Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 448

For today’s prompt, write a chore poem. For some, waking up in the morning is a chore; for others, washing dishes and folding laundry is a chore. I hope you don’t find writing this poem a chore; I know I won’t find reading them a chore.

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Here’s my attempt at a Chore Poem:

“no bother”

it’s no bother
ain’t no chore
ain’t no other
i adore

just say miss you
maybe smile
let me kiss you
for a while

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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). He hopes you’ll check out the winners of the cyrch a chwta poetic form challenge.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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113 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 448

  1. writinglife16

    CHILDHOOD CHORES

    To this day
    I smell the ammonia
    we used to clean the toilets.
    To this day
    I feel the cold hard tiles
    as we scrubbed the floor by hand.
    To this day
    I smell the baking soda used on the tub.
    On this day
    I savor those memories because
    I am paralyzed now.

  2. Troy DeFrates

    Square Bales

    Baling hay into tight square bales
    Dust flying on the wind it sails
    A chore stacking it does entail
    Burning hot sun, burning hot sun

    No stop until the load is full
    The tractor chokes on diesel fuel
    Catching air when you are able
    Endless rows churned, endless rows churned

    Bucking the hay up eight foot high
    Shoulders muscles begin to cry
    A parched throat on the air so dry
    Earning your pay, earning your pay

  3. lsteadly

    The Things We Must Do

    You can ask me to do
    clean-up after the crew
    or give you a hand
    sweeping away tracked-in sand
    and there’s always the dishes
    summer days filleting fishes
    I don’t even mind
    helping you find
    the glasses you misplaced
    though that’s time that we waste
    And I know to this day
    we split most chores halfway
    but there’s still one turns me bitter:
    changing the rank kitty litter

  4. Amaria

    “as she washed dishes”

    as she washed dishes
    she absentmindedly listened
    to the news – always bad –
    so she tries to stay focus
    on removing leftover crumbs
    from dishes and not listen
    to the reality of life

    once while washing dishes
    she let her mind wander
    to the thought of him
    and his touch – wondering
    what went wrong and why
    he doesn’t call anymore

    no, she told herself
    instead listen to the bad news
    on the television instead of
    allowing her mind to linger
    on love gone lost

    as she washed dishes
    she tried to scrub away
    the mundaneness of life away
    to reveal its cleanliness
    and renewed hope for
    something better

    by Arcadia Maria 8/9/18
    also posted at https://poemsbyarcadiamaria.blogspot.com/2018/08/as-she-washed-dishes.html

  5. Daniel Paicopulos

    Just Beneath Our Busy Lives

    wondrous things await,
    lesser ones as well,
    pleasant chores,
    visible to the open eye,
    the willing heart,
    not hiding at all,
    if we choose.
    Just beneath that stop for groceries,
    a chance to make someone’s day,
    to thank that clerk,
    mention their name,
    grateful for their work,
    letting them know.
    Just beneath that amber light,
    a chance to slow, to pause,
    making it a smile moment,
    letting go the held breath, the tension,
    every moment a choice.
    Just beneath that daily chore,
    a chance to notice large small things,
    that shining plate,
    sparkling floor,
    the dust-free shelf,
    your happy child.
    Just beneath that illness,
    a chance to heal, to rest,
    to think about what’s coming,
    in this life and the next,
    a chance to choose to be here now,
    present moment, wonderful moment.

  6. taylor graham

    WEED-EATING

    It’s a chore, trying to make
    our five fire-safe – hills and swales,
    oak woods, boulder heaps, fields of sun-
    burned wild oats higher than my head,
    thistle gone to seed.
    My old scythe hangs rusting in the shed.
    I’ve got a Stihl motor-trimmer,
    but it’s still a chore
    that starts in March and lasts through
    summer. I get out early
    before the day heats up, swinging
    my weed-eater side to side
    across a swath, swaying with the rhythm
    that loosens what’s gone stiff
    in my knees.
    Do I miss the graceful S-curves
    of a scythe-dance?
    My fingers tingle with motor-vibes.
    It’s a dance of entanglements.
    Green-gold garlands
    wind about the trimmer head,
    so I have to stop,
    unwind it grass by grass.
    Here I stand,
    breathing-in early summer,
    falling in love again
    with my land.

      1. lsteadly

        I can so relate to this, though I only deal with a little over an acre of wilderness. Can’t do without the weed whacker (as we call it up here). Great images.

