Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 484

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an “On (blank)” poem.

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “On (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and write your poem. Possible titles include: “On Point,” “On Target,” “On and Off,” and “On the Last Day of School.”


Poem Your Days Away!

Online poetry prompts are great! But where can you get your poem fix when you unplug? The answer is the Smash Poetry Journal, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This book collects 125 poetry prompts from the Poetic Asides blog, gives poets plenty of room to write poems, and a lot of other great poetic information. Perfectly sized to carry in a backpack or purse, you can jot down ideas for poems as you’re waiting in line for a morning coffee or take it to the park for a breezy afternoon writing session (or on a bus, at a laundromat, or about anywhere else you can imagine–except under water, unless you’re in a submarine or a giant breathable plastic bubble).

Anyway, it’s great for prompting poems, and you should order a copy today. (Maybe order an extra one as a gift for a friend.)

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at an On Blank Poem:

“On the Past”

“On the past,” she says, “I don’t care
who was wrong–only how we move
from our sad here to happy there.”
“On the past,” he says, “I do care
who was wrong and whether it’s fair
to move on from our funky groove.”
“On the past,” she says, “I declare
you were wrong, and now, I should move.”

61 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 484

  1. Avatartripoet

    On The Road Again (Hit it Willy)

    Just couldn’t resist — Thank you Willie Nelson!

    “On the Road Again
    I just can’t wait to get on the road again
    The life I love is write’n poems with my friends
    And I can’t wait to get on the road again
    On the road again
    Goin’ places that I’ve never been
    Hearing things that I may never hear again
    And I can’t wait to get on the road again
    Here we go, on the road again
    Like a band of poets we go down the highway
    We’re the best of friends
    Insisting that the world keep turnin’ our way
    And our way is on the road again
    I just can’t wait to get on the road again
    The life I love is write ‘n poems with my friends
    And I can’t wait to get on the road again, break free
    And I can’t wait to get on the road again”

  2. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik

    ON SHAKING HANDS WITH HEROES, by Walter J Wojtanik

    Hero is a word greatly overused.
    A word abused for lesser fates
    than the late and the late greats.
    There have been debates over
    those who should deserve that mantle.
    But whether earned in the field of play
    or on the field of battle,
    it is a matter of personal taste
    to place it upon another.
    Folk who held hands with destiny,
    have become a part of history,
    international or personal.

    I met one when I was all of thirteen,
    still green behind the gills.
    The presence of the man was palpable,
    a very capable athlete who had marked
    history’s pages by enraging a megalomaniac
    by winning a race where race was an issue.
    Blue-eyed Aryan “machines” were no match.
    They could not catch the man
    who thumbed his nose at the dreaded “Seig Heil”!
    I smile when I remember the day
    that I shook the hand of Jesse Owens.

    The next hand I took, probably shook the hand
    of greatness, putting me in a place
    that my face would never grace.
    A musician, a drummer for a “band of bugs”.
    A man who early on became the beat
    that would eventually be unseated
    by the worshiped ringed one.
    It was fun to listen to the stories
    of the glories and heartaches and breaks.
    Over the years I have listened to all the rest,
    collectively and in solo endeavors.
    But this handsome, clever and somewhat surly
    burly man was once the Beatles drummer.
    I shook hands with Pete Best.

    A local soldier, military man stands
    as the epitome of what a patriot would be.
    Honorable and decorated, locally celebrated
    as a radio talk show co-host who can soon boast
    receiving the highest military award ever bestowed.
    As it is told, the Medal of Honor is usually given posthumously,
    it is a well-earned and most deserved honor
    to one of the many heroes who have served in the Iraq W@r
    with such distinction. Someone who as an example set,
    would have gotten my respect in my younger days,
    and that says a lot. Well before the announcement was made
    that in a few weeks the President will give validation
    of this man’s courage and dedication to service.
    If I had known, I would have been nervous
    when shaking the hand of SSGT David G. Bellavia.

