Walt here. So, I stand on the cusp of a new adventure in my life. I will be retiring in June (June 3rd to be exact). And being within the month, I’ve been keeping silent count of the remaining days. I figured that’s a good point to use as reference, so here’s what I propose..

A COUNTDOWN TO ______________

Write of the anticipated something in your life in a countdown to that momentous occasion. That’s the theme, but you can word it however you wish to convey your thoughts. I’m counting on you all to do me proud (you’ve never let me down!) I don’t anticipate you’ll start now.


In Line for the Roller Coaster

Unease climbs in sync
with hills I see, and dwindling
line ahead of me.

© Marie Elena Good 2022

(Memories that make me shudder, lol!)



I turn each page gleaning all I can
from the information at hand.
But, it has become a time clockj
of late. Ticking down every minute
and second chance, a fated dance
with my mortality. The reality
becomes clearer the nearer the end
rears its head. Another birthday passes,
another Christmas looms.
Another year at a job
that has served the family well
(but not well off by any stretch).
Here’s the catch. I look forward
to the golden years (if they are granted me).
I’ll make no demands or make
outrageous plans. Retirement comes
and gladly before I’ve expired.
I’m starting to get tired. There’s a new
calendar in my future. I pray
there is a future in my new calendar!
I turn each page while I can.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2022

160 thoughts on “PROMPT #385 – THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

  1. Walt, I know your tick-tock expectations, your waking-to-waiting moments every morning. And I love this phrase: “There’s a new calendar in my future. I pray there is a future in my new calendar!”

  2. Morning

    The day is coming, I can see
    the silhouette of every tree
    against the brightening of the sky
    from black to grey–horizons lie
    in wait to form as light appears.
    The day awakes, the darkness clears.

    © Damon Dean, 2022


    A countdown to the last drop.
    When the beans are spilled, ground,
    wrought—mingled with remarkable

    A countdown to the last drop.
    When the beans are spilled,
    released, dropped—the real
    grind begins when the day is hot.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  4. Yesterday, we celebrated our brother’s life, the countdown from the day we learned he died. This poem may be a little raw yet, but here it is.

    A Farewell

    From the day we got the news
    we knew we’d be planning
    a farewell gathering
    at least farewell on this earth
    for a brother much loved

    And on that day
    as the sun shone
    warming us in that green space
    we marked his life with stories
    blessings love
    and flowers
    over his resting place

    ©Carolyn Wilker May 2022


    A ticking clock feels ominous,
    an unrelenting microtome;
    hence, I prefer the friendliness
    of times I set by metronome.

  6. Walt, so much is going on in that poem, and it’s rendered so masterfully, especially the finish.

  7. Marie, for me, your use of “hills” turns this into a metaphor. Wonderful.

  8. Pingback: PROMPT #385 – THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – Stine Writing

  9. Anticipating Kenya

    I plan to go to Kenya someday soon.
    My sister Judy and I plan to go.
    She and I, quite adventurous, I know.
    November, we may look at Kenyan moon.

    We may go to an elephant reserve.
    Another thing that might make many laugh.
    I look forward to kissing a giraffe!
    And we’ll see lions, if we have the nerve.

    The antelopes appear a handsome lot.
    The elephants majestic in their size.
    Keep distance from the hippos to be wise.
    Hope cheetahs and some leopards, we will spot.

    I plan to go to Kenya someday soon.
    In Colorado, may be time for snow.
    November, we may look at Kenyan moon.

  10. Time to Dream

    Thought some about retirement,
    working 24/7 in those early days
    also about quietly basking
    in a summer sun’s rays.
    First had to put nuts away
    for the long winter ahead,
    fussing about future finances,
    about a more secure homestead.
    The work’s been done for a while,
    and there’ve been homesteads eight,
    all of them quite nice,
    a few of really great.
    Now late winter approaches,
    there’re still nuts in the bank.
    We’ve had a lot of good luck
    and some hard work to thank.
    That doesn’t mean, though,
    that we’ve stopped our dreaming,
    occasionally planning
    and adventure scheming.
    We have more time now
    for the things we hold dear,
    but not for future fussing,
    the future’s already here.
    So, what of past thoughts,
    when we thought we might roam,
    well, to tell you the truth, it’s
    just easier to stay home.

