Thursday, December 15, 2016

Poetry Friday

What a busy season! A special thank you to Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference for hosting Poetry Friday today.

Fortunately, #haikuforhealing headed up by Mary Lee Hahn has kept me from feeling too overwhelmed. Noticing the beautiful or the banal and framing it in the pattern and tempo of a haiku is good for this busy teacher-mom. Thank You, Mary Lee Hahn!

Right on cue, weather in my neck of the woods has turned from cold to Arctic. Folks all around are talking about being cold....needing a sweater, needing a heater.

This poem popped up in my inbox and I laughed at how on point the title is...then I read it and I saw that it's not at all a funny poem. The Space Heater by Sharon Olds took me from my giggle to that oh, bless my soul, feeling. And, it was good on a Thursday in December.

The Space Heater

On the then below-zero-day it was on,
near the patients' chair, the old heater
kept by the analyst's couch, at the end,
like the infant's headstone that was added near the foot
of my father's grave. And it was hot, with the almost
laughing satire of a fire's heat,
the little coils like hairs in Hell.
And it was making a group of sick noises-

read the rest here...

I received a most spectacular gift yesterday! Michelle Heidenrich Barns has compiled a beautiful collection of poems contributed to her blog, Today's Little Ditty into a published work. The Best of Today's Little Ditty is gorgeous. What a lovely community Poets create. I'm so happy to be part of it.

Have a great week and enjoy the magic of this season, my friends.

Friday, December 2, 2016

#haikuforhealing Every Day in December

Happy New Year! I made it across the finish line of this year and with a haiku each day in December in response to an invitation to write a daily #haikuforhealing with Mary Lee Hahn @ A Year of Reading

The practice of focusing thought each day on this short & sweet form was good for me. It gave me a reason to make sure I was noticing life...being present in it. After December 2nd, I began looking for images to pair with haiku. These are known as haiga. On Fridays, I would submit this haiku gallery for Poetry Friday, an online community of poetry sharing. You will see breaks in the gallery as those weeks are introduced.

I hope you enjoy the gallery of December moments below as much as I did and do. Cheers!

WTOP News " in 1879, the wizard of Menlo Park demonstrated his bright idea. A look at things that have happened on Dec. 31 in history." 12/31/16. 5:45 am.

Poetry Friday 12/30/16 Happy Eve to New Year's Eve! I will be spending time today thinking about the past year and choosing a new one-little-word for 2017. In 2016 I chose "listen". Isn't it amazing how often an idea pops up once you notice it? Oh, I had such a hard time listening over the past year...and I aim to do better next. For this past month, I've been adding a haiku a day to this gallery. Not only has it been a joy but it's been a tremendous centering experience. Many, many thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for the challenge. The haiku gallery is my offering for Poetry Friday with gratitude to Donna Smith at Mainly Write for hosting this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up

(c) Linda Mitchell

Common Ravens. Photo: Colleen Gara/Audubon Photography Awards The 2016 Audubon Photography Awards Winners." Audubon. National Audubon Society, 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.

(c) Linda Mitchell

c Linda Mitchell 

(c) Linda Mitchell. Photo: Network, The Fabric Shop. "Free Pattern – Rhythm & Blues Quilt from Red Rooster."FabTalk - It's All About Fabric. FabTaalk, 19 June 2009. Web. 26 Dec. 2016.

"Virginian Partridge." Audubon. National Audubon Society, 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 Dec. 2016.

Associated Press. "Associated Press." The National Herald. The National Herald, 23 Dec. 2016. Web. 25 Dec. 2016.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Christmas Eve already? Have you baked your cookies yet? My little neighbor girls have. Christmas is really for the children. xoxo

photo credit: Connie Thompson

It's Poetry Friday -- December 23, 2016. There's lots more poetry creativity and sharing at Buffy Silverman's blog. Thank you, Buffy!

click here to see the video

It's first day of winter break -- I'm having too much fun playing on fb & twitter!

Kucko, John. "Facebook." The Winter Solstice,. John Kucko Digital, 17 Dec. 2016. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Unsplash. "Free Image on Pixabay - Milky Way, Galaxy, Night, Sky." Free Photo: Milky Way, Galaxy, Night, Sky - Free Image on Pixabay - 984050. Pixabay, n.d. Web. 18 

Hubbard, Ben. "Aleppo Evacuation Suspended After 8,000 People Removed." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Dec. 2016. Web. 17 Dec. 2016. 

Bell, Vanessa. "Virginia Woolf - National Portrait Gallery." Home - National Portrait Gallery. National Portrait Gallery London, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. 

NDSU Extension. "North Dakota State University." Assessing Tree Damage - Burleigh County Extension. NDSU EXTENSION SERVICE - BURLEIGH COUNTY, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.

(c) Linda Mitchell

(c) Linda Mitchell

(c) Linda Mitchel

(c) Linda Mitchell


Hooray! It's POETRY FRIDAY 12/10/16. So far, I've kept up with at least one #haikuforhealing each day of the month. It's fun and keeps my writing brain in the "on" position in this busy season. Even though some of these haiku are dashed off, I appreciate slowing down to consider each word when I can. It's a stillness that's delicious. 

Hop on over to Jone's blog, Check it Out for more Poetry Friday. Thanks for hosting, Jone!

(Linda Mitchell)

Today's #haikuforhealing  takes the last line of Margaret Simon's haiku from 12/9 as the first. Thank you, Margaret for the line, "poems stand in line". See all of Margaret's offerings at her blog: Reflections on the Teche. And Michelle at Today's Little Ditty has a list of a dozen participants.

Photo credit: Connie Thompson

photo: "USS Arizona Memorial." USS Arizona Memorial Tour. Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016. 

