January Poetry Prompt: Coffee or Tea? Hallelujah, Rosie Lea!

Welcome to a new year here at Tweetspeak Poetry. With this new year comes a new series of Monday poetry prompts to help you get your week started right!

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know the drill–I’ll provide a writing prompt touching on Tweetspeak’s monthly theme, and you’ll compose a poem to post in the comments or on your own blog. For those of you who’ve followed the prompts over the last couple of months, you know that we’ve been kicking off each month with a themed musical playlist to give you a bit of poetic inspiration. When I noticed that this month’s prompts would be written around the themes of coffee and tea, my response was an ecstatic “Hallelujah, Rosie Lea!”

I’ve been passionate about coffee since the due-date-eve of my first high school term paper. What might be called a slight obsession with the black brew has seeped into my musical tastes, and over the years I’ve fallen in love with a number of great coffee and tea tunes. Today, I’m sharing those songs with you in hopes that it might musically frame this month’s theme.

I hope you enjoy the playlist. As you listen, I trust you’ll find yourself jotting a grand work of poetry. I trust, too, that you’ll share that grand work with us in the comments below or on your own blog. Next week, we’ll all meet back here for another coffee prompt, and I’ll share one of my favorite submissions from this week’s coffee and tea prompt.

So, who’s first? Let’s get some good works brewing!


Tweetspeak’s January Coffee and Tea Poetry Prompt:

This month’s poetry theme at Tweetspeak is coffee and tea, and we’re composing poems that play with the theme. Perhaps you can gain a bit of inspiration from this month’s playlist, from the music at your local coffee joint, or from some other coffee or tea inspired piece of art. How do you participate?

1.  Think about your favorite experiences, works of art, literary scenes, or songs that involve coffee or tea. Listen to the Tweetspeak monthly playlist.

2.  Compose a poem inspired by your coffee and tea experiences.

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

4. If you aren’t a twitter user, leave your poem here in the comment box.

5. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the winner to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.

Now, let’s brew up some great poetry. Who’s first?

Photo by iamtheo, Creative Commons via Flickr. Post by Seth Haines


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In January we’re exploring the theme Coffee and Tea.

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  1. says

    Nothing tastes better / than a morning pot waiting / that someone else brewed.

    Can’t stop the Haiku, Seth! AND I can’t wait to listen to your playlist! I see one of my all time favs by Suzanne Vega on there! My husband introduced me to that one, and to her music, And also… “Cold Tea Blues”? by Cowboy Junkies. Ever heard it? Oh my. Such a song.

  2. says

    Journeys Begin

    Take the cup in your hands,
    Let the warmth seep
    through your fingers.
    The aroma, floats
    waiting to be discovered.
    And it will wait,
    The first sip is where you
    begin. The journey unfolds.
    Approach it slowly,
    savor it fully.
    Wait for the discovery.
    Suffer no impatience
    In yourself
    For the cup will know
    And keep its secrets
    to itself.

  3. says

    From a possible series called “Picking Teas”:

    In China I sip Dragon Pearls
    fifteen hundred feet above sea level.
    I am green as the hand-rolled leaves,
    my yet-to-be-plucked bud needing
    the most delicate handling
    to yield you a cup of enchantment.


    • says

      I have always thought you do a marvelous job with metaphor, especially when you trend toward the sensual. This was a really steamy (no pun intended) poem, and I sincerely think you should do a series of them.

  4. says

    Just a Whiff*

    “Love,” he whispered.
    “What’s love got to do with it?”
    she rasped in her best Tina Turner,
    ‘I need coffee’ voice.

    Running on empty,
    fumes escaped her.
    Though driven,
    she couldn’t start…
    wouldn’t even turn over

    until he primed her
    with wafting tendrils
    of hot, black beans
    like her.

    Patricia Spreng

    *just•a•whiff•i•ca•tion [juhs-tuh-wi-fi-kay-shuh n] noun

    1. The process of being made right by just a whiff of coffee and the promise of comfort it brings.

    • says

      This is so great. Really.

      As an aside, when I was a kid, I used the think she said “What’s love, but a second-hand in motion.” I probably sang it that way until I was in high school.

      All that to say, this poem has a soft spot in my heart!

  5. Drispin says

    Morning Brews

    The darkened room embraced my dreams.
    Beneath the sheets, a warm cocoon.
    Then SLAP, and up the shades were snapped.
    While with a deft and cruel stroke
    My shield against the chill of dawn
    Was ripped away, despite my grasp.
    All to the tune of “TIME FOR SCHOOL!”
    For me, that’s coffee, to a tee. Unquestionably.

