat. He slept in there
    He probed the depths. They went nowhere
    Excepting to the other side
    He saw the light. The darkness lied
    The darkness lay beneath the drive-
    Way. Cat felt cars depart, arrive
    Two driveway culverts made for four
    Yes four ways out no less no more
    With four clawed feet four germy fangs
    No culvert cat does boomerangs

    Opening door potential portal
    Cat encountered culvert turtle
    Sad turtle’d flipped. He’d lost his bearing
    That feline cared. No more nowhere-ing
    He turned said turtle upside-right
    Brightened the whirled world. Fought the blight
    Good reptile ate bugs. Cat ate rats
    They cleaned the pipe. They wore white hats
    They dreamed of streams and sycamores
    Maintained the culvert. On all fours

    gpr crane

  4. PressOn

    RECALLING THE BIG BLOCK

    In the days of my youth
    I was fully a bore
    unless I was driving
    my four on the floor.

    It was then that I flourished;
    sang many a ditty
    whilst twisting and roaring
    to beat Walter Mitty.

  5. headintheclouds87

    The Fourth Choice

    Most people decide
    After the third time,
    Choices largely comes in threes;
    Stay put, go for it, or simply flee
    And save it for another week;
    But I complicate things
    By trying them all at once,
    A fourth option, hardly wise,
    But the best one for now,
    The decision that isn’t one –
    A deceptively easy route
    But ultimately harder in the long run.

  6. Walter J Wojtanik

    A MEMOIR OF ME AT FOUR

    Me, a clumsy kid, always hid
    in out of the way places.
    Atop the refrigerator…
    in the pigeon coop…
    under the front porch…
    I carried a torch for the girl
    next door (she was much older)
    all of five. She didn’t know
    I was alive. Memories of walks
    in the pram with dreams
    of holding hands and sleeping together
    (under the trees in the park).
    I was kind of afraid of the dark,
    loved my mom and dad,
    had a sister and two brothers
    (with a future of others),
    skinned knees and sutures.
    A silent sort, never resorting to words
    (that was absurd when I was four)
    when a good hand gesture
    would suffice. A very nice life
    and so much more,
    when I remember me at four.

    1. Anthony94

      I admire this very much, not only for the rhyme scheme, but the content that so describes my own little guy at four! Especially the hiding and wide-eyed silence/that was absurd when (he) was four/ as well! He preferred to sleep under the bed, and under the dining table was his favorite as well, never mind all those legs!! I’ve re-read several times and it keeps getting better!

  7. Walter J Wojtanik

    IN 4/4 TIME

    Fell the beat.
    It moves your feet
    and soothes your savage breast.
    At best, your fingers will
    be tapping and rapping
    the table top non-stop.
    You hop to its rhythm,
    you glide and slide,
    rock and roll takes
    the signature you make.
    There’s no mistake
    you’ll break out in song.
    All in 4/4 time.

  8. Walter J Wojtanik

    I LOVE MY FOUR SEASONS

    Spring’s April showers
    fall upon awakened grass,
    at last winter ends.

    Soon summer will come
    the warmth of the sun, it soothes
    and offers comfort.

    Autumn sits in wait
    a palette full of brilliance,
    leaves dance to the ground.

    Winter’s grip tightens.
    It sends the earth to slumber
    under its blanket.

  9. Amaria

    “it’s four o’clock in the morning”

    it’s four o’clock
    in the morning
    and I lie in bed
    counting sheep

    it’s four o’clock
    in the morning
    and my mind
    will not be at ease

    it’s four o’clock
    in the morning
    and I have lost
    time to dream

    it’s four o’clock
    in the morning
    I wish the clock
    could fall back in time

    By Arcadia Maria 7/12/18
    – Also published at https://poemsbyarcadiamaria.blogspot.com/2018/07/its-four-oclock-in-morning.html

    1. PressOn

      Your piece reminded me of an old song, Three O’Clock in the Morning, and hence this:

      THE WIDE-AWAKE WALTZ

      It’s four o’clock in the morning
      and I am still awake,
      watching the coming dawning
      as day begins to break.