    The last hero’s hand lay silently by his side,
    a hand that discipline and patted your back with pride.
    He did not stare down a soci@list dictator
    in his prime or any time. Although a drummer
    in his own right, this night the only beat faintly heard
    was absurdly weak and near silent; still.
    It was his will that I admired the most, a toast to his resolve
    and his ability to help solve the problems
    of a young man who held him in high regard.
    Also, a military man, a sailor who served,
    he too with honor. No presidential meet and greet,
    or expressed pride of a grateful nation. At his station
    he did what he had to do and came through
    to raise his family, instilling all that was needed to
    survive life as he had. And as Dad was dying of cancer,
    I answered the call and held his hand with pride
    as he would cross the great divide,
    much like he helped me cross the street in my youth.
    All on shaking hands with heroes.

  3. Avatarjwismann

    On Ravens

    A lamentation arose as the earth awakened
    Some oft repeated tone
    The rising up a kind of hellish invitation
    I looked up and saw below
    Nevermore would I know this place a simple haven
    Could it be that it never was
    Nevermore, nevermore could there be a salvation
    The lament rose up, and I alone
    Of one, and more now, a lamentation of ravens

    I have been trying to write an ABACADABA poem for a while. This is attempt came after reading about collective nouns on Scribophile earlier. It made me think of “The Raven” and I came up with this. All of the A lines have 13 syllables (just for fun) and though they rhyme, the B lines do not follow a syllabic structure.

  4. Avatartaylor graham

    Wakamatsu Farm

    Who keeps an audit
    of this place? a peaceful land
    where those revolting
    from the call to be soldiers
    grasped what might have been
    weapons, to husband rich soil
    imagining crops
    in mortally droughted years.
    If you come at dusk
    here, and harken into night,
    might a phantasm
    come to you? a girl speaking
    in a language from
    across the sea… a scuba-
    diver searching pond’s
    deep secrets, moonlight prism’d
    in never sleeping waters.

  5. Avatarlsteadly

    On Father’s Day

    On Father’s Day I will crack
    Open a book
    Because that’s what he did
    Every day, as do I
    Yet in this case
    It will be one that he gave me as a child

    I have already chosen
    Which book it shall be
    Because the title and some of the story
    Reminds me of him
    Gone only three months now
    An eternity still raw

    The book is one in a trilogy
    A fantasy where a simple man overcomes
    More than he ever thought possible
    A tale of fear and battles and perseverance
    Questioning existence, choosing good over evil

    And though the story ends well
    and we find peace
    For my father it was harder
    His life a struggle to the last page
    cut shorter than I would have written
    but then again, he was released

  6. AvatarMike Bayles

    On a Poem

    Words linger trying to find a place
    maybe memories of the concert last night
    or words of love I forgot to share
    two months ago, or the flower that grows
    outside the window.
    It’s spring today,
    May turned into June,
    a time when poets live and die
    and I’m taken by the moon
    waxing and waning figuritively speaking
    the river that flows
    a passion in my blood.
    I grab a pen and words bleed
    onto a sheet of paper.

    Mike Bayles

  7. Avatarconnielpeters

    On and On Come the Moths

    We rejoiced in rain this year
    Lilacs thrived, tulips blazed, daffodils flamed
    Proclaimed summer was near

    Spring snow came, but not for long
    Rain pounded, trees greened up, and rivers flowed
    Drops forebode in their song

    Lots of moths thrived even more
    They flutter and tap, tap sounding like rain
    Gain entrance through our door

  8. AvatarTracy Davidson

    On My Headstone…

    I want carved in big letters:


    AGE 101

  9. AvatarZodiacal_Cloud

    On Constellated Wishes

    She says her nights are empty,
    dreamless passages of time
    where she sits and stares
    at a star-dappled sky
    wondering how she might hang
    her hopes upon them
    like Christmas ornaments –
    the colorful, and bright,
    the handmade and memory-worn,
    the ones that glitter and gleam
    too new to have felt the scratches of Time –
    knowing that the reality of such
    would have them burnt before
    they ever got close enough to touch
    leaving only ash
    and the ghosts of dreams instead

  10. AvatarSara McNulty

    On The Roof

    On sizzling summer days
    apartment dwellers
    climbed up to the roof to lay
    their blankets on ‘Tar Beach’.

    Another world existed on
    that tarred roof. We would
    stand up and look at all
    surrounding roofs.