  7. grcran

    low-rent

    they told him do your chores now, child
    he told them no, i’m free i’m wild
    he knew that there’d be hell to pay
    he told them no, there ain’t no way
    if i don’t do my chores, what then
    you’ll send me back to hell again
    and hell to pay, what do they charge
    i reckon that the fee’s not large
    if i refuse to pay it, well
    i guess i’m sent to low-rent hell
    i’ll dwell forever and a day
    there, all because grown-ups held sway
    in low-rent hell forever more
    because i wouldn’t do my chore

    gpr crane

  8. PowerUnit

    Made lots of money
    this last year
    trading gold and copper
    a bit of silver
    mostly Chilean ores.

    Hasn’t been that hard
    so far under the lard
    moving forward
    steady and up
    despite the rhetoric.

    But now with these tariffs
    and tightening midriffs
    the money’s been edgy
    sitting on a cliff
    waiting to be pushed.

  9. connielpeters

    Choremaker

    Pain intensifies
    Doctor visits increase
    To-do list lengthens

    Pain intensifies
    Doctor visits increase
    To-do list lengthens

    Pain intensifies
    Doctor visits increase
    To-do list lengthens

    Pain makes everything a chore,
    even poeming.

  10. SarahLeaSales

    Hymn of Motherhood
    (for all the “Tullies” out there)

    For Mama Mia,
    motherhood was a never-ending spin cycle—
    of scraping dried spaghetti off plates
    or off the floor,
    wiping spit-up from faces,
    throw-up out of sheets,
    & sometimes poop or pee,
    & even poopy pee.
    It was poop in the bathtub.
    It was cooking hamburger casseroles for dinner
    & baking cupcakes for play-dates.
    It was cold cereal & spilt milk
    & crying for no reason
    & laughing for the same.
    It was yelling for a multitude of reasons.
    It was vacuuming the rugs
    for the creeping crawlies in onesies
    & the toddling twos in their missing left socks.
    It was reading the same stories over & over—
    like binge-watching Groundhog Day—
    limiting her own screen time to set an example,
    & sharing her chocolate to show that sharing was good.
    It was hiding in the bathroom to check her e-mail or
    in the closet to nosh on a frozen white chocolate KitKat
    & not feeling guilty for saying no when she needed a dose of
    I Love Lucy to unwind.
    It was letting them see her read books,
    so they would know she did it for herself
    & not just for them.
    It was giving them what they needed,
    but not always what they wanted.
    It was making time to play with them
    & knowing when to leave them to their own (non-electronic) devices.
    It was saying thousands of “I love yous” before
    getting even one back.
    It was sticky hands & dirty feet & boogies God knew where.
    It was one dish left of a set.
    It was showing them the world
    but not showing the world, them.
    It was teaching them about Heaven &
    the God who created it in a way
    they could
    understand.
    It was trying to keep their memories alive
    of those who’d loved them,
    but they would never remember.
    It was putting locks on doors, cabinets, cupboards.
    It was trying to remember so much &
    having to be so aware.
    It was a life sentence of worry.
    It was not believing in spanking,
    & yet,
    promising never to spank again.
    It was comforting after disciplining.
    It was, when Daddy pissed her the hell off,
    letting her temper freeze over when it wanted to boil over.
    It was forgiving Daddy for pissing her the hell off.
    It was remembering the day when she used to look at harried mothers,
    feeling sorry for them,
    & knowing now that she had become what she had once vowed
    she would never become.
    It was a constant unscrambling of the brain.
    when interrupted because of the need for attention.
    It was a distracted drive through life &
    staying up far too late to get some alone time.
    It was yearning for her pre-baby body in her post-baby life,
    wondering why the silhouette in the mirror disappointed her,
    for she’d been running,
    it seemed,
    since the day they were born.
    It was everything she had ever wanted &
    more work than she had ever thought it would be.
    It was teaching them all the things they really needed to know
    before they ever got to kindergarten;
    it was learning to know when to ask for help
    so that she could care for herself as well
    as she cared for all of them.

  11. Sara McNulty

    Ironphobia

    Ironing had a zero score
    on list of tasks I did before
    adulthood. Then, no iron I swore.
    A chore no more! a chore no more!

    Mom’s ironing from shirt to dress
    was perfection, I must confess.
    Now when I shop as you will guess–
    permanent press! permanent press!

