Thursday, October 21, 2021


 Hello Poets,

Jama's Alphabet Soup is one of my favorite places on the internet for creative thinking, arts, and letters. Don't miss her fabulous blog with all of today's poetry goodness. She's hosting our round-up today.

I am away from my desk and meeting with the American Association of School Librarians. And, I'll be popping in to read and comment on everyone's blogs when I can catch up.

Hamish has a thought on the word, Harvest. See it over on his padlet: 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Albumen & An Almost Ox Post

 Happy Friday, Poets!

Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones is hosting this week's round-up which is sure to bring a smile to your face with some funny fun puns, and she's celebrating the publication of a new anthology!  10.10: Celebrating 10 in 10 different ways. Hip Hip Hooray!

I'm thrilled to have a wee poem included in this collection with other Poetry Friday friends. Congratulations to all!

In late 2020 I knew ox would be my OLW for 2021. I was nervous about committing to such a unique word. I wondered if I could find enough prompts to keep me poem-ing for fifty-two weeks. I began storing up snippets of poems, photos, and references to ox and oxen in various files. I came across a forgotten photo this week.

Smithsonian Learning Lab:

The photograph is full of all kinds of curiosities--the name, E.K. Blush, yoked oxen, a man, that huge cart of hay, Stuttgart, Arkansas?  What caught my eye was the word albumen. Egg white? Yep.

This led me to google albumen and silver on paper... which then led to the most tempting and deepest rabbit hole of all, Wikipedia (insert that unbalanced giggle sound).

As it turns out, in the early days of photography, photographers kept laying hens near studios for the egg white to mix with silver to coat cotton paper to take a negative from a glass photographic plate. How about that?

By the time I re-surfaced from research, it was high time to write a poem with Hamish but, I had nothing specifically on ox...except the fact that a pair are pulling that hay cart in the photograph.

I returned to Wikipedia to scoop up words for a found poem below. 

Whew! Hamish assures me it this poem still counts. After all, he carried me down the road to it. We enjoyed the journey. 
We hope you do too.

Albumen Print of Ox Cart
After searching for albumen and silver on paper 

Jump to him

medium size
1871 exploitable--
used to bind 1855
to the 20
th century.

of remaining silver

and gold
fix importance
to preserving
hand-tinted history.

Words found on Wikipedia

Linda Mitchell, Oct 15,2021

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Journey to Here

Hello Poets,

Thank you, Irene Latham, for hosting Poetry Friday. If you haven't spent time at her website, Live Your Poem, go ahead and pop over there. It's a treasure trove of writing and books and art and you'll feel much richer after spending some time with Irene's work.

October's host of Spiritual Journey Thursday, Ramona of Pleasures from the Page, asked us to consider the word, here

I wondered, how do my thoughts, prayer, physical, and spiritual self relate to my location in this place, and time? It's a spectacular question to mull over.

In some ways, the mixed media art journey has taken me here as well. I didn't realize it until Ramona's prompt...I love the intersection of her prompt, collaging, and poem-ing.  Can you detect it?

I am here

Catching my breath

at the corner of Empty Nest 

and Too Soon to Retire.

Streets behind me --
littered with soccer cleats
and scout badges, paint brushes, 

concert programs, 

and so many tuition bills.

I’ve been proud--

fearful. Terrified, really.
Maybe you know?
My gown and feathered hat
are ridiculously out of

I’m scheduled to arrive
at the mouth of Elijah’s cave
as hurricane, fire, and
earthquake pass.
But my guidebook states,
it’s worth your wait for the sacred selah.

I'm unfamiliar
with this sort of navigation
and seeking the fastest route
and, fellow
You know?

Linda Mitchell, October '21

Mixed media collage by Linda M. Oct. 2021

The reference to Elijah's cave comes from 1Kings 19:3. And, it's one of those wonderful writing surprises. It popped into my poem unbeknownst to my typing fingers. I had to look it up. I love it when that happens! This shows me that my spirit and the Holy Spirit are working together even in my unfamiliar here

Several bloggers write for the monthly Spiritual Thursday prompt. Find more at Pleasures from the Page. And, if you'd like to join us, let me or Ramona know. We'd be happy to share.

Guess what? Oxen play a part in chapter 19 of 1 Kings. However, things didn't work out so well for them in that story. Hamish and I decided to share a triolet paired with Ukrainian folk art by Maria Primachenko. It's much happier.