  11. So many perfectly phrased poetic pieces planted here today. It must be due to the perfection of the prompt…and the fact that our phrase gardeners have lived a while

  12. Count Down to Publish Date

    The latest I heard
    sometime in June
    my next book
    will arrive.
    I tell friends
    who’ve read
    me before
    it will be something new
    stories and poems
    and a touch of magic
    but for now
    it rests in printers’ hands.
    The sun emerges
    on a day in May
    when trees bloom
    and leaves on branches
    dance in the wind.
    Another season unfolds
    when even in age
    every day is embraced,
    and I can’t wait
    for it to come out
    and my life to unfold
    in new ways.
    I can’t wait
    for the time
    when the book rests
    in a loved one’s hands
    as lips curve into a smile,
    the warmth felt
    when a life well-lived
    springs forth again.

  13. Countdowns!

    LIFT OFF!!


    Gentlemen and Gentlewomen!
    Start your engines!


    The show will start in 2 minutes.

    Ready or not, here I come!

    10 days and a bag-drag and I’m out of here.

    One day there will be no countdowns.

  14. Counting
    Down day-by-day
    To a number still unknown
    Seems rather futile don’t you know
    I think I’ll take my chances

  15. Counting the Coffees

    She said she’s moving –
    maybe in the fall,
    maybe next spring.
    She is the friend who listens,
    who doesn’t try to fix things,
    who doesn’t always agree.
    She is the friend I trust with
    my secrets, my tears, my soul.
    She said she’s moving – our
    regular coffee dates are numbered,
    and we are in the final countdown.

  16. A Countdown To Easing Grief

    flood of tears
    which will never end.
    You feel your life has been
    hollowed out, as a piece of wood, whittled down in size.
    You count the days that have passed since your loss. How many
    will it take to ease that sharp pain?

  17. The waiting has been long…

    It has been decades
    Since I saw your eyes,
    But I remember them.

    I remember how
    When you laughed…
    Your eyes crinkled
    In the corner,
    And they shined
    As they danced…
    They made me smile…

    I want to see those eyes again…
    But I worry…
    Will your eyes
    Only see me as the old woman
    I have become…
    Worn and broken…
    I am so much more
    Than all of that…

    I know the days
    Are growing closer,
    And sometimes
    I feel the tears
    Crowd my eyelids…
    I speak to myself of courage,
    But what is courage?

    I was shy and bold
    In my younger years…
    But do I have that boldness
    That made me face
    Each of my fears
    Until they crumbled
    Before me?

    Will this summer
    Have us find a way
    To just say hello,
    Or maybe
    You will see
    That young woman
    You teased
    When you were
    A young man
    Still there
    Within my eyes.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 8, 2022

  18. Counting Days

    bare trees
    winter days
    were counted in haste
    as pages turned
    seasons blurred
    scenes unfolded
    I couldn’t wait
    rushing time
    toward an imagined fate

    but in spring

    dreams whisper
    a new day shadows
    reflections of
    many lives
    trees once bare
    seen now
    at a leisurely glance
    as leaves dance
    and I am old and young

    a story told
    with dog-eared pages
    so I can take a moment
    some day
    and look back

  19. The Hidden Goodbye

    When I started my work
    With children…
    I did not expect to be there near three decades.
    Many of those I said hello to that day
    Are still among my friends.
    But I learned much later
    That as I said hello
    There was a hidden goodbye
    That one day
    We would say to each other.

    I remember that day…
    When I said goodbye
    To the work I had did
    Not in details
    For the details
    Did not matter anymore.

    My life was filled with facts,
    Those from my perspective…
    I testified to those facts…
    Often over the years.

    I remember the gathering
    Of old friends…
    I worked with them
    For decades.

    I wanted to go out classy…
    Not a drunken feast…
    Of I will miss you…
    I didn’t want praise that last day.
    I just wanted it behind me.

