May Play: Conversations

Leah wasn’t quite ready to play. Sharing her poetry felt like a risk.

A few months ago she discovered Every Day Poems and began clicking around. She spent $2.99 on our poetry daily subscription. She found intriguing writing prompts and colorful features. Most importantly, she encountered conversations.

In fact, I met Leah (@Barebrancheshvn) through a back-and-forth exchange while Tweetspeak was hosting a book club on Rumors of Waters by L.L. Barkat. She also shared a few words with me about her re-entry into poetry.

@Barebrancheshvn: “i wrote a poem this week in response to the photo of a modern “Little Red” – my favorite yet, total departure 4 me”

@matthewkreider: “Fantastic! I’m so happy to hear that! Have you shared it anywhere? Yet? :)”

@Barebrancheshvn: “only with family! Not ready to share yet. First time ever, I wrote something in 30min. Only minor revisions since”

Most of us can relate to Leah’s hesitancy about wading into those deeper waters of visibility. We all have times when sharing our play with others feels as awkward as wearing a new bathing suit. But as we engage in a community of conversation, we find the strength to take another step.

Once we begin splashing around, like Leah, we just might find ourselves calling out words of encouragement to others.

@Barebrancheshvn: “Congrats @pathoftreasure for your @tspoetry #mayplay post! Put my timid toe in the water for the 1st time w/ a “public” poem, terrifying!”

@pathoftreasure: “Yay!  I know, it’s risky!! Once you’ve dipped the toe in the water, it’s easier to dive right in… :) Awesome #mayplay!”

Tweetspeak Poetry’s May Play

We decided to play together at Tweetspeak Poetry this month. We call it May Play. This week we wrote found poems using words taken from “On Inspiration”, a found poem by Kimberlee Conway Ireton. Whenever we had a few minutes, we sat to play and and uncover a poem. We played on Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs.

This past week, several writers joined the May Play conversation for the first time. Connie Cornwell Chipman wrote,

No longer able to bear
the sound of Red Hot Chili
Peppers, she saunters over
next door.
With rose petal lips and
hands on hips,
she sugar snaps off on the guy
until he turns the music down.

And leximagines wrote,

Just Peachy

Rolling down
worn wooden planks
the creamy coral orb
came to rest at my feet

Barely kissing my toes
cajoling me to pick it up
I surrendered
raising it to my lips

One should never allow
such cheek to go unanswered

Lorraine, who joined us for the first time last week, stopped by for another visit.

Mint Juleps anyone…

Taking shelter from the red hot Kentucky sun
she rests on worn wooden planks
beneath the willow tree…
stirring the chiffonade of mint
into the sugar rimmed, frosted glass…

and she sips…
and she waits…
to see the black steed
race his way to the finish line;
and she hopes…

he might take his princely ride
through the field of clover,
draped in his blanket of roses
and his cobalt ribbon prize…

and she sips…
while she waits.

nancy davis rosback also returned for a visit.

if i had a speckled hen
i would gather eggs into a basket
tightly woven and strong

if i wanted tea
i would put a kettle of water on heat
the warmth to pour over withered leaves
giving back what was taken

if my mother were alive
i would make her eggs and tea
we would sit at the table
and visit

Others shared their May Play on Twitter.

@monicasharman: I sit atop handmade inspiration/ to pin it down/ but it escapes like slippery/ soap even before I can catch/ the scent of lavender

@bristowmom1: Sigh for today:  What Hand will invite you/into what green dance, across what white-blooming field?

Creative play leads to great conversations, so keep playing with those words — and encourage each other along the way.


Here’s how May Play works …

If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to Every Day Poems.

1. On Mondays, the Every Day Poem in your inbox becomes Play-Doh. Pinch off a word. Or more. Mix in your words and colors. Until yours.

2. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #mayplay hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.

3. Or leave your found poem here in the comment box for each week’s May Play post.

We’ll read your tweets and share some of your weekly play each week. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the playful poet to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Top 10 Poetic Picks.

Here’s today’s Every Day Poem. Now go play.


BONUS: Winner Takes the Chocolate

If you have a short story about why you love Every Day Poems, leave it in the comment box here or post it to your blog and leave us the link. We’ve already received some great mentions! Check out Leah’s reflection — as well as her poem “Little Red”.

We’ll pick one of these stories and send the winner a box of gourmet chocolates.

Photo by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Matthew Kreider.


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

Red #9


  1. says

    Loved Connie’s poem! It made me think that I’ve been on both sides of that scenario: in college, a guy a couple of doors down had to knock on my door: “I’m taking a midterm now. Can you turn it down?” (We had take-home exams.) I also remember living in a small apartment, and we had just bought our first (used) piano. At about 8 p.m., while we were tinkering with our new toy, someone in the apartment below started banging on their ceiling/our floor with a broom handle or something. But when I’m the one annoyed by loud music, I’ve never had the boldness…

    The last two lines of leximagines’ poem truly made my day. I love it when the end of a poem (pleasantly) catches me off guard that way.

