Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 449

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Learning (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “Learning to Love,” “Learning to Forget,” “Learning More Than I Ever Thought I’d Need to Know About Eggplants,” and so many other possible topics to learn.


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Here’s my attempt at a Learning Blank Poem:

“learning that i never learn”

i try
i do
but i
seem to
get ov-
er you


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’s always learning new things and forgetting old things and then learning new things that he thinks he used to know.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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120 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 449

  1. Jane Shlensky

    Learning Braille

    He knew as darkness filtered down
    that blindness slowly settled in.
    He tried recordings, readers, prayer
    to find a combination to prepare
    himself for higher learning, greater goals
    than learning how to cross a street
    with cane in hand or trust a dog
    to be the eyes and sooth the heart.

    His hands were large, long-fingered,
    built for work, not nimble in the way
    a boy needs when sight is shuttered.
    She held his hand in both of hers
    and told him what to feel and what
    it means, the combinations he can see
    beneath his hand, though he is slow,
    like reading semaphore and Morse code.
    But he is flustered in her hands,
    imagining a loveless life, bereft
    of women, marriage, family.
    Who will want a blind man?

    She teaches him the power of touch,
    the necessity of order and routine,
    the beauty of sound, smell, taste.
    “You’re not alone,” she says.
    He thinks she speaks of God.
    “There are more of us.”
    Us! My God, what a wonderful word!
    And so she taught him confidence,
    humility, grace, hope, joy, and
    the possibility of love that always lay
    beneath his fingertips.

  2. taylor graham


    It’s summer, school hasn’t started yet. But
    the trees are still here; native and exotic (alien)
    at easeful attention in sunlight of a blue sky,
    sky swept clean today of smoke. The school is
    as it was. Not vandalized, no teacher or pupil
    gunned down, and the trees still standing.
    Not so far away, schoolyard trees cut down
    and cleared in the interest of I’m not sure what.
    Progress. A grand old sycamore, friend above
    all others, that graced the playground of my
    childhood, years and miles away; tree with all
    its secrets and room at its root for mine.
    Just across the road, here, a tree of heaven
    has taken root of its own accord; blackberries
    just ripe for picking through the thorns,
    and sunburned annual grasses that escaped
    a barbwire fence. So much to learn here.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Learning to Love…
      Cornrows, natural curl and braids
      All handmade and real.
      But, too much or less for you to deal;
      With learning how to love a girl naturally.
      So you run and hide, hip hopping style
      In and out of love, never mind getting
      To fulfill your gifts and talents as a man.
      Wanting to quick to get in my pants.
      Yet, I know you will one day learn to
      Love and appreciate the ways of a boy
      And girl; what’s on her mind and what
      She has to offer the world.
      And how love can be naturally between
      A boy and girl.
      By Pamelap

    2. fahitasj

      Learning What Is Stolen

      This is mine
      I own it because its here
      I protect it daily
      Bring attention to my fear
      You have your own
      I must make myself clear
      Authority will be summoned
      Outsiders must be near

  3. Troy DeFrates

    Learning To Cry

    Raised by a Marine Corps Captain
    Real men do not ever show fear
    Go to the club and drown in beer
    Regardless of what happened

    Loss is part of life, his caption
    Real men would never show a tear
    Raised by a Marine Corps Captain
    Real men do not ever show fear

    Emotions to be abandoned
    Sitting in the dark, my eyes clear
    Holding my broken heart so dear
    Stifling my sobs I kept trapt in
    Raised by a Marine Corp Captain

  4. grcran

    learning yearning

    this teacher failed. he flubbed.
    was clubbed by boorish students.
    imprudently he flailed.
    curtailed, exasperated.
    thought curious a given.
    was driven. thirst for knowledge.
    his students would not drink.
    they’d shrink from yearning learning.

    gpr crane

  5. julie e.

    Learning to find.

    Learning to find my way again
    after years of getting it wrong
    the wrong beat to the right song
    and trying too hard to belong
    Learning to sleep alone again
    much more peaceful without the fights
    I sleep deeper most every night
    when I wake up my heart is light
    Learning to be myself again
    or maybe for the first time
    starting to see that I’m
    a person that I like
    Learning to find
    and the finding is really

  6. Sara McNulty

    Learning How Hard Life Can Be

    Each day age is at
    forefront, body
    like falling dominos,
    old cars when parts
    begin to rust. My friends
    and family are shrinking–
    not just in size,
    but in number. I jump
    at the sound of a ringing
    phone late at night. I worry
    that I am not busy
    enough, my head stuffed
    with Mom’s voice, “You have
    to be productive.” Each day
    age is at forefront,
    and I still wonder
    who I am.

