2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

For today’s prompt, write a life event poem. By life event poem, I mean a poem that takes place at or describes a life event, such as a wedding, birth, death, graduation, etc. There are so many possibilities.

Here’s my attempt:


Every year, you come;
every year, I go
and do something stupid
to myself. Maybe I’ll
think twice before getting
out of bed when you come
visiting me this year.



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397 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. Jolanta.Stephens

    Life Begins Today!

    No celebratory day
    No candles, cake or gifts
    Just another
    Dull regular day
    Same routine
    Same life
    Same people
    But today
    Like every other day
    Life begins!
    Yes life will begin again

  2. AC Leming


    We flew too close
    and now we’ll see
    what is on the other side.
    what is through the looking glass —
    the black depths of space
    will turn us inside out,
    outside in and we will know then
    what we can’t know now.

  3. jendorf13

    My Life Her Life
    She came and grew
    and before we knew
    she flew so far away

    We greet and tweet
    and meet in the middle

    I miss the hug of my bug
    who’s flown farthest away

  4. Marcia Gaye

    April 19, 2012
    A “Life Event” Poem

    Events of the Day

    A Tuesday
    The editor’s yes
    A Saturday
    The contract
    A Friday
    The galleys
    A Sunday
    The launch
    A Wednesday
    A signing
    Maybe a Monday
    A Pulitzer
    A Thursday
    A good day
    To begin again.

  5. po

    waiting to breathe

    when born I
    couldn’t breathe
    nurse carried
    me over her
    shoulder all night
    morning she was
    exhausted but happy
    “she couldn’t breathe,”
    she told my Mom
    some babies don’t
    learn to breathe
    properly and only
    breathe shallowly
    the rest of their
    each meditation
    begins with
    the breath as
    will my last
    day and by
    then maybe
    I can take
    a deep breath

  6. Arrvada

    My First Death
    I see my life divided
    Between births and deaths
    Significant events
    That reshape and redesign
    The being I have been
    And who I shall become
    My first death I was seventeen
    I was reborn
    From pain and fear and sorrow
    Killed and murdered
    My innocence and faith destroyed
    Those I trusted betrayed
    Cut me through with lies
    I died that day
    Burned by them
    And was reborn
    With all new fears
    All new terrors
    Like any abandoned babe
    Wanting to scream, to cry
    Having no one to hold me
    To comfort me
    My mother killed me
    Leaving me without a home
    Making me see
    The life I had lived
    Was nothing but lies
    My first life was over
    And I started all over again

  7. ellanytdavve

    Long after

    Long after I put you
    in the ground,
    my brother, mother, father,
    grand mother,
    still I miss you
    every day.
    Wish I’d said goodbye better
    or longer or clearer or
    just not at all.
    Long after I stayed on
    to finish the lessons and
    give you credit,
    long after there’s days
    I wish to join you for a bit
    and kiss your lovely face.

  8. mschied

    Note to self


    Write speech
    Pick out dress and shoes to match
    Make sure the gown is not wrinkled

    Give speech
    Shake hands many times
    Do not trip walking across stage in high heels

    Day after:

  9. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Mental Illness: a Life Changing Event

    Imagine for a while awaking in a room
    not your own almost every day of your life
    because at age sixteen you were diagnosed
    with a mental illness.

    Neither your parents nor you understood
    that your year-long teen-unit stay could
    not heal you and medications must now
    control the illness.

    Close to forty years after that life event
    not a single “new” medications has been
    able to cure you nor do much to mitigate
    how MI effects you.

    What’s there to salvage from those years
    you’ve spent moving between hospitals
    and nursing homes while meaningful life
    still evades you?

    Here and there you make a new friend
    to share the boredom of repetitive group
    therapies like how to maintain hygiene
    when you don’t care.

    But you can still flash your amazing grin
    and the light in your eyes seems to come
    from heaven and for a few moments your
    life is worth living.

  10. Jamal Abboud

    The bridge

    Men in black crossed the bridge
    Carrying a wrecked body in a shaky casket.
    It is to be settled in a clearing beyond the ridge,
    That it may decay in time that may fit

    The calm river mirrored their doss;
    A lone bird skimmed over the water beneath the bridge,
    And circles of rhythm rippled the trifle loss.
    Kids clustered scared behind the hedge,
    Then romped playfully along the bridge.

    A gull perched on a fence,
    While an old man was staring into water,
    Searching for juvenile life in the depth,
    Under the surface that reflected his years of stress.
    Two jittery lovers were obsessed about love myth,
    Hugged, kissed, flattered, and laughed a little less.

    The ostentatious steel form carried them all,
    In rusty silence.
    It coexisted with their conviviality and whinge;
    It will witness their passage and tragic fall
    Not a mere coincidence,
    That brought to the scene the marvelous bridge.

  11. Jaywig

    Day 19 – a life event


    I wonder what that good nun thought
    on being notified about the court
    and how her marriage was almost
    null and void.
    I bet she was most uncharitably annoyed.

    “Good Lord,” she would have started with
    “I thought such separation was a myth.
    Please recant this summons now
    for I have never broken my vows.

    And how, Dear Lord, can
    cancellation be so easy
    as to simply exist in a court’s
    decree nisi?”

    While I, all unknowing, awaited the letter
    I knew would make me feel a lot better
    this poor soul with exactly the same name
    would have struggled to pray for a life
    without blame.

    So think before you untie that knot
    whose copybook you might unwittingly blot.
    And spare some concern for those same-name others
    who may be God’s Sisters, or even Mothers!

  12. randalljweiss

    “Her Bra”

    She offered herself to me, but
    I felt like a thief that night. Not quite
    a professional heist, fumbling key
    and setting off the alarm.
    She left before my parents were due home,
    leaving her bra as a memento. Evidence.
    We didn’t speak at school the next day.

  13. ceeess

    August 13, 2004 Waking

    White satin matches the colour
    your skin reflects, you in repose
    against the pillow, hands
    clasped over your diaphragm.
    If your eyes would open, you’d see
    flowers spread around the room,
    friends and family gathered, each
    small circle of conversation is
    about you today.

    We’re remembering you as
    you were, hoping that each uttered
    memory will erase the picture
    we see now as you lie there still, eyes
    closed, mouth hinting smile, you
    not there, that twinkle lost
    behind the closed eyelids
    of death, your blue eyes gone
    blank, your skin the colour
    of white satin.

    Carol A. Stephen
    April 19, 2012

  14. mlcastejon

    “A new world”

    Tiny, like a shoe box
    with a whole brand new world within.
    Grey, days outside
    with a rainbow to find out
    Cold, the rain was chasing us
    we hold a blanket to share.

    That was our first apartment
    six years so far
    collecting memories since then
    I’m not going to stop.

  15. Pat Carroll Marcantel

    ”When a Heart is Broken”

    Meant to last a long lifetime,
    hearts are made so strong and yet,
    We never know just how much
    pain and disappointment each can
    bear. I knew a heart that was so big,
    it loaded early with friends and laughter.
    It treasured family and wanted more of
    work and love and true, pure joy. That
    heart learned early to trust in the Savior,
    the One who delivered him from early pain,
    and now has ushered him in to eternal joy
    and peace. This Patrick wishes for all those
    souls he ever knew or ever hoped to know.

  16. omavi

    “… Even Perfection Falls Apart”

    Never imagined it would end like this
    Love always seems to overcome
    But this chasm much too deep
    Affection still going strong
    But this chapter of life was not
    Meant to last past this
    Even though the music still plays
    Our ears have become deaf to it
    Inebriated chases through days
    No attention paid to the meaningful things
    Eyes lock in silent embraces
    Whilst on the periphery
    Everything was falling
    Epic failures recognized
    So drunk on this that even those
    Were missed
    So not the two roads bonded
    Forked forever and shatter
    Is the dream
    Walking away
    Silent tears the only
    Remembrance of this thing
    Judges and lawyers become the definition
    Of what will be

  17. PSC in CT

    Playing catch-up, so… haikus! 😉 (Will put out on my blog with pics.)

    abandoned, empty
    fledglings having spread their wings
    taken to the sky


    first blossom gifted
    surpassingly beautiful
    sweet innocent love

  18. Sally Jadlow

    Life Cycles


    I cradle new life,
    fresh scent,
    unused fingers,
    innocent face.
    Pray for a full life
    to be well lived.

