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Poetry Prompts

Monday Poetry Prompt: Callous

This week let’s write a callous poem. None of our lives are so soft that we don’t have callouses. I still have one on my right middle finger from holding a pen in the days before computers. Of course, there’s also the emotional sense of the word which might yield some good poetry. Let’s toughen up and post the results in the comments below.


About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.


14 thoughts on “Monday Poetry Prompt: Callous

  1. Great Aunt’s Hands
    I often wondered if she had pain
    where her bones met inside her hands,
    all gnarled and ridged on their backs,
    hardened with rough skin from flour sacks,
    and dishes a-plenty,
    from visitors who sat at many
    a table in the family homestead.

    Often the women would help her,
    sending her with the dessert,
    so she’d spend the evenings
    dishes done, sometimes by the many.

    When she got very old,
    the weather in Canada by Lake Huron was so cold,
    she had to start staying elsewheres;
    fretting she’d be a bother,
    not wanting to get in anyone’s hair,
    though we were all glad to give her some care.

    She left this world at age 76,
    and always wanted to make it stick,
    “Annette, be careful, and take care of yourself;
    listen to your parents, go to Mass, and be well.”
    She told me once the definition of “pep”,
    said it was good to have it,
    and plenty of steps.
    I still miss her
    and remember her last words to me,
    “Annette, wear your chapeau.”
    (It was cold out, you see.)

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Annette Riddle | May 23, 2023, 11:07 PM
  2. Calloused…
    there is not a loss so grand as that of love lost
    there is not a sadness so intense as that of one’s heart cracking open
    and being ripped apart by vultures, til there is nothing left
    nothing at all left to pain or create pain to self
    like a calloused soul that wanders this life without any thought of a life lived with love or one without,
    just a soul that moves in and out of sight
    guarded tight, shielded right
    by hurt and tears and the bones of the rib cage that once stored a vibrant, beating heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by DanielleM | May 23, 2023, 7:16 PM
  3. Expressions are hard

    when walls are stuccoed, hard fact

    hearts shatter

    plaster cracks

    both may be mended

    will they want to come back

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Lisa Tomey-Zonneveld | May 23, 2023, 8:29 AM
  4. Lisa Tomey-Zonneveld suggested I share this here:

    Cruel Heart

    His heart was leather
    and steel sprockets,
    nothing soft about it.
    He didn’t care for others,
    for what they said or felt.
    They were just cogs
    to run his world,
    barely worth a compliment.
    The pews were empty
    when he died, no one
    to praise or honor him.
    The only tears were
    raindrops when he
    went into his grave.

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by nolchafox | May 23, 2023, 8:16 AM

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