Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #38

Here we are at week #38. I had grand plans for this year of prompts. Does it feel like maybe the paint chips have lived up to the hype? I know I’ve read some awesome poems that wouldn’t have been without the inspiration of these simple little paint chip cards, so I’m going to say it has.

The Challenge

For this week’s challenge we are writing about a Grand Plan. It could be something you have planned for the future. It could be an account of some villain’s nefarious grand plan. Or you could write about a grand plan that didn’t quite turn out. The sky’s the limit with this one.

Although, I suppose, you are limited by these odd paint chip words and phrases: fresh-squeezed, tongue-tied, green flash, rainstorm, blank canvas, tumbleweed, and under the sea. Because they are a weird conglomeration of words, I’m only going to ask you to use three. But bonus points if your plan is to use them all and you succeed.

My Poem

I thought about writing about my own grand plan for being a full-time author. It would make a good tale. But instead I decided to reach back into time for one of the grandest, most nefarious plans of all time. Next week I have my first Bible Study Fellowship children’s program class teaching Genesis to fourth and fifth graders, so this is what was on my mind.

The Failing of a Grand Plan

On a blank canvas, a void
God created earth spheroid

Then added some amazing details
Under the sea fish and whales

He spoke and was never tongue-tied
Breathed life into Adam and his bride

All was good in the garden
Yet Lucifer's heart did harden

He was jealous of the connection
Between God and His new creation

So the devil devised a Grand Plan
For the permanent downfall of man

He tempted with fruit fresh-squeezed
With God's one command he teased

Eve and Adam fell for his ploy
Their bond with God to destroy

Because of their rebellion then
Rainstorms flood the homes of men

Arid deserts will scarcely grow seeds
And are covered in dry tumbleweeds

Violence and hatred all around
Green flashes of greed abound

It might seem that Satan's Grand Plan
Has succeeded to destroy man

Until you look to the cross
Where the mercy of Jesus is boss

In view of eternity ahead
Satan loses because Jesus bled

Then rose again from the grave
God's perfect Grand Plan to save 

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to share your take on today’s Grand Plan. You can post your poem in the comments. Or if you have your own blog, post your poem there and share the link with us in the comments. Remember to link back here so your readers can find this prompt and maybe come up with a Grand Plan of their own.

Here’s hoping for some creative planning, unless, of course, you prefer to wing it.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

My Light and Momentary Troubles

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NIV).
Afternoon sun behind a haze of smoke.

The poem below was first published at Anchored Voices last September. I thought of it today as I looked out my window at the smoke from local wildfires. The closest major city to me—Portland, Oregon—has the dubious distinction of having the worst air quality worldwide. Our AQI is more than the number 2 city—Vancouver, British Columbia—and Los Angeles, California combined. I yearn to go for a long walk, but I don’t dare even go outside.

And yet I am thankful because this trouble I and my fellow Oregonians are facing is what Paul would call “light and momentary.” In time, our air quality will return to normal, which won’t even put us in the top 100 of cities with poor air quality. Those who have had to evacuate will return to their homes. Those who have lost homes will rebuild. Those who have lost loved ones will mourn but eventually return to life as usual.

So today, I’m going to focus on the light and momentary nature of my troubles. I hope these words of mine, penned at a time when the pain of a frozen shoulder seemed unending but did eventually end, will give you hope.

Light and Momentary Troubles

Brokenness and torment abound
Only in faith is wholeness found
My sweetest friend knows how I feel
O my Jesus help me to heal

Affliction and sorrow entwined
To this life of pain I’m resigned
Endless suffering makes me reel
O my Jesus why don’t I heal

There is nowhere else I can go
No other heeds my tale of woe
At Your cross I lovingly kneel
O my Jesus help me to heal

For patience and grace I do yearn
Yet wellness one never can earn
Your mercy will wholly reveal
O my Jesus how I can heal

Though this body may e’er be ill
My soul found contentment so still
With Your Spirit my life You seal
O my Jesus You helped me heal
Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #37

It’s Thursday afternoon as I write this 37th paint chip poetry prompt. It’s been a struggle to concentrate on anything today as the skies and air around me becomes smokier by the minute and friends south of me are having to evacuate their homes. Some no longer have homes to go back to due to the many wildfires burning in Oregon. If you’re reading from Washington or Northern California, you’re likely experiencing the same thing. I didn’t think 2020 could come up with anything worse, but it did.