    From there,
    I travel to nursing home;
    tiptoe into patient’s room
    reeking of death.
    Gnarled hands cross
    barely moving chest.
    Pray for this one
    who draws near
    his last breath
    on this side.

  19. gtabasso


    Sacred day, I take off work to spend alone.
    Everyone should get this holiday
    to thank our mothers and celebrate.
    Most years, alone, I have gone
    to Chicago to write on the boardwalk
    with Starbucks coffee and a book,
    wind and sun. I’ve waited for someone
    to come home. I have begged and cried;
    gone to Amish Country to taste wines;
    walked a long way from a bar
    after my friends left me, cops giving a lift
    the last mile or two; watched the frosting slide
    from the cake and ice cream melt,
    but I keep celebrating. This year,
    I begged a friend to spend $100
    to see Apassionata, a story with horses,
    in Detroit. I pay my way, as usual.
    Who takes care of me?
    Who blesses my coming

  20. Jane Beal - sanctuarypoet.net


    Sometimes the bough breaks.

    The finger of God
    reaching toward Adam
    does not touch him.

    The desert at sunset is dry.

    The pool of water
    does not take away the pain,
    and the baby-girl does not turn inside.

    We wait too long.

    On the third day,
    her mother is cut open
    to bring forth her body.

    But that is not enough for life.

    She breathes muddy water
    into her fragile lungs
    and lies still.

    She’s waiting to heal.


    A woman
    breathes the breath of life
    into the baby.

    The newborn baby-girl awakens!

    After two minutes,
    once again her heart is beating
    like a little bird’s.

    For four days, she sleeps without a name.

    Then, an angel-like-a-girl-child
    comes down from heaven
    into her mother’s dream.

    Her name is Stefania.

    Jane Beal

  21. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Home Alone

    Suddenly —
    now —
    I live alone
    as of shortly after lunch today
    though I didn’t know it then.

    Another fall
    and he’s back in hospital
    after one night and a morning
    here with me.

    I was with him,
    helped him collapse
    gradually to the ground
    and so, no injury
    this time. (Nor the last.)

    Twice in three days
    is too much —
    the buckling of legs
    that just stop working.
    No loss of consciousness, just
    inability to stand.
    Sudden. Total. What if
    I had not been there?

    And I can’t lift him.
    All I could do
    was put a pillow under his head
    and call the ambulance

    While he was away
    yesterday and the day before
    I shifted furniture
    to make the place safer:
    things he could grab and hold,
    strong enough to support him.
    I guess it was just as well.
    He used one to lean on
    while I helped him down
    slowly to the floor.

    I put clean sheets on the bed.
    His last night home
    was comfortable.

    I bought some more Zero Coke
    because he likes it.
    But he didn’t even have
    one glass last night.
    He was so tired,
    and went to bed early.

    ‘So nice,’ he said this morning,
    ‘To be in my own bed
    in my own home.’
    But lately it’s been hard for him,
    I know.
    So much weakness,
    so much pain.

    So much more I wanted to do here
    to make this place
    beautiful, and kind to him.
    Now, how empty
    such improvements seem
    for me alone.

      1. seingraham

        Ah Rosemary – that is sad news indeed ; wonderful that you were there for him but how hard for both of you, this latest transition … you’ll be in my thoughts as I send good wishes your way often

  22. SharieO

    The Rest of the Story

    You left me early one morning
    Just the way you said you would
    How did you know the ending
    Of your own story beforehand

    After a short and tempestuous trip
    Together that seemed much longer
    Than the eighteen years it was
    You left just as I was getting started

    You loved your five week old namesake
    I know you did from your eyes
    That watched him and me too
    As we tried to breech our distance

    Life has taken me farther
    Than your forty year journey
    And I try to write the script
    As it may have turned out

    In my version of our story
    We grew closer and forgot
    The bad stuff from back then
    Happily ever after as father and daughter

  23. tunesmiff


    Twenty minutes ago
    The doctor said, “A son!”
    How was I to know

    Twenty minutes ago
    How quickly you would grow,
    How quickly you would crawl-walk-run?

    Twenty minutes ago
    The doctor said, “A son!”

