Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 424

For today’s prompt, write a sick poem. The poem could be about someone or something that is physically sick (a person with the flu or a plant with some disease). Or you can open it up to systems that are corrupted or wherever you wish to take it. Just remember, as always, poem nicely.

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Here’s my attempt at a Sick Poem:

“The Fever”

Everything was sick.
The trees were sick;
the snow was sick;
even the street lamps
projected a sick light
onto the sick gutters
and walkways of town.
Everywhere a cough
and a whisper of doom.
Each sneeze produced
an open prayer. And yet,
even in a town packed
with the plague, a boy
and a girl found a path
to fall in love before
the fever took them both.

*****

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 knows that sometimes you get the fever and other times the fever gets you.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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119 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 424

  1. Vicki204

    The illness in our earth

    It was sick, we all knew it.
    It coughed and it spluttered and we watched.
    But we didn’t help
    It was so sick that it was dying
    The fever and the tremors
    The bile and the sweat
    Each time worse than the last
    And we watched
    We watched from our desks
    We watched from our couches
    We watch through screens, safe
    Until it came under our doors
    And swept us all away with it
    We felt the pain
    The grief
    The loss

  2. artifiswords

    YESTERDAY / TODAY

    How horrible
    Must it have been
    In the days of sailing ships
    To hear of the illness
    Of a dear one far away
    Knowing there was
    Little chance of helping…
    Leaving a helpless feeling
    A gnawing at the gut…
    Now we think we’re
    Instantly connected…
    But despite all the pride
    In modern conveniences
    Many things can make them fail
    I know how it feels…do you…
    When desire to show you care
    And opportunity don’t coincide?

    © 2018 Robert Mihaly
    https://artifiswordpresscom.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/yesterday-today/

  3. artifiswords

    SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM

    A shock to the system…
    All was going well…getting better
    Then suddenly, a reversal of fortune

    Not that everything was headed
    Backward from the start…
    Not that everyone experienced
    Exactly the same…but the day came when
    Nothing that was working mattered
    The wrecking ball was loosed

    Lies aplenty, belying all we saw
    Lies great and small…
    Whether self-serving or mean
    Could be counted on
    Day after day…with
    Never an apology

    In shock…a great nation
    Became less so…
    Backing away from friends
    And embracing enemies

    What did we have to lose?
    Everything, as we came to know

    © 2018 Robert Mihaly

    Posted also to:
    https://artifiswordpresscom.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/shock-to-the-system/

  4. MargoL

    Pain

    Time comes to a standstill as I think
    of sicknesses and suffering
    that filled my fifty-eight years.
    Yet, there were good times too
    attached there somewhere.
    To remember
    and to ease
    heavy
    pain.

    A Way of Coming and Going

    Pain has a way of coming
    and going. It cannot recollect
    when it started or when it parted,
    or even a time when it didn’t collect.

    It owns no future but itself,
    infinitely shaking each frame of bone,
    subconscious has become blank.
    Once more, pain has set the tone.

    Pain my constant companion

    You appear with your ugly face
    to begin the day. Creeping into my life-
    ever so unsuspectingly.
    My agony has become as sharp as a knife-
    peeling the layers of my dignity like an onion.
    Pain my constant companion.

    © Margo, January 31, 2018

  5. JohnCDwyer

    What we don’t talk about
    – For my mother

    Kitchens in the Midwest work like webs
    You and I stand, arms tightly tucked to our sides
    And my memory keeps making the windows
    Dark holes instead of the mirrors they must
    Have been, reflecting us drying around the sink.

    The first sandwich I made for her was a grilled cheese
    With a slice of tomato added in post-grilling so that
    It stayed wet and firm, sprinkled with dried oregano.
    The produce came from her sister’s garden, two tiny
    Rows as wide as a zucchini is long and you claimed
    She said it was the best sandwich she had in some time.

    We are at the sink, light flooding through the blinds
    Steel knives glinting, separating red strawberries
    From green stems—I want to say this is my first memory
    But I have an older one of her standing in the front yard
    Waiting for Grandpa with me on his shoulders.

