Pure Text

Include Robert's prompts

Poem A Day Challenge
Search Tool
Back to Robert Lee Brewer's PAD ChallengeAmazon sells poetry-writing books
(Word counts are approximate)

Searching for: Piddleville ; 2017 Challenge



Those Old Blues

The past comes back.
It has no shoes.
It stands there singing
those old blues
you grew so tired of,
as it holds out
a little tin cup
-for shoes, no doubt.
"Move on, get lost,
just go away,"
is all you really
want to say
to the past
and memory
that misleads
with sugary
lies that claim
the past was best,
a lie that fails
every test;
a lie that is
the falsity
of growing old
and crotchety.

(82 words)

Nice realworld contemporary reference at the end. Great images/references too. Makes it authentic. Thumbs up!

(15 words)

Everything Is Coming Back

Everything you don't remember
is coming back to you,
even all the ugly bits
it took ages to forget.

It all comes back;
you don't know why
prodigals are at your door.
You'd like to think they are not yours
but you know that they are yours;
you recognize an upturned grin
and even know the name
and why you are remembering
what you had forgotten.

Everything you don't remember
is coming back to you
as you ride the bus to work--
What a stupid time!
What are you supposed to do
with memories you recall,
started on your working day,
riding on a bus,
headed off to work?

Everything you don't remember
is coming back to you
as scent, as sound, as something seen,
the tactile of a hand
you wouldn't take in yours,
that hand you wouldn't clasp
is coming back to you
as you ride a bus.

Everything you don't remember:
eyes and hair and skin;
the cadences of voices
of family, friends, and others;
scabs and scars, words and kisses;
the look that broke your heart;
all of it returning
and you've no idea why
everything you don't remember
is coming back to you.

You don't understand it.
You haven't got a clue
why everything is coming back,
coming back to you.

(220 words)


I don't think I'll be winning major awards with this one, but here is:

Things That Do Not Happen

You might think it's a sleep-in day,
the kind of day with nothing much
you think important going on;
a day that seems to dawn bereft,
without the urgency of clocks;
without the stuff that grabs attention
--But lots of stuff sure grabbed mine.
It isn't even afternoon!
Don't tell me it's the kind of day
that likes to say, "Please. Not today."

I won't go through all the list;
It would take me far too long.
But how 'bout this? We'll start here:
I did not win the lottery.
So I woke up just as poor
as when I when to bed last night.
Another thing? Donald Trump
is still the U.S. president.
If that isn't headline news,
it's time to hire new journalists.

I still cannot get paid for all
the rubbish that I write each day;
the government of Canada
still shirks responsibility
by failing to support with cheques
this artist of our cultured country.
Hollywood refuses still
to make a film that isn't old--
it's always something made before
or a spandex hero comic.

Just because things do not happen,
do not think things do not happen.
Oh, they happen. But what happens
is so many things do not happen
that should. And could. And would be nice
to have happen on a Sunday.
Instead of saying, "Let's sleep in,"
we should say, "Let's do things now"
and make them happen right away.
Let's all stop saying, "Not today."
Let's all send finances my way.

(268 words)

Oh, I love this one. Excellent!

(6 words)


Filling in the Blank of Love

Love was led by a blank
that wanted filling in
so I took it to a big box store
so we could shop around.
"I'll pay," I said, "However, please
don't go overboard."
So we went browsing through the aisles
of the big box store
looking for a bargain there
that might fill a blank.

At first, love didn't understand
it was for love we shopped;
we were not shopping for the blank
to make it look more pretty.
No one ever sees a blank;
blanks are always empty.
I wanted to replace the blank,
find a little something
so love would have a pop of colour
and be more defined.

"You think you're going to find that here?"
love asked me skeptically.
"This is just a big box store.
You want a mop of love?"
I realized that love was right.
I had it all backwards.
Love has no need for definition;
it doesn't lack specifics.
You don't fill in the blank of love.
Love fills the blank of you.


(178 words)

I like this; it wraps up nicely.

(7 words)

This is a wonderful poem. Very cleverly composed and reads easily. Lots of playing with rhythm, rhyme, and words in a very short space. Bravo!

(25 words)

Revolving Doors of Love

love walking
the revolving doors
love walking
the many days love must walk
the revolving doors


(22 words)

Oh, I like this one a lot! It has a great rhythm and those opening two lines, the whole poem actually, have the feel of real. A conversational sound. It's great!

(31 words)



we both slept
it started to start
the sun rose
the light came
we woke and got out of bed
writing one more day

running for a bus
coffee breaks
tears at lunch
putting in our working day
writing it all down

countless words
it started to end
lights came on
tears were dried
we put down our pens with night
and went back to bed


(69 words)

I like this one, particularly the repetition of "I wonder..."

(10 words)


For Bones

My doctor tells me that I should get some
number twenty. For my bones,
it's twenty I need; some calcium.
It's milk my doctor says I should drink.
Yogurt is good, less so with fruit.
I should eat beans, though I may stink
with the good deal of farting that will ensue.
"Consider sardines and a bit of smelt.
Collards and spinach will also help you.
Think of the turnip when you next eat,
a wee bit of kale and grains on the side.
Those kinds of foods make bones more complete."
Should I forget, there's a way to recall
what I should eat to make my bones strong.
If a food I don't like, if it appal,
It's a food I must eat in support of the bone,
For it has number twenty, a calcium source.
I'll be upright and strong; happy as stone.
Happy as stone. How happy are they?
As happy I'll be eating that way.


(162 words)


Phantom Limb

your voice
the phantom
of a limb
now gone
yet there
meanings, all whispers
all night
my mind
still full
my heart
still stone
how is it I hear
you still
how is it I hear
when you
are no longer there
and I
lie here


(51 words)


Unexpected Flowering

Who knows how long you went
unnoticed in the shade;
how long before your chance
to bloom as you were meant to?
You were just a bush
with bushes by the shed
under leaves and branches;
the cedars and the oak.

One day the tree guy told me
they needed cutting back.
I agreed; he trimmed
and sunlight made me wince.
Next summer I discovered
a flowering Japanese quince.


(72 words)


The Panic

Cohen spoke of panic.
He said it makes you true.
Dancing through the panic
is dancing through to you.
It's only in the panic
you come face to face
with who you really are,
the world as it is,
with nothing of facade;
nowhere left to hide.
The panic takes it all.
You're a nakedness of skin,
the little shaft of light
you reside within.


(68 words)

So So

I knew my poem today
would only be so so.
I've been working all day long
on prose, not poetry,
and that is why I offer
a poem that has no go;
that is why my offer
of a poem
is only so so.


(47 words)

Wonderful! "he so / fizz" and "i'm so / b-side" ... such great lines! All of it.

(17 words)


I Am Always Going

I am always going
I am always stopped

I am always going
don't like this travel much

seems I'm near and far
seems I'm always here

no matter where I go
I'm always in this place

muddles up my thinking
scrunches up my face

I am over there
here is where I am

think I'd like to settle
stop going everywhere

tried to stop last year
went all around the world

travelled everywhere
didn't get no where

I am always going
seems a waste of time

when you're always going
and you're always stopped

I am always going
don't like this travel much

I am always going
I am always stopped


(116 words)

Another wonderful poem. I've been in that car, with those parents, that radio. Perfect.

(14 words)

Yep. Loved it there.

(4 words)



Syria is in the news
yet again, it has to be
when every day its tragedy
of bombs that fall down from the sky
ensures that all that lives will die.
It's like a poem for Lebanon
long ago I wrote.
They were bombing Lebanon;
they had it by the throat.
Lebanon was yesterday;
thirty years, I would say.
Now it's Syria we see,
every day, a tragedy
of death and history's misery.


(75 words)


I feel about form the way I feel about rhyme:
I don't like that feeling; no one does.
It's like, "You have to eat your cauliflower."
But mom. I hate it.
Why eat cauliflower if you hate it?
Form is cauliflower to me.
I suppose rhyme would be broccoli.
Never liked that either.
The thing is this:
My brain drifts back to form.
And rhyme.
I don't want it to.
I say, "Get outta here!
You're ruining my poem!"
They tell me it was a mess to start with.
They say they're a salvage operation.
Are cauliflower and broccoli salvage operations,
trying to recover some bits
from the mess of a body
that didn't want to eat them?
I dunno. I just know
form and rhyme are things I chafe against
and though chafed, I go back to
trying to salvage something
from the mess I write;
trying to save the day
by getting in the way.


