Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 436

For today’s prompt, write a comprehensive poem. To tell you the truth, the first thing I think when I hear the word “comprehensive” is insurance, but there are any number of ways to get fully comprehensive–from a comprehensive love, comprehensive revenge, and/or a fully comprehensive stay at a 5-star hotel. I’m sure there are many ways to write comprehensively comprehensive poems.


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Here’s my attempt at a Comprehensive Poem:


on monday, he asked her out to dinner
so she asked for a comprehensive list

of previous acquaintances who could
endorse his gentlemanly behavior

to which he acquiesced & provided
for her perusal on wednesday at noon

on friday, she thanked him for his interest
but found that he was over qualified


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 loves comprehensive lists, comprehensive poems, and comprehensive lists of poems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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67 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 436

  1. grcran

    prescriptive rumination
    “the liver is evil and must be destroyed” anonymous

    writin’ somethin’ wouldn’t be
    that comprehensive though
    found some rum behind the wine
    to let the demons flow
    demon rum just grew a groggy
    fruit prehensile tail
    pineapple with vitamin see
    did repair prevail
    take strong drink in moderation
    doctor’s orders son
    then add a comprehensive fruit
    to fight the demon rum

    gpr crane

  2. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    The whole nine yards,
    From soup to nuts,
    The whole ball of wax;
    No ifs, ands, or buts.

    Lock, stock, and barrel,
    The whole shebang,
    Bumper to bumper,
    Crust to merengue.

    All encompassing,
    All surrounding,
    All forgiving,
    All encompassing,
    All surrounding,
    All forgiving,

    Front to back,
    Inside out;
    Across the board,
    Without a doubt.

    Top to bottom,
    Wall to wall,
    All for one and,
    One for all.

    All encompassing,
    All surrounding,
    All forgiving,
    All encompassing,
    All surrounding,
    All forgiving,

    Head to toe,
    East to west;
    Cradle to grave,
    Better than best.

    A to Z,
    The whole enchilada,
    Beginning to end;
    Alpha and Omega.

    All encompassing,
    All surrounding,
    All forgiving,
    All encompassing,
    All surrounding,
    All forgiving,
    All forgiving,

  3. Cam Yee

    The Reckoning

    I make an entry every time you make a comment,
    transcribe your willful words with this stupid, stuttering pen
    exactly as they fall from your lips, awash with phlegm and spittle.
    You fill the room, you know, you block the exits.
    Your knuckles
    brush the shiver of my skin.
    Your nostrils flare, quick as my indrawn breath,
    your breath
    Is shallow, your eyes are lit like dying stars,
    your fingers on my shoulder linger
    long enough for me to feel pain’s
    promise as they dig
    into the space above my clavicle.
    Your thumb caresses
    the side of my throat where the artery jumps
    like a startled mouse.
    What good does it do
    to me, to anyone
    to fill blank page after blank page with black ink upon black ink,
    each word weak, and every phrase deflated,
    poweless if not proclaimed.
    It’s time.
    It’s time.
    If not now,

  4. Jane Shlensky


    Acts of God have always been
    incomprehensible to man. And now,
    the wording is more specific as to cause
    and effect, coverage and patched.
    We think we have it handled,
    earthquake and blizzard, fire and flood,
    hurricane and tornado, trees falling,
    storms of ice and snow and more.
    But hail has undone us,
    our comprehensive coverage,
    alas, is less than complete.
    Global warming has introduced
    new possibilities. We bloom in February;
    we freeze in May; we fruit in March;
    we dig strawberries from snow.
    And if rain is predicted, we hunker down
    and wait until the winds die down,
    the ice humbling the trees, the hail
    damaging everything it hits, call
    our insurance agents and say,
    “How much again for the absolutely
    anything-can-happen policy?”

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Garden Variety Vandalism

    Though the rabbit’s looks are pensive,
    eyebrows tilted, mouth a-nibble,
    his destruction is comprehensive,
    garden munched to leaf and stubble.
    Every seedling snipped to inches,
    not a bean or corn a-sprout,
    every seed we plant, he pinches,
    soon we will all do without.

  6. madeline40

    I read a comprehensive account
    of the news
    in my newspaper daily.
    And I grab the news online –
    either on my phone
    or on my computer –
    many times during the day.
    I also watch hours of comprehensive news
    on TV every night.
    Do you think I’m hooked
    or what?
    Maybe I’m just hoping
    the trend will change
    and we’ll have comprehensive
    good news again.