    If a nose bleed is bad enough, doctors may cauterize it
    And that won’t be enough, at which point they use cocaine
    Denatured cocaine, but I still remember sitting there
    Watching the news or PBS and it was the closest she came
    To saying that she feared none of it made any sense.

    We are coming from Grandpa’s garden, a half acre
    Of farmland, grapevines crawling up the chain link and
    Produce pushing against the edge of urban. I hold up red
    hands from picking berries and he puts me down on the lawn
    As she watches, hair curled tight and steely.

    Her bed is empty when I walk in with another sandwich
    She moved to the recliner on her own and prepared
    The newspaper, neatly folded to show the crossword
    Puzzle and hints only so there would be no distractions.
    She dries her hand, lifts the gray remote and firmly presses down.

  6. EllaT

    (in loving memory of a family friend who passed away today, much too soon.)

    Theresa

    Months to live they told her
    all of which they recommend
    lying in a bed
    being pumped with drugs
    for maybe just a few more
    drug fueled weeks

    but she shook her held high head
    and smiled in spite of the news
    those months
    wouldn’t be spent in bed

    she rented a room
    near the beach with a view
    and journaled
    drinking coffee, black, on the porch
    waves counting down
    moments with the wind in her hair

    even as her body
    slowed
    she never stopped
    smiling

    1. JohnCDwyer

      I went the same way with the prompt, jumping right past sickness to the results (mentally, even if my poem goes a bit slower). I kept wanting to pull back as it seemed melodramatic, so I’m curious if you had the same thoughts, like don’t go this far, write about something a little safer?

      1. EllaT

        Interesting. No I don’t generally censor myself in anyway when it comes to writing poetry. With this poem I was going for capturing her essence and grace in her life and her passing (I had just found out moments before writing this that she had passed.)

  7. Daniel Paicopulos

    You Are Here

    Here I am,
    in California,
    at 73.
    Mister Rogers died
    in Pennsylvania,
    just 74.
    Natural causes they said.
    (complicated by cancer)
    Not sure where I’ll be
    at 74.
    Not sure if I’ll be.
    (complicated by who knows)
    Man plans, God laughs,
    No matter who you are.
    No matter where you are.

  8. Kateland

    Secrecy

    Come here, come in
    The stomach’s pit drops quick
    Lie down, relax
    World fades surreal too fast

    Pull down, let fall
    The silent voice cries
    Lips touch, unseen
    Penetrates where secrecy lies

    She says, she asks
    How does it take
    I lie, thoughts fly
    Someone come save

    Arise, sweet child
    In shame does she stand
    Always, please come
    Would that it please end

    Bends close, breath moist
    One final surprise
    Pulls way, tongues kiss
    Was silence wise?

    Depart, fare well
    Return if you please
    If never would
    A child prayed for reprieve
    ###

    Sick is not mentioned, but inferred

  9. PressOn

    CRIPPLED VERSE

    When the meter refuses to meet
    with demands of the metrical feet,
    all the nickel-and-diming
    arising from rhyming
    can’t keep a poor verse on the beat.

  10. Walter J Wojtanik

    SAVE FERRIS

    It feels just like a sick day,
    this aching in my bones,
    my hands, they shake and tremble,
    it won’t leave me alone.
    My throat seems sort of scratchy,
    these eyes are red and burning,
    my joints are badly aching,
    as far as I’m discerning.

    I won’t waste my vacation time,
    it really isn’t fair,
    I’d pray for a touch of fever,
    so my boss would know it’s there.
    I don’t take a lot of time off,
    it’s really not my style.
    I’d save myself some trouble,
    but I’ve got it all on file.

    The other guys around me,
    look like they are susceptible,
    there’s hacking, sniffing and malaise,
    it truly is perceptible.
    It appears an epidemic,
    Has broken out with sadness.
    I wonder if it has to do
    with Influenza madness?

  11. grcran

    nationitis

    the blame game came and stayed.
    dismayed, dissension went
    and hid. its kid, remorse,
    had no recourse. it spent
    its tears and cash until
    big business spoke so loud
    and long. we took a pill
    and longed to be belonging still
    to a nation once so proud.

    gpr crane

  12. seingraham

    SOME THINGS ARE JUST SICK

    The paper is filled with news I cannot stand
    Mothers being arrested and charged with
    attempted murder because of the way they’ve
    been treating their children; the details leave
    my head spinning, my heart aching.

