2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 11

For today’s prompt, write a warning poem. Warnings can be found everywhere: on the labels of medicine, in the speeches of leaders, and in the advice of parents. Even stories and poems have been known to harbor warnings.

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Here’s my attempt at a Warning Poem:

“ring the bells”

ring the bells & run for the hills
the winds have shifted & the storms
thunder their approach with lightning
shock & awe & if we don’t run
let’s at least say we rang the bells

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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). As a parent, he sometimes wonders if the warnings he gives his children are taken as challenges by them–and looking back, he wonders if he wasn’t the same way.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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253 thoughts on “2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 11

  1. CJohnson

    WARNING

    If I could tell my younger self one thing
    I would warn her not to be afraid
    Of change
    I know I am
    But she will change
    She will struggle
    But eventually
    She will know why she feels different
    She will know the word they
    And it will make them feel better
    About themselves
    But I would like to thank her, too
    For without her
    Where would I be

  2. MargoL

    Without warning

    Without warning
    in the morning
    a sound wakes me
    as a north wind

    swoops on hill
    sending a chill
    cool up my spine
    tough to define

    back in my bed
    pull my bedspread
    up to my chin
    with much chagrin

  3. Yolee

    June 2016

    Posted on
    her red door, post
    office and iPhone was

    a writ of demand,
    escaped felon
    and cat 4 hurricane.

    Warnings broke out of their shell.

  4. Michelle Hed

    Red Sirens Wailing Black

    When she felt in danger
    the color red would flash in her mind
    while the golden hue of hazard lights
    went tick tock in her brain
    on a rain slicked road

    as the tornado sirens cried
    like frightened children
    and thunder rumbled in her heart
    as she feared the blackness
    would swallow her up.

  5. BDP

    “Prediction”

    Did we have warning? If nearly ninety explains why
    a brain aneurysm felled her, then we had sly
    indication it might happen. Not much felt gray
    about her through any part of her elder years,
    but by the end, she had a tiny bird’s shoulders. Her eyes—
    I wondered, green, hazel, blue? Good conscience said,
    how much else can’t you recall? Though I knew her always.
    Her voice still answers me, she and I on the telephone for
    ten, twenty minutes, the main point come around like things
    cleaned up and finding a lost button beneath. I say,
    now: Aunt, you are here, you are somewhere in the wind.
    Many of us think of words across the air as something
    magical, a gift, so I don’t consider myself foolish to ask
    come back and sit, here at the kitchen table,
    cups of coffee and stories freely poured, never far
    from sharing, until your demise, never too steep a hill.

    —B Peters

    Endwords from Mark Strand, “To Himself”

  6. SymannthaRenn

    _The End of Time_

    your grandma told you when you were a child
    it’s a story so old she heard it when she
    herself was but a child on her dad’s knee
    It’s all over but the shouting, so we wait
    for when the angels blow that trumpet and shout
    we will all rise up and the dead will come out
    Jesus came once and is coming back again
    when heaven is built, He will call us all home

  7. SymannthaRenn

    The End of Time
    your grandma told you when you were a child
    it’s a story so old she heard it when she
    herself was but a child on her dad’s knee
    It’s all over but the shouting, so we wait
    for when the angels blow that trumpet and shout
    we will all rise up and the dead will come out
    Jesus came once and is coming back again
    when heaven is built, He will call us all home
    4-12-18

  8. Jrentler

    how to catch smoke

    its like swimming steam
    or trying to climb fog

    but coxswains
    should know
    it all blows north

    so eyes on the skies
    and before they’ve
    ascended

    find a way
    off this path
    up & away

  9. drwasy

    Cairns

    You left me signs
    I failed to see
    in my rose-stained
    reverie: your frowns

    when I chose cake,
    your narratives
    of past exes
    of all sexes,

    your struggle
    to articulate
    glad, mad, sad.
    All this—and more—

    secreted under stones
    unturned until
    our ride finished
    at the fork.

  10. Austin Hill

    PAD on the Computer

    One thing of which I’m really sure,
    problems with computers
    I must endure.

    The writ-ing of the twelfth one’s done,
    try to cut ‘n paste, but
    battle’s not won.

    I take a breath and count to ten,
    an idea has come for
    which? E-le-ven.