      A dream seems more like a haunting
      since I’m deprived of sleep;
      no task has seemed quite so daunting
      as trying for slumber deep.

  10. Bruce Niedt

    Another poem using the word bank from the Sunday Whirl blog – the words were store, lawn, boat, shed, clock, electric, minute, cabinet, turbulent, lust, hand, pillow.

    4:14

    I didn’t store up enough fatigue
    to sleep through the night.
    I should have mown the lawn,
    even if it didn’t need it yet,
    or done something more ambitious,
    like build a boat or a shed.
    Then I’d be dog-tired,
    as my father used to say.

    I turn to the red LED glow
    of the alarm clock.
    4:14, it mocks.
    I think I can even hear
    an electric hum,
    though that could be my tinnitus.
    I watch another minute wink in the dark
    before heading to the bathroom again
    for a piss, and a pill from the medicine cabinet.

    The world is turbulent by day,
    and my mind by night.
    I lust for just one satisfying dream
    as my hand pounds the pillow into submission.

  11. lsteadly

    Four Directions

    My heart with its chambers
    understands the pull
    to the east towards the sun’s rise
    and energy, life surging
    among earth’s beats
    the constant flow
    aloft on southerly winds seeking
    warmth and source of passion
    and then westward ho, I lived
    searching for the untamed
    realms of the unknown undertow
    but always my heart
    calibrated north to the glacial
    tamped mountains dotted with deer
    and rich earth and you
    ready for my touch

  12. Sara McNulty

    Even Odds

    Four is an even grouping,
    a stanza, two couplets, a square.
    Some thermostats are set to even,
    cookies eaten two by two.

    Guess I am the exception,
    odd digits are more my style.
    Four is part of my favorite number–
    add three for a lucky seven.

    1. lsteadly

      I like this one- especially because my husband always sets things to even numbers but I ‘m like you, preferening odds, maybe cuz I feel like I’m more like the odd one out 🙂

  13. grcran

    The Fourth D Mention

    “Now if a 6 turned out to be 9, I don’t mind, I don’t mind” Jimi Hendrix

    If 4 was D, not 3, mind you, but D
    Then D indeed would play the numbers game
    A racket in that key two sharp to bust
    D needs improvement, passes just the same

    And D would count, not doubt with silent B
    B 4? Oh no. Before 4 became D,
    D tailed behind. B sailed at number 2
    Now twice that, detail notes D proudly free

    Not dumb not mute, D loudly does proclaim
    When D turns 5, we’ll bring out our A game

    gpr crane

  14. SarahLeaSales

    The Foursquare Gospel

    Jesus Christ the Savior–
    not the ghost of a mortal or a legend of The Fall,
    but the earthly flesh and heavenly spirit
    of an extraterrestrial,
    who came to us a form we could
    understand,
    with words only some of us ever would–
    words powerful enough to compel some to love their enemies
    and others to hate their families.
    This was true omniscience.

    The Baptizer–
    for asking others to do
    what even He had to.
    No ventriloquist, was He,
    for the voice from Heaven
    was as much His as the voice
    from the clump of cells
    that made up His body,
    for if He was truly everywhere,
    then in our cells,
    He is also.
    This was true omnipresence.

    The Healer–
    for hands that crafted cradles and
    the crosses that would become
    His temporary open coffin;
    for garments, water, and clay
    He turned healing and holy,
    and blood that transmitted without needles,
    with which He could save the worst of humankind.
    This was true omnipotence.

    The Coming King–
    whose crown was as luminous as
    the sun’s corona,
    illuminating this Being who had
    the mane of a lion and
    the roar of a lamb and
    a passion unmatched between any two lovers
    at their heights.
    Though even He knows not when to return
    to this rocky world He lay his life down for.

  15. Jason L. Martin

    Forceps

    Some things you know
    Whether you are four
    or forty and even
    if you are one
    104, if you are
    still of sane mind.

    When you are born
    the forceps grab you
    by the head (ouch).
    What a welcome, world!

    When you are dead
    clothing is optional (really?)
    when you are embalmed.
    Keep me clothed, thanks.

    Everything in between arrives
    in fours. It’s exact.
    No less. No more.
    walk talk eat sleep
    friends family love loss
    It’s all that’s true.

  16. taylor graham

    FOUR IN THE MORNING

    C.C. Peirce on his walks over the county

    The Reverend is ready to go, silently
    out the door so as not to wake –
    to inconvenience – any person of the house.
    If bread or fruit is on the table,
    he blesses, eats it,
    and is gone. In his carpet-bag,
    an extra suit of underwear, and mostly
    books and candles – a load
    that becomes him on the trail, balances
    him barefoot. “Why should I ride?
    My Master walked!” Innocent of creed
    and ritual, he leads each voice
    to echo Scripture. The benediction settles
    softly, as from the skies, as day
    will end with stars. Four in the morning
    is a fitting time to rise.

    based on biography by Charles Elmer Upton

  17. Troy DeFrates

    A Contrapuntal Poem

    The Golfer:
    As soon as he hit the ball he yelled fore
    Jumping into his race cart to go search
    This course was new he had not been before
    Cresting the hill he greeted a small lake

    The Loon:
    The Loon dove under water to escape
    Before the Eagle could spot the small ball
    Hiding deeply within the dark landscape
    It would not be found today, not to take

    The Truck:
    The four-by-four went through the muddy hole
    It was four feet deep, it wasn’t that small
    They went in nose first they did almost roll
    It was too late to realize the mistake

    Four Paths To Nowhere:
    The forgotten paths we could have taken
    We just had to take the path that did smirch
    Choosing the wrong path we are forsaken
    We had to take to the water to slake

    Forethought (4X4X40):

    As soon as he hit the ball he yelled fore
    The loon dove under water to escape
    The four-by-four went through the muddy hole
    The forgotten paths we could have taken

    Jumping into his race cart to go search
    Before the Eagle could spot the small ball
    It was four feet deep, it wasn’t that small
    We just had to take the path that did smirch

    This course was new he had not been before
    Hiding deeply within the dark landscape
    They went in nose first they did almost roll
    Choosing the wrong path we are forsaken

    Cresting the hill he greeted a small lake
    It would not be found today, not to take
    It was too late to realize the mistake
    We had to take to the water to slake

  18. Cam Yee

    The Fourth Riddle

    It’s the number of bits in a nibble,
    The number of qualms in a quibble,

    It’s the number of wheels on a drive,
    In order to blizzards, survive,

    It’s the letters in the word of a curse,
    Or the stanzas that make up a verse,

    It’s Roosevelt’s Freedoms (and ours),
    Its the time when the late bloomer flowers,

    It’s the chambers in a heart, its the rarest of clover,
    Its the strings on the lute in the hands of the rover,

    It’s the corners of the world, its a type of equation,
    It’s the number of zones that tell time for our nation,

    It’s a high hand in poker, its a hot disco beat,
    It’s the number of syllables in tetrametric feet,

    It’s fantastic, its fab, its a gang, an estate,
    It’s the number of stars in a restaurant rate,

    It’s the number (+20) of birds in a pie,
    It’s the horsemen who warn us of the end that is nigh.

    The End
    (you were warned)

  19. dandelionwine

    Only This

    Grandpa said things come in threes—
    good luck, bad luck, the wayward sneeze.
    But I’m mindful of the number four
    after the more and nevermore—
    the final slam of the back door,
    the way the world does not keep score.

  20. k weber

    For the 4s

    At 4, the ice cream sandwich
    collapsed
    while I rode a red
    tricycle down the stairs.

    14 had a constant
    hum of cool boys who said
    I was so ugly outside
    the embrace of my friends.

    When I was 24 I came
    to a too-wide fork in the road:
    this made much difference
    in the coarse course in my life ahead.

    Turned 34
    and had surgery the day after
    I DJ’d my own birthday
    then took off my party hat.

    40 woke me up
    with a lavender bath, cable
    television in the trees
    and the bluest expanse of day.

    41 is best
    4gotten 4ever except the parts
    where I just moved 4ward
    at a crawl towards 42.

