PROMPT #324 – JUST ONE WORD

Seems we had hit the mother lode when we “played favorites” last week. We had more responses than we had in quite a while and a return of many familiar voices. We thank you for contributing so greatly. (Benjamin Thomas rocked the yard!) We aren’t done with our other poet inspiration yet! This week, we’re taking the title of another poet’s poem, changing just one word to write a completely different poem. You can write in the style of the original piece, but you are welcome to make the poem your own, so that is not required. But please do give us a clue as to who had written the original poem.

MARIE’S REDUX:

PENNING

I sit down to write.
Ink flows fast, and I soon have
a poem-filled page.

I sit down to write.
Hours later, my page is blank.
Must be this old pen.


© Marie Elena Good, 2021

Inspired by “Old Men,” by Daniel Paicopulos.  (Changed from Old Men to old pen, but didn’t want to give the punch line a heads up in the title.)

WALT’S ONE WORD GLORY:

CONVICT US

Here, the light exposes me,
as black as the pit is my soul.
And no matter how odd it may be
I am an inconsolable Pole.

If I fell clutching my circumstance
or should yell “For crying out loud!”,
These blues are showing my last chance
my head is ruddy now and bowed.

There is no place for wrath filled tears
or for fears of shady horrors,
It seems my penance is quite clear,
my judge and jury feed my sorrows.

And so, I stand behind this gate,
charged with believing in truths untold.
Here, where convicted is my fate:
Things are out of my control.

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

**A reworking of “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

182 thoughts on “PROMPT #324 – JUST ONE WORD

  1. Walt, I don’t know whether I will be able to contribute this time, I was laughing so hard, my sides are split and I had an asthma attack.

  2. KNEES IN A WINTER STORM

    Her knees
    felt the weight of regret;
    yet they never let her forget—
    promising to take the day by storm.

    She tasted,
    sweet savories of pain in every step;
    bitterly wept, within the cutting breeze,
    but kept the faith nigh.

    She believed,
    in weathering the storm with old fashioned grit. Her heart beat
    the tempest, refusing to sit.

    She plowed,
    pulverizing mounds of fear, doubt, grief.
    As a beast of burden—victory,
    her only relief.

    *Inspired by Trees in a Winter Storm by Leigh Hanes.

    Benjamin Thomas

  3. LETTUCE AWEIGH

    Lettuce aweigh, Hermoine,
    lettuce aweigh!
    haul out your bucks and coin
    and straightaway go pay-ay-ay-ay.
    Then get some ham and cheese
    fresh from the cow;
    mix them with chickens’ knees
    and toss the salad, toss the salad now!

  4. GHOST WRITERS IN THE SKY
    Parody of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” by Stan Jones (1948)

    Their pens were black and sharpened and their eyes were moist and damp;
    they wrote and wrote and wrote despite a rash of writer’s cramp;
    their words came fast and furious and covered all the sky,
    and as they wrote they chanted out a long and lusty cry:

    Yip-eee I ay…. yip-eee I oh……
    Ghost writers in the sky!

    And then they paused together when they saw me coming near;
    they said as one, “Come join the fun, we have no strangers here.”
    I found myself a writing desk and joined them in the sky,
    and now with Burns and Dickinson you’ll ever hear me cry:

    Yip-eee I ay…. yip-eee I oh……
    Ghost writers in the sky!

  5. MOURNING SONG
    by Erin Kay

    Mama, it’s been a minute since
    you brought me into this world,
    all red and wailing and wrapped up in your dreams,
    since you held me to your heart.

    I gave you a run for your money,
    fussy baby and wild child, the troublemaker.
    You used to say I was special, the life of the party,
    I wonder when that eventually changed for you.

    Was it when I told you I find my love and comfort
    in the heart of another girl?
    Did all those plans for my home and future and children
    come crashing down around you? They needn’t have.

    You gave up the role of mother for pride.
    Sometimes I catch a glance of myself in the mirror and
    have to do a double take. I have your features.
    I don’t want this visage to be the one my children see.

    Mama, you didn’t come see me get married.
    Will you be there to hold my hand and scream with me
    when the birthing song begins?
    Your estrangement is all your grandchildren will know of you.

    – inspired by Sylvia Plath’s “Morning Song”

    • Walt is the expert, not me! (This is Marie, btw.) Here is how he taught me, but it still confuses me. Sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I mess it up.