    © April 2018 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  11. mayboy

    Behind the walls

    Can we look at children’s face?
    Do we realize what is going on?
    Behind the fence? No warning
    is good enough to prevent a predator
    lust from grabbing the innocence
    in children’s eyes; monsters looking
    for the victims from all sites and sides.
    More income, no control, what a face
    some people have in a business show?
    In the name of the purpose of the game,
    the unknown last letters of an analphabet.

  12. PSC in CT

    Too Many Tocsins

    She’s bitterly in-
    toxic-
    ated, having
    imbibed our poison-
    ous concoctions
    for far too long.

    Now she belches
    flash fires, sneezes
    gusts of debris & dust,
    spews “super-storm”
    tempests & tsunamis
    and melts mountains
    into rivers of mud.

    Her permafrost
    is waxing temporary
    as her ice caps liquefy
    lifting up sea level in
    perhaps a healthy attempt
    to wash us all away.

    This could be
    our own personal
    catechism of cataclysm,
    and (I’m just wondering)
    exactly how many tocsins
    will it take
    before we wake?

  13. agolly

    Caution Hot!

    “Caution – Hot!”
    It read on the
    Coffee cup sleeve.

    In English,
    “Avoid pouring on
    Crotch area”
    Okay, Understandable.
    Hot beverages should not
    Be spilled on crotch area.
    Who doesn’t know that?

    In Spanish,
    “Ne pourez pas dans
    L’area de oolala.”
    Um… oolala?
    Spanish you are
    Sounding like a little kid.
    Oolala just makes me laugh
    Whenever I see,
    Hear, think, or say it.
    Bad mood just say oolala
    A couple of times.
    If that doesn’t work,
    I don’t know what will.

  14. Anonymous Blue Herring

    The Storm

    Sirens terrorized the city that day,
    The day that many thought couldn’t happen.
    The air raids have gone on long enough,
    Now we will make them suffer…
    We started up our planes,
    Left our wives and children back at the bay.
    We flew right into the storm,
    A storm that nobody even dared to imagine.
    We released the bombs, and shot missiles ahead,
    They would have been better off staying home, in their beds.
    But we fought with our all until the end,
    So now our country can be at peace, until its end.

  15. billkirkwrites

    (For April 11)

    Proceed With Caution!
    By Bill Kirk

    What’s up with all the warnings, anyway?
    Can they be overused
    And lose their intended effect,
    To preserve health, well-being and safety?
    Shouldn’t “Be Careful” be enough?
    Or maybe “Watch what you’re doing”?
    And the classic: “Stop! Look! And Listen!”
    But then I suppose folks would just want to know more:

    Why do we need to be careful?
    What do we watch out for?
    How do we know which sounds goin’ round are the bad ones?
    When are precautions necessary? Always or sometimes?
    Who is being warned? Everyone or just a few?

    Keep out of the reach of children!
    Caution! Extreme risk of electrocution!
    Click it or Ticket!
    Exposure has been shown to cause cancer!
    Use only as directed!
    No Life Guard On Duty!
    Obey all traffic signs
    Enter at own risk!
    Failure to follow dosage instructions may result in:
    Heart attack, stroke, headache, nausea, dizziness or blurred vision.
    Back Off!
    Get Outa My Face!
    Do not use top of ladder as a step.
    Adults Only: 18 or older!
    Staring directly at the sun may cause blindness!
    Mattress label must not be removed except by owner.
    Not safe for human consumption!
    NO!
    STOP!

    Don’t trust anyone over 30!

  16. cobanionsmith

    At the Funeral

    Revelation and preservation
    eternal, we always forget there are so
    many ways to be labeled
    example. Always a marker to
    mind, a prophecy fulfilled,
    blessed or cursed, a question and an answer.
    Ever a witness, each makes a single testimony of another
    remnant, a part in the plot towards one resolution.

    Courtney O’Banion Smith
    @cobanionsmith

  17. pipersfancy

    Cautionary Indicators

    My car contains a carefully engineered system
    of cautionary indicators, both sound and light,
    to alert me in advance to virtually any possible
    hazard that I may encounter while on the road.

    “Someone’s got my back, my safety matters,”
    I think to myself, settling into the drivers seat.

    Ding! Ding! Ding! A gentle chime reminds
    me to fasten my seat belt as I enter the vehicle.
    Some days, I’m in a rush to get from Point A to
    Point B so the seatbelt remains flaccid, useless

    as it hangs by my side. Still, my car continues,
    chimes its plaintive monotone song because it
    cares.