And yet I am thankful for so many things, including having this poetry prompt to distract me. (Even if my poem ends up focused on wildfires and other 2020 nonsense).

The Challenge

I hesitated a moment to title this section “the challenge” as I always do, because, well, writing a poem doesn’t seem near as challenging as many other things. But traditions must be maintained if only for my sanity.

The theme for this week is When I’m Old. Some of you reading and joining in on the prompt may already be there so this will be easy. Others of us are well on our way, and some may be young still and have to use their imagination to respond to the prompt.

The words or phrases for this week are wild huckleberry, cumulonimbus, verdant, spice market, antique brass, the grass is always greener, and candlelight. I think we have our longest paint chip phrase ever this week and so as part of the challenge I’d like you to be sure to use that one plus at least three more in your poem. And while I could use some humor or cheering up, I won’t hold it against you if your poem takes a somber tone.

My Poem

Here is my poem, which is admittedly a bit somber. Sometimes you just gotta work with what you’ve got.

I'll Always Remember

When I am old I'll remember this week, this day,
in sepia tones and skies of spice market orange,
not because of nostalgia and camera filters
on cumulonimbus clouds in a clear blue sky.

It wasn't clouds, we'll recall, but smoke
from a thousand wild huckleberry bushes
going up in flames with brush and trees,
high winds to fuel the fire as homes burned.

Until the wind abated and the smoke settled
and we remembered how the grass is always greener
before arsonists with cruel hate and candlelight
spark a blaze unending and unsettling in its path.

All that was once verdant, vibrant, and alive
lay in ash and the charred remains of whole towns
simply gone, including the antique brass doorknobs
on the corner store in a favorite vacation town.

When I'm old I'll remember how friends packed,
and waited for the alert to evacuate NOW,
trying to carry on with the day's tasks, to work,
to teach, to live in sepia tones and hope.

I'll remember how we prayed
even when I'm old and gray.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to write about when you are old, whether that’s now or years in the future. I’d love to see someone write about being young at heart even when their old. Or if you are old, I’d love to read about the lessons you’ve learned in getting there.

So write your poem and post it in the comments. Or if you have your own blog, post it there and drop a link in the comments. Be sure to link back here from your post so your readers can come join the paint chip prompt. The more player, the more fun.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #36

Another week flew by where I was so busy I didn’t get this prompt written until after 9:00 p.m. on Thursday. But I guess that’s better than 3:30 in the afternoon on Friday. I did, however, submit my memoir book proposal to a small publisher this evening, before I remembered tomorrow was Friday, so it’s not like I was sitting around doing nothing. (I’ll keep you all posted on what I hear back).

The Challenge

This week’s challenge lends itself to some serious poetry, though sometimes humorous or lighthearted is necessary to bring the seriousness of a topic into the proper perspective. Our theme today is Endangered Species. My challenge to you is pick a critically endangered or endangered species from the list posted on World Wildlife Fund website and write an ode to that animal.

The paint chip words and phrases to consider using in your ode are goldfish, red rock desert, cabbage patch, mist, breezy, bronze, and quicksilver. I would like you to use at least three of these words or phrases.

Paint Chip words and phrases in a new, less formal configuration for a change.

My Poem

Ode to a Big Island Cat

On the island of Sumatra
the Sundra Tiger barely survives.
Black and goldfish orange stripes
disguise how hard it strives

to keep even a paw-hold
in the deepest jungle mist.
Poachers slick as quicksilver
keep it ever on the list.

If I should ever see one
under a breezy harvest moon
I'd shoot with only a camera
and with its Creator commune.

No bronze trophy for the hunter
who would slay this awesome beast.
Instead a fine and shackles
never to be released.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to pick a favorite animal from the list. I do hope someone picks the Western Lowland Gorilla because I think the words mist and quicksilver are perfect for such a ode.

