This week, to do our part in this poetic economy, we are providing a “two-fer” – two prompts for the price of one.  🙂

Prompt 1:  Rising to the occasion.

Prompt 2:  Falling short.

You may choose either Prompt 1 OR Prompt 2, but we’re hoping you don’t miss out on the opportunity to rise to the occasion by choosing both.  Heck, you can even combine the two if you wish.  We’re easy.

Marie Elena’s Attempts

Prompt 1.


My instructions were
idiot-proof. But they rose
to the occasion.

Prompt 2

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23

Some do not respect the bible, but most respect Jesus himself.
Our historical Jesus hated sin, but loved sinners.
ALL sinners.

Who are sinners?

Even if I did not believe the bible is God’s word,
I could see the validity of that statement, for
Who has attained perfection?
Whose every thought is good, and clean, and holy?
Whose every move is guided by faith?
Whose every breath is exhaled in love?

In all, all I see is me.

Walt’s Late Arrival – Prompt #1


Nodding and dozing
in and out of sleep.
I can’t keep my eyes
from drifting into darkness.
So I sit in my recliner,
feet inclined and my mind
working on rhyme.
All’s right when I sleep,
but I can’t write in my sleep.
A tug and a yawn and
I’m almost gone to dreamland.
But the big hand is on the twelve,
and I delve into the gridiron
games, finally awake enough
to enjoy some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
(Too good to be true)

Walt’s Second Shot – Prompt #2


Routine has been tweaked
(it had wreaked havoc on me).
But I see a light at the end
of a long tunnel, a journey
that had me on pace for a gurney.
But bedtime beckons,
and I reckon I can cop some “Z’s”.
Falling asleep was never a chore,
but the more I seek it, the more
I need to tweak it.
Falling short.

67 thoughts on “RISE AND FALL – PROMPT #24

  1. Lets try a little blend of the two with a tri-couples sestet:

    They Stood Tall

    They should never live in fear.
    He could only try to steer,
    the ship that these two souls kept sailing.
    She would listen close and hear.
    They stood tall as they drew near,
    the light that kept them both from failing.

    by Michael Grove

  2. Sweater Weather

    Poke or post
    her FB friends
    were rising high,
    and she felt liked.

    Until her life
    took a downward turn,
    her comments cried
    while typing.

    Then the curving arms
    of a cyber-hug
    never truly warm
    her shoulders.

  3. Marie, your second poem prompted a response within me:

    “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:18, 24-25)

    In me,
    bares its ugly claws
    snarls with rancid breath
    deformity itself, absence of good-

    but in Him I have new life, new clothes
    gone are my deformities, washed away
    freed to find goodness, considered just,
    not of my own self but in His perfection-

    and so His purity cleanses my impurity
    beauty eclipses my damaged soul
    virtue annuls my guiltiness
    pardoned, forgiven,
    in Him alone.

  4. Two poems in one day! I guess my muse has returned! Here’s one about rising above AND falling short:


    Kickoff punts adrenaline
    through my living room
    on Sunday afternoons-
    now cheering, now hushed,
    every moment a battle,
    skill and determination
    rush against fumbles and flails,
    uniforms empty-handed in the dirt,
    hopes prostrate on crumbling turf,
    one team’s win intercepted
    by that day’s rising champions.

    {And might I add, go Patriots!}

  5. Not quite right on the syllables, maybe in its next life.


    The fervent pastor paces as he preaches
    Back and forth faster as he teaches
    Repeating himself to get the point across
    Worshipful hearts give birth to praise
    Thoughts are good starts but it’s time to raise
    Your hands and voices and give thanks for the cross

    • Absolutely, Connie. Reminds me of Mary who was doing the right thing by sitting at the feet of Jesus. That’s the place to be. Nice poem. 🙂


    Illusion of rising moon
    renders me speechless.
    Night’s pale light
    shed faithfully.
    Silver-spun waves,
    ocean trips gracefully
    along a steady shore;
    falling swiftly
    into it’s next rotation.
    And I hold on.
    Even though I know
    the miracle of it all
    will not end
    will not fail.

    ©Hannah Gosselin

  7. Marie, your reflections on prompt two are both genuine and inspiring. Thank you for being so authentic. Warm Sunday smiles flowing your way!

    And the latter of the statement to Marie, goes for the rest of you! Happy “Blooming,” too!

  8. A three-fer from Jane Shlensky!


    Her new girdle and
    Bra buttressed her to rise to
    One more occasion.

    Bad Timing

    She called it grace under fire,
    this swallowing the worst
    and painting on a smile,
    her attentions focused on others,
    her sobs caught like fish in a basket,
    until the guests went home.

    Grace (double shadorma)

    When I feel
    grand about myself
    (compared with
    I still know how far short I’ve
    fallen from God’s plan.

    is lost on people
    like me who
    fear that grace
    makes us lazy, instead of
    seeking forgiveness.

  9. Fantastic responses so far! Hoping Walt will soon be well enough to join back in the fun. Until then, we can at least give him the best of what he loves.


  10. Confined by self-doubt
    inner fear wanting out
    a snail’s outer shell
    protects her quite well
    small steps she’ll strive
    to this struggle survive.

  11. Prompt #24

    Old Cat (The Rise)

    Old cat yowls from high
    limb of a
    maple, three feet tall. Step-stool
    saved child’s scare-dy cat.

    A Moment in Time (The Fall)

    race of life,
    step back to enjoy
    the moment. Never fall short.

  12. Okay, Mike. I could not resist.

    Quick Save

    I cannot leave trust to my eyes
    for I surely must be wise
    to your true feelings, shown on your face.
    I decide to chance a quick peek
    and I blanch at the mien of a sneak
    who will leave me in a dark, low place.

  13. Impossible Expectations

    In her mind
    I hung the stars,
    I polished the moon,
    I whispered the bird’s song.

    She doesn’t see
    the cracks in my frame,
    how rain can seep through,
    how mud cakes my shoes.

    If she only knew
    how deep my scars run
    how nothing is perfect,
    how seams come undone.

    Maybe I could shelter her
    from the inevitable

    • This one…word choice and feeling behind it got me wicked the other day when I read it. SO close to home. Being a mama is deffinately tricky. We certainly have to allow ourselves to be human and forgive ourselves too. This is why I refrained from commenting on this one the other day…verbose! Nice one, Shannon! 🙂

  14. Building Momentum

    In the midst of the storm
    rain-pelted, dress torn,
    take a step forward.

    If your eyes turn to slits,
    crying starts but won’t quit,
    take a step forward.

    At the end of the day
    and all turns dismally gray,
    take a step forward,

    and another

    and a few more.

    Keep it going.

    Momentum is everything.

  15. AFIELD

    floating, flying;
    silk-spun clusters.
    Becoming alive
    with the breeze.
    Rising, to altitudes
    Ascending and descending
    both integral in fulfilling
    promise of life.
    Flight and grounded footing
    both essential
    in acquiring dreams.

    ©Hannah Gosselin

  16. I’m SOOO not a limerick writer…but this one wouldn’t leave me alone….


    There once was a lady by the lake
    For special occasions she’d offer to bake
    Her soda was old
    And oven too cold
    Which left her with a very flat cake.

    P. Wanken

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  18. Falling

    what does that mean?
    falling short

    is that a poke
    at the vertically challenged?
    that’s not funny

    or is it the punchline
    to a politically incorrect joke
    about a Native American name?
    that’s not funny either

    falling a short distance
    just might be a good thing
    dust off your knees
    and hop tall again

    what I worry about is
    falling behind

    I’ve got emails to send
    papers to grade
    poems to post
    a novel to write

    and my butt is sagging

  19. Occupation

    It has been nice to see America with legs again.
    Faces, a cardboard mob protesting insecurity and inequality,
    revolting against perceived corporate greed.
    The sports teams keep letting them down
    but they are more concerned with their government letting them down,
    getting queen sized sheets for the medical tents,
    heavy tarps for when the weather comes,
    the 1% and all that money no one can find.
    They marched on the Liberty Bell
    although no one died or even turned to fire,
    not a single second of police brutality.

    Who do you think you are now?
    says the Dali painting from the floor.
    You look the same to me,
    the dusty Nomar Garciaparra baseball card.
    The real challenge isn’t the Northeast Extension
    or the move south,
    but it is putting rubber on the tiles in that basement
    without falling back to the knees that crawled out of it
    and when did this become about you, dumbo?
    This city breathes differently than the mountains.

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  21. What a plethora of wonderful poems to these prompts, specially Walt’s and ME’s, and one or two good laughs on the way. I came late to the party so will have to go in search of inspiration if I am not to fall short.

  22. Pingback: Rising and falling | Vivinfrance's Blog


    We comb the ground for hazards and carefully
    clear the debris. We break up the hard
    clay of absolutes and soften it
    with gentle words. Their landing
    may be rough, but any damage
    repairable with strong will,
    a little dusting off, some careful shaking out.

    A dirt cloud rises at impact
    and clouds a watery vision.
    The impressionistic sky looks awfully
    far away and heavy limbs
    sink with the impression of Lilliputian ties.

    But better to fall short than fall long,
    where a safe landing can stretch
    woozy limbs to new heights.

    It requires dedication and practice,
    this Art of failing up.

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  25. Falling Short

    It keeps happening: I reach the end of Fahrenheit 451
    and the last page has been ripped out, then listening
    to a tape of Dr. Zhivago, right as Lara comes into view,
    he reaches for the cord to stop the bus—and the tape breaks.

    The alarm I meant to set for 4 a.m. was actually set for 4 p.m.
    and I woke to the doorbell as the cab arrived for the airport.
    The Christmas gift I ordered arrived on the twenty-seventh,
    hours after their car pulled out of our driveway for home.

    I thought of the perfect Halloween costume—in November—
    and the punch line that had them rolling on the floor
    suddenly made me laugh—after I got back to the house.
    In my nightmares, my Jeopardy signal button lags behind.

    But when the minister asked, “Does anyone know any reason
    why these two should not be joined. . . ?” I leapt from my pew.

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