  24. Lynn Burton

    Lost and Found

    An independent nature keeps her feet
    planted on the ground, but somwhere her mind
    has wandered and untimely death she’ll meet,
    not to make it home, but return in pine.
    Unfortunately, this she couldn’t cheat.

  25. Tanjamaltija

    A Memory

    Wedding bells. Plans. Happiness.
    Ultrasound and Doppler scans,
    Why did she die?

    Surprise party – eternity ring.
    Glow, share, rejoice.
    Why did she die?

    Life, love and laughter.
    Hopes, wishes, dreams.
    Why did she die?

    Pink booties, scented candles, musical mobile.
    Heirloom eiderdown, lace curtains, nursery furniture.
    Why did she die?

    Drab days
    Vacant stare
    Empty cot
    Meaningless existence
    Endless days –
    Infinite emptiness.

    Why did she die
    Never to be born?

  26. Lana Walker

    Please mommy

    Please mommy
    can we?

    Please please

    Isn’t it

    Please mommy

    Please mommy
    can we
    keep the

  27. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Some PA poets routinely post late,
    Not many up to say, “Great”!
    Choosing a.m. comments instead,
    By our time gone to bed,
    To all who are still up . . .

    You! I celebrate! 🙂

  28. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Large family gathering,
    Had an intense thrill in the air,
    Celebrating all at once,
    Highlighting so many in the group!

    One niece had a local high school graduation,
    Another niece graduating from college, nearby!
    Male family member’s birthday on the exact day,
    An engagement announcement along with,
    Father’s Day!

    Words on the cake were as small,
    As could be,
    To fit everyone in,
    Happy occasion was held,
    In the almost finished condo,
    Giving it the first chance to feel like home,
    It rapidly filled with guests, family,
    Celebrants and all the relatives,
    Who were dressed in their classy style!

    An unexpected arrival,
    No one saw coming,
    Just the week before,
    Showed up as some family members,
    Were sailing on the bay,
    On a lovely Saturday afternoon!

    Watching the sky,
    A burst of smoke rose quickly upward!
    As all eyes surveyed the location,
    With terror, they realized that,
    The main family house,
    Was dead center in high and wild flames!

    Word went out to the family quickly,
    Special items had to be removed,
    Luckily people were able to join together,
    Pulling paintings off the wall,
    Finding the old silver,
    Locating the antique jewelry,
    House ended up a near miss of the fire,
    Yet the smell of smoke was overpowering!

    The aging matriarch,
    Holder of the family’s history,
    Experienced the most dreaded fear,
    In her heart,
    Just imagining,
    How close she came to losing everything,
    She treasured,
    After years of keeping her precious items,
    Close to her at all times.
    Determined to have her memory remain
    In the age old special family pieces,
    Long after her life was over!

    During the full celebrations,
    She tired quickly and looked paler still,
    Hardly a warm and welcoming smile,
    Or acknowledgement,
    She had been scared to death!
    Clearly trying her best to be brave,
    Celebrating all in one evening!

    Three weeks later,
    A day after another celebration,
    The Fourth of July,
    She died unexpectedly.
    At the family lake house,
    It came as a complete surprise!

    As each family member expressed their sorrow,
    Coming together for her service,
    So grateful,
    They had held the gathering and giant celebration,
    Not a month before,
    When she had been surrounded
    By those who loved her,
    Despite the earlier fire,
    Valuing much more than her things!

    Looking back, she had been the only one,
    Not mentioned on the large served dessert,
    Yet she had always been,
    The one who always held them all together,
    And the one who always,
    Put that special icing on the cake . . .

    Just being herself!!

  29. PassionateQuill

    began with the heart swelling notes of
    Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance rising
    from the depths of the orchestra pit
    a single moment that had
    years of her life, nights of papers, all nighters
    now blurred like the faces filling the auditorium
    completely unaware of how uncertain she was
    that these years, had adequately prepared her
    while she moved across the stage confidently
    every step softly swinging the gold tassel
    against a satin smooth cherry cap
    she hoped she had gained, enough, for it had all cost so

  30. claudsy

    I could have sworn that I posted this this morning. Here goes again.

    Shattered Glass and Mental Mirrors
    Fractured images greeted me
    With wide-open eyes that day,
    Leaving behind panic, dismay,
    Never thoughts of revelry.

    Beyond doctors and onto life,
    I built myself a future,
    Complete plan to fight any strife,
    To cut losses and suture

    Together paths for new learning
    Canes, dogs, all necessary
    For work within limits churning
    With needs that I not tarry.

    Years passed, moving toward this place
    I come to with verse’s words,
    Telling tales of things done and faced
    This group of kindest souls, this space.

    © Claudette J. Young 2012

  31. De Jackson


    We hold our births and our deaths (be
    -ginning, end) sacred and we celebrate

    the innate ability to last another year
    with tiny fires. We blow candles and sing

    songs and bestow gifts or we coo, and
    ogle the new or we gather grief to say

    goodbye. What of the middle? The quiet
    sigh, the peaceful day when nothing

    changes, the soft way the blue of the
    sky rearranges my heart? What of the

    now, this breath, these words spilled,
    this moment willed into submission,

    bowed. What of the graduation of no
    -thing, the funeral of flower, the whil-

    -ing of hour, the marriage of spirit and joy
    and song? Do we miss these, all along?

    1. eljulia

      i opened my computer today to find this poem front and center waiting for me. After a tough weekend of mourning the loss of my sister, this was a beautiful reminder that there is more still here to celebrate. Thank you.

  32. seingraham

    As if It Was Yesterday

    I remember our first date
    How we went to that Ann Margret movie
    How I wasn’t over my last boyfriend
    How my parents were so pleased
    You were such a catch … in university
    becoming an engineer

    I wanted to talk myself out of you
    So why did I tremble when you held my hand
    You were so annoying, I recall thinking
    But I don’t remember why I thought that
    Probably because you weren’t
    The boyfriend who treated me so badly
    Left behind … isn’t that always the way

    Still – I remember glancing at you
    In the darkened theatre and thinking
    Hmm – a Robert Redford profile …
    I’ll be damned – and those eyes … lashes so long
    They scratched your glasses …
    It was hard not to fall into those eyes

    By the end of the evening, I wrote in my journal
    “I don’t like him much at all but he kisses great
    and I just know I’ll end up marrying him …”
    Here we are: married forty-two years, after
    going out almost five years before that
    You joke about robbing the cradle and I let you
    Honestly? I can’t imagine my life without
    You in it …

  33. cam45237

    Even Now

    I hear the chimes on the back porch sing
    As I push the screen door open and I am
    In your apple, sugar, flour, butter apron.

    Eighteen hours through the turnpike night
    I never crossed the threshold,
    I paced outside the home,
    Holding my heart inside hollowed ribs
    With clenched hands, clenched arms, and closing throat

    I stepped up to the handle.
    Walked the longest yards with you.
    Then walked away.

    I hear the grumble of the motor
    And the chain’s flat clink
    From a calculated distance.

    I couldn’t see you in a coffin.
    I wont see you in a grave.

  34. deedeekm

    john john saluted
    in his little coat and shoes
    as the horses walked sedately
    I had measles and watched
    as black and white images
    played over and over
    my friend from school
    cried all day
    big brother drafted
    never coming home
    I watched the news
    as images of kill ratio
    played over and over
    older and wiser
    or at least so I thought
    cried like a baby
    when John Lennon shot
    into the atmosphere
    giving peace a chance
    wasn’t someone’s cup of tea
    and the radio played it
    over and over
    like the challenger later
    headed for the stars
    and made it to heaven
    before our very eyes
    in technicolor repeated
    over and over
    and all I could think was
    how it would be to lose a
    loved one over and over
    until nine eleven
    when the worst of the worst
    the unthinkable
    was thought by someone and
    thought became deed
    and we realized we
    were not invulnerable
    and even then in
    our arrogance we fought
    about what kind of tribute
    to erect to the fallen
    over and over
    you would think we would
    learn but the lessons keep coming
    and the wheel keeps turning
    but over and over
    we grieve and
    don’t change

  35. Linda Voit


    We keep inching toward the double glass doors
    right out in the open. We don’t even try
    to hide. The security guy barely looks
    and the attendant just smiles
    and waves. Our get-away car idles
    under the awning, so close. Now
    we are between the doors, sure
    they will stop us, but they don’t.
    And we are out. We put you
    in your car seat for the first time
    and literally just drive away
    like we know what we are doing.
    But deep down, we cannot believe
    our luck.