      Bold, italics, and quote commands from Walt:

      To bold, italicize or isolate a quotation, remember that everything is encased in
      to begin the function, and to end it.

      Replace the * with the corresponding command below
      without any spaces:

      To bold a word or line, the command is the word strong.
      To italicize, the command is the letters em.
      For the quotation, the command is blockquote.

      I’m going to try to bold right now. Wish me luck!

      hopefully this is bold and this isn’t.

      • Ugh. And now I’m seeing that important part of the instructions gets hidden when I pasted it from word. Let me see if I can get it to show up properly by typing it in.

        begin command with
        end command with

        Replace the * with whatever command you want:
        “strong” for bold
        “em” for italics
        “blockquote” for a quotation

        Don’t use any spaces between the elements of the command, and don’t use the quotation marks.

        Now, I’m hoping against hope that the instructions actually show up completely. Fingers crossed!

        • Nope. The important part of the instructions just disappear. I don’t know what to do about it, Pat.

          WAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLTTTTTTTTEEEEEEERRRRRRR, where aaaaaaarrrrrreeeeeeee youuuuuuuuuuuuu??? 😉

  6. Patients
    (From “Patience” by Kay Ryan, 1999)

    Sitting among friends
    I have never met,
    nor am likely to meet again,
    resting in a reclining chair
    I wish I had at home,
    but not for it’s intended use.
    Being seen to with loving care,
    skillfully, smilingly, ably applied,
    with the modesty experience brings,
    in the fullness of dedication
    from true earth angels.
    A nestling needle,
    like a diamond in its hardness,
    plugged easily into a vein,
    pushing curative chemicals
    into the red rivers of my body.
    It’s expensive, that chemistry,
    prohibitive for some I would guess,
    but not for me, grateful
    for a younger life of work,
    begetting a later life of insurance.
    Who would have thought,
    at a younger age,
    a body could be made sustainable,
    even as it carried disease,
    (though not dis-ease)
    cured by something otherwise
    so dangerous,
    allowing one to envision
    a happy, healthy, lengthy life.

  7. Last attempt!

    For(e)wa/ord is a Direction

    Fore roars
    with a Scottish brogue

    warns of possibility
    onset
    advancing menace
    a potential
    whirring through air

    something unstoppable
    beyond a tiny faceted ball
    in its alluring neon

    when in reality
    it’s all about
    you

    playing the game
    of life
    whether they post
    to the leaderboard
    or not

    we see
    how you storm castles
    cross moats
    rattle chains
    bring down drawbridges

    footsteps firing
    arms pumping
    spine straightening

    nothing tentative
    because you know
    forward is
    the only direction.

    **adapted from
    Backward is a Direction poetrybydebi Jan 17 PB

  8. On the Bench at Night

    I sit as still as a human can –
    waiting
    The sun has set and dusk has settled –
    silently
    I try to match my breath to the gentle breeze–
    softly
    Small creatures emerge from daylight hiding places –
    cautiously
    and my heart sends out a quiet message –
    for you

    (I changed one word of Walt Whitman’s title, On the Beach at Night)

  9. Another wonderfully inspiring prompt, Walt and Marie. And it’s wonderful to see so many contributing and commenting. I apologize again for not commenting as much as I should. Retirement was supposed to provide plenty of free time. They faked me out on that one. lol

    Satan Screams
    (inspired by C. S. Lewis “Satan Speaks”)

    I walk right beside you, all day and all night
    I block your ability to see the Real Light
    I make the world look like an inviting place
    I feed all your wants and satisfy your tastes
    You see me right here yet don’t recognize me
    Because I’m whatever you want me to be
    You think that I’m good because I please you
    For your every desire I will come through
    I’ll keep you shackled with worldly pleasures
    Entice you with endless, worthless treasures
    If you try to leave me I’ll ruin your life
    And fill it with pain and misery and strife
    Then offer enticements to bring you back in
    Temptations and trifles of greed, lust and sin
    I’ll be your best buddy and take care of you
    Then snatch up your soul when your life is through
    Just don’t be surprised the moment after you die
    That I’m the first thing that you see by-and-by

  10. HOMEMAKER
    by Erin Kay

    There was only one option as a little girl for me to grow into:
    Wife, homemaker, child-bearer, unpaid cook and washerwoman