    Loved how Lorraine’s poem gave me a unique combination of excitement, anticipation, and calmness.

    And how nancy brought the eggs and tea around and together… That one had power for me.

    Thanks for these great Mondays! And for the conversation. Poetry is THE reason I opened a twitter account.

  2. says

    I loved them all and yes, I felt a lump in my throat over your ending Nancy!
    I’m really enjoying this May play! As I hesitate at first, I usually feel great afterwards…sign of a great stretch! 😉 Fun!

  3. says

    …Breaking off the Play-Doh one more time

    Before We Knew

    Smoking was the old normal
    of my childhood.
    My mother’s friends
    lit their Camels between Cokes
    on Saturdays at the local drug store.
    My dad plowed the corn
    with his Lucky Strikes
    in his shirt pocket.

    The crimson circle on the white
    pack, the golden camel on hers
    were images transferring
    meaning to letters, my eyes
    learning to read.

    Her moon eclipsed his sun,
    the ring of fire that held
    them, comforted me
    on darkened nights
    curled to dream of
    camels and pyramids
    and the journey home
    in our Studebaker sedan.

  4. says

    Thank you for including my poem Just Peachy. I love Every Day and Tweetspeak. Even though I don’t write everyday, you keep a smile on my face and inspiration always abounds.

  5. says

    Matthew . i love your story of encouraging people toto write and share. You are helping to make this a place where people can feel accepted and loved, which opens the door to creativity, growth and healing.

    It is so fun to see the way each person writes their own unique piece that no one else could write.

    And i feel totally encouraged by the really nice comments, thanks.

  6. says

    Nancy, your poem took my heart and I felt my “mother ache” in it.

    Maureen, your poem is gripping and it made my heart ache.

    I haven’t joined in here before, but I’ve been watching and reading. I’m pretty good at making snakes and marbles out of playdoh. =) Thank you for making it a safe place. Here’s my found poem offering.

    Moonlit Tears

    Empty nightgown
    lost in a bed too big

    Failing, at her window
    fell softly

    patricia spreng

  7. says

    This does my heart good, everyone. :) Busy day here, but it’s so good to hear your voices.

    Nancy, you made my heart feel like a fondue pot. Poetry doesn’t matter if it can’t make room for people.

    And, Leah, see what happens when we dare to step out? Think of all the conversations and play that would be lost. :)

  8. says

    …and here’s another piece of dough

    Embracing the Nightmares

    Catching them by their manes
    is the hardest part.
    They’re wary of touch.
    the revelation of day
    when their distortions
    are chastised.

    A tight grip on the forelock
    might work. Dare to be Bellerophon
    grabbing Pegasus. What nightmare
    can resist a golden bridle?
    They wait to be subdued,
    They long for the touch
    that transforms the inner core.

    Nightmares ironically wish
    for the day. Coming
    in the last cycle of sleep,
    they push the psyche
    to confront the reality
    of resistant reconciliation.
    Shackle the forehoof
    of any nightmare, stroke
    him until he is yours.

  9. says

    I was inspired by “On Inspiration” to enter the waters of May Play. So fun! Not sure if I got the right poem for the week…come what may. Thanks for such a creative, communal platform. Brilliant!

    “Choices ”

    Mint, grey. Peach and the hot chili of pink.
    Hmmmm….what to paint the basement.

    For years I evaded the dark,
    the damp, the buried underneath.

    But now I tread easy towards the shadows,
    even inviting them to tea,
    bitter herbs and raw honey.

    You won’t know until you face them,
    looking into their dark eyes,
    black steeds,
    now fit for a fearless queen.

    The paint chip says “Choices,”
    the dreamy color of courage.
    Brush dipped and
    painting the shadows with Light.

  10. says

    Matthew, this weaving together is exquisite! I am so envious of all the poetry play. My muse has left me high and dry of late. Too much of the busy, too much of the tired. But when I stop in here I find inspiration. So very grateful.

  11. says

    What fun–pinching the dough.

    Word Habits

    She wears her words like a wimple,
    starched and confining,
    they rarely engender dialog,

    The black serge flowing
    to the floor measures
    each syllable
    for its suitability
    in the moment,
    stewardship of expression.

    Her underskirts cover
    the slip of the tongue
    the intimacy of feeling
    the unguarded response
    of a woman more nearly human.

    But the pointed toes
    of the serviceable shoes
    punctuate the sense
    of a mind trained
    in precision not fluency.

  12. Connie Cornwell Chipman says

    May Play “Conversations” taking a few words from “Breaking it off: Letter from Anne Sextion.”