    Some had flower pots
    with wilted-jilted petals.
    Beach chairs adorned others,
    their aluminum arms capable
    of burning your skin

    at slightest touch. Notes
    of music wafted through air
    across adjoining roofs. If
    evening evolved in sultry swell

    people stayed, danced, drank
    a few beers. Some slept there
    all night to avoid stifling
    apartments. Some made love.

  11. AvatarPowerUnit

    They stuck a rock
    on top of their cake
    their marriage
    sinking like a stone
    before the first slice.

    We sat in wonder
    they never said
    a word of truth
    only quiet stares
    a soft, flaky flounder.

    Would it be a solid
    or were they thick-headed
    Eyes on the future
    frosting coated flakes?

    People stared
    spooned their glasses
    while they kissed
    we watched it sink
    into the chocolate abyss.

  12. AvatarSarahLeaSales

    On Writing

    Writers are like chemists–
    the combination of words they choose
    can either cause a person
    (or group of like-minded persons)
    to implode or explode–
    & that’s before these readers even get
    to the comments section.

  13. Avatarwritinglife16


    It had never occurred to her
    that she should treat others
    with kindness and courtesy
    to receive it in return.
    After all, the grass came back
    every year
    and other than cutting it,
    she did nothing to it.
    Until the year it did not rain
    and her phone stopped ringing.
    She wondered if she should
    treat her grass
    and people better.

  14. AvatarAnthony94

    On Cue

    the harried mother
    takes a breaks from some
    distant thimble nest to sip
    a bit of bright red nectar
    hanging in the shade above
    clover still wet from last night’s rain

    absent for almost a month while
    nesting duties called I’ve kept
    three feeders filled but never saw
    a visitor since the last cold wind
    of April wended north and early
    migrants winged off to Canada

    ours not to see everything that passes
    in nature then but only to continue
    keeping our wordless pacts

    feeding the rescue cats
    coaxing their prized garter snake
    away and into the pasture

    adding stray bits of thread to
    cedar branches and marveling at blue
    birds riding the tips of the hedge trees

    driving around an endless procession
    of water turtles routed by the floods
    lumbering slowly in the fast lane

    and now this brief reward passing by
    the window to spy a female hummingbird
    and knowing it’s enough to keep up the effort.

  15. Avatarkhoward

    On the shore

    He looked out over the frothing cold water
    The wind snapped at him as he unleashed
    They told him that the sailboat caught her
    As it went to Davy Jones locker in a flash

    He yelled out in pain, as the waves came in
    He cried as the clouds sided with him
    He waved his arms, she rode holding a fin
    He knew she was different then him

  16. Avatarseamuscorleone

    On Time

    I hate to be
    Early, too much
    Time to sit and
    Think about how
    I could be doing
    Something else.

    I hate to be
    Late, too late
    Knowing people
    Are waiting for
    Me and I’m wasting
    Their time.

    I like to be
    Right on time,
    No time wasted
    Waiting by them or
    I, and everything
    In its right place.

    The illusion of

  17. Avatarheadintheclouds87

    On Target

    I’m trying to stay on target,
    Save up for that big trip
    To bask in that fabled sun
    Of inconvenient distance,
    Whilst still beings sensible
    At the same time
    By setting some aside
    For that feared rainy day
    That I’m frequently warned
    And urged to worry about.

    I must make frenzied plans
    And keep endless lists
    Of what I want to achieve
    To be the best self I can be;
    There’s no time to waste
    By selfishly indulging
    My own mental wellbeing
    By lying back and relaxing!
    There’s far too much to fit in
    As the taunting clock ticks…

    Tick, tock, asking accusingly
    Just what the hell it is
    I’ve spent the day doing;
    There’s goals to meet,
    Tasks to strike and tick
    Off a hurried list
    With a self-imposed time limit,
    The time to recharge
    And return to a contented state
    Will have to come at a later date…

    In the meantime I must chase
    The tightly-dictated dreams
    And supposed better days
    Conceived by an anxious brain;
    One that can’t cope without routine
    Or familiar schedules and patterns,
    Never to know the simple pleasure
    Of stopping and surrendering
    To the release of free time;
    As a gnawing guilt cruelly forbids it.