    To be married off young, before these hips could cave
    Under the weight of unwanted advancements,

    Learn to accept the patriarchal narrative that told me
    My femininity designated me to fit delicately into one box

    These hips were made for bearing children, woman your lifeline is
    This womb riddled with genetic trauma but still supposed to foster life

    What will happen to me if I can’t? What good is my womanhood then?
    These breasts were made to succor children, please a husband

    Somewhere around age fifteen or sixteen the word “homemaker”
    Became a poison gulped down daily, destined “bliss” with an acrid taste

    Somewhere around age seventeen, my young queer heart all but stopped beating
    Dreaming of a different kind of home-making that I could never find

    Somewhere around age twenty-two, I learned a little bit about love
    The kind that didn’t only want me for the ancient magic of my womb

    They never told me as a girl that I could have that choice in womanhood
    To bear or not, to be outspoken with my wants and needs, desires

    To be loved for anything and everything, including and excluding femininity
    Provided a whole new meaning for that poisoned role of “homemaker”

    Peace with the fact that I could want a child, feel Gaia stirring in my womb
    Fulfill that role as part and parcel with the rest..and it doesn’t have to be because they told me to

    – Title adapted form “Home Wrecker” by Ocean Vuong

        • Erin, I so relate to that particular word /homemaker/– I too was supposed to come home from highschool (boarding) and “assume my role” college being out of the question for women!! Yep poison, and I chose not to drink it.//they never told me as a girl that I could have a choice// terrific line:-))

          • I was homeschooled and reared from a young age to be a good housewife. I essentially became the biggest disappointment when I decided to go to college (!) and also came out to my parents. And here I am now with some actual critical thinking skills and emotional health, about to finish my bachelor’s degree in psychology and apply to med school. Rejecting the poison was the first step. Thank you for reading and sharing from your experience, Pat!

  11. This one was a doozy to write. Please read the original poem by
    Edgar Allen Poe. I included the link below. It really made me think!
    It made me think even more when trying to write it. I tried to match his
    Form as much as possible.

    TO THE SEA

    Fair sea! In thy royal, azure chambers
    Of defiance, nomadic glee,
    Thou art depth of wisdom’s undertow
    Pure flow—of all earth’s longings—
    Hidden lair of sapphire secrets
    Its profundity you would know;

    When rolling wave’s urgent desire—
    Unbidden sage will, beckons blue—
    Why, magnificence of expanse’s brooks
    Her admirer ponders hue;
    For in my ardor, as in thy brimming,
    Her reflection there resides—
    The affections of distant migrant crew
    Sails her billows, accepts errant tides.

    Benjamin Thomas

    *Inspired by – To The River by Edgar Allen Poe (published 1829)

    https://poestories.com/read/totheriver

  12. A Piece of Pie

    I wish I had a piece of pie,
    lemon meringue, smooth and tangy,
    or graham cracker-crusted key lime.
    I wish I had a piece of pie.
    Southern pecan would be sublime.
    Warm peach A la mode could be dandy.
    I wish I had a piece of pie,
    lemon meringue, smooth and tangy.

    (taken from “A Piece of Mind” by Benjamin Thomas)

  13. Death is Everything at Once
    by Erin Kay

    Winter brings with it the kind of death
    That begins a violent transformation
    I sat on a rock on a faraway jetty
    Frozen salt spray in my hair and the wispy moon
    Looking like a shy face in a whirlwind
    Winter in the Pacific Northwest
    Brings freezing rain and bitter chills
    That halt you in your tracks and
    Make you wonder if death is the whole point
    The ocean turbulently terribly cries
    With the voices of thousands under the waves
    The evergreen trees shiver magnificently
    As if in throes of ecstasy
    While the world around them turns gray and cold
    A dying land full of stately green pillars

    The sun magnificent blinding sudden
    On a morning in March bursts through clouds
    And death’s handiwork is laid bare
    Brilliant purple crocuses springing from graves
    Of last year’s forgotten soil
    Shrieking baby gulls on that faraway jetty
    Where the waves crashed mercilessly
    The palest pink on the cherry trees out my window
    A soft and peaceful breathing creature at my side
    Sunflower yellow in her eyes and rosy red on her cheeks

    – Title very loosely taken from “Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott Holland

  14. Poetic Language*

    A friend and I tell each other we don’t believe in endings
    after she comes out of the restaurant kitchen to talk.
    She says she and her daughter are painting my poem
    torn out of the last page of my book.
    She says that the poem glows like a moon
    when alone, light coming through a window.
    I tell her that my car was stuck in the snow
    and had to be towed out of a rut.
    She asks why my new tires cost so much,
    and I know she means to say, I care.
    When we talk about how others and I walk there,
    and other journeys taken,
    I know we’re talking about closeness shared.
    When we talk about a misunderstanding and forgiveness,
    we’re finding a new language to share.