    1. ppfautsch24

      Chore No More
      You think I think that you are saying all the right things, and what I want to hear. But, I hear you
      loud and clear saying nothing all up in my ear.
      I wanted to believe you years ago before, but
      now you and your words are just a bore, so you
      can get a stepping out the door. I release and let
      you go, cause trying to love you is nothing but a
      chore.
      By Pamelap

  12. Darlene Franklin

    Smiling should never a chore be
    Whistling while I’m working
    Lightens labor into laughter
    Honey-do lists are fun
    Washing dishes fills me with glee
    Drives home, radio humming
    Laughter empties laundry hamper
    Smiles speed chores ‘til they’re done

  13. Cam Yee

    One Place

    You wouldn’t think that standing, just standing is so hard.
    All you do is plant your feet like a Buckingham Palace guard,
    and stack your ankles, knees, and hips,
    shoulders, head from toes to tips
    Of noses in one strong straight line,
    No leaning, now, no bend of spine,
    No cocking hips, no knocking knees,
    No twisting torso, no relief
    From staying in one single place bereft of forward motion,
    And if you try to take a step, or even have a notion…

    You’ll find your feet have rooted down
    And you
    will never
    leave the ground.

      1. Darlene Franklin

        I work from a list of daily prompts. Yesterday I wanted to celebrate Smile Week so that suggested how I would respond to chores. The two went well together.

  14. Cam Yee

    One Place

    You wouldn’t think that standing, just standing is so hard.
    All you do is plant your feet like a Buckingham Palace guard,
    and stack your ankles, knees, and hips,
    shoulders, head from toes to tips
    Of noses in one strong straight line,
    No leaning, now, no bend of spine,
    No cocking hips, no knocking knees,
    No twisting torso, no relief
    From staying in one single place bereft of forward motion
    And if you try to take a step, or even have a notion

    You’ll find your feet have rooted down
    And you will never leave the ground.

  15. headintheclouds87

    Save me from Small Talk

    It’s such a chore
    Pretending I’m not bored
    By such insufferably tiny talk
    We always mindlessly squawk
    The same old inane phrases
    To each other’s fake-ass faces,
    ‘How are things?’
    We nauseatingly sing
    ‘How have you been?’
    We say when we mean
    To move a back-and-forth along
    Only to merely prolong
    A cursed loop of chitchat
    With no end in sight.

    I don’t care about the weather
    Neither do I about whether
    You’re keeping out of trouble
    (I find such blabber intolerable)
    Please talk as the real you
    Show me what is true
    And not coated in false cheer
    The voice within is the one I wish to hear.

    Tell me your wildest dreams
    As we gaze up at moonbeams
    The deeper and darker side
    That during the day we sadly hide
    In fear of gravely offending
    Those peers so frightfully boring
    Be the one to softly whisper
    The words that make me shiver
    And I’ll be yours forever,
    My saviour from the mindless aether.

  16. Anthony94

    Using the Chore Girl ®

    I scrub the burned peas
    from the bottom of the double
    boiler where they’ve simmered
    into black ovals left their imprint
    on the oatmeal pan’s once
    shiny surface their stench tainting
    the tiny kitchen seeping
    into the front room slipping
    out into the chicken yard

    still scrubbing our one pan so
    we’d have hot cereal for breakfast
    I used the red striped dish rag
    with some extra Ivory Soap flakes
    until mother stopped by and said
    to use the chorgurl so I reached
    for the woven red and orange
    ball of loopy plastic scrubbed harder
    added Bon Ami its white powder
    mixing with black grit until my hands
    were coated in soupy gray

    always in a hurry I wanted to use
    the copper ball beside the sponge
    what she called a Chore Boy
    (no soap-filled SOS pads for us!)
    as I attacked that pan I realized
    the squishy ball oozing goo in my hand
    was really a Chore Girl words suddenly
    taking shape with letters and space
    filling head hands with stunning implications

    for the first time I pondered subtle distinctions
    their broader scope that would name
    and how names bestowed power
    how gaudy plastic took second place
    to shiny copper how a scrubber named
    for a girl demanded that I knuckle under
    scrub so hard my arms ached and so much
    harder than if I’d used the copper one
    reserved for boys the really tough jobs
    might and power allowing for speed freedom

    it was then I smelled alongside the acrid odor
    of burned peas a certain inequality
    untied the apron saying how it was too wet
    to wear anymore even as I dug at the peas
    with a spoon used my fingernails to scrape
    away this new knowledge that I was second
    rate, dull plastic compared to boys shiny with
    power filled the pan with water said it needed
    to soak staged my first boycott
    as I came of age at nine.

  17. Jason L. Martin

    If I were to meet me.

