NAPOWRIMO 2020 – Prompt 28

By on Apr 27, 2020 in Poetry

Alyce Wilson as a toddler

April is National Poetry Writing Month, and many poets like to challenge themselves to write a poem a day. With that in mind, Wild Violet will be sharing poetry prompts each day: one geared towards adults and one for kids. 

If you write a poem based on this prompt, feel free to share a link to your poem, or the poem itself, in the comments. Poems appearing in the comments are not considered published in Wild Violet, and you retain all rights to your work. 


Past, Present, Future

For adults:

Often, we turn to our memories for poems, or we focus on present experiences. Sometimes, we even contemplate the future: hopes and dreams we hope to realize, or fears we hope to avoid. Today, write a poem that encompasses at least two tenses: reflecting on a memory in the past and tying it to something in the present, or comparing the present to what you believe the future might hold. For examples, read “Past, Present, Future” by Timothy Steele, “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo and “And the Moon on Its Stem Will Steal You Away” by John Gallaher.


For children:

Do you remember what happened to you yesterday? How about a year ago? Or five? How do the things you believed or experienced in the past compare to who you are and what you think today? Do you think you’ll be different in the future? Spend some time thinking about that, and write down some thoughts. Then write a poem about yourself in the past, in the present, and what you think you’ll be like in the future.

Past, Present and Future Me

I used to stumble forward on chubby legs,
lurching as I tried to master walking.

Today, I stumble into a chair leg in the dark,
lurch forward and catch myself as I wince.

In the future, I’d like to stumble into elegance,
to somehow lurch forward into the graceful being 
I know I’m destined to become.


Alyce Wilson is the editor of Wild Violet and in her copious spare time writes humor, non-fiction, fiction and poetry and infrequently keeps an online journal. Her first chapbook, Picturebook of the Martyrs; her e-book/pamphlet, Stay Out of the Bin! An Editor's Tips on Getting Published in Lit Mags ; her book of essays and columns, The Art of Life; her humorous nonfiction ebook, Dedicated Idiocy: How Monty Python Fandom Changed My Life, and her newest poetry collection, Owning the Ghosts, can all be ordered from her Web site, In late 2019, she published a volume of poetry by her third great-grandfather, Reading's Physician Poet: Poems by Dr. James Meredith Mathews, which also contains genealogical information about the Mathews family. She lives with her husband and son in the Philadelphia area and takes far too many photos of her handsome, creative son, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda.