What Is the Future?

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads  “What the?  (posted by ManicDDaily)

It’s about whats! As in,”[A] child said what is the grass” that opens Whitman’s poem. Yes, it is very much about grass, but it also winds from and through grass to handkerchiefs to hints to the tongues of mothers and the mouths of graves.

I invite you to pick something–anything–and to write its “what”. As in, “what is the—?”

You do not have to begin your poem, with “what is the?” or “A child said what is the–” though you should feel free to use either of those phrases if one of them helps you get going.

Also note that your poem does not have to be nearly so long as Whitman’s and can take any form, even- dare I say it? -a haiku! It also down’t need to be heavy or profound, comic is fine.


They tell me that every vote
counts, yet they whisper,
electoral college.

What is the future
of democracy–of these states
that are united–where checks
and balances are cited to keep
us from tyranny?

What constitutes an American President?
He is not above the law.
He is not prejudiced.
He is not a liar.
He is not given to temper tantrums.
He is not a rash decision maker.
He is not a crown seeker.
He is not ignorant.

What is reason, and where
did it go?


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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15 Responses to What Is the Future?

  1. Manicddaily says:

    Terrifc close and a very big what indeed. I don’t know if my comment is posting as I cannot see it, but I really love your poem. Thanks for being brave enough to post! (And write.) k.


  2. I have been wondering where those checks and balances are too, and why behavior is being tolerated that no one else would get away with. I dont understand it. Well said.


  3. oldegg says:

    Sadly voters always think and wonder if a change would be better for them and the country too and after two terms what better to do than change to a businessman who knows how to make a buck. Naturally I am thinking of my own country not yours! We forget that the businessman has made his fortune from people like us!


  4. sanaarizvi says:

    Such a potent close on this, Sara! 💜


  5. Jim says:

    Nice questions, Sarah. I am afraid the checks and balances have been subdued for now, I feel some may have been eliminated. Meaning no satisfying answers.


  6. annell4 says:

    It is a sad time, indeed. The answers to your questions, are known, but temporarily forgotten. We will get through this, he is not the first crook to hold this office…I guess when we look at the person elected, we see ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Woonie says:

    One word ~ AMEN.


  8. MrsBednar says:

    I think the electoral college was one of the smartest things our founding fathers inserted into our new country! Each state has a voice – otherwise we would be run by California and NYC! All I can say is study the history of Presidents – I think a HUGE difference is 24/7 news and the press. The press in the past covered up many a President’s faults… And honestly, our choices were pretty awful this time around. I don’t think there was a winner at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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