  7. tripoet


    She showed up in short
    shorts and a top for her comp-
    rehensive test. Her Prof-
    essor suggested she respect
    the dress code. Her response:
    to return the next day-
    her clothes further

  8. headintheclouds87


    I get lost in the little details,
    Hung up on how’s the why’s,
    Meaning I’ll inevitably fail
    To see what’s in front of my eyes.

    This is to have a mind cursed
    To a cycle of constant rumination,
    Believing and willing the very worst
    For each and every situation.

    This analysis can be practical
    If initiated by a balanced mind,
    But if it has ceased to be rational,
    Only sadness I shall surely find.

  9. lsteadly

    The Whole Shebang

    If you are going to do it
    do it right
    my dad always said

    take your time
    see it through
    so as not to waste the precious

    time one has
    here for now
    now for here

    one must never forget
    this includes absolutely every
    thing from suggesting the simplest

    smile to the loudest love
    it all counts for everything
    towards perfect

  10. taylor graham


    Where’s a list for this plant walk? Beyond
    the intersection of grassland, woodland, and
    chaparral, our guide says we’re hiking a hot-
    spot for plant diversity, landscape of weathered
    gabbro rock that welcomes plants found nowhere
    else. She reels off rush and sedge – which rush,
    which sedge? She’s going too fast, I can only
    keep up with her feet. My notes get sloppier and
    sloppier, written on the run. Illegible by the time
    I get home. I need a plant list. Comprehensive,
    comprehensible, please.

  11. MET

    IT has begun

    Beyond my comprehension

    I have a quest….
    A simple ordinary quest…
    To ride on the roads my father built…
    But when I comprehend
    What this encompasses
    I know I have opened
    The closet where everything
    Is hidden, and
    Opening the door
    Can be a catastrophe…
    But …
    I have opened the door…
    I rode
    Sixty-two beautiful miles
    On the road my father
    Loved best…
    The Blue Ridge parkway…

    But as I look at all
    Falling in a scatteration
    Laying in a jumble
    On the floor
    I see slides of roads
    Being built,
    And that is the beginning
    Of the slides…
    Four thousand
    Or maybe more…
    Or less….
    Then the place names,
    And mile markers, and
    Memories of being there….
    Or maybe a picture
    That says I was
    Standing below a big rock…
    I did not know where,
    But now I do…
    And I know its name…
    Standing Rock…
    One of the huge rocks
    Da saved from destruction.

    Making pictures of my journey,
    Mostly mountains and signs
    But I may need to take
    Pictures of people
    I meet along the way….

    I chose a journal
    A plain yellow notebook
    Like the one Ma had
    That had her phone numbers, and
    Da’s writing
    J.A. Todd’s notes…
    Given in love to a nephew
    After she died….
    But missed…
    Writing the details of the trip…
    The skeleton
    So, to speak…
    But then to voice
    What I heard and what I saw…
    What it felt like to be there…
    To touch that big rock….
    Once captured in a photo
    When I was small…
    Can maybe I take a rock or two
    Small of course
    For if I was going to get a big rock
    It would be the Devil’s courthouse….
    I think it would be nice….
    Sadly, it is lodged safely
    Deep in the earth…

    The how to do it…
    Has burdened me…
    Money is an issue-
    But isn’t it always….
    Do I do it all on my own, or
    Do I invite some to ride shot gun
    On a day’s run?
    Then there is the myriad
    Of roads and connecting roads,
    And legends hidden along the way…

    There are the roads in
    North Carolina, Tennessee,
    Kentucky, Virginia,
    Florida, Michigan,
    Minnesota (and how do I
    Tell the story of the rock
    Made of blood) and maybe
    Mississippi and Wisconsin, and
    If not beyond my comprehension
    How this can all be done…
    I still have the Pan American Highway
    In Chili to add to that list.

    Quests are not to be easy…
    A hero or a warrior always knows…
    All I can say…
    Is in picking a quest…
    I know how to make it
    Near impossible.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 16, 2018

  12. SarahLeaSales

    Assembly Line Blues

    For a time,
    they’d known how to put all the pieces together,
    until it became more profitable for the Conglomerates
    for them to know how to make only one piece.
    Then came the day that none of them knew how to make anything,
    for the robots did everything.
    And so they built the robots–
    until the robots were taught how to recreate their own kind.
    And the Conglomerates owned the robots,
    until the robots owned them,
    turning them into what they had been,
    even as these bots became what Pinocchio had always dreamed of becoming.

  13. De Jackson

    All In

    We have had just about enough skin
    in the game to know the broad
            spectrum of it all,
       to fall
    in love with her most madly
    sides, to hide in her
    moody dark. To spark
    ourselves against her all
    -inclusive glow.

    We know
    her coverage is spotty
    at best, waning in a way
    we can barely comprehend,
    but we still wish
    upon that first-fired
    that she might be
                our friend.