    Who does this? I cannot wrap my mind around
    even one person being this warped, but two
    mothers locked up their children in filthy cages,
    beat them, didn’t feed them…there’s more,
    but that’s enough.

    And that’s just here, where I live…
    South of the 49th, there are two others who’ve
    been keeping thirteen cloistered for years.
    Thirteen! How is this possible?
    Neighbors say they had no idea.
    Sick – it’s sick – and that’s also how I feel.

  13. jakecosmos

    Are you running a daily poetry challenge in April this year? I’d like to participate. I participated last year in Tiferet journals poem thon and want to do another monthly poetry challenge.

    when will you be posting an update on the challenge?

    thanks
    Jake Aller

  14. jakecosmos

    here’s my sick poem

    Waking Up to Love
    Night time
    0 dark hundred hours
    Wild things come out to play

    As they take over my dreams
    And my nightmares
    Day after day

    Torturing me with dark thoughts
    The sun comes up
    I see the love of my life
    She smiles at me

    And the darkness
    The dark nightmares
    Disappear into thin air
    The power of love

  15. jakecosmos

    here’s my sick poem

    Waking Up to Love
    Night time
    0 dark hundred hours
    Wild things come out to play

    As they take over my dreams
    And my nightmares
    Day after day

    Torturing me with dark thoughts
    The sun comes up
    I see the love of my life
    She smiles at me

    And the darkness
    The dark nightmares
    Disappear into thin air
    The power of love

  16. Mariya Koleva

    Sick

    We’re mostly sick of all the days and nights
    of empty dreams and hollow clinks
    and chinks of glasses
    stupid winks

    We’re mostly sick
    and mostly looking
    for value only if we don’t need to spell it
    correctly in our souls
    and every day of our lives.
    ###

  17. phoenixfeather

    BEFORE

    you don’t notice it till it’s gone.

    I’ve wrapped it up in rose tinted
    reveries. it was a time
    of jazz and white hot
    fervour, rollicking
    melodies, joy, anguish,
    everything chaotic
    and I never knew
    where i’d go next.

    wild wings waltzing
    through star shattered nights.
    late night train rides, screaming
    mirth and, most of all, friends
    who aren’t ghosts.

    adolescent angsts and fantasies, fledgling
    independence, the giddy hum of
    champagne and raw
    promise, boundless futures
    tumbling every which way.

    and, best of all,
    the banality of the brightness,

    I didn’t think twice
    about any of it
    until it all stopped
    and washed away
    in the blink of an eye.

    AFTER

    the clocks and calenders grew teeth
    and now I keep them hidden in dusty corners.
    bones splintering, ribs rattling, i’m
    turning to dust and
    mirrors, too, are to be avoided
    for fear of being eaten alive.

    I try my best but sometimes
    truth grabs me and spits
    in my eye.

    it’s been a thousand years
    since i’ve been outside.

  18. phoenixfeather

    BEFORE

    you don’t notice it till it’s gone.

    i’ve wrapped it up in rose tinted
    reveries. it was a time
    of jazz and white hot
    fervour, rollicking
    melodies, joy, anguish,
    everything chaotic
    and I never knew
    where i’d go next.

    wild wings waltzing
    through star shattered nights,
    honey dappled heat, sand and salty
    itched skin, late night
    train rides, screaming
    laughter, and, most of all, friends
    who aren’t ghosts.

    brimming with adolescent angsts
    and fantasies, fledgling
    independence, the giddy hum of
    champagne and raw
    promise, boundless futures
    tumbling every which way.

    and, best of all,
    the banality of the brightness,

    I didn’t think twice
    about any of it
    until it all stopped.
    and washed away
    in the blink of an eye.

    it’s all
    getting so vague,
    so very long ago,
    and truth be told,

    i rarely think about it anymore.

    AFTER

    the clocks and calenders grew teeth
    and now I keep them hidden in dusty corners.
    bones splintering, ribs rattling, i’m
    turning to dust and
    mirrors, too, are to be avoided
    for fear of being eaten alive.