See the triolet on Hamish's padlet:

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Poems to Explain Form: Inkling October Challenge

Hello October!

It's officially pumpkin spice season and I am thrilled! Thank you to Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting this week's round-up of poems.

Re-cycled paper collage by Linda M.

Our Inklings' challenge for October is to write a poem that explains a form. This comes from THE CRAFT OF POETRY by Lucy Newlyn (2021) and, INSIDE OUT:: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (2020)by Marjorie Maddox 

Is this a Tanka?

Thirty-one small notes

Arise in glorias – birds

Nobles of the sun

Know earth is awakening

All who hear must praise the day

Linda Mitchell 10/1/21

Define Definito

If words are the very illustration

of what you express

A shining idea perfectly coalesced

into eight to twelve lines, more or less

of brief description analogous

to a dictionary, glossary or,

similar reference

highlighting wordplay in poetic verse

Then you have written a definito

Linda Mitchell 10/1/21

Palindrome Poem*

Poems such as these
recycle words
wildflower seed--


  seed wildflower
  words recycle
  these, as such, poems

Rules for writing palindrome poetry*

1. You must use the same words in the first half of the poem as the second half, but
2. Reverse the order for the second half, and

3. Use a word in the middle as a bridge from the first half to the second half of the poem.

To see more Inkling takes on this month's challenge visit:

Mary Lee

Hamish and I wrote a word poem in the style of Nikki Grimes this week. You'll never guess what it is -- see it on Hamish's padlet

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner's Call to Science. A review

Hello Friday! 

Thank you, Laura Purdie Salas, for hosting our poetry round-up this week. I'm so enjoying seeing her new book, If You Want to Knit Some Mittens (Boyds Mills Press. Oct 21) make its way into the world. The cover is so stinkin' cute! I can't wait to get my own mitts on a copy.

This week, I offer a review of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner's Call to Science (Atheneum Books. Jan 22) by Jeannine Atkins.

This review started with an offer of an ARC of this verse novel coming out in January 2022. I will always say yes to a verse novel and that increases by about 1000% if it’s written by Jeannine Atkins.

Hidden Powers is a wonderful read. But, you knew that I would say that. I’m a bit of a Jeannine Atkins fan girl. What’s in it for you? Hopefully, an introduction to a book you will pick up.

Dr. Lise Meitner was born in Austria in the late 1800s into a Jewish family of eight children. She adored her father, a lawyer, mother, sisters, and brothers that went to school. Lise wanted to go to school too. However, young ladies weren’t provided formal education past grammar school and preparation for marriage.

Lise, however, persisted. By 1900 when young women were first offered opportunities for higher education, Lise studied years of high school material to take a University of Vienna entrance exam. Of fourteen girls who sat for the exam, four passed. Lise was one.

She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Physics by 1906 and left Austria for the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Europe’s premier center for science, in Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, she befriended Otto Hahn who she worked with for three decades eventually becoming the first female professor of physics at KWI.

By the 1930s Lise was collaborating on research with Fritz Strassman and Otto Hahn publishing dozens of groundbreaking papers in notable journals. Antisemitic Nuremberg Laws restricted her ability to continue work and publishing. Scientists from the Institute such as Albert Einstein were already fleeing Germany. She and Otto agreed that her name should be dropped from research publications. By 1938 Lise’s brother-in-law was arrested and imprisoned at Dachau.  Though she had resisted leaving Germany, Lise finally understood she must escape not only to continue her work but to survive.

The above, minus my admiration for the author, can be gleaned from Wikipedia.

What you can’t learn as easily is what Atkins masterfully includes in the book. The yearning of Lise for learning and then a career in physics as Hitler and the Nazi Party come to power in Germany. 

Lise Meitner was nominated for Nobel Prizes in Physics or Chemistry forty-eight times---all while an invisible partner of Otto Hahn. Ultimately, Hahn won and accepted a Nobel Prize for their discovery of protactinium and nuclear fission in 1948. Meitner’s decades-long collaborative efforts in that discovery were never mentioned or acknowledged by Otto Hahn or by the Nobel Prize committee. Meitner never did receive a Nobel Prize.