(160 words)


I Sent FlowersI

I could have done something
but I didn't.
I could have seen you.
I turned my eyes away.
I might have lent a hand
but I chose not to.
I could have heard you.
I didn't listen.
I should have seen it coming.
I didn't want to know.
Now it's all behind you.
I sent a card and flowers.


(63 words)


Before I Went Away

I don't remember when either of you died
but I recall your dying and how I heard of it,
over the phone, both of you; not together,
years apart and when I was far away
doing whatever people do
when they are far away,
doing what it is they do
to make a life, as the two of you
made a life, made me,
made my sister and my brother, made us
what it is we are, whatever that might be,
recapitulations of two lives
lived as one when they were lived,
lived as one before I went away.


(104 words)


A Rose by Any Other Name

A rose by any other name
is another flower.
It's just a rose and nothing more,
a fragrance in a bloom;
a pleasing scent dressed in colour:
bashful pink or yellow,
a sauvignon of cabernet,
dark and deep as blood.

Call it what you will, the rose
by any designation,
is just a rose, another flower.
No special assignation
is given to the lyric rose
of song and poetry.
Montague or Capulet,
a rose is still a rose.

Without name or definition,
alone you are unique.
You are not the common rose.
You have no name to speak.
More than rose, you might be dust,
remembered bits of star.
More than rose, I think the ash
of love is what you are.


(129 words)

Thanks for the link. I wasn't aware of the tool. Very nice. I took a look at some of the poems I did last year and that was a bit eye-opening. A lot of the poems I've worked on over the past year. Some of them are much better. But just as many are far worse - I shoulda left 'em alone!

(62 words)


That Time

I said
one time
for me
will be enough

you said
for you
one time
won't be enough
you said
no time

I said
one time
will be enough

that time
to me
you said
no time
and I again
to you
said just
one time
will be enough

has disappeared
and now the time
is gone
and what remains
that just one time

for me
is not enough


(73 words)

I don't think what I was trying to do came across in this one. This will have to be worked on. [?]

(22 words)


It Feels Like a System

I hate the system.
I love the system.
What is this system
I love and hate?
I really don't know
what this system is.
Is it even there?
Is it a system?
Do you think there's a system?
It feels like a system.

I have to wonder
if the system is real,
and if it feels trapped,
locked in a system.
Does it feel caught?
And is the damned system
a system that's me?
And if I'm the system
how did that come to be?

Am I a stave?
Am I a scheme?
A principled method
of ordered connections
made randomly,
constructed with whim,
by a universe crazy
for joining up parts,
like joining up dots
to see what they make?

If that's what I am,
if I am the system,
a system I hate,
a system I love,
what is the reason?
What is the point?
Why am I a system
I love and hate?
It sure feels like a system.
Do you think there's a system?
Or just some confusion
of biology?


(181 words)


This one needs a lot of work, I had an idea and it came out like this...

Banana Bread Waltz

I had a big bunch of bananas.
I feared they were all going bad.
So I mashed them to mush to bake in a bread.

I wanted to bake it with you.
You only wanted to dance.
I said, "Let us bake and make it a ball."

"A banana bread waltz!" you cried,
pleased with my plantain idea.
"We can bake as we dance and dance as we bake."

"Of course," I cried back, agreeing.
The band took my cue and they played
a waltz we could dance; a waltz we could bake.

So we baked a banana bread waltz;
we danced as we baked a sweet bread;
we danced that banana bread waltz to the night.

Banana bread waltz was our dinner.
It was our breakfast come morning.
I swear we were waltzing all night and all day.

Banana bread waltz can be tiring,
it's also a most filling food.
Banana bread waltz is a baking delight
when someone is dancing your baking with you.


(187 words)



It takes a life
to learn to live.
We learn death
in an instant.


(16 words)

A Million Choices

Just as we don't choose to live,
we do not choose to die,
unless we know we're dying
and the dying takes too long,
and involves particulars
it's our preference to avoid.
Between the two however,
we have a million choices,
every one of which concerns
how it is we'll live
and the how is what a life is;
the how is what we are.
The how is all we can become;
the how's each smile and scar.