    Linda Voit

  36. drwasy

    This, a Life Event: or, When Cancer Invades a Child

    This, the seashore:
    scallop shells, soft
    serves swirled high
    in cake cones, sunburn,
    swimming pool, your son
    splashes, then wades out
    shivering; his stomach

    This, the sudden cry:
    splits the night,
    breaks the dream,
    tomorrow’s scavenge
    hunt of shells and sea
    glass broken, tumbled
    tears that contain

    This, the hospital:
    hushed murmurs,
    latexed fingers prod,
    prick, neat white coats,
    white cells dry up,
    tubes tether your son
    to machines, to

    This, a life event:
    an event that alters,
    an event that mutates,
    crushes and bends
    futures. God is not
    at the sea shore, not
    at hospital; God plays in

    Not my child, but a friend’s. I cannot fathom. Peace, LindaS-W

  37. cstewart

    Alters Shine

    I felt the bone chilling emptiness, but like numbness,
    Heaven can wait,
    You had not come home and I knew,
    And a band of angels wrapped up in my heart,
    You were not coming home again.
    Will take me through the lonely night
    After much searching for you the sergeant said
    Through the cold of the day
    Whoever had been driving your car was a victim of a homicide,
    And I know I know,
    Heaven can wait,
    And the sergeant in LA said, was he an athlete?
    And all I got is time until the end of time,
    And the sergeant in LA said, was his designed ring silver?
    And the melody’s gonna make me fly
    And the sergeant in La said, was he tan?
    Without pain, without tears,
    And the sergeant in LA said: well, maybe you better come down
    And I know that I been released
    And I went down to the LA morgue at USC medical center
    But I don’t know to where
    At the end of a long, white hall, maybe 60 feet, a silver gurney,
    And nobody’s gonna tell me now
    Someone was lying with a white sheet pulled shoulder height,
    And I don’t really care
    And I walked what seemed to be the last walk I would ever want to walk,
    Oh no, no
    Until I could see your handsome face, facing up without sight –
    with a tiny trickle of blood someone had forgotten at the crevice of your lip
    I got a ticket to paradise, never gonna let it slip away,
    I walked forward the last five feet and saw a ball of white light from your
    body hit my chest ,
    I got a ticket to paradise, never gonna let it slip away
    All anxiety left, all bewilderment, all tension and pain dissipated
    I got a ticket to paradise, if I had it any sooner you know,
    I wiped the trickle of blood from the left crevice of your lip
    You know I never would have run away from my home,
    I sensed the compassion of the medical people around me, standing back;
    Heaven can wait,
    Their kindness made me feel like a visiting angel that had completed something,
    And all I got is time until the end of time,
    And upstairs, I signed your official death certificate that said “gunshot wound
    to the head,” and I accepted with love all that you could give, your final gift of light –

    And I won’t look back, I won’t look back –
    Let the alters shine,
    Let the alters shine.

  38. Miss R.

    Goodbye, Graduation

    The ceremony was dull,
    With everyone distracted by
    The heat, and some consumed with
    The contents of the flasks they hid
    Inside their tuxedo jackets.
    No one cared too much about the
    Accomplishments celebrated.

    I never danced, because I don’t,
    And the food was fine, but I would
    Probably have rather stayed home
    To eat comfortably in the kitchen,
    Trading Cinderella’s shoes
    (Which pinched) and restrictive gown
    For my ratty jeans and bare feet.

    I spent far too much on the dress
    Considering I only
    Wore it once, and now it hangs
    Lifeless and sterile in the back
    Of the closet, shunned by the clothes
    Who know they are plainer but
    More practical and better loved.

    At least the whole affair is done,
    And high school becomes a memory
    That grows sweeter as I forget
    The details, filling them in
    With the optimistic colors
    Of my imagination.
    Good riddance, graduation.

  39. Michael Grove

    So Very

    There’ll be a time when things
    become so very clear.
    You realize how much
    she is so very dear.
    You get down on your knees.
    Ask, “Will you marry me please?”
    You want her for all time
    so very near.

    By Michael Grove


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