POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.


Deep inside of us all, we have that one thing that makes our knees shake and stomach churn. We yearn to let confidence take hold only to find we were sold a bill of goods. Write a poem about one of these. It could be yours or one of a friend. Maybe it was something you’ve read that piqued your interest. Afraid of crawly things? Fear of public speaking? Anxious to take on new things? You don’t like flying (one of mine)? Face the fear and post it here!



As a boy, fearless.
I’d hear this voice in my head
that said “nothing can hurt you”!
In the deepest, dankest, darkest
corner under the porch, I felt safest.
Hiding atop of the refrigerator,
finding refuge in the highest branch
of the tallest tree – that was me.
Somewhere along the way
I heard relatives say of how
my grandfather fell from a ladder.
From coma to death in days.
I was a bit swayed but I still stayed
brave, yet vigilant, resilient and sure.
Another grandfather in his eighties
ever the supervisor, also fell from a riser
pitched against the house. Watching his descent
without a means to save him
gave me anxiety I hold to this day.
On a ladder, my knees buckle
and I start to sway, not a way
a builder wracked with guilt
should be. I wish I weren’t afraid of heights.
I might have reached my peak much sooner!
I’m no swooner (when on solid ground.)


(C) Walter J Wojtanik, 2014

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77 thoughts on “PROMPT #163 – FEARS, PHOBIAS AND FOIBLES

  1. Love the final wordplay.
    You have reason for your fear – most fears are irrational.

    • That would be awful seeing someone fall. I remember hearing that if you fall in a dream and hit the ground you’ll die. In a dream I once had I fell off a cliff and thought as I went down about that… so when I hit I bounced like I was on a trampoline.

    • William Preston on said:

      I also love the wordplay at the end. This is so effective at conveying those scary images.

  2. Pingback: fears-phobias-and-foibles | Vivinfrance's Blog

  3. A mass of little fears, but nothing serious –
    I like spiders and revel in the height of an acropolis
    love people –most days I’m quite gregarious
    can empathise with others’ fears, vicarious-
    ly, shiver with terror at phobias multifarious
    quake in my shoes at foibles mysterious
    recounted to me creepily in tones hilarious
    Rhymezone running out rhymes for ious
    could be my phobia, my nemesis,
    would leave me weeping, ignominious.

  4. Recurring Nightmare

    How subtly it changed-
    a dimming of the lights
    a menacing air that sent
    shivers down my spine
    then an alarm in my brain
    screamed RUN,RUN,RUN
    but my feet were deep
    in molasses, clinging, sucking,
    syrupy, slow motion betrayal.
    Closer, closer the menace
    crept as I screamed
    and fought the grasping,
    entangling blanket
    till finally awake
    then waited for my heart
    to beat normally again.


    It is nt a packaged gift
    You unravel and voila!––LOVE!
    That would be too easy.
    The fearful and the lazy
    Would line up, take all they could
    And keep love hidden in a chest.

    To find love you need to search,
    Not the Earth, but Heaven on Earth,
    Sacred places of fertile ground
    Where love can flower freely,
    Blossom color miracles
    Meant, not to hoard, but give away.

    Above all, you must be brave.
    Cowards go through the motions
    Pretending they will vow their hearts,
    But never do. They die loveless.
    Fear becomes the sin they answer for
    Somewhere in a fiery ring of hell.


  6. Pingback: Reptile Gardens: Where It Began | echoes from the silence

    (a shadorma)

    I can’t shake
    images of snakes
    across paths
    when I was eight; I wanted
    to wait in the car.

    P. Wanken

    Reptile Gardens is in South Dakota…in case you’re interested.

  8. connielpeters on said:

    Blinded by the Height

    A hundred feet up and looking down
    It’s not of falling that I fear
    But that my glasses will start their slide
    Tumble down and disappear

  9. flashpoetguy on said:


    It’s not that I’m afraid to yearn.
    It’s just that life is filled with strife
    And everywhere it seems I turn
    The dream I dream is just a dream.
    I want so much to find a way,
    Put aside my fear, not hide
    From life, enjoy the night, the day.
    But just as I am feeling brave,
    Satisfied that fear has died,
    I feel myself in dizzying waves,
    that trembling hand, those words “I can’t.”
    It’s not that I prefer to sleep
    Under blankets, under sheets.
    I’d rather fight and face the matter,
    Be a man and take the chance
    Somehow I might, in that brave stance,
    Prove with another’s help or not:
    I’ve nothing to fear but you know what.


  10. flashpoetguy on said:


    I want to write a letter
    to the Phobia Society of America
    but I’m afraid.

    That same old cold sweat,
    the agony of pushing myself
    beyond the usual “Dear Phobic Society”
    frightens me and though
    I want so much to write that letter,
    I’m afraid.

    And I would have so much
    to tell those Phobia pholks:
    those self-righteous,
    Saner-than-thou hypocrites,
    who sit in judgment
    casting stones at
    their members who are
    so afraid.