You know what to do. Post your poem in the comments, or post it on your blog and then link to it in the comments. Remember to link back here from your post so others can find the prompt and join in celebrating the wonder of our wild animal kingdom.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

For the Joy of Haiku

I’m a little late with this announcement, but another one of my haiku has been featured on the Poetry Pea Podcast along with a number of other lovely haiku on the theme of joy. Mine features a dog.

You can listen to the Pea Podcast here and also read the text of the many haiku included.

I submitted ten haiku on this theme and two were selected for publication. Both the one on the podcast and another will be included in The Poetry Pea Journal of Haiku and Senryu to be published in the fall and available on Amazon. I’ll be sure to share a link when it’s out.

I didn’t let the other eight haiku go to waste, though. I’ve added some to photos and posted on Instagram. I thought it would be nice to share two of those here.

If you like to write haiku or senryu, you should submit yours to Patricia at Poetry Pea. The theme for September is loss and the deadline is September 1, so you still have a few days to get something in. Check out the submission guidelines here.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #35

Hey there poets, it’s another odd week for paint chip poetry, where I throw in a word from my angel card deck. Only this week I decided to throw in three angel cards.

The Challenge

Today our theme is The Future, as if any of us know what that’s going to be like. I didn’t even know what cards I was going to pull before I pulled them. The paint chip words and phrases are: morning glory, red velvet, terra-cotta, and bluff. The three angel words are: honesty, light, and peace. I think we can all agree a future with more of those would be most welcome.

What I would like you to do is pick at least one of the angel card words to shape your future world and use all four paint chip words as colors. For example, you could write about the red velvet curtain hanging in a window or the morning glory colored sky on the horizon.

Of course, you can write whatever you want. You could even write from the past imagining the future as it is now. Honestly, it will bring me great peace just to have you all shine a little light into the world with your poems.

My Poems

So I decided to write three separate poems, one for each of the angel cards. I hope you like them.


The day dawned bright,
the terra-cotta sky 
brilliant in my view.

The hillside a bluff tan
draped in morning glory white
and red velvet blooms.

It differed so from the day
I'd imagined only a week ago.
Lovely, but empty without you.

Illuminate the future
with your morning glory light,
the bluff hillside ignited
in terra-cotta tones,
and a red velvet twilight
points to a new way.

This world of war and violence
where blood runs the color of red velvet
in the streets, staining our hands,
seems to taunt us with promises
of a future of peace,
but the promise is a lie.

War never ends in peace.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. Write one poem or write three. It’s up to you. Please post your poem in the comments if you don’t have a blog of your own. Or post your words on your own blog and drop a link in the comments. Be sure to link back here from your post so others can join in on imagining a better future.

And sorry for that last one that went a little dark.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #34

How a person can simultaneously be thrilled that it’s finally Friday, and completely forget that it’s Friday and therefor a poetry prompt should be posted, I do not know. But that is exactly my week. It’s 3:14 in the afternoon and suddenly it dawned on me. My sincerest apologies for the delay.

The Challenge

Today’s challenge (literally just pulled from the deck) is to write on the theme of I Promise. The paint chip words and phrases are sparkle, lapis lazuli, honey, rusty, brushed aluminum, open sesame, and rolling hills. Please use at least three of these terms, but try not to make any promises you can’t keep.

My Poem

Well, once again I’m writing my poem quickly with really no time to edit. I don’t want this post to be any later than it has to be. After all, I’ve promised a new prompt every Friday. I’m afraid I may have already missed that if you’re reading from the other side of the world. There’s nothing I can do about that. But at any rate, here’s what I’ve come up with on the fly.

No Promises

A beau could promise
sparkling diamonds
with no ability to pay
But I think it's better
to make no promises

A friend could promise
honey on toast
with no food in the house
But I think it's better
to make no promises

A genie could promise
treasure from saying open sesame
with only an empty cave
But I think it's better
to make no promises

A craftsman could promise
the steel wouldn't get rusty
with no control over oxidation
But I think it's better
to make no promises

A jeweler could promise
earrings of lapis lazuli
with only quartz on hand
But I think it's better
to make no promises

God promises rolling hills
and streets of gold
with no tears to cry
This I think is
a promise worth making

Your Turn

Okay, you know the drill. Write a poem to the prompt. Either post it in the comments below, or post it on your blog and share a link in the comments. Be sure to link back here from your post so others can join the fun.