(82 words)


History's Old Houses

Remembering you, I remember
wallpaper. And sanding a floor
because it was old. And worn.
And you were determined
to make it all new, and I
went right along, puzzled--
I still am--how you got a man,
a man such as me, a man
as good as hammer for baking a cake,
to help you breathe life into a house
left on its own by people
who had moved on,
out of Smiths Falls, Ontario's east,
where history's old houses wait
for one such as you, a woman
skilled in the art of raising from ruin
the old; the neglected and lonely;
the countless forgotten.


(109 words)


My Task

I was given a task
when I was born.
I don't know what it is.
I didn't bother to ask.
It didn't seem that important,
not at the time,
but the older I get
the more that I wonder,
what is the task,
the one I've been given?
And can I complete it?
Will I have time?

Someone once told me,
"Believe in Jesus."
Someone else told me,
"Do not believe
in Jesus. Believe
the things that he said."
They said that's the way
to complete my task.
But they didn't say
what the task was,
so how can I finish
what I don't know?
And why will no one
say what it is?

I was given a task.
Don't ask me what.
I still don't know
what my task is.
Sometimes I wonder
if figuring it out
might be the task,
the one I've been given.


(150 words)

I also agree: great way to end. I like the way the whole poem moves.

(15 words)

Our Task

your task
is me

my task
is you

our task
is us

make us
a two

then turn
a two

a one

when we
are one

we will
be done


(34 words)


Little Orange Ball

What canine with its chomping jaw
will defeat you? What slavering mouth,
fierce with teeth, will try to break you
and lose each time? What breed of dog
will triumph, where all the others fail
and puncture, rip, and tear you into pieces?

I say none. No dog or man or woman
or any other beast will best
the little orange ball, deviously passive,
rolling along
rolling along
rolling along forever.


(75 words)

I used to have a dog, boxer mix, and the only ball she couldn't shred was the orange one. I pet sit a lot and all of the dogs try, but they can't beat the little orange ball. Right now I'm looking after a bulldog and try as she might, and she tries a lot, she can rip the little orange ball. [?]

(63 words)


Desmond Brittle

Desmond Brittle
tried to whittle
memory out of stone.

With sweat and spittle
he made a little
something on his own.

But it was rock,
a little block,
that's what Desmond made.

Rigid, cold;
no bend, no fold,
heavily it weighed.

No bone or blood,
it made a thud
deep within his mind.

Of stone created,
it was fated
to be the fossil kind.

Desmond Brittle
had made a little
stone, and only stone.

Don't be Brittle.
When you whittle
Don't do it on your own.

Make a memory,
light and airy,
and gentle as a breeze.

Without another
do not bother;
pairs are key
to whittling memories.


(111 words)


Last Waltz

One two three
one two three
one two three four.

This is us
waltzing as
we go to war.

Four three two
four three two
four three two one.

This is us
dancing now
war has begun.

A last dance,
we're gliding,
waltzing and then

music stops,
dancing done.
No one left. End.


(56 words)

I liked this a lot. I particularly like, "moment-metered farthing". [?]

(11 words)

A nice, short poem that says so much. The world changes constantly. Blink and you'll miss it.

(17 words)



I'd rather have faith
than none at all.
I'd rather believe
than disbelieve.

I'd rather know God
than know God's not there.
The choice isn't mine.
I don't get to pick.

I can want all I want;
it isn't a sweater
you choose to put on
or take off for the sun.

You have it or don't
and now and again
you find one like me
who has it and doesn't.


(73 words)


Not What I'd Choose

She'd been reborn.
She had a new skin.
She'd shed the old one
tainted with sin.

She said she'd found Jesus.
She had been lost
drowning in ocean,
constantly tossed

by currents and waves,
and storms out at sea.
It was Christ who had saved her,
she said to me.

I was happy for her;
she'd been oppressed,
desperate and frantic,
a woman unblessed

by anything rooted,
parent or friend,
alone in the world,
alone to the end

alone in the wasteland
of s*x and of drugs,
of users of people,
of b*stards and thugs

until she found Jesus,
not what I'd choose,
but she wasn't me
and had more to lose

because she'd been used
and Christ gave her will.
Christ calmed the water;
Christ made it still.

So she was reborn,
by Jesus made free.
He's not what I'd choose
but for her, I am happy.