    Around the holiday season, I always find it nice
    to see the dashboard lights lit bright and cheery
    as I drive. Check Engine. Low Oil. Rear Hatch
    Open. And, here’s a funny one that reminds me

    of an inverted house key, inexplicably, floating
    calmly on the ocean. I wonder what it means?

    With all of today’s technology, it strikes me as
    an oversight that we have yet to install caution-
    ary lights on humans. I’d have surely kept my
    distance had there only been some sort of indi-

    cation posted clearly on your forehead, to alert
    me to the clear danger you posed to my safety.

  18. pipersfancy

    Cautionary Indicators

    My car contains a carefully engineered system
    of cautionary indicators, both sound and light,
    to alert me in advance to virtually any possible
    hazard that I may encounter while on the road.

    “Someone’s got my back, my safety matters,”
    I think to myself while sitting in the drivers seat.

    Ding! Ding! Ding! A gentle chime reminds
    me to fasten my seat belt as I enter the vehicle.
    Some days, I’m in a rush to get from Point A to
    Point B so the seatbelt remains flaccid, useless

    as it hangs by my side. Still, my car continues,
    chimes its plaintive monotone song because it
    cares.

    Around the holiday season, I always find it nice
    to see the dashboard lights lit bright and cheery
    as I drive. Check Engine. Low Oil. Rear Hatch
    Open. And, here’s a funny one that reminds me

    of an inverted house key, inexplicably, floating
    calmly on the ocean. I wonder what it means?

    With all of today’s technology, it strikes me as
    an oversight that we have yet to install caution-
    ary lights on humans. I’d have surely kept my
    distance had there only been some sort of indi-

    cation posted clearly on your forehead, to alert
    me to the clear danger you posed to my safety.

  19. claudia marie clemente

    *don’t look back*

    they were told, weren’t they, but couldn’t resist.
    orpheus, and lot’s wife
    both looked back.
    and then, as they were told, lost their loves.

    hades and the angels buried their heads in their hands
    to their sounds of sadness.
    but couldn’t unwind the sequence of time
    to un-delete the girls from oblivion.

    youtube gurus and positive thinkers
    tell you, “do not look back,”
    live in the moment – the power of now.
    the eternal present

    but i tell you this: today, i sift through a dusty box
    for a diary, a bound-to-silence confidante
    who’s come with me all over the world,
    and kept her vow of silence.

    but i open her to a page
    of curly cursive dotted with hearts,
    blotted with adolescent tears
    dropped there in 1985, and i am there now

    holding the book,
    with the same hands
    i’m not looking back,
    but am already back, looking forward.

  20. mattmacd

    “Warning”

    Writing in a poetical manner may cause:

    -bouts of staring at complete strangers
    wondering who hurt them
    -increased use of retrospect trying to determine if you
    were held enough as a child
    -inexplicable desire to
    wear a beret and affect a lazy drawl
    into your normal speaking voice

    Continued use of poetics
    may result in
    prolonged and vegetative
    bouts of staring into the middle distance.

    Consult your PCA before proceeding.

  21. P.A. Beyer

    The Pragmatic Poet

    make
    sure
    When the
    your wall’s
    back’s taller
    against than
    the your
    wall back

    (Note: my fingers are crossed that the spacing shows up properly!)

  22. Pat Walsh

    a danger of darkness
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    edging nearer
    ever nearer
    in leaf-shaped
    shadows hung
    in the partings
    of the light of
    the moon

    the darkness
    searches you
    eager for the
    opportunity
    of one wrong
    move to seal
    your fate

  23. cello

    Taken As Prescribed

    There were signs.
    Brief flashes of light
    that came and went.
    Some blue. Some green.

    They never lasted more
    than a few seconds.

    Then, his eyes teared up
    as though he were crying.
    Letters were wavy and even
    faces turned foggy

    He couldn’t see his emails
    He couldn’t find his glasses.
    His doctor said,
    “Maybe your blood sugar’s
    too high.”

    So he ate healthier.
    His blood sugar dropped
    and he went blind.

    No one thought about
    his medicine—the new
    antibiotic they wanted
    to try—Ethambutol.

    It didn’t happen often
    according to drug trials
    so no one said it
    was a possibility.

    No one warned him
    nor could anyone say
    how many others went blind
    without knowing why.

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