    I try my best but sometimes
    truth grabs me and spits
    in my eye.

    it’s been a thousand years
    since i’ve been outside.

    1. LCaramanna

      Beautiful poems, both. The first one touches my soul, especially the second stanza. Your word choice and use of alliteration makes this poem superb. Thank you for sharing your work.

  19. grcran

    a little fishy

    spin this mrs linguistic spin it quick
    or mister click yer bic sir it’s a fit
    restricted brick by brick yer neck will crick
    tres chic tis slick don’t nitpick just submit
    you think you’re tricked so sick with all of this
    you’ve been behooved… the ickthickologist

    gpr crane

  20. Kiri

    HER LONG ILLNESS

    This
    is a true story
    of near-death
    and whispered breath-prayers
    rasped on rattled nerve endings
    unheard frictions
    bending, scraping air
    and timpanic membranes
    told eloquently
    through weeping
    fissured, seeping skin
    and downturned eyes.

    It begins:
    I am drowning
    You hope her flailing
    Will turn to swimming

    She is sickness, and
    You hope her fever
    will conflagrate
    your confusion

    You see everything
    Say nothing
    Hold
    Because you hope

    That death
    will stop knocking
    if you just don’t
    swing the door

    she dies
    she dies
    in your dream
    she dies

    if you just stay still
    and pray she goes
    quietly
    in your sleep.

  21. Anthony94

    Sick

    The forsythia switch cuts air
    above the bathtub on its yellow feet
    receives again (it is always again) my palms

    the branch is from the bush beside the tool shed
    where all the spring burst of yellowness has gone
    brown like the ugly chicken-pecked ground beneath

    what transgression has sent me to cut
    my own withes (two in case the first one breaks)
    is long forgotten, but I have remembered

    green squared stems flex better than crusty brown ones
    still nubbed by old stunted buds, newer twigs
    I have learned not to cry out to give her

    the satisfaction of my guilty pain for telling her
    what I thought (every word backtalk, sass)
    I wore the stripes above my Buster Brown’s

    the rest of the day, layers by week’s end
    it grew harder and harder to pin down why I confessed
    the same sins weekly and why years later
    I finger scars of so much more than switches.

  22. SarahLeaSales

    Lip Schtick

    There once was a girl named Mandy Wick,
    who was sick as hell of accounting & arithmetic.
    She liked to read & write
    stories that were meringue & ladyfinger-light–
    this Lit Chick in “Sassy Schtick” lipstick.

  23. taylor graham

    UNKNOWN PLACES

    She has to tell him a dozen times
    their plans for the day, and still everything
    comes as a surprise. He’s lost his way
    to favorite places he used to fish. And it’s
    news to him that once he built a house
    by hand, in the woods, and the two
    of them lived there happily where lupine
    bloomed the glory of May.
    What was the name of his good old dog
    who found that lady years ago –
    the lady who lost her mind and climbed
    down to the flooded river to become
    a saint? He gazes off in space as if
    looking for a world he knows. There’s
    a well-known ailment whose name escapes
    him. In his head are spaces gradually
    lightening with wonder, strange
    as mysteries of a childhood that still
    allows him distant glimpses.

  24. LCaramanna

    Christmas Candy

    Oh come all ye faithful
    on this holy night
    to celebrate Christmas
    Mass at midnight.
    Joy to the world
    Upon this midnight clear,
    a dog left home alone with presents
    is sweet delight.
    Her nose sniffed out those
    that would make this fine night devine.
    While angels sang sweetly o’er the plains,
    my dog ate three and a half pounds of chocolate,
    empty gold boxes were the only remains.
    When my wondering eyes saw
    all those chocolate candies
    eaten by my dog so lively and quick,
    I knew it would only be a moment
    before she was sick.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  25. Sara McNulty

    Hurting Heart

    One school shooting after another
    Each time new horror sickens my heart
    when I see their faces–father, mother.
    One school shooting after another
    Anxiety for our safety hovers,
    pall shrouds country–morals depart.
    One school shooting after another
    Each time new horror sickens my heart

  26. De Jackson

    Phlegm

    Ahem.
    I thay it again,
    Ahem.
    The phlegm is thick,
    and tho am I. My throat is thor
    and my fever’th high.
    Ahem.
    I thay it again,
    Ahem.