In her personal life, Lise witnessed the scientific community flee from or remain silent in Nazi Germany. These are her colleagues and dear friends. The bakery she’s always loved is suddenly anti-semitic and unfriendly. Her upstairs neighbor seems to be watching her every move...she overhears ugly talk about herself. The simple-minded girl that cleans her laboratory suspiciously disappears.

As a reader, I felt the tension building. I worried for Lise. I knew there was no good outcome for her outside of escape.

Lise did confront friends with her growing fears and frustrations with their self-protection over speaking up against antisemitism. However, none who remained in Germany seemed to think things were as bad as they were. We know this because of Atkin's masterful research and rich description of emotions in the verse.

Dr. Meitner does escape to Sweden as a refugee by 1938 and does continue her work...but at an incalculable personal and professional loss. 

We are fortunate that this novel in verse sheds light on Dr. Lise Meitner’s story as a world-renowned scientist, family member, and friend. Atkins knows how to weave truth and science into beautiful language that young people will want to read.

In one of the most touching stories of Hidden Powers, Otto Hahn gives Lise a gold ring that belonged to his mother as she escapes Germany. He tells her, 

This was my mother’s. In case you need it.
I’ll keep on with the experiments and write.
to you. I couldn’t get far without your insights.

Years later, after Otto won the Nobel Prize and rebuffed Lise's questions about why she wasn’t also recognized, she returns the ring so that he might take care of his impoverished family in post-war Germany. Dr. Lise Meitner was smart and determined and persistent and brave and incredibly kind. What a hero. I’m so glad young people can now know her through the pages of this book.

Check out this Hidden Powers pinterest board.

PS: from Hamish. He was impressed that poet Mary Oliver included ox in a poem that we read together this week. We made note of it on his padlet.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Rondelets for Constitution Day

 It's Friday!

Visit Denise at Dare to Care for a full scoop of poetry goodness. She's hosting our weekly round-up.

September 17th is Constitution Day here in the US. And, whoo boy! I love learning about constitutional history and there's a lot of discussion about it these days. 

I was inspired by Alan Wright's rondelets in his post last week. They are a bit addicting to write! If you need to remember the form, see here. That had a bit to do with these three rondelets I wrote for Constitution Day.

Our Bill of Rights
is meant to protect us all
Our Bill of Rights
flipped upside down elicits fights
Our Bill of Rights
makes our public square superfluous
Diminishing civic genius
Our Bill of Rights

We the people
are searching for a lost notion
We the people
with our stars and stripes and eagles
have given in to commotion
over peace of a great nation
We the people

A More Perfect Union 

is today's poem
untangling knots of unrest
is today's poem 
an unending civics pop quiz--
we haven't learned to do our best
our Constitution, under stress
is today's poem

Hamish was happy to see that kids at my school participated in making a poetry garden. They used Dictionary for a Better World as a base lesson to think about words to paint on rocks that would make the garden. Can you guess what word I painted? There's a picture of it on Hamish's padlet.

Thursday, September 9, 2021



Opening the September 4th Poem-a-day from The American Academy of Poets, I guessed it was in memory of 9/11. 
I clicked on the link to find out more about the poet and was surprised that she lived and wrote so long ago that The Office Building, by Helen Hoyt, is in the public domain. 

The Office Building

Helen Hoyt

We kissed there in the stone entrance, 
In the great cool stone mouth of the building,
Before it took you.
We kissed under the granite arches.
And then you turned and were gone 
And high about and above were the hard towered 

The terrible weights of stone, relentless,
But for the moment they had been kind to us,
Folding us with arms
While we kissed.

The Office Building appeared in The Liberator, issue 10 (1918).

Rothman, Lily. “World Trade Center HISTORY: SEE 1960s Construction Photos.” Time, Time, 23 Dec. 2015,

Response to Helen Hoyt's The Office Building 

I was five when you died. 1972

was a time of poets, like us, but still

unknown to little me.
Twin towers of steel and concrete

rose higher and higher above city streets.

We didn’t know terrible weights of stone would

crumble so,

falling relentless through our folded arms.

There were moments they had been kind to us

remembered these decades now

beyond you, beyond me.

(c) Linda Mitchell

How to explain 9/11 to Hamish? It's a tough subject for an ox or any of us, really. Together, we read 14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy.
Join us for storytime on his padlet.

Thank you, Miss Rumphius Effect for hosting this week's Poetry Friday round-up.