(153 words)



No charmer, you've
a pushed in face,
and blackened jowls
that always drool.
You've eyes of cue balls
rolling left and right.
White and tan, your body
seems fat when it is not.
It's a swollen muscle
that somehow grew four legs.
Your tail is coiled
and hardly there
causing you concern and so
you spin on your bum.
You tantrum without reason
anyone can fathom
and like North Korea,
you refuse to budge,
play nice with others,
or take a little walk.
Feet planted,
you become
a blacksmith's anvil
nobody can move.
You sound like the oldest of old men,
a cough, a wheeze, a groan,
and as if an outsized cat
you snore a monster's purr.
You will not chase a ball
but you will clamp
your jaws on it, insisting
someone try to claim it
from between
two rows of teeth.
Eleanor, Ellie, Rigby-roo,
You're every bulldog;
each bulldog's you,
strangely shaped and stubborn
and only ever doing
what you choose to do.
Strangely shaped and stubborn,
we love the you that's you.


(178 words)

The Opposite of Love

The opposite of love
isn't hate,
though it seems
to follow logically.
The opposite of love
has no hunger,
has no passion.
It's still. It's apathy.


(31 words)

The Tiger Kills the Antelope

Does a hammer regret the blow
it strikes to nail a nail?
The tiger kills the antelope.
Does it want to say, "I'm sorry?"
Does a bee feel badly
for greeting with a sting?
Will a skunk know guilt
when its odour lingers?
Does remorse attend the sky
when it rains a flood?
Does the sun regret the drought
it burns into the land?

Guilt that is original,
does anybody feel it?
And if it's real, is it shamed
knowing it's not fair?
Will the words I never say
in poems and other stuff
be spoken one day, and if spoken,
will they be enough?
Is speaking of those words unsaid
sufficient to undo what's done?
Tell me if you're able to,
can words reset a clock?


(133 words)

Wonderful poem!

(2 words)


The Great Hiccup

A festoon of pests
were the decor.
They hid the Great Hiccup
produced by the wince
of a crack in the wall
that managed to ramble
from top to bottom,
in jerks myoclonic.

The pests were small insects
of various kinds
crawling the crack
the way insects do.
They made the festoon
appear to be moving,
in hiccupping jerks,
the myoclonic way.

If you've a festoon
that appears epileptic
be certain its seizures
aren't merely hiccups,
for seizures and hiccups
are close and related.
They can bother festoons
and both be myoclonic.


(96 words)


Something Thai

Last night's dinner lingers
in this morning's air.
We tried something Thai
involving shrimp and garlic,
ginger and cilantro
and maybe coconut milk.
I really don't remember;
I didn't make it. You did;
but I recall a sauce
and we ate very late,
drinking too much wine,
left dishes for the morning
left this last night air,
a smell of something Thai.


(65 words)

Wonderful! So vivid!

(3 words)


By Meters or By Miles

By meters or by miles
over fences, over stiles,
along the solitude of highways,
enduring every weather's trials,
through bog and swamp, the fire of deserts,
bureaucracies with tedious wiles;
tenacious, I am coming back,
by meters or by miles.
I'm coming back, again I'll know
the wrinkling of your eyes in smiles;
I'm coming from the gulag fog
of memories time compiles;
however long the distance,
however much to quit beguiles,
I'm coming back; I will return,
by meters or by miles.


(89 words)


The Guitar I Used to Play

I was Jimi Hendrix, gyrating
flames dancing in a bonfire,
a lumberman chopping chords;
sprinter digits dashing frets.
I leapt skyward in a windmill
when I was Townshend in the Who.
Chuck Berry had nothing
on me. I was Clapton and Prince,
B.B. King and Richard Thompson.
I was scraggly; I was Richards
in the Rolling Stones; all these,
all rocking one perfect E,
the perfect chord, fingers fretting
deftly the guitar I used to play.

Don't play now. Gave it up.
Never learned to play
except in air, but in air
I rocked. I was the greatest;
I was every rock star playing
the guitar I used to play.


(117 words)

The Start and the Finish

the start and
the finish of words
I've written
and will write
is somewhere within my poems
living on its own


(27 words)

Perfect metaphor. And love the brevity.

(6 words)

The Shades of Human Skin

I never understood
the shades of human skin.

I still don't understand
the lives contained within.

I'll never understand
how all of us construe

an either/or to shades of skin
that isn't ever true.

I don't understand that.
Do you?


(46 words)

There's always a but. Nicely worded.

(6 words)

Perfect. Thank you!

(3 words)