At one time or another we think about how we would have done things a bit different than we did. A do-over! A replay. Taking a mulligan! Do something all over again with the results you had expected.

Alternatively, take a poem and make it better. Polish up a poem from your portfolio and present the new, improved poem here!

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    Michael Mulligan, mathematician,
    was also an avid musician;
    he played, on harmonica,
    an ode to Veronica
    whilst solving equations on fission.

  2. A SECOND CHANCE, by Walter J Wojtanik

    You were merely a snapshot,
    a moment in time preserved,
    reserved for random viewing,
    your candid doing, frozen.
    Had I chosen to snap a second
    sooner, your expression
    would not be as expressive,
    and your movements
    may have been in motion, but excessive.
    I took a flyer on your ability
    to dance across my mind
    in floating steplets, two and three
    ahead of where you were. For sure
    a fortunate accident of a slow trigger
    finger. Had I lingered an instance longer
    the moment would have gone and I would
    be longing for its replay. This is a day
    to celebrate in constant exuberance,
    a mystic circumstance; a chance moment
    frozen in the album of our history.
    A second chance at love’s first sight.
    A mystery preserved in time, yours and mine.

  3. Unfulfilled Dream

    I would go back to school
    Continue in college
    To master music
    In Theory, not to play
    To build upon a skill
    That stays with me today

  4. I chose to adapt an earlier work, though I changed enough to make nearly new.

    Not That I Could Change Things, But…

    My mother died when I was young,
    not unexpectedly, but suddenly,
    and my childhood came to an abrupt end,
    the rest of my days
    filled with righteous anger,
    always just below the surface,
    uncontrollable at times.
    I remember much about the two of us,
    know less about the two of them,
    her and my father.
    I trust some memories of us,
    but I lose a bit of them, I think,
    each time I speak of them,
    each time I write of when.
    If she had lived,
    she’d be 100 now,
    my notions of how it might have been
    long tainted by reality.
    I work to live without remorse,
    but I do regret some things,
    like how happy she would have been
    with the quality of my life,
    the beauty of my wife.
    She would have been hurt by
    that Viet Nam thing,
    but what is a life with no bruises.
    She would scold me, I am sure,
    for being a man of plenty who
    has always felt poor,
    but she would applaud the way
    I have found a way to
    give birth to happiness.
    I would not have wanted to see her
    grow old and infirm,
    but if I could see her for just
    one more day,
    or an hour,
    even a single moment,
    it would be to hold her,
    give her the decades of I love you’s she missed,
    that I missed as well.

  5. While working for the County around the turn of the century, my office was on the second floor of The Manor, an assisted living facility here in town. Walking the halls and getting to know many of the residents sparked this little ditty. I made a few changes for this challenge.

    By the way, if you have an assisted living facility in your town, or if you know anyone in any of those facilities, whether family or not, they love visits, and they love donated puzzles, magazines, shawls, sweatshirts, or other items. Just call the facility and see what they need or what can be donated. It will make you feel good to give, and it will make the residents feel like somebody loves them.

    Happy With My Life
    (dedicated to all the elderly in assisted living facilities)

    There was a day when I could dance, now I can barely walk.
    I used to gossip with all my friends, now I hardly talk.
    My hair’s not what it used to be; the little that’s left is gray.
    People say I’m looking good, but what else can they say?

    There’s an interesting story for each wrinkle that I wear,
    But most of them I can’t recall, and that just isn’t fair.
    I just don’t feel that I now stand as tall as I once stood.
    But that’s OK, ’cause if I stand at all, then I feel good.

    No longer do I “run the streets,” I push a walker ’round.
    I’d like to visit my old friends, but most cannot be found.
    You see, most of my friends are gone, I hope they’re up above.
    I pray they all were wise enough to give in to God’s love.

    My family and old friends don’t seem to visit very much.
    A letter or a phone call would be nice to keep in touch.
    Activities ‘round here can get quite boring after while.
    At least the workers in here always greet me with a smile.

    They try to make life comfortable, but I just don’t belong.
    This little room is home for now; but it won’t be for long.
    Still while I’m here I’ll do my best and do whatever I can
    I’ve got a better place to go, it’s up to God just when.

    My time will come one of these days, but I’m not in a hurry,
    I can’t let death ruin my life; it’s just not worth the worry.
    So I’ll keep working for my Lord, by spreading love and cheer
    ‘Cause I don’t know how long my Father God will leave me here.

    And while I’m here I’ll reminisce ’bout days when I could dance.
    And wish I could be young again, if I only had the chance,
    To wind the clock back to the start and do it all again.
    The only thing I think I’d change would be this lonely end.

    ‘Cause life is what you make it, and mine was really great.
    But now I’ve nothing better to do than sit around and wait,
    With other old folk just like me, playing bingo, cards and stuff,
    All looking at our journey’s end, asking “Did we do enough?”

    I know we’re all quite different, but I’m happy with my life.
    I’ve lots of precious memories, and more than my share of strife.
    But most of all I’ve had God’s love, and soon I’ll see His face.
    And when I’m gone, don’t cry for me, I’ll be in a better place.