    Then came a day, once grown and out,
    I ceased to bear such rude affronts.
    From deep within my well of sleep
    My love would rouse me from my dreams
    Gently, with the softest touch,
    As tender lips would brush my cheek.
    “good morning” whispered by an angel’s breath.
    In such a way, I awake with tea.

  6. Jody Lee Collins says

    Mr. Seth and other Tweetspeakers, how does one avail oneself of this monthly poetry prompt? Is there a ‘sign up here to be notified’? or is it ‘check in at will while you’re on Facebook?”
    Thank you kindly.
    And here is my all time favorite song ever about coffee from The Manhattan Transfer:

    • says


      Seth does a prompt every Monday morning on the monthly theme (this month, coffee and tea). The first Monday will also feature his playlist for the month.

      You can subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date (subscription box at top right), and/or follow on Facebook/Twitter/Google+ (links at right) to get notifications as well.

      And that one by Manhattan Transfer is awesome. :)

      • Jody Lee Collins says

        Thanks, Lyla, for the info….I’ve got a whole month to dream up some lines about coffee–of which I’m a big fan.
        And I’ll re-subscribe to the newsletter–guess it sort of dropped off.

        Glad you like the MT song…I feel badly about the size of the link–couldn’t un do it. Oh well–a very big photo for a very big song.

        I appreciate you.

  7. says

    For Better or Worse

    He and she
    received a shiny black coffee maker
    as a formal wedding gift.


    She, for he,
    brewed a steamy pot every morning
    as a dutiful wife.


    He, for she,
    drank his morning cuppa joe
    as a faithful husband.


    She, then he,
    admitted (after the first anniversary)
    that neither really cared for black coffee.


    He and she
    hid the coffee maker in a back cupboard
    and drank orange juice for breakfast.

    • says

      Change this title: “For Bitter or Worse”…and “poured” the OJ in last line (always editing). Even as my appreciation of coffee has evolved since then, I hope my efforts at poetry will mature. I truly admire the wordsmiths who share here!

    • says

      So funny. I actually know a couple who lived out this very poem. They each kept drinking (forever diluting the stuff) thinking that the other really enjoyed it. Finally they came clean. Now they just drink fresh juice.

  8. says

    Here is an old poem, “The Old Dominican,” that I just have to share for this prompt:


    The Old Dominican
    (Romans 8:1-30)

    “I have to work hard. Words will not put food on my table.” – Dominican Man

    we are poor,
    but rich
    men of God
    men of character
    men of simplicity,
    living a straightforward life
    men of good humor and joy
    men with a strong sense of family
    men of sensibility
    men with hospitality
    men strong
    like rich black coffee

    © 2003, Robbie Pruitt

      • says

        Thanks Seth!

        I’m now living on the Island here in Haiti, right across the boarder from the Dominican. . . this poem still rings true. . .

        I love what Sandburg said about coffee, “There is no such thing as strong coffee, just weak people.”

  9. says

    I just posted a tea poem for Poetry Friday… hope its okay to share it here, even though it’s a few months old?


    I steep in your presence
    your interest draws from me
    thoughts I had stashed

    We brew a future
    infused with possibility
    fragrant with hope

    cosy in each others company
    our dreams in the pot
    at the end of Celestial

    it is time to uphold ceremony
    and become a party
    to our unique blend

    © 2013 – Violet Nesdoly


  10. says

    What fun. I just learned about your challenge from Violet Nesdoly. It sounded like so much fun, I hope you don’t mind if I play.

    by Joy Acey

    We sit to tea, my muse and I.
    I try not to rush him, but there is so little time.
    So many things I want to ask. So many other tasks I must do.

    I add milk and sugar. Stirring a spiral
    with silver spoon. I try to catch my breath.
    I must slow down.

    My muse just sits. Slowly, methodically
    fixes his tea. He never quite
    takes his eyes off me.

    He wraps the string of his tea bag
    around his spoon
    to squeeze out the tender taste.

    Then calmly turns the spoon
    to shield a spray of fresh lemon squeeze.

    I blather on about the dash
    of daily duties I must perform.

    My muse patiently listens and waits.
    He enjoys the taste of a freshly brewed cup
    with tangy lemon.

    I whine about laundry, the children, carpools–
    all the things that take me away from him.

    Calmly, he touches my hand, smiles with patience.
    “We’re here now,” he says.
    “What is it you’d like?”


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