    I would write but then visions
    of my letter buried in a postman’s
    dark brown, musty leather sack
    leaves me claustrophobic,
    not to mention that the sack
    is on the shoulder of a stranger
    who whizzes up up up up up
    elevators to the 500th floor
    to where The Phobia Society of America
    has its office
    very high above the crowded New York City.
    So I’m afraid.

    Somebody inside me says,
    “What the hell is with you, Man?
    Reach out and touch someone!
    Get that fear out of here!”

    And just as I take heart to act,
    somebody else inside me says,
    “Easy for you to say.
    Talk is cheap.
    Try acting out, Tough Guy.”
    I’m in conflict. I’m afraid.
    A letter to the Phobia Pholks
    means they will learn my name,
    know where I live,
    and they will reply!
    “You must confront all the dilemmas
    in your miserably cowering life,”
    they will write.
    “Your nights are supposed to be dark.
    Elevators are supposed to go up up up.
    Crowds happen naturally when more
    than a few people stand together.
    They can’t hurt you.
    Hey, Wimp, get a grip!”

    I’m afraid
    they will want me to write about my life,
    bombard me with platitudes like
    “You have nothing to fear but fear itself,”
    and all the time they’re thinking:
    “What makes you spineless wonders tick?”
    Sometimes in the night I dream
    an unreasonable facsimile of myself
    sits tall at a banker’s desk.
    Pen in steady hand, I write that letter,
    offhandedly joke about how nobody but nobody
    who climbs to the top of this big bank
    could ever even remotely know Fear,
    except the kind he elicits
    in the pathetic little tellers
    who fear one more year’s no raise.


  11. Walt–I’m not a fan of ladders or heights, either, but my husband is in the roofing business. He’s never fallen from a ladder. A roof. Yes. A ladder. No.

  12. August’s Greenhouse

    A quiver of noisy torrid decades
    rumble by my window, tumbling
    into the warm streets and meandering channels
    overflowing with Indian treasures
    and petrified-handled ice picks—

    With them, young men speared winter’s
    blessings into blocks chaining them
    into saw-dust layered trucks
    encrusted with frozen sweat
    and Hope—

    For chilled sweet tea in August
    when the sun radiates its anger
    onto a world of melting tarred
    roads, fevered babies soiled and crying
    mommas drenched in their own anguish,
    daddies stealing a plot of shade
    pleading for a breeze, mosquitoes
    drunk on the blood of heat-crazed
    grandmas, gnats plastered to the ceilings
    like a graveyard of angry eyes,
    one-by-one plunging into my
    chilled glass of lemonade.

    History warns of this fiery furnace
    awaiting us every year—

    • William Preston on said:

      I admire the visual richness of this, especially “… mosquitoes / drunk on the blood of heat-crazed / grandmas.”

  13. I’m Afraid
    (Mostly fictional)

    By David De Jong

    I’m afraid of telling you just what I fear;
    Just disregard whom/whatever you may hear.

    I’m afraid of writing, the baring my soul;
    Opening scars, re-piercing each arrow’s hole.

    I’m afraid I’ve forgotten, too many things;
    Lost in a cobweb, of impervious strings.

    I’m afraid the answers, to questions unasked;
    The stories, the riddles, all the clowns unmasked.

    I’m afraid of loneliness, its aching heart;
    Stranded in the desert, on a one wheeled cart.

    I’m afraid of the noise, that roars through my brain;
    Conductorless thoughts, driving a de-railed train.

    I’m afraid of the water, taking me down;
    Swiftly sinking, slipping deeper, till I drown.

    I’m afraid of the dark, and its piercing eyes;
    Its demons lurking, all their gimmicky lies.

    I’m afraid of the bullet, missing the heart;
    While the lion charges, and tears me apart.

    I’m afraid of the others, and what they say;
    Why they look and sneer, in that familiar way.

    I’m afraid I’ve said too much, and lost my edge;
    You see me for what I am, behind this hedge.

    I’m afraid of my past, and the deeds I‘ve done;
    But know my sins are covered, by God’s own Son.

    I’m afraid I’ve frightened you, with all these fears;
    The thing that frightens me most, is you in tears.

  14. (Poem w/image: http://lettheballoonssailmeaway.wordpress.com)

    Standing Alone

    He said to me one day,
    “If we’re not right, nothing
    is right. This work I do
    all wrong, if we’re not right”.

    I felt the same. Nothing
    seemed right, felt right, was right,
    Especially those
    days when “we” were all wrong.

  15. Darlene Franklin on said:


    Give me a match and matchbox
    Watch the flame spring to life
    Bring one candle to the light
    The fire’s too close
    Blow out, start over
    One match per candle
    Light a firecracker in my yard
    Give me a sparkler
    I’ll watch from a safe distance
    Blame me—it’s Disney’s fault
    For the hunters’ campfire
    Bambi scarred me for life

  16. Darlene Franklin on said:

    As I read the poems, I realized I wanted to say a bit about the nature of fear. . .

