Thursday, January 18, 2018

Playing 1/19/18

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by A Journey Through the Pages. Please stop by and say hello to our friend, Kay.

Stuart Brown of the National Institute of Play takes "play" seriously. He gave an enlightening flyby (26 minutes) on play as a Tedtalk in 2008. He mentions the vital role play has in our lives--as important as sleep and dreaming.

Another thing Brown suggests is that a person deprived of play can become vulnerable to the conditions that lead to negative behaviors. The absence of play is depression. (

One thing Brown and his researchers do is to take a play inventory of a person. They try to find out what a person's earliest remembered moments of pure joy from play are.

I tried making a list of early play memories. It was fun, put me in a great mood and....gave me lots of writing prompts. Ha!

From one special memory, I searched for a poem about a carousel. Then, I wrote a response --- but consider it a prequel to the action of the mentor poem I selected, Carousel by Rebecca Kay Dotlitch.

Carousel by Rebecca Kay Dotlitch.

On thin golden poles
gliding up, sliding down,
a kingdom of horses
goes spinning around...

Carousel at Watch Hill, RI  

Following star trails
every dip of the oars
pulling ocean toward us
reaching for shore.

At last, feet on land
navigating surf's edge
hopscotching crabs
lured by music ahead.

Racing our parents
into Bay Street’s bright glow
bee-lining for tickets
Mom and Dad tail--slow.

Hand in hand, we swing
to the white picket fence
flying horses make rings
we're so excited.
DarkThunder is mine!
Sir Snow
 for my sister.
come, come for a ride
they glitter-whisper.

Finally our chance
saddle up at the bell
for a flying horse trance
on Watch Hill’s Carousel.

(c) Linda Mitchell

The Flying Horse Carousel at Watch Hill RI is real and a place of very fond memories of my family playing there. We'd row from my grandparent's sailboat in a dinghy to the beach and walk into town. It seemed like such a big adventure at the time and good bits for this memoir poem exercise. 


  1. What a fun poem! It brought a smile and many pleasant memories, too. What a great idea for inspiration. I want to try it. It sounds like fun!

  2. I don't remember riding a carousel anymore except with my kids. I love your "hopscotching crabs" on the way to the carousel. I remember the gleam in my toddlers' eyes and their capacity to ride again and again. A different horse each time.

  3. Those summer memories are so special. Our zoo has a carousel & that's the first thing Ingrid & Imogene head for. To heck with the 'real' animals! I love your poem, especially "bee-lining for tickets/Mom and Dad tail--slow." I guess kids always think the grown-ups are slow! I think play is critical, am sad to think so many children don't have enough. Thanks, Linda.

  4. I loved your post today! Your carousel poem is great. I actually graduated in Recreation Management, so a lot of our time was spent talking about the role "play" has in our lives. Play isn't just for little kids! I think that is one of the reasons it is so much fun for me to write poetry.

  5. I've always loved the old fashioned carousels, looking at them and riding them. I especially liked the carousel in Mary Poppins and when they all ride off freely. A lovely poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and your first and last stanza's sweep me up, and carry me away into the ride, thanks Linda! Thanks too for the Ted talk, I've dragged it over to my desktop to read.

  6. I LOVE the Watch Hill carousel, Linda! Haven't been there for a million years. Boy, did this take me back! -- Christie @

  7. What a beautiful memory to have, Linda. For me, carousels (and merry-go-rounds) are pretty to look at, but not to ride. Woooah, spin me round so dizzzy! I love your hopscotching crabs - and that gritty scrunchy sand sound in 'hopscotching'.

  8. Making a "play inventory" is an interesting idea! I talked about playing around for Wellness Wednesday this week. So important! It's fun to imagine you rowing over to town to visit the carousel...sweet memories!

  9. I saw the flying horse carousel about 30 years ago. I loved the whole "flying" aspect. Thanks for capturing the heart of it.

  10. I love the idea of a play inventory and the poem you created from your vivid childhood memories. There's such magic in the phrase "glitter whisper" and you painted the scene so vividly. I don't think there are any carousels featuring in my play memories, but I'm going to dig deeper and see what I can find.

  11. Hmmm...I honestly do not remember riding a carousel when I was little. More of when my own children were little. I love "glitter-whisper" and the image those words create. What a great memory for you. I posted about a carousel today, too, but mine isn't as playful as yours.

  12. At NCTE, Jacqueline Woodson said that she writes in verse "because that's how memory comes to us." Your memories of the Flying Horse Carousel led you to a wonderful poem. I especially love "following star trails..." I love everything by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Her poetry is filled with such energy and playfulness.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!