    God, He can be so kind.

    On bent knees I breathed a prayer
    and God thought of me and
    sent you here.

    I buried my lips
    into your little hands
    as I rocked you to sleep,
    my baby.

  13. says

    Not only is May Play fun, but we can also make new friends (hello Leah!) :)

    Here’s a little piece of May Play Doh from this past Monday’s poem:

    I hide rumors in my tightly
    clenched fists before I
    swallow them, whole.

    You won’t find me asleep,
    nursing my wounds,
    fading like dusk.

    I lose your roses,
    crush them in hand–
    and find my soul.

  14. says

    and the play goes on

    Hunch Weaving

    The flicker house was mounted
    on a backyard tree
    with desire to conserve,
    to ensure a presence.

    But squirrels thought
    the box to be theirs,
    a homestead for generations
    of furry tails.

    They remodeled the opening,
    wove pine straw ticking
    and birthed the first brood
    of tiny sunflower seed thieves.

    The yard wars were on
    and raged for decades.
    The day wind felled the box,
    hunch drove me to look inside

    and there perched
    on a pillow of dawn
    was a single speckled egg.

  15. says

    After the Storm

    Even the trees bend their knees
    toward the dawn when the winds
    come in the night. They sense
    the power in the zephyr grazing
    their leaves, spiraling in patterns
    with increased velocity, darkened
    to the sinister forces they endure.

    Their faith lies in the subtlety
    of shared creation, their certainty
    that life’s cycle renders completion.
    Bending toward the dawn, they know
    that the light of photosynthesis
    will beam on leaves tossed askew
    restoring the vitality the Son gives.

  16. Lane says

    @LaneArnold: I enjoyed playing with the Roses theme:

    just after
    twinkling bouquets
    The summer damask rose
    in an
    old cut glass
    beside her bed.
    He always
    left one
    waiting there.
    She thought of
    that other day,
    fifty-two summers ago,
    when her
    knelt on one knee,
    and asked
    what he already
    knew the answer to:
    Will you?
    I will.
    Every morning,
    The yes of
    Whimsy and joy,
    wafting among quotidian
    Lovers lasting
    Outside the
    bay window,
    roseate puffs
    flushing the face
    of craggy young Rockies.
    Alpenglow blush:
    Two beauties
    dancing to dawn’s delight,
    on the ice-fringed
    alpine lake,
    mountain roses.

    Lane M. Arnold
    © May 2012

  17. Lane says

    @LaneArnold played with the scent of Irish Tea…

    Tea Travelers

    Her cabinets
    trace the journey
    of her long-grown
    The winter of the weddings
    in India,
    the daughter,
    her lilting sing song voice
    lush tea plantations and a new love,
    as dark ringlets fell across her
    The fall of St. Andrews studies,
    the kilted red-bearded son,
    told tales of
    clan castles
    over Scottish breakfast tea,
    loose and lovely
    in a very proper tin.
    After the traditional
    Moroccan Tea Ceremony
    and a flight across the ocean,
    the eldest son, mustached and mysterious,
    sipped green minted tea as he charmed her with stories,
    a sweetness not lost on her.
    She turned the kettle on,
    and memories whistled.
    At the tiny table, miniature tea cups tremble.
    Three set of hands
    belonging to her oldest
    eagerly await
    the afternoon
    tea party
    with Gran-Mére.
    They wonder why
    a globe spins nearby.

    © Lane M. Arnold
    May 2012

  18. says

    Sleeping with Promises

    The empty nightgown
    hanging on the door.
    its bodiless shape
    the vacuity of hope
    that resurrection is more than myth.

    The sleeveless wonder
    of remembered arms, fingers
    frozen in a single

    Whole visions emerge
    from thinning fabric
    cloth returning
    to threaded
    patterns of provocation
    casus belli.

    Wisps of delight and destruction
    hidden in shapeless folds
    soft, cool to the touch
    utterly empty…yet full.

  19. says

    and last bit of play before we turn to a new poem


    Some prefer their rumors in pieces
    words to chew and consider
    cows in a huddle beneath the oaks
    cuds to digest
    in the companionship of kind

    Connection more important than truth
    words binding one to another
    shreds of evidence
    enduring debris

    Sorting out truth is a game
    like volleyball with its setup
    and spike
    the right team
    sharing the win

    Malevolent process that divides
    like cells in a cancerous growth
    sometimes fatal.

  20. says

    Punching Shadows

    Refining shadows was his delight
    in life. Marking their boundaries,
    polishing their angles, he clarified
    the fuzziness of their perception.

    Living with shadows like he did,
    the hard-core, face on reality
    lost power. He knew only slant
    of experience, glancing light.

    When shadow becomes itself,
    negative transforms its print.
    The eye reverses, sees only
    the inner self, loses its dazzle.


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