Thursday, January 16, 2020

Science Kick Poems

Poet Friends,

Hooray for time to read poems, hear poems and maybe even do some scribbling of poems. Thank you, Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting today's round-up.

I've been on a science kick this school year. A teacher I work with said about a particular topic coming up in 6th grade, "It's such a good opportunity to talk with kids about life." I like that...I think I'm adopting that as my reason.

At any rate, I've been eyeing the National Geographic Education certification course and poking around their blog. I came across this photo and recognized a word that young learners I know struggle to grasp the full meaning of:

Pryzborski, Paul. “The Chesapeake Watershed.” NASA, NASA, 2015,

This article from National Geographic Education came across my twitter feed in the past week--ah ha! Something to write about. 


I read the article and found lines that fit the 5-7-5 model that was used to teach children haiku centuries ago. Here's a page of my notebook where I listed them:

my notebook, Linda Mitchell
Words found and arranged by Linda 

Looking for syllable counts and arranging lines was a good way for careful reading...but the poetry isn't quite "pretty" enough for me yet. That word precipitation, even though I spaced it out by syllable is too utilitarian for me. Hmmmm.

Then, I thought a definito poem form, invented by Heidi Mordhorst, could really help kids understand what a watershed is. Here's the definito too.


Like snake shed skin
left behind for us to find on the ground
land sheds water
from high to low
vapor to cloud
to rain to falling and--
collecting in serpent shaped streams
joining rivers seeking
the ocean again.
This water covered land
we all must protect is a watershed.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Have a great Poetry Friday and weekend. I will take time to reflect on Dr. King and the journey we are on to his dreams. I feel that there are miles to go. I'm thankful for his leadership.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Pretty Words for Haiku

Hello Poets,

Sally Murphy hosts Poetry Friday from Southwest Australia where our collectively held breath waits for news of relief from the terrible bush fires. 

Sally and Kat Apel are part of #authorsforfireys on twitter where tweeps can bid on all kinds of goods and services in exchange for donations for fire fighting, relief and eventual recovery.  I haven't yet figured out how to translate my USD to AUD....but I'm betting my friend PayPal will help.

I have some pretty words spun into haiku to share this week.

We had a mid-day snow storm on Tuesday sending us all home from school and work early and keeping us in the next day. It was wonderful! Even the moon came out to see the delight.

(c) Linda Mitchell

And, some found haiku from my on-line Bible study. This morning's passage was Psalm 84. I read The Message translation.

sparrows and swallows
angel armies take to skies
god-traveled selah 

found by Linda

Thursday, January 2, 2020

To One Little Word or Not

Hello Poetry First Friday 2020!

It's so nice to meet you all in the first days of the western new year.

The Waterford crystal ball in Times Square. Peter Foley/EPA, via Shutterstock via The New York Times Morning Briefing 12/30

At a recent meeting of The Sunday Night Swaggers:


I suggested we share our One-Little-Word for 2020 as our theme this first Friday of the month. The conversation quickly turned to five unique opinions on One-Little-Word. Huh!

We turned to Heidi whose task was to determine this week's theme and she pointed out that her quip, "To word or not to word," in the midst of our talk was a theme revealed. Ta da!

I am of a mind to choose a word to work toward... a word that I hope will be a presence in my writing life over the next twelve months. Last year, my word was TRUE.  And, as I look over the fifty blog posts of 2019 I see that TRUE did show up. I am pleased.

What do I want? What do I want to grow into? What do I want to bless my writing life in 2020?
As it turns out, I'm going to break the OLW rule with a two word phrase, at ease.

This phrase, spoken by an authority figure to subordinates allows them to relax, be real, say what they really mean and think. I like that idea so much that I looked for more words to define, at-ease. As it turns out I like ALL the synonyms. I claim them all under the umbrella of at ease.

I'm starting my at-ease journey with a Bop poem.

At Ease
By Linda Mitchell

A friend once told me,
Put your heart down.
Her instruction brimmed with love,
and a smile in her voice.
Had I been holding my heart
up too high and too away?

A bridge over troubled waters.

My friend, from China,
gave me a word picture
that made sense in her language.
I puzzled to understand it in mine.
Deadlines, instructions, train schedules
mountains still had to be climbed.

A bridge over troubled waters.

Put your heart down
in the cradle of your chest
where lungs breathe in and out--
lifeblood is restored and refreshed.
Be at ease in the details.

let them bubble and laugh and splash.

A bridge over troubled waters.

Head on over to Carol's Corner for New Year Poetry celebration with an amazing Maya Angelou poem. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Spaces Between: Spiritual Thursday



A student came into our library asking for a book by an author of something they already had checked out. The language for this came out a bit jumbled and the Library Assistant and I struggled to understand. I asked for a spelling... got to the student's account, saw the author's name and then understood that the student was looking for a nonfiction book by the same author.

This student is part of a group that is having a difficult time of it in our country. They needed a safe space to find themselves as a human being learning to make their way in our world. 

