Family Tree poems

Hi everyone,

Let’s try something a little different. I’ll give you a set of words that rhyme and post a poem inspired by one of them. You choose a different word from the list and write your own poem. If half a dozen poets write poems based on various words from the list, each poem will be about a different subject, according to the meaning and/or interpretation of the words, yet the whole collection will be related to the original source like so many cousins at a family reunion.

Here’s a list of long A sounds to get us started.

a, bay, bray, clay, day, fray, gay, gray, hay, jay, lay, may, neigh, pay, play, pray, prey, ray, say, slay, sleigh, splay, spray, stay, stray, sway, they, tray, way, weigh, yay, yea

2 syllables:
allay, array, astray, betray, bouquet, buffet, café, cliché, crochet, croquet, decay, defray, delay, dismay, display, fillet, foul play, halfway, hooray, hurray, obey, okay, Olay, parfait, parquet, passé, per-se, portray, prepay, puree, purvey, repay, replay, risqué, Roget, sachet, sauté, sorbet, soufflé, survey, today, toupee, valet

There are many other words and phrases in this large family group so you don’t have to stick with the ones I’ve given you.

I chose cliché. No apologies. I wrote this as I was posting so it has not benefited from a second look.


We who push our pens around are told,
but already knew,
to avoid cliché, abhor the trite,
devise new metaphoric language.

But all is lost on Valentine’s Day,
when every shopworn simile,
every thought of love
has been
whispered and smiled, laughed
and cried and shouted
as many times as there are stars,
and yet won’t be replaced.

Nor ever will be.

And who would wish it otherwise?

Now it’s your turn. Choose any other word from the long A list and go for it. Let’s see how many cousins we have.

16 comments on “Family Tree poems

  1. Replay

    Yesterday was an awful day.
    Refrigerator smelled like fish
    This not the day-before-birthday
    that I wish.
    I push the button.

    Thanksgiving several years ago,
    I was away, across the snow
    that coated the the back deck ramp.
    Upended, fell, up, below.
    Results, said the doctor, one broken toe.
    I push the button.

    You on the borrowed hospital bed,
    I come in to give you pills.
    You do not turn you head
    away from the wall.
    You do not move at all.
    I push the button.
    I push the button.
    I push the damned button.

    Some things change the way everything works.
    No replay.

    ©2015 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  2. Of all the words
    In the dictionary
    The King’s English
    The Mother Tongue,
    What is the word
    One might say,
    That could convey
    Both loss and hope?
    And pure Romance?
    That, for me, today,
    Is away, away,
    And away.

  3. Not sure I can reach as high as these – they’re all excellent, especially Jane’s! – so I’m setting my sights (or the bar?) a little lower:


    At the risk of sounding cliché –
    or worse, a bit too risqué –
    might I ask you this Valentine’s Day
    for a sweet rendez-vous, s’il vous plait?

    – © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine

  4. Pingback: Poetry Friday: So much poetry to go around! | Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  5. I want a two-horse open sleigh One simply will not do. To scamper over hill and dale. For a cozy ride with you. . The wind chills our feet and hands. And makes our noses blush. A delightful ride awaits for you We do not have to rush. Diane Roberts

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