  7. SarahLeaSales

    Learning Survival

    She had lost almost everything once,
    and so she lived
    as if there was someone
    out there,
    ready to take it all away.
    And because she took nothing
    for granted,
    she never procrastinated—
    always feeling that if she wasn’t ahead,
    she was behind.
    It was so easy to forget things,
    for so much was on her menu
    that was added to daily.
    Yet she found that by living this way,
    physically and mentally—
    yet never spiritually—
    made her better,
    her quality of life better,
    for she could eat what she wanted sometimes.
    Yes, she’d rather work 60 hours a week
    and lose her sanity,
    but preserve her security,
    however temporary.
    And the time that she wasn’t working,
    trying to make it all happen,
    she spent enjoying that which had not yet

  8. De Jackson

    Learning Curves

    I have studied
    the arc of moon
    for many days,
    in her angled
    gaze and held
    her full circumference
    in waiting hands.

    I feel that I
    am getting
                (swirled, whirled)
    wiser by her ardent glow,
    the diameter
    of her crescent
    Cheshire cat


  9. headintheclouds87

    Learning to Love Myself

    I’ve spent so long
    Warping and twisting myself
    Into this hideous lump
    Who no one wants to know,
    That it’s become my truth;
    Ignoring kind words
    And denying kind praise
    I cocooned myself instead,
    Deciding they must be crazy
    To waste precious time on me,
    The awkward stumbling nobody.

    Yet even alone I allowed no rest,
    Idleness ignited into guilt
    Which grew into seething anger
    As I sharply chastised myself
    For giving into simpering self-pity
    And so the cycle began again.

    I’ve punished myself daily
    For failing over and over to meet
    Nonsensical expectations made
    But also belittle a foolish brain
    For making them in the first place
    Penalised for not finding peace
    With the given iteration of me.

    But now I’ve learned to love
    The little flaws and irritants
    Once deemed so gigantic;
    My imperfect, scattered mind
    And fumbled haphazard words
    Merely form my human side
    That I’d be stupid to hide
    As they are after all, mine
    Always there and familiar,
    And how I belong and carry on
    In the uncertain world outside.

  10. deringer1


    My refrigerator’s slim pickin’
    for a meal I try to be fixin’,
    so I make do.

    My clothes are out of style,
    but for the next quite awhile
    I’ll just make do.

    My car is an old one,
    but, hey, it still runs.
    It’ll have to do.

    When I can’t have what I want
    I want what I have.
    I make do.

  11. seingraham


    You will get over it, they say
    She’ll come around, they say
    There’s more to life than kids, they say
    You need to get out more, they say
    I nod and smile, look away
    Try not to mind all that they say
    Have given up trying to make my case
    No-one wants to hear the sad story
    And frankly, I’m tired of trying to tell it
    Maybe she’ll come back someday
    And then we’ll see what’s what but
    Until then? I’m learning to let go
    For me? It’s the only thing that makes sense.

  12. DougRonald

    Learning How to Do What Matters

    Learning to fly is believing and flying,
    it splendidly graces one’s living.
    Prosperity comes from getting and giving,
    knowing receiving follows a gift.
    It’s a cycle, isn’t it?
    Learning and doing from dreams and believing,
    Seeing and being and feeling a-lift.
    This world’s our garden for seeding and weeding,
    the harvests of Morpheus ours to sift.
    Love does the soaring and kneeling and giving,
    answers the questions of “Yes, but what if?”

  13. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Learning to Accept

    As a child, we learn and grow,
    our parents teach us everything they know,
    the sames ones that counted every finger, every toe,
    When we were born.

    The love and devotion, emotion,
    to an only child, a daughter,
    in jeopardy, at the Doctor’s office,
    Where she was born.

    Her parents hold hands and wait,
    for the outcome, the diagnosis,
    memories draft away, to another day,
    When she was born.

    The Doctor breaks the silence,
    with sober words,
    Autism Spectrum Disorder,
    Since she was born.

    As my son and his wife,
    learn to accept the unknown,
    we gather strong, blessed,
    Same as the day she was born.

    Dedicated to my grand daughter, Claire.

  14. connielpeters

    Learning to Say No

    I learned
    through injury
    the world will not combust
    if I don’t get my to-dos done.
    Though dishes stack up and floors gather crumbs,
    the world will keep on spinning one day at a time,
    reminding me even God rested on the seventh day.
    And Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

  15. Anthony94

    Learning Right & Left

    sun warms
    hardwood beneath
    my left foot

    right foot
    curls on blue

    I’m reading

    his /Jersey Rain/ full
    of /light and dark
    grudge and aspiration
    aslant in the wind/

    outside there are coffee cans
    to slide over deer
    gnawed persimmon switches

    purple canes
    of raspberries ripe
    for pruning

    so many questions
    options & possibilities

    I switch feet

  16. Jason L. Martin

    Learning and Usually Forgetting
    after Shel Silverstein’s “Mr. Grumpledump’s Song”

    What I learn I usually forget. It’s like
    I’m an Informational amnesiatic.
    Books are too long.
    TV news is full of opinionated fluff.
    Websites are too wrong.
    Social media is a pit of meaningless stuff.
    Billboards fly by too quickly.
    Banner ads I close but come back too sticky.
    Museums are too stodgy.
    Libraries are too silent.
    Colleges are too categorizing.
    Kindergartens are too coddling.
    Nutritional information is too depressing.
    Repair manuals are too debilitating.
    What you tell me today, don’t bother
    To expect me to know it tomorrow, rather
    Tell me nothing that I should have to know
    And let me lead by my whims of ignorance
    Not the dins of this and that and who to follow.

  17. tripoet

    Tabla Rosa

    I knew you
    before. Before
    you were born
    I wrote scripts
    on your blank soul.
    Now you erase
    and sometimes
    acid wash the dreams
    I dreamed for you.

  18. Walter J Wojtanik


    It’s steady as she goes and there’s no telling
    how long she’ll be dwelling on the issue.
    Give her a tissue and let her be.
    You can’t make her see things your way,
    but that’s OK. Tread softly and give her room.
    Save yourself from the doom of a wrongly turned phrase.
    Everyone has those days and she knows it.

  19. taylor graham


    My shadow on the lawn
    Heiligenschein by half-
    moon bright
    in its own high sky

    eerily self-lit stares
    from beyond/above our roof
    halo-flare snake-blitz
    lightning –
    there! –

    still ridges and canyons away
    north above the river but
    right here
    sudden summer downpour
    my night-
    shirt drenched in so much
    distant glory.

  20. Marie Elena


    We’re on an information highway,
    traveling at the speed of light in a vacuum.
    With instant information gratification,
    who needs fact memorization?
    Surely it’s time to table times
    and periodic elements.

    But, no.
    For learning stirs a yearning.
    The churning of knowledge
    and haulage of speech and fact
    actively draws us.
    gnaws at disinterest, and
    erects a monstrosity of curiosity.

    Learning reaches us.
    Teaches us.
    And in return,
    we learn.

  21. Walter J Wojtanik


    Let bygones be,
    you’ve seen the error of your ways
    and it’s been days since
    your apple cart has been toppled.
    The slight against you was just that,
    slight. You might be wise to reprise
    your failings amidst the wailings
    and gnashing of teeth. Life is short,
    but it can be sweet if you let it.
    Swallow your pride and forget it.
    Don’t let it ruin another day.
    You had much to say yourself, leave it
    on the shelf and accept your part
    of the blame. It’s a doggone shame.
    Much like love, the forgiveness your get
    is equal to the forgiveness you give.
    Live and let live, let bygones be.

  22. Walter J Wojtanik


    The school of hard knocks
    will knock your sock off
    if you’re not careful. Be aware,
    full of suspicion and position
    yourself to put credence in lessons
    offered, proffered for your retention,
    not to mention your well being.
    That’s seeing the forest for the trees.
    Life could be a breeze if we pay her heed,
    and cede to her detail and instruction.
    Our destruction is in the balance
    in this valance of existence.
    Get up to fight again. Failure?
    Not an option. Take your lumps
    and up the ante. Keep yourself in the game,
    the school of hard knocks takes no blame.

  23. Daniel Paicopulos


    Sitting in the backyard on a gray summer day,
    observing the joy of Joey the kangaroo cat,
    taking a break from his morning play and prey,
    as he looks through the glass fence, enjoying cat t.v.,
    while I perform little, not thinking too much,
    practicing patience, softening my rough edges,
    waiting for the figs to ripen,
    waiting for the cactus to flower,
    waiting for the birds to sing,
    thinking about the difference between
    being quiet and finding silence,
    remembering to pray when things are
    going well.