  18. Avatardandelionwine

    On By

    What gains focus,
    what turns attention
    from the course ahead,
    becomes the course
    if not for the voice
    balanced precariously
    on narrow runners
    at the back of motion
    calling over silent speed
    drawing the main line
    straight to its goal.

  19. AvatarPressOn


    I’ve often wondered why I love the fall
    so much, for other seasons have appeal
    as well: the winter with its whitened zeal;
    the springtime with its bursting flower-fall;
    and even summer holds me in its thrall
    when green fields seem too shimmered to be real.
    For sure, the autumn colors will anneal
    their way into my soul, but after all,
    the images that stay with me the most
    are those of mists and mellow fruitfulness
    and winnowing winds that still conduct surprise;
    the sifting sights and sounds of Keats, mine host,
    carry their timeless power to impress
    as gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

  20. Avatargrcran

    on his acuity

    “But Patience to prevent That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need Either man’s work or his own gifts… ” John Milton, On His Blindness

    part of the elemental fabric
    immutable laws of mass and energy
    combining tiny particles
    by twos and threes
    dozens hundreds billions
    but never in random ways
    always according to the layout
    the ionic charges
    the spiral chains
    when examined close enough
    or far enough
    or at one or more of the appropriate angles
    always reveals

    gpr crane

  21. AvatarJason L. Martin

    On Skin

    You, with your skin all white
    as the cat in your purse, whisk her
    away in your advantages and glamour
    before the heathens come with their palms
    raised up in their damned request for a change.

    Pay no mind today, until God sees you through his tears
    tomorrow. He will lift your skin, confirm what’s under
    the mask you wear, and while you stand horrified
    that the blood you bleed is exactly the same
    and the skin you paint is really a mirror,

    You’ll see it will all be over.
    You’ll see what you have done.
    Even the blind have a sense of sight,
    but you chose to give it all up
    for appearances.

  22. Avatartaylor graham

    Under the ancient blue oak
    we watch May-green grass sublimate to leaf-
    hoppers, to green-moving air as we
    watch heat-shimmer become egret lifting
    off its wetland. Snow-
    white egret we haven’t seen since winter,
    dissolving now in cloud
    as we watch thunderheads build
    over a distant summit.
    We’re grounded here, feet in grass
    summer-gold at the edges, here in blue-
    oak shade, enticing festival-goers –
    people who never believed
    they could sublimate their thoughts
    into haiku to hang
    on a wishing-tree for today’s
    fierce wind to take their words,
    dissolve them in flight farther than egret flies,
    farther than flatlands or summit.
    We tell them, their words are released
    to the world.

  23. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik


    The bond we’ve made was instant
    and permanent, this haggard poet gent
    and you, my darling granddaughter.
    I sparkle when I am in your light,
    a bright beacon in a world in need
    of your luminescence. I get the chance
    to hold you close. You look intently
    as I gently tell you how much you’ve
    given me in the short time we’ve been together.
    Your skin is so soft, mine the coarseness of leather
    yet we complement each other sweetly.
    Wrapped neatly in a swaddle, you flutter
    and coo, you blink and explore, and what’s more
    you smile, a contented little lass
    (proving it’s not gas), and I melt.
    I haven’t felt this joy since your mother
    and aunt were born. But on this morn,
    it is you, Brooklyn, who has brought beauty
    into this tired life. You’ve so much to learn,
    and I yearn to teach you all I can. Until then,
    I will revel in something so beautiful!

  24. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik

    ON FORGETTING TO FORGET, by Walter J Wojtanik

    His memory is dotted with crisp images
    that have ingrained into the depth of his soul.
    He have no control over them; they lay dormant,
    only to bubble to the surface when least expected.
    Trying in vain to relinquish these old feelings,
    he reels with remorse, this sad course that he contemplates
    leaving him silent and still and alone.
    And so, left kneeling in supplication,
    a broad brush of despair paints the man.
    This clown cries out from within, making a spectacle
    of both mirth and mired muse. The resolution
    refuses to take hold; these memories dominate.
    It is too late. Love languishes.


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