I'm grateful to share space with this student and able to help fill space between us with affirming words. Spaces in times like this
change me far more than I change them.

Spaces between 1/9/2020



I have added a desire to become part of Spiritual Thursday in 2020. I don't really do resolutions or challenges. I prefer to celebrate what can be celebrated and work on what needs improvement. I stay plenty busy with that.

Yet, for a few years, I've seen the Spiritual Thursday posts and wanted "in." So, here I am.

This week, on a drive to a haircut I caught the end of a Fresh Air Favorites interview of journalist David Carr by Terry Gross. I hadn't heard of Mr. Carr...who passed away in 2015. But, his conversation with Terry really made me listen.

I found myself repeating the words, spaces between people aloud,  in my my head. I think about loaning a new neighbor a lawn rake, a two hour phone call with my longest held friend...

I hope to honor Mr. Carr's words. 

Photo taken on vacation...spaces between people on a lake cruise caught my eye
See you in the spaces. Visit Margaret, who is hosting January's Spiritual Thursday at Reflections on the Teche.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

STEAM Themed poetry

Goodbye December...goodbye decade!

Are you having fun in the countdown? Scribbling lots? I hope so. Many thanks for writing friend, Michelle Kogan for hosting today's round-up on her beautiful blog.

On December 11, Teaching Authors interviewed poet-author, Kimberly Hutmacher. She shared a bit about how non-fiction and poetry writing often meet up. At the end of the interview she challenged readers to write a STEAM poem.

This year, all students in our school are involved in the district science fair for the first time in a while. I've been developing lessons to support the teacher's work in getting kids involved in Science Fair -- and having a blast. 

The challenge to write a STEAM poem met up with my recent science experiences and December's Writing Challenge at Ethical ELA.   I'm sharing a 'Skinny' and a 'Fib' poem from the week of prompts given by Glenda Funk

“The First Flight (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

Kitty Hawk
December 17, 1903
flight —
…twelve groundbreaking seconds.

(c)Linda Mitchell

Bain News Service, Publisher. Mme. Marie Curie. [No Date Recorded on Caption Card] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .

Who Was Marie Curie?
A Fibonacci poem

that she
was barred from
learning beside boys
Maria Sklodowska was bright.
in secret school for girls, learning
mathematics and sciences
to Sorbonne University.
she sees
new atoms–
polonium and
radium. Stunning breakthroughs.
cannot be ignored!
A Nobel Prize for Maria.
not hide
this learning.
Now Madame Curie–
renown atomic physicist.
(c) Linda Mitchell

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Most Wonderful Gift

Oh, my goodness...we made it to Poetry Friday!

What a day, what a week, what a season. I'm happy. There's so much good abounding in preparing for holidays.

Thank you, Buffy Silverman for hosting our round-up. I'm also basking in the shower of gifts that came with this Winter's Poetry Swap. Again, thank you Tabatha for being the master elf that makes sure it happens.

This year, my swap partner is Molly of Nix the Comfort Zone. Molly helps me see more of the world that is...and what could be. She helps me write better. She's an inspiration.

I've written this blog post several times in attempts to share her beautiful swap gifts that I received. But, in the end, nothing beats the gifts themselves.


A new journal, friendly to our planet...and a new friend for my tree.

Molly's Bird photo-cards are a treasure

And, the best...poetry.

A Gift from Molly 2019

A Gift
by Molly Hogan

If I could,
I'd wrap up an hour
watching the birds
from my garden window.

I'd fill a box
with the simple joys--
the tilt of titmouse's tufted head.
nuthatch's upside-dow tree walk,
and cardinal's crimson flash.

I'd add whooshes and flutters
and woodpeckers scalloping swoops
through the air.

Around them, I'd tuck a soundtrack
woven of the raucous squawks of jays,

the soft shuffle of sparrows
scratching the earth,
and the bright rustle of mourning doves
erupting in flight.

If I could,
I'd tie it all up with sunny ribbons
and strings of birch bark,

and gift you the birds...
the peace of the morning.

I am blessed. I am fortunate for the gifts of birdsong and sunny ribbons...grateful that Molly is a writing friend. I know I am better for it.

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Poetry Friday,

What welcome matter what else needs to be baked, stamped, mailed, practiced, holiday-ed, remembered. 

There are several haiku hashtags this month. Haiku is also welcome respite.

Our wonderful Jone has shared a prompt per day list to work from:

I've been haiku-ing away. The challenge I've given to myself is to stay classic with nature haiku in that crazy don't-have-to-stick-to-it 5-7-5 form.

Here's some that make me happy. Enjoy!

(c) Linda Mitchell. Photograph by Molly Hogan. facebook. 12/8/19

steep the hill to home
steeper still -- heaven’s footpath
each step closer now

-Linda Mitchell

snow would not protest
this sleigh on silent runners
writing winter poems
-Linda Mitchell 

The talented and recently published Liz Steinglass is hosting our round-up today! Slide over for a visit.