July Mosaics: The Shards

Ben Henderson’s new wobble was supposed to be the secret weapon he needed to save his career. But while his new baseball pitch ultimately missed the mark, his “revolutionary musket” still fired the first shot heard ’round the jazz world — leaving its mark as the first recorded use of the word “jazz”.

The year was 1912. Henderson was a pitcher for the Portland Beavers. According to Ben Zimmer, the language columnist for The Boston Globe, Henderson announced “that he had a special pitch, a curve ball called ‘the jazz ball’ that he was going to use, and he said it would completely flummox the batters because it wobbles so much you simply can’t do anything with it.”

While playing June Jazz at Tweetspeak last month, Maureen Doallas managed to hit one out of the park. You can catch the audio of her reading the poem in Thursday’s Top 10 Poetic Picks.

But, really, everyone nailed down a good “jazz ball”, even shattering some windows in the process because we liked the sound of breaking glass. Now we’re ready to play with those shards.

Of course, whenever we try something new by shattering the glass of our old expectations, we may find ourselves staring at a mess of questions after the last inning. “Am I any good?” “Do I have anything worthwhile, in this heap of shards, with which I can build anything beautiful?”

Shh. Get down on your hands and knees. Look at the pieces. Hold them up to the sun. Until the light speaks and guides your hand.

This month, The Cento (a kind of mosaic poem) is our theme at Every Day Poems.

Poetry invites us to reflect and focus on the beauty of fragments. We discover new patterns and artistry as we begin to sort through and rearrange those images and ideas.

Here’s how July Mosaics works …

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

1. On Mondays, the Every Day Poem in your inbox becomes a pile of raw material. Sort through the words and find a few gems. Rearrange as many as you want into a new found poem. You’re free to mix in your own words.

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

3. Or leave your found poem here in the comment box.

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 Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.

Here’s today’s Every Day Poem. Now go cool-arrange.

Photo by Kejoli. Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Matthew Kreider.


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

Red #9


  1. Donna says

    shards… what a fun idea! never thought of doing something like this before, mixing words found, like choosing crayons from a box! here I go giving it a try. “biligual” (llbarkat) took my breath away, i must say, and it felt more than a bit intrusive to dip into the perfectly placed words and shuffle them around… but it was fun and revealing – a bit meditative and reminded me of the zentangles drawing/doodle play.

    mutual ghosts~

    your hand
    like a mist
    found me

    capable of feeling light

    in the flesh

    in the
    of the wind

  2. says

    Thank you for the generous words about “Confession”. I didn’t know when you asked for a recording that your intent was to feature it. So a double thank you, Matt. Fortunately, Dominion Virginia brought us back onto the grid; I recorded the poem this morning. Hope everyone enjoys it.

    I have a cento planned for a post next week. I will, of course, try my hand at today’s offering. That won’t be easy, given that the poem is LL’s!

    • says

      Well, I’m very glad DV got your power turned on, though I do confess a selfish perspective …The audio for your poem is just marvelous.

      Everyone is in for a delicious treat on Thursday! Just be prepared for the uproar, Maureen: folks will want to hear more of your voice! :)

  3. says

    Some Kind of Feeling

    Your spirit hand
    is walking over

    my ghost.
    The light, a mist

    of whiteness,
    found me but wind,

    I like to think,
    translated into

    the flesh of you
    and me. Again.

    * * * * *

    Into your spirit
    hand I am

    brought, a ghost
    wind translated.

    You and I
    walking again,

    back into light.

    * * * *

    You, light
    like mist,

    brought me
    your spirit.

    My hand,

    found you.
    Some kind

    of feeling
    is translated.

  4. says


    Feeling your hand laying over the mist of my flesh.



    The wind of you brought me back.

    And a ghost, walking

    is translated.

    Is found.

  5. Laurie says

    Sorting Shards

    I like to think
    of you

    capable of feeling
    the wind again,


    your hand translated
    into flesh,

    that kind light
    found you,

    brought you back,

    of mist and spirit –
    a bilingual whiteness

    laying over the
    ghost-like news.

  6. Donna says

    It’s kind of magical…. how everyone uses the same shards and creates vastly different wonderful pieces of mosaic! Reminding me of the fused glass class I’m going to take, only no band aids required!

  7. says

    When this idea was first posted, I admit I was dubious, but it’s been amazing to me how generative the experience has been.


    Mist of our likeness,
    ghost of our thoughts,
    translate us into wind
    that feels the flesh
    the new spirit brings.

  8. says

    And two last attempts…what a rich experience!


    The ghostliness of news
    the wind lays in the mind
    walks in thought mist,
    that mutual whiteness
    of flesh without feeling.


    Translate the flesh
    of my hand to spirit
    and let me know
    the white feeling,
    the mutual mist
    of walking in the light.

  9. says


    The words fall like mist upon
    morning; awakens dusty earth,

    soaks dry bones. I wipe off dew
    and see that you have left your

    prints on my flesh. I am no longer
    a ghost; I move like wind, seek

    quiet shadows, and translate
    their words into music.

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