    Faith isn’t shown in
    Fear’s absence but by taking
    Steps in its presence


    I cannot let pain stop me.
    I will not let fear hold me prisoner
    I repeat the mantras with each step
    For fear tells me I will fall when I stand
    And pain stalks my every movement
    I fought a three-month-battle in therapy
    Pain and fear my enemies
    Increased mobility my reward
    Pain did not defeat me

  17. William Preston on said:

    MARCH 4, 1933

    “The only thing we have to fear
    is fear itself,” he said;
    the nameless, unreasoning, unjustified fear
    that seizes the heart and the head.

    He ought to know, it seems to me;
    he’s standing there on braces
    and smiling calmly, patiently,
    at our sea of upturned faces.

    Perhaps he’s right; perhaps his words
    will be tomorrow’s headline
    while we divide our soup by thirds
    and wait in another breadline.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  18. Light Lessens Fears

    Candles to the left
    of me, candles
    to the right
    of me. Though my mind
    often dwells in darkness,
    my eyes and body seek light.

    One large bag of tea lights,
    several thick flameless,
    and an assortment
    of sage, apple, citrus,
    cucumber, and plain
    candles, make their home
    with me. Simply to feel
    secure, a flashlight
    rests in each room.

    But wait! There’s more.
    Never, ever, put me
    in a confined space.

  19. Knots of Fear

    It’s not part of my DNA
    encrypted long before this birth
    I’m convinced of that—

    This knot in my stomach that
    cackles and gloats
    chilling my spine
    slicing my ribs,and
    frothing and fuming
    way deep in my throat
    It holds my breath hostage
    paralyzing fear in fear
    kinda moving, not really
    for what seems like a year
    And, as soon as I turn
    around that sharp monstrous bend
    it floats cleverly away
    into another misty realm!
    For now—-!

  20. Darlene Franklin on said:



    We used to play this game when I was a kid
    “What would be worse?” and try to scare
    the pants off each other
    Actually, we kept at it even into our teens
    and it got especially horrid once we started
    reading trashy magazines such as True Confessions
    and the like
    I remember having nightmares for months
    after reading about a couple making out in a car
    they’d accidentally parked over quicksand.
    They were so into what they were doing,
    the car, with them in it, was swallowed entirely.

    One of our “what would be worse” themes
    was always after that, being swallowed by quicksand
    or, another of my great fears,
    falling through ice on the lake and being unable
    to find the hole to get back out.
    I could well imagine trying to breathe in that little
    space of air between ice and lake-water
    as I frantically tried to stay up and scratch along
    the underside of the ice searching for the hole.
    Of course, the water would be freezing cold
    and so would I be, in very little time…but in my
    imaginings, this is a slow, panicky way to die
    and I find the idea extremely frightening.

  22. One fear I’d had and overcome?
    The fear for years of dying young.


    A sadness swelling in my breast
    deprives me of most needed rest.
    My mind replays an endless spate
    of hurtful words imbued with hate.

    Hostility drips from the tongue
    with venom nonchalantly flung.
    If someone dares to disagree,
    we scoff at such simplicity.

    How easily we victimize
    through rage’s aim to minimize
    another person’s point of view,
    while more debasing words ensue.

    Though coated in a thick veneer,
    unpleasant truths are crystal clear.
    With ev’ry vile, demeaning post,
    this growing hatred I fear most.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  24. Pingback: The Rising Tide | Words With Sooze

  25. Pingback: Out of Touch | Metaphors and Smiles

  26. Out of Touch

    Let’s hope that we never stop making eyelash wishes
    that we won’t cease looking for dandelions gone to seed
    secrets in the silverfish rippled-surface and dragonfly eyes.

    Let’s hope that we never give up looking to clouds for images
    that we won’t tire of telling the stories that need to be told,
    archetypal and affecting let’s continue to carry tales forward.

    Let’s hope that we’ll remember to embrace our imaginations
    that we won’t forget what it means to live in child-mind,
    unlimited and forever – let’s not fail to recall love’s simple face.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  27. Unknown

    just around the bend
    I can’t see

    aches and pains
    their cause a mystery;

    stepping out
    comfort left behind
    tongue tied

    knees knocked
    insidious clamoring

    all these unknowns
    wear me out.

  28. Friends in Summer

    One week goes by like a quick breeze
    Friends 40 years, we speak with ease,
    laugh and cry over memories,
    like planted trees, like planted trees.

    We drove along Route 101,
    views of beaches in dazzling sun.
    We browsed antique shops, missing none.
    Did we have fun! Did we have fun!

    Side by side we rocked on a swing,
    sipped on drinks through late evening.
    We wondered what new years would bring.
    Our hearts did sing, our hearts did sing.

  29. OOps! Put this in the wrong place. I will move it.

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