The Twitter Challenge

You will not find me tweating about daily events. You won’t know when I’m having coffee or what I’ve been doing in my spare time. On first discovering Twitter, I came across poets creating tiny wonders in 140 characters. Intrigued I joined in. The beast comes with several hashtags.  To name a few: poetry, micropoetry, haiku, tanka.

So I tweat images. My creating goes up and down. A good walk is one that creates an image as I walk. As I tweat it, I often discover it has something to say. Recently I needed to write a poem based on Wallace Stevens “Thirteen ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” I wanted to present a poem that wasn’t necessarily dependent on one alive thing. I had the inspired idea to print out my tweats. Behold I had a poem. The poem did require that I take control of the order of my various #micropoetry tweats.

Here’s the challenge. Tweat an image everyday. Once a month or so toss them into your mind and mix them up until somehow they work as a unit. Since I conceived of this challenge, I admit I’ve not created an image everyday. But I find images spilling onto the notepad by my bed because I failed to honor them during the day.

Below is the poem I created based on “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Ten Ways of Looking While Walking


hot western summer

green reeds mark

the absent stream

they learn to meander like water


heat sends dogs and I out early

we meet new people

enjoy arching willow and cattails tracing a stream

all still in the hot air


hot western summer

ducks glide in,

rest on shrinking pond

water plants flourish

in warm shallow water


by the pond

a dead tree

yet alive

a great egret

bright in the bare interwoven branches


 egret stands a sharp white

against the emerald green rice field

when the great bird rises on the hot dense air

it stops time


 a half moon faces east

looks forward to sunrise

as sun sets it etches

the dry hills with golden light


 cold air slams

into summer

grey sky dulls golden grass

cold lets old energized dog forge onto the sidewalk

with small fast legs


 walking nearly night

moon slivered in a western sky

warmth floats on the skin

autumn’s announced arrival

drowned out by summer


 frost defines the morning

afternoon the sun changes that definition

sun slants across the hills

makes them golden, warm


 dog walk

forthright bright after rain

the sky and air

shout autumn

morning joy

breathing we walked

into a mind and heart of silence

Janice DeRuiter

 Yesterday I faithfully printed out my most recent tweats. Right now I’m tossing them into my poet hat to see what they have to say. We’ll all be surprised at what comes out.



a palpable presence

shimmers off concrete

steals the breath

holds dogs in its vice


the fenced zebra sinks

to the ground

white dusty now

black stripes echo

the fence

all alone his dark eyes

shine through the dust


sun slunk behind the clouds

embarrassed by not warming this day

twilight sent a blue lullaby

night married frost

my drive ends


the self I used to be passed

through my hands

poems nestled in books

early writing in colored files

does any of those selves still exist?


70 soon

still not grown-up

don’t plan to

each day a surpise of blue sky

crazy dogs

great boy

friend fun

and endless learning




Friday evening gathered loosely

in the Whole Food aisles




taste your way

to weekend foodie delight


today I became a clothes

rack for a future attorney

outfitting for court is an unknown art form

racks admire

and appreciate


life contrasts

a man with no family



a man with wife


crashes into a concrete wall

deep and black


the sunflower arches

its spine

turns towards the dark sky

and spits into the storm

bare ground its epitaph


spring, madrone glows gold

on the prow of the hill

at ocean’s bright edge


golden light stretches

across the grass

and rocks

I sit low

each crack


grass becomes

a possibility of design

Janice DeRuiter

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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1 Response to The Twitter Challenge

  1. amazing collection of images…and the way they become a poem is fantastic…it is organic poetry…this is the most useful application of twitter i have seen and the most creative.


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