And I promise to try not to forget and be so late next week. Let’s hope I succeed.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #33

It’s week 33 and it’s been a crazy week. I didn’t think about writing this week’s prompt until I was getting ready for bed last night and saw a comment on last week’s prompt saying she’d made it just in time because the new one was going up in the morning.

The Challenge

This week we’re writing about things From Best to Worst and the words and phrases to draw from are lap swim, the deep end, green with envy, heirloom tomato, firefly, patina, and wishbone. Your challenge is to use at least five of these words in your poem. You can rank them from best to worst, or write about a time thing went from best to worst. Or maybe you have a completely unique take on this topic. I look forward to reading what you come up with.

My Poem

So this is a quick write, even for me, so I don’t guarantee it will be any good. But here goes.

Things Go from Best to Worst

Lap swimming in the shallow end
Splashing around with my friends
Was the best way 
To spend a summer day
Until I almost drowned
In the deep end, sinking down
While treading water
Creating nightmare fodder

Thanksgiving is a joyous holiday
Spent with family who drove a long way
To share a meal of turkey and stuffing
Green with envy over mom's potato whipping
It's simply the best until it's time
To break the wishbone covered in slime
Instead we have to let it dry
The worst part is when we say goodbye

Back to summer in the garden
For the whiplash I beg your pardon
Heirloom tomatoes are growing there
The best veggies are fresh like air
At night we watch a firefly
Lighting up the dark night sky
For me summer is the best season
The worst is winter and cold is the reason

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. You can either share your poem in the comments or share it on your own blog and put a link in the comments. Let the fun begin!

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Frequent Flowers

Frequent Flowers

My favorite flowers
bloom in the garden
again and again and again

I deadhead my flowers
to keep them healthy
again and again and again

Of frequent flower care
I never complain
because such beauty
graces my back yard
again and again and again

It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Victoria wants us to take a walk in the garden. I love this prompt because I adore my garden.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #32

Here we are at week #32 of the paint chip poetry prompt and I have a bit of a dilemma. Tonight when I pulled the cards for this prompt, I realized there aren’t enough unused prompt cards to get us to the end of the year. In eight weeks I need to either come up with a different way to determine the “topic” for the remaining weeks, or shuffle the prompt cards and start repeating.

If I shuffle and repeat, we still won’t have the same complete prompts because the paint chip cards will be different. I guess I have two months to figure it out, but if anyone has a preference I’m all ears (or I guess eyes, because I’d be reading your comments, not hearing them).

The Challenge

Anyway, on to today’s prompt. The topic is One of These Things Is Not Like the Others. When I read that, I really hoped there would be one obvious paint chip card that was vastly different from all the others, but that didn’t happen. This one is going to take some creative thinking.

The prompt words and phrases are lipstick, brick, the whole enchilada, sand dollar, peachy, nectar, and coral. I will confess that six of these were right next to each other in the never-been-shuffled deck and the seventh was from a different part of the deck. Maybe you can guess which one is that seventh paint chip?

Since the usual game of One of These Things Is Not Like the Others has only four choices, that’s how many of the paint chips I’m challenging you to use in your poem.

My Poem

I’m actually going to stick with only using four of the paint chips, mostly because I just can’t figure out any way that one of the seven is different from all of the others. And believe me, I’ve tried to figure out a way.

One of These Things Is Different

Coral grows in the ocean deep
Living and active in its briny keep

Nectar comes from a living flower
Eaten by hummingbirds every hour

A sand dollar lives in a shallow tide pool
Where fish might be trapped in a small school

A brick can be used to build a high wall
Quite different as it's not alive at all

Life is a gift bestowed by our God
Cherished by many who creation applaud

But even the lifeless life of a brick
Has value and merit as does lipstick

Your Turn

Now it’s time for you to write your poem. You can post it in the comments below. Or, if you’d prefer, you can post it on your own blog and put a link in the comments. Remember to link back here from your post so others can find the prompt and play along in our game of One of These Things Is Not Like the Others. I look forward to all your fun and creative responses.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments