From Blush to Fiery Passion

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Seventeen poems were submitted for our February prompt of “red,” and they ranged from a mere hint of blush to an all-out fiery passion of RED. (I’m still fanning myself.)

They told stories; they played with colors; they were about love and faith and love lost and philosophy and coming of age and everything else red. Some poems were quiet; some were quite loud. Some were hopeful; others about dashed hope. Some were technically beautiful; others were warm and personal.

Every single poem was a joy to read, and I found myself moved in many different ways. Who would have thought that “red” evoked so many different emotions?

While I would like to highlight them all, our practice is to select one, and so I ended up looking to the frigid north and discovered passion burning, where “Canada burns like a cardinal against our snow.” Here is Matthew Kreider’s “Red Heat:”

Red Heat

on this day
in Winnipeg
even polar bears
watch us from Broadway,
and we sit and love
on these historic steps
leading up to our Hotel Fort Garry,
and hold, for a time,
icy bottles of cream soda and
the condensation and rings
drive us mad, with love,
and people hit their brakes
and honk at us,
smiling at your wedding dress,
here in the northern sunlight,
but then we had to leave it
in your parents’ basement, for a

time to cross

a country and then a sea
of wild rye and nodding needles
and the cold concrete
at the border station, with its
erect black uniforms, silver
sunglasses and
latex fingers and,
the prairie wind howls,
at the bare skin of our heart,
raised today like a flag
between two countries.

Oh, Canada burns like a cardinal against our snow.

and so we roar and stomp
and leave one paw-print
of red
in our snow
and then go to bed
and wait for the visible
light to change
to faith, some smoldering,
infrared glow.

Here’s the complete list of poems in the order submitted. Note that four poems were posted directly on the T.S. Poetry Facebook page, so you might have to scroll down to find them.

Monica Sharman’s What It Feels Like
Glynn Young’s Red Mass
Tony Maude’s Red
Violet Nesdoly’s Adolescence
Nicole Monseu Wian’s Red
Maureen Doallas’s Looking for Meaning in Red
Jennifer Butler-Burton’s Does Red Mean Love
Connie Mace’s Red Speaks
Mary Harwell Sayler’s What Happened When I Searched My Poems with Red
Anna’s The Give-away
Grace Marcella Brodhurst-Davis Every Day Poems
G. M. Brodhurst-Davis’s Matador
Michelle Ortega’s Rouge/red
Matthew Kreider’s Red Heat
Susan Carlin’s e on the palette
Juliana Kim Shavin’s Red Elixir
Jody Ohlsen Collins’ Read Red
Cindee’s To Wrap You in Red

Photograph by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Glynn Young, author of Dancing Priest: A Novel


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In February we’re exploring the theme Red.

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  1. L. L. Barkat says

    I am still curious to know whether this is a “first” for Matthew, seeing as it came as the result of a challenge (and he said he held his breath upon writing it, sharing it).

    Wonderful poem. I especially like…

    a country and then a sea
    of wild rye and nodding needles
    and the cold concrete

  2. L. L. Barkat says

    So sorry we missed yours, Cindee. It’s an imperfect system. Thanks for your graciousness to us : ) (I added you!)

  3. says

    Great poem, Matthew. And what a nice article, highlighting the many shades of red, Glynn (or whoever wrote this). I’m bound to have stained teeth and fingers by the time I’m finished this meal. Thanks for including my piece.

  4. says

    It’s great to join everyone here at Tweetspeak and T.S. Poetry. And thanks, L.L. Barkat, for encouraging me to squeeze the sponge. Love these poems here — and the community they grow. Grateful for your comments, everyone.

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