    © 2001 Earl Parsons
    © 2019 Rewrite

    • So touching. And thank you for this, Earl, and for your suggestions.

      When my mom and dad were in assisted living, I made sure there was a visible photo of what they looked like when they were young, and showed a bit of their personality. I suppose it shouldn’t make a difference, but it does seem to. The workers get a better sense of who they are, by who they once were.

      Something I was thankful for: I am terrible with names. It isn’t that I don’t care. Honest. And I wanted desperately to be able to call the residents by name, knowing how important that would be to them. You know what? God helped me remember all their names! Easily, and without effort or “tricks” on my part. If you knew me well, you would know that is truly a miracle.

      Again, thank you for this poem, Earl. So much love and wisdom it contains.

  6. If I’d known then what I know now
    I would have stayed, no matter how
    In any way they would allow

    But the first time that they said no
    I saw a stop where they’d meant slow
    And let my “so-there” feelings grow
    I’d failed, so I threw in my towel.

    I hurt myself most when I ran
    I didn’t like their change of plan
    So I let go of every strand
    Without a thought, I broke my vow

    For they were right, I couldn’t play
    Still, of all things music, I’m made
    I would have changed, if I’d delayed
    But to their will I wouldn’t bow.

    If I’d known then what I know now
    I would have stayed, no matter how
    In any way they would allow
    And joy would shine upon my brow

  7. I wrote this after the first time my Dad “visited” me. I thought I was crazy, until Roger mentioned that he could smell coffee. It has happened a couple of times since then, each time I feel my Dad near me. Blessings from the other side of the veil.

    Early Morning Visit

    The smell wakes me –
    Coffee –
    Rich, full-bodied, earthy –
    Instantly, I am back to the days
    When laughter filled Saturday mornings,
    As we watch black and white cartoons
    Munching Cheerios and guzzling our OJ.

    I lay in bed –
    Coffee –
    Black, strong, sweet –
    This is the way you liked yours.
    Momma added evaporated milk from a can.
    When I was in high school, I, too, learned to imbibe.
    But, later, tea became my morning brew.

    I turn to rise –
    Coffee –
    Percolating, strong, energizing –
    I smile, knowing it is you – here, now.
    An early morning visit to your “little” girl!
    And, how best to signal your return
    From behind the veil, but the scent of
    Coffee brewing in the home of tea drinkers!

    © Linda M. Rhinehart Neas 2015
    Rewrite 2019

  8. Wrong Choice

    Mom’s retirement party meant more
    to her than I thought. Beautifully
    dressed, smiling, she was surrounded
    by coworkers, friends, and family
    who loved her and wished her well–
    all were present except her older daughter.
    I was uptown from Mom’s party dealing
    with a needy friend. How I wish
    I could have that night back. Mom
    was hurt and sad. I no longer have
    contact with that friend because
    I came to realize that I was
    a sounding board to bounce her
    numerous neurotic episodes off of.
    In telephone conversations, she
    never asked about me. In the end
    I saw clearly that she was toxic, selfish.

  9. If I could but one moment relive and redo
    Would that I had the strength to choose
    to not let the needle prick my flesh
    not let the poison subdue
    memories and pain,
    Would that I could choose again
    to let the past run full course,
    let panic attacks, flashbacks have free reign
    until God healed the debilitating pain.
    Or would that I could go back further still,
    to the first night I chased painkillers
    down with whiskey strong
    The first night that I finally slept
    after terrors and memories
    had sleepless nights prolonged
    If I had had the strength to choose
    to close my lips to pills and alcohol ,
    find the power in God to wait
    to stand firm and hold His hand,
    until He healed the broken girl inside of me,
    such a different life I’d live.
    But choices made in the past
    don’t get a redo.. .
    battles tripped into in my weakest days
    are won or lost in each moment of today.
    Even now I regret that I don’t win them all
    but memories are too difficult
    and poison keeps trying my heart to reclaim.

    • Such a hard read, knowing you, your beauty, your contagious love for Jesus and the strength you find in Him. Such a hard truth to grasp. All of it so unfair. 😦 You I know I love you dearly, and appreciate who you are and how you inspire me every day. Praying, praying, praying. Thankful for your words.

  10. Do-over

    There were no weeds
    The sky was blue
    And on the swing
    Sat me and you
    You held my hand
    You won my heart
    Then suddenly
    We broke apart
    A beeping noise
    That would not stop
    My alarm clock –
    Gave it a bop
    I closed my eyes
    Pulled up the cover
    I’d like to have
    A dream do-over


  11. Do Over

    I wish I could have a do-over of July 21, 2017.
    I thought I knew the signs of a stroke:
    vision blurred, speech slurred
    face drooping, muscle coordination off,
    but I didn’t recognize it in my hubby.

    And once I knew something was wrong,
    I didn’t realize how important it was
    to drop everything and get him to ER.
    We first took our clients to day care
    then stopped to cancel care on another.

    Now, we try to make the best of a new normal.

    • I hear the regret in your words. Connie, may I just say that I hope you ignore the enemy’s pokes of guilt. You did the best you could. He knows you love him. It is hard when you have so many in your care. God bless you for all you do.

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