  14. AsWritten


    If I told you that tomorrow
    the world would end,
    would it matter?

    Or would leave work at your normal time,
    eat an unbalanced meal,
    say ‘love’ and ‘hate’ on ordinary cadence?

    I only ask because I love you.
    And I hope tomorrow brings what
    you deserve.

  15. taylor graham


    I avoid the tallest trees. No lightning
    punctuates dark clouds, but drumroll thunder’s
    pretty close. I bow my head to small hail.

    Would my umbrella policy cover this?
    I keep swinging my motor-scythe,
    trying to make my piece of God’s garden

    fire-safe, make my peace with weather.
    Monday was a red-flag warning – too early
    in May. He gave us mastery – husbandry –

    over all this green growing wild, more
    flammable each day. I must keep mowing.
    At last, thunder moves along,

    a bit of blue pushes through cloud.
    I’ll not check my comprehensive just yet,
    but thank the heavens once more.

  16. timphilippart

    Annual Physical

    For a variety of ailments,
    he checked in with Doc
    to be checked up,
    from head to toe,

    they found nothing in his noggin,
    his torso asymptomatic.
    his hips just suffered
    from rust,

    at the tip of his hypochondriacal toe,
    an incomprehensible conclusion
    to his comprehensive physical

  17. Jrentler


    “if the other boys
    make you feel bad
    you can come

    you said in between pants and semesters
    circling the retention pond

    my soles bear the weight
    of this path

    and it comes to me
    twuz no heavenly father
    that bestowed cain’s mark
    but you

    like a lioness too chicken-sh*t
    to take out the runt
    before the world does

    and so i ran ahead
    learning to roar
    not sing
    draining my eyes
    of kindness and smile

    a finish line beyond your pride
    where alphas pound my pecs
    offer me cigarettes
    and get lost in my mane

  18. PowerUnit

    When it comes to showing skin
    The religious types will always say
    Showing as little as possible
    Is the only moral way

    That keeping oneself covered
    Is a comprehensive policy
    That hiding bits from lustful eyes
    Is basic human courtesy

    I say any person who cant control
    Their primal animal urges
    Should be locked out of site
    And never allowed to emerge

  19. Daniel Paicopulos

    An Exhaustive View of Things

    Now that the wheat has been
    mostly separated from the chaff,
    I will speak my thoughts within,
    upon my own behalf.
    Anyone looking might not
    find me to be beautiful,
    and even though I might agree,
    I must say I think I’m sculptural.
    Nature and life have comprehensively,
    sometimes to an exorbitant degree,
    taken their blades, chisels and styli to me,
    letting the years do the rest,
    not that any of it has been a test.
    What is left might not earn a ten
    on the Russian judge’s score,
    but I think it’s still okay when
    I consider a body of seventy-four.

  20. grcran

    why i don’t write formulaic poetry

    tis mostly ‘bout the music and the sound
    in fits wee bits of words meander round
    plus clever connotation mongrel meaning
    some jewels there for free for all the gleaning
    comes pouring out the comprehension of
    why me and poetry equals to love

    gpr crane

  21. Anthony94

    Before Graduation

    They called them comprehensives
    those university exams
    covering everything since
    the beginning of class/time/thought

    we stacked notes
    previous exams/essays/quizzes
    pored over them with yellow
    highlighters switched to violet
    neon green safety
    orange a slash of red

    for what they said wouldn’t be

    what we really wanted
    was to be beyond this
    grade/this testing/some box
    in a professorial syllabus
    we wanted life

    tangy on the tongue a few scrapes
    here and there to prove we could
    leap into the sky and write whole
    constellations with our passion

    in more than one language

  22. k weber

    Meeting people is easy

    Giving you this
    comprehensive list
    of my interests
    in the context
    of an online
    profile feels no more
    personal than handing
    over a paper-cut
    business card. I’d rather
    meet you in the daylight
    of broad-stroked
    sky painted
    with possibility
    and tell you boring
    stories while you
    can see my tongue
    and teeth. Let’s
    end this awkwardness
    with real skin:
    a handshake
    where my joy
    buzzer is hidden.

  23. Poetjo

    Cold War

    You say
    my love
    for you
    should be

    It’s not.

    I don’t
    have to
    put up with

    I draw
    in the
    that you
    itching to
    in your

    The list
    on our
    the terms
    of our

    ‘No punching’
    ‘No yelling’
    ‘No name
    ‘No sulking’
    ‘No dirty looks’
    ‘No slamming
    ‘No pinching’
    ‘No spitting’

    How did
    our love
    turn into


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