    For thurly I am going to die,
    buried in Kleeneth.
    Cruel world, goodbye.

    My germth are awful,
    tho thtay away
    tho you don’t get them.
    Do you hear me?
                               Ahem.

  27. Eileen S

    Healing

    In Hawaii the hula girls sway in the tepid breezes under the palm trees. I know you are not like Hawaiian women who have bronzed, perfectly shaped bodies, but I know your skin cries out for crystalline blue water. You abandon the rigidness of city life, wade out of the last five painful years, the water tickling your ankles and splashing your knees. You abandon yourself, your arms beating like pelican wings. You immerse yourself in the ocean’s warm water rinsing the smell of our sadness out of you. You stand and shake the drops off your wrinkled body. Your eyes focus on the line of the aquatic horizon. You see heaven’s paradise.

  28. candy

    Remember Me

    I get a funny feeling deep
    In my tummy – or is it
    My heart – not quite sick
    More forlorn, whenever I
    Click the box ‘remember me’
    On an online form
    It’s kind of like the feeling I
    Get whenever I think about
    Fun we had and how we laughed
    Until tears ran down
    Our cheeks – then someone
    Snorted and we laughed
    Even harder and how
    I wish there had been a box
    For me to check
    On your heart that said
    ‘remember me’

  29. seamuscorleone

    Back Pain

    I’m doing the
    Old man
    Shuffle, leaning
    Heavily to one
    Side. Pangs in
    My lower
    Back,
    Again.

    I’m too young
    For this.
    Are you ever
    Old enough?

    Ignore it,
    Take pills, and
    Put your brace on.

    The car is the
    Worst, getting
    Out and holding
    On, waiting for
    Things to
    Settle down
    Enough that
    I can walk with
    A limp, which gets
    Better the more I
    Walk and worse
    The more I sit.

    Time for
    The chiropractor, an
    Old fellow who
    Twists and bends and
    Pulls me back into
    Shape.

    Do your
    Exercises, he’ll
    Tell me. And I
    Will. At least
    Until the pain
    Goes away
    Again. Then,
    When the memory
    Of this pain fades
    Once more,
    Perhaps, we
    Will meet
    Again.

  30. Walter J Wojtanik

    FOOLS

    mortals embrace their foolish ways
    midsummer nights in love’s sick haze

    exchanging hearts and passion’s kiss
    offering all for a moment’s bliss.

    the course of love ne’er doth run smooth
    the journey is hard , such is our truth

    be it time of sorrow, or lifetime of glee
    Lord, what fools these mortals be!

  31. Walter J Wojtanik

    SICKLY STEPPING

    Stop in your steps.
    Cool your jets and park it here,
    rest a spell before you spill your lunch
    in a shimmering, spewing spray.
    It is hard that your yard is blocks away
    and quite absurd that you curb your urge
    to purge. No wonder your stomach thunders;
    your status put asunder. Turn the page.

  32. PowerUnit

    A Sick Ride

    If I had a car that captured
    Eyes and swooned the minds
    With a sense of intense rapture
    I’d get a reputation
    As a man with too much money
    And not enough contribution
    As a man who chases honies
    And doesn’t care about you

  33. PressOn

    IN EXTREMIS

    This poem is rheumy and wheezy
    and it also feels awfully queasy
    when it tries to be cheerful and breezy.

    It’s so hard to make the lines fit
    so I’d say it is high time to quit.
    I wish it’d never been writ.

    This poem needs an undertaker.

  34. Daniel Paicopulos

    The Cure

    One step is all one need take
    One poem for one in prayer
    One card to one sick child
    One book to one tiny town
    One brick for one new dike
    One well for one ill village
    One shot for one new life
    One can to one food bank
    One Kiva for one hopeful world
    One call to one official
    One smile for one store clerk
    One letter to one distant friend
    One dollar to one small shelter
    One step is all one need take
    One peace at a time
    One love

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