  24. Walter J Wojtanik


    He had lost his wind,
    and his lungs had rescinded
    their cooperation.
    His respiration was fine,
    as far as that went,
    but this gent was losing his grip
    on life, rife with pitfalls
    and bear hugs, shrugs and squeezes
    that cause him to wheeze and he sneezes
    unprovoked, choked off from the precious
    air he needed to succeed in this life.
    “Remember to breathe!” she had said,
    it’s the best way to prevent becoming dead.
    So he pauses. Inhaling slowly, he holds
    it in, exhales and does it again.
    In and out,
    in and out,
    in and out without prodding,
    not nodding into that Big Sleep.
    Keeping on this side of the sod.
    Thank God he was a quick study.

  25. Daniel Paicopulos


    It’s not hard,
    learning to swim,
    just takes a lake
    a long, high pier,
    and a drunken uncle
    to throw you in.

    It’s not hard,
    building a kite,
    just takes an old newspaper,
    some sticks and string,
    and a drunken uncle
    to laugh at your efforts.

    It’s not hard,
    planting a tree,
    just takes a sapling,
    a spot and a shovel,
    and a drunken uncle
    to sit and watch.

    It’s not hard,
    staying sober,
    just takes some will,
    several good friends,
    and a drunken uncle
    to remember.

  26. k weber

    Learning to knit while on bedrest

    I spin a yarn
    the needle.

    Soon I can:

    knit and purl
    (sounds like
    the names
    of old neighbors)

    and slip
    (my L5 disc

    and increase
    (this waist
    of a line)

    and pass
    (on this
    to finish

    and decrease
    (my chance
    to heal in favor
    of relaxing
    to the metronome
    of circular
    bamboo craft

    I am in stitches:

    (belts I won’t
    bother with
    in this bed
    i can’t bend)

    or stockinette
    I prefer

    or seed
    (I planted
    in these

    or moss
    the plates
    of food
    on my night-
    to science)

    or rib
    (I’ve said
    too much
    and laughed
    to other
    pains, side
    of better

  27. Darlene Franklin

    Learn to
    Obey this year
    I heard God’s voice so clear
    He has the right—to Him they’re due
    In my obedience confidence bloomed
    Word by word laboring until success drew near
    Trusting in God’s perfect will lest I have cause to fear
    With time I’ve learned confidence and obedience together grew

  28. slaflamme520

    Learning Parenthood

    When we first met, you were fragile, tiny, innocent.
    How I loved holding you in my arms, nursing you, and singing you lullabies.
    I learned the distinction in your cries, and in your laughter.
    I taught you how to walk and you taught me how to smile.
    I was young then, and so you were.
    As a toddler, your curiosity grew.
    We traveled to new places together, observing the world for all its beauty.
    I taught you how to speak, and you taught me to appreciate the little things in life.
    Then, came your first day of school.
    I was nervous as I walked you to the front door, holding your hand, and chatting the entire time.
    Still curious as ever, you walked through the schools entryway with confidence.
    You learned math, science, history, and the language arts.
    At home, I taught you to be kind, and to love the people in your life.
    You taught me to be strong in my convictions, and resilient.
    Now you are seven, and still have much growing to do.
    Your creativity is matched only by my own.
    As we move through our days, we slay dragons, meet noble princes and kings, travel to uncharted territories, and see creatures yet unknown to this world.
    You always play the princess.
    Together, we learn that the world is a magical place.
    You are still young, and so am I.
    Our journey will never end.
    I hope to learn many more lessons with you; my child, my daughter, my best friend.

  29. PowerUnit

    Learning New Words

    You cannot learn a new word by rote.
    If all you had to do was inculcate,
    an auto-play dictionary is all you’d need.
    Your vocabulary would grow at incredible speed.

    You need to live a word to understand it,
    or you’ll end up a master of sublimate.
    New words are fresh paint too easy to abrade.
    You need to work them, feel them, tie them in a braid.

  30. Poetjo

    Learning to Heal

    Step 1
    that you
    are not
    a flawed
    and there
    was nothing
    you did to
    (Repeat this
    to yourself
    1 million

    Step 2
    you can

    Step 3
    of you
    to tell
    (Your voice
    will be
    at first
    but speak

    Step 4
    of the
    you have
    to survive
    and to
    one foot
    in front
    of the

    Step 5
    Know that

    Step 6
    Live a
    and let
    not your
    (Can I get

    Step 7
    to live
    (So how
    do you
    to live

    1. k weber

      i just had a chance to read your poem awhile after i posted mine. we must have been on the same wavelength with using parenthetical asides today! i love how you portray how healing might be suggested in stages but interject your own homegrown, well-lived, firsthand advice and commentary on each phase. you always leave me thinking more about how go further, do better, and outpace the negative.


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