    1. ppfautsch24

      FOUR LETTER WORDS
      Why does love seem to skip
      over some when it comes into
      view with the hope to fall in love
      and be true?
      To feel good, safe, and sexy too;
      just not my turn or time for love
      to find and be mine; to have and
      hold.
      Love a four letter word that you
      can’t bear to unfold, so I let you
      blow in the wind and fall out of
      love again.
      Once more I shut the door and
      say fu€&, to a four letter word to
      hate, yet one I hold so near and
      dear.
      By Pamelap

  21. PressOn

    GEHRIG

    He played first base and wore the number four,
    but now his name’s enshrined in baseball lore
    because he played his games all in a row;
    he lasted fourteen years and didn’t go
    until disease forbade him to play more.

    He played the games and always went full-bore
    no matter what the inning or the score,
    and he could hit, but he was slow, and so
    he played first base

    until his motor neurons failed, and wore
    away the fabled Iron Horse of yore.
    He’s now in Cooperstown, where legends flow,
    and he has rightly earned his place, although
    you must remember this, his sporting core:
    he played first base.

      1. PressOn

        You might be interested in Willard Mullin’s Wonderful Iron Horse Lou, a take-off on The Deacon’s Masterpiece, or, the Wonderful “One-hoss Shay, by Oliver Wendell Holmes. This is available on the Internet in truncated form, ( http://bardball.com/wonderful-iron-horse-lou/ ) but if you can find Mullin’s longer original, with his cartoons, you will be in for a treat.

  22. Anthony94

    Kansas Drought

    Four days now of this
    unrelenting heat leaves
    withered like wrinkled hands
    uplifted veins distended

    in supplication but there
    is no cooling when mercury
    climbs steadily day by day
    streamflows below normal

    drought conditions spreading
    across weather maps this year
    the second hottest since May 1938
    so we huddle in the shade with cats

    settling deep into a last bit coolness
    in the shadow of the barn
    watch the news as food banks
    now hand out fans and water

    refill feeders for hummingbirds
    splash water in drying birdbaths
    run drip hoses through melons
    and cucumbers the meter ticking

    harvests shrink, tassels on field corn
    burning off too early ears pulled down
    by deer and coon from rows gone
    white from swirling clouds of road dust

    porch boards burn beneath old men
    saying how you can eat this humidity
    as they gaze out at the highway’s mirage
    petals dropping silently the trellis rose

    1. tripoet

      This is so wonderfully written, particularly since I am here in Kansas “eating the humidity” myself and have become an AC seeking missile. Really well done.

    2. Cam Yee

      So very well done. All the details so thoughtfully presented. Line breaks are surprising in placement, yet natural in rhythm. So many great lines, my favorite may be “… so we huddle in the shade with cats”. You really captured a place and a mood. If you haven’t submitted this somewhere, you should
      .

    3. Cam Yee

      So very well done. All the details so thoughtfully presented. Line breaks are surprising in placement, yet natural in rhythm. So many great lines, my favorite may be “… so we huddle in the shade with cats”. You really captured a place and a mood. If you haven’t submitted this somewhere, you should
      .

  23. tripoet

    FOR-EVER

    They told her to for-get,
    to live in the present
    They told her she stoked
    her own misery, conjured
    up her own miserable images.
    But no matter how tightly
    she closed her eyes, whenever
    she passed her bedroom door, she
    always felt the nightmare in there.

  24. Poetjo

    4.

    I should
    have
    had
    4
    children
    but
    miscarriages
    like
    tidal
    waves,
    swept
    those
    babies
    out
    of
    me,
    leaving
    me
    swimming
    in
    grief.

    One
    baby,
    despite
    my
    womb’s
    history,
    stuck
    like
    glue
    and
    grew
    strong
    inside
    me
    and
    when
    he
    was
    born,
    I
    woke
    again
    to
    joy.

    In
    moments,
    I still
    mourn
    the
    lost
    little
    ones
    and
    consider
    myself
    a
    mother
    of
    4,
    despite
    evidence
    to the
    contrary.

    1. k weber

      such a beautiful tribute! i appreciate that you consider yourself a mother of 4… i don’t think most of us who haven’t encountered this sort of loss understand the significance of how motherhood and remembrance play such a strong role! thanks for sharing!

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