    It has been a chore to meet you.
    You, with as much personality as an automatic hand blower.
    You say hello with a period to end a cryptic notion of a dance
    With no partner, a crime without a victim. It’s the mystery
    That keeps me ambivalently acquainted to you, in case
    There is more under your skin. Sadly, it’s all just epidermis.
    Years later, we’ve gotten nowhere beyond a handshake
    And pleasantries, turned into head nods and then finally
    Awkward glances, like butterscotch candy – no one’s choice
    But if there’s nothing else to choose, well, there’s at least me.

    And in a final breath, you call me on the phone for a favor,
    To give an elegy if, by chance, the church is vacant
    and the priest wasn’t paid.

  18. tzjones929@gmail.com

    Of Love

    Roll,
    Writhe,
    Push, push, push
    Mightily against the granite wall

    Breathe,
    Squeeze,
    Blow, blow, blow,
    Easing into the fullness within

    Hold,
    Sweat,
    Cry, cry, cry
    As her sweet, slippery body rests

    t.z.jones

  19. Marie Elena

    Clay, With Humid Incubus

    Caring for the yard is hard
    when clay sits atop
    once-upon-a-swamp
    and damp drains down
    heavy on your skin,
    and feels like breathing soup
    as you heave your weight atop a spade
    to dislodge one weed from clay.
    Repeat, all day.

    © Marie Elena Good, 2018

  20. Daniel Paicopulos

    Childhood Chores

    It was a small town, a village really,
    and everybody had their special roles.
    There were four churches and with them,
    four types of leaders, one called priest,
    another two were pastors, one more
    by name and function, minister.
    Not large enough for multiple choice,
    but populated aplenty to require each service,
    we had one drug counter, one hardware store,
    a small post office, an eight-lane bowling alley,
    Sal the barber, and the IGA grocery,
    owned and run by my family.
    There were also tradesmen scattered about,
    working from their homes and trucks,
    plumbers and electricians and such.
    Also scattered throughout the streets,
    most of which ended at the lake shore,
    were thirty or more taverns, but
    that’s a story unto itself.

    I worked in that grocery, performing
    most tasks, like checking and bagging,
    stocking and delivery, sweeping and dusting,
    marking prices on cans with black grease pencils.
    I steered clear of the meat counter, though,
    never trusting those knife-wielding butchers,
    unable to stomach the blood, the smells.
    When the summer folks arrived, mostly
    rich people who did not cook,
    I learned to make potato salads and cole slaw
    and baked beans, a vegetarian in the making.
    The wealthy did not shop, calling in their orders,
    and it was for me to take them their bags of goods.
    Sometimes, I broke an egg or twelve along the way,
    but they never tipped, so it did not bother me much.
    It always amazed me that these people
    with so much gave so little.

    My work did not end at that store.
    A sickly mother, an often absent father,
    a large yard, and the usual requirements of living
    all gave me chores in slew-size.
    I can’t recall if I complained back then,
    but I’m grateful for it now, that work experience.
    It taught me how to cook, to clean, to care.
    It taught me the silliness of “someone oughta”.
    It gave me strength when my mother’s
    sickness turned to sudden death.
    It gave me order when my father stayed absent.
    It provided the way to responsibility.
    It provided me with broad shoulders.
    It gave meaning to that lesson about
    Saint Francis of Assisi, where he was asked
    while raking the garden what he would do
    if he knew he would die that afternoon, and
    he said he would finish raking the garden.

  21. Walter J Wojtanik

    GET ‘ER DONE!

    Things to do today,
    the list is getting longer.
    I wish I felt stronger
    to finish in due course.

    Of course, they need to get done,
    and I’m all about tying loose ends.
    Even if it sends me reeling,
    I have this feeling if I don’t do it

    no one else will.
    Still, sometimes my day of rest
    can’t wait until Sunday.
    Just one day is not enough.

    Why do I make things so tough?
    I’m a great one at procrastination,
    but I’m in no station to leave it.
    Believe it when I say I’m on it.
    Doggone it, “get ‘er done!”

  22. k weber

    Effort

    Slowly, like a patient
    paint roller, I maneuver
    my body in curves
    and textures, until I
    form myself into a seated
    position on my bed. I mop

    so much sweat
    from my waxy face
    and notice my arms
    burn like I was putting
    up a fight
    or wallpaper

    in my sleep. Lifting
    my butt to stand
    is like a barn-raising
    but without the strength
    of all the town’s
    young laborers. Some-

    thing cracks or pops
    or undoes itself
    inside my back
    but I keep going. My body’s
    no electrician. I rise
    to take my first steps

    today. I have a huge list of things to do.

    – k weber

    1. Darlene Franklin

      The form so amplifies the words. Visual and verbal affirmation of the writer’s frustration. When it comes out. one. word. at. a. time.

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