    *based on Body Language by Dora Malech

  15. The box under my poem above shows what we’ve been trying to explain with the HTML code for italics and bold lettering. Replace the word “italics” with what you want italicized. Do the same if you wish to embolden your script.

  16. *Inspired by THE RAVEN BY Edgar Allen Poe.
    I highly recommend you read his original poem!
    It’s a masterpiece! Link included below.

    THE OWL

    There he was
    perching, quite dapperly,
    haughtily, upon his evening bough;
    event of night drawing nigh—
    as I, to him—seeking counsel
    more to know.

    There he turned
    round about, his head, chaffingly,
    laughingly, while stifling a cough;
    Whirled his mayan sicar against the sky—
    as to why, here am I—
    Perhaps, go question the crow.

    Benjamin Thomas

    The Raven: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48860/the-raven

  17. Inspired by Tree and Sky
    by William Carlos Williams

    SEA AND SKY

    SKY

    Be still
    O’ roiling, febrile waters
    for who can contain thy disdain?
    Must you ever toss, tumble, toil about—
    on par with Hades, contending for the slain?

    Be still
    O’ behemoth, cerulean blue,
    cease thy writhing, wrestling, ways;
    I bid you—Take heed to cold stone-silence,
    amidst breaking dawn, her timely ray.

    SEA

    O’ Sky
    how lofty, grand, transcendent,
    Is thy pride—silver, spaciously grey,
    through thee the filthiest of fowl do fly—
    arrogant, pompous winds their way.

    0’ Sky
    dark expansion, sullen moodiness,
    shall you ever reign over me?
    languid Queen of crystal-deception—
    humbled men on earth, below must see.

    Benjamin Thomas

    Link to Tree and Sky: https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/tree-and-sky-0

  18. *Inspired by Sometimes I Cry by DJ.

    SOMETIMES I WITHER

    Sometimes the heart
    Is blackened crust,
    susceptible— to crumbling;

    Its jagged edges,
    at odds, with cohesion—
    sometimes I wither.

    Sometimes the heart
    is scarred, blemished,
    jarred—beyond recognition;

    No longer resembling—
    the original—
    sometimes I wither.

    Sometimes the heart
    Is congested, fully—
    failing to thrive;

    Incapable,
    of rendering its basic duty—
    sometimes I wither.

    Sometimes the heart
    Is bitter cold, arctic,
    bailing out its sludge;

    Dark, iniquitous,
    cathartic—
    sometimes I wither.

    Sometimes.

    Benjamin Thomas

    (Sometimes I Cry: https://poets.org/poem/sometimes-i-cry)

  19. Stand at My Grave and Weep

    Although I must be dead and gone
    My spirit now is moving on
    With wonders all about me here
    But you can grieve for me my dear
    If was the other way around
    Me standing here, you glory bound
    I would allow myself to cry
    And even ask my Father why
    Remember good times that we’ve had
    It is okay to feel so sad
    The life on earth sure has its pain
    But there is sunshine after rain
    So stand there at my grave and weep
    It’s what you do when love grows deep

    Based on title “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabet Frye

  20. Just for laughs and giggles…

    Fleas by Linda Hofke
    (after Trees by Joyce Kilmer, 1913)

    I hope that I shall never see
    a poem as nasty as a flea,
    a flea whose hungry mouth is prest
    against a poor dog’s furry chest;
    a flea that makes dog itch all day,
    and makes dog whine the night away;
    a flea that causes dog to wear
    a special collar ‘gainst its hair;
    and if the collar will not do
    dog’s lathered up with flea shampoo
    and rinsed in tub with faucet rain
    to rid the dog of fleas and pain.
    Poems are made by those who write–
    fleas are nasty buggers who bite.

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