    I went back to the office,
    And people dropped by
    Who had not come to the luncheon,
    And I knew some eyed my office
    For it had a window.
    Years of working in a dungeon
    With no windows,
    And later a tower with none
    Except the one
    Painted to hang as a fake window-
    Which I moved around the room.

    I knew the scavenger hunt would begin
    The next working day
    To see if my stapler was better…
    It wasn’t…. and to see if there were
    Paperclips and staples
    That could be whisked away
    To join their supplies…
    I took my broken stapler
    That was new when I began,
    And the old hole puncher
    That was probably made in the fifties.
    No one would want them.

    There would be nothing left of me
    Except the painting I did
    For the office…
    A place of peace
    In world filled with chaos.

    There was my name
    By the door of my last office…
    The number equaled nine,
    My favorite number, and then
    It said with my name…
    I got that years later.

    The chaos had broken me.
    I was exhausted beyond words.
    Two friends ate dinner with me,
    One from Alabama and
    One from North Carolina.
    What a gift they gave me
    Of themselves…
    And I knew we would talk
    For as long as we could.

    The next day I gave
    Into all the weariness
    And slept almost three days…
    Getting up to drink a bit of water…
    When I woke…

    I took my next purpose…
    To care for Ma
    Until she was gone.
    We said that goodbye
    Fifty-six years after
    I entered this life.

    I have had a lot of endings
    In this life of mine,
    And I said my goodbyes
    To children I loved, and
    Would not see again…
    I have said goodbye
    To family and friends,
    But I hope there
    Are a few more hellos
    For me to say…
    Knowing all too well
    That in those hellos
    There is a hidden goodbye.

    I knew there was
    One big one
    When I said my goodbye
    To this life,
    I plan to make ninety,
    And that is a few years away.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 9, 2022


    Her master’s degree
    Seemed like a whisper
    In a faraway wind
    A great
    And mighty fantasy
    In between
    Large family
    All full of other
    Of her
    And her time
    In a wild and unexpected moment
    In the
    Mystery of life’s turning
    Her yearning
    Became a reality
    Single motherhood
    And circumstances
    Created second
    Amazing chances
    And within a week
    Of her thesis defense
    Scurrying across campus
    Completing all paperwork
    Late on a Friday
    She made it
    Just under the wire
    Man behind the counter
    Just shook his head
    In dread
    Of her last minute, timing
    Furthering her recent studies
    She was off on a trip
    To India
    In four days
    But completion pays
    Even when it is a count down
    To joy
    And truthfully

    © Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  21. So enjoyed both your poems, Marie Elena and Walt! Waiting in lines can take on so many meanings, especially as time winds down. Congratulations on your almost retirement, Walt. Such a world of adjustment ahead and loved your line about the page turning! Excellent ways to express your prompt of ‘Count down’!

  22. Until “The End”

    Mama popped me out
    Sixty-seven years ago
    And the countdown began
    We just didn’t know the starting number

    But it’s better that way
    Who would want to know when
    their number was to come up?
    Not me

    It’s better that we don’t know
    It would just make us worry more
    And ruin any fun we might have
    Personally, I like having worry-free fun

    So, sixty-seven in the books and
    blank pages yet to be written
    With God’s grace I will fill them
    until I come to that page with
    “The End” written in blood

  23. A Countdown to No

    opened in hearts

    children shot
    in the city of my birth
    in their beds bullets
    sprayed into houses cars

    piercing the unseen

    a coward’s game
    blood coloring morning
    streets long before

    every night
    the death toll ticks

    and people tsk
    count the bodies

    two here
    three there

    guns the answer
    now not the
    swift stiletto
    palmed for fear alone
    the brass knuckles
    clanking for bravado
    the curled lip
    and steel toed boots
    the stuff of a bloodied nose
    a quick fist fight

    but not guns
    not this reality
    mothers screaming
    sisters and brothers bereft
    parents disappeared

    the eighteen year old
    needing so much help
    now convicted of two counts
    attempted murder for
    coming into the school office
    with a loaded weapon
    using it
    like everyone else.

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