The next two haiku are inspired by Mary Hahn's comment to Margaret Simon's haiku offering for Dec 5th, "We're on the same page". 

Lambert. "A Young Boy and Girl Sit in Front of a Christmas Tree, Singing Carols..." Getty Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

photo credit: Bender, Peter. "Trees & Stars.jpg." Flickr. Yahoo!, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 05 Dec. 2016. 

(c) Linda Mitchell

(c) Linda Mitchell 

December 3rd makes me think of the song...and Three French Hens. There are several ideas of the symbolism of the birds. The most authoritative, I think, is Catholic News Agency.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Taking the last line of Margaret Simon's December 1  #haikuforhealing  as the first line of today's offering. Would anyone like to take this last line and keep it going?


December enters

on sweeping sweet pines, sighing

love, peace, joy to you

More #haikuforhealing authors
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Mary Lee Hahn at Poetrepository
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog
Jone Rush MacCulloch at DeoWriter
Diane Mayr, posted on Thursdays at Random Noodling
Julie Johnson at Raising Readers and Writers
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink
Carol Wilcox at Carol’s Corner
Julianne Harmatz tweeting @jarhartz
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Poetry Friday

Part I. This is especially for the teachers. Poetic Reactions to Historic Events, a blog post by former Library of Congress Teacher in Residence, Rebecca Newland came into my inbox this week. It's a gem. There's so much for poetry lovers and learners at LOC.

Part II. some poetry! December turns my thoughts toward holidays and snow. Be sure to stop over at talented Bridget Magee's Wee Words for Wee Ones for Poetry Friday Fun. She's graciously hosting today. And, that is a gift I am grateful for.

Thoughts of Frost’s Little Horse                               

Despite his writing through the night,
the poet aimed to write words right.
When sun broke o’er hill and forest
Lines of verse flowed strong and bright.

Just perfect, thought our Mr. Frost
Without a word or iamb lost
to abstract notions or vain art
a magic poem, enchanted dross.

He left out thoughts of another                                          
who also had wonder to discover
at the same halt and same woods edge
where snowflakes fell on both together.

Dear reader, allow a small repair
a gaff in poetry so fair
with bell-thoughts by “the little horse”
Her brief pause and winter’s prayer.

These winter woods he thinks he knows
are not so owned by him below
the deer and owl watch us stop
to watch our woods fill up with snow.

My diver man must think it queer
that I don’t mind us stopping here
to break and pray in nature’s church
and ease our hearts this time of year.

I give my harness bells a shake
to let him know there’s no mistake.
The quiet sweep of snow is safe
for us a slumber while awake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
covered in drifts white and sweet,
that gentle our miles before we sleep,
that gentle our miles before we sleep.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Sunday, November 27, 2016

# Digilit Sunday -- What have I to Say?

Oh, the news....the news. I cannot listen to the news or read the news without having a reaction from my core, my deepest beliefs and dreams for what I wish my world to be.

This week I have been listening to a wonderful biography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanch Wiesen Cook. I have learned so much about ER, as Cook refers to her, throughout her three volume work.

What's interesting to me is that my impressions of ER before I watched the amazing PBS documentary, The Roosevelt's: An Intimate History, which then led me to Cook's: Eleanor Roosevelt Volumes 2 & 3 , were formed not by what I had learned on my own but the impressions of older generations of adults in my life--over several decades.

Seeing, reading, thinking for myself has allowed me to have a different and fresh view of ER.
There is so much more to ER than I ever thought. I am inspired to find out more!

I cannot help but think of the recent election and parallels to history as I learn about ER. The recent proposal of President-elect DJT of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education is something I am very much opposed to. I was very grateful to the National Education Association for putting into words concerns with their considerable experience and information. It led me to make and share this infographic to share on my facebook and twitter accounts.

I thought I didn't have much to share for #Digilit Sunday.....turns out I do!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Poetry Friday

Many of my compatriots are expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving Weekend. I am included. My college kid came home and is doing great. My high-school children are happy for a break and my middle schooler just read through a series on kindle. I'm grateful that my children are healthy and well and have much to look forward to.

I'm also keenly aware that our world is suffering. There are more refugees and displaced people now than during World War II. I perceive isolationist attitudes and policies similar to what I've only studied about in the 1930s. I do not want to live in fear....I'm a bit of  a dogged optimist. However, I am concerned by the need that surrounds me while I live so well.

I first heard The New Colossus as a child. That line, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free drove me to many a historical novel and love for history, culture and then travel that remains in me.

More than ever I am grateful to have been born in America because my immigrant ancestors were able to come here. They came as Catholics, Presbyterians who planted churches, young men seeking to live free lives. I am the fortunate inheritor of their miracles and efforts that I can pass on to my own children.

My hope is that America continues to be a beacon of hope to those who need a new chance. That my compatriots and I live more in gratitude for what we gain from immigrants than fear for differences.

Carol is hosting Poetry Friday over at Carol's Corner today. Thank you to her....please stop by and say hello.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Poetry Friday

Inspired by the delightful and creative Brenda Davis Harsham's Tetractys, I've spent the week playing around with syllables and rhyme. It's good to get back to some writing....even if it's not as much  as I would like. Life is full right now. And, that is good.

Brenda is hosting Poetry Friday Roundup today and I am grateful. Hop on over to Friendly Fairy Tales for a bit of food for your soul.

Mack, Warren Byran. "Queen Anne's Lace." Art Object Page. National Gallery of Art, 1985. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. 

Monday, November 14, 2016


Tetractys --- fun with words

Thanks for the super word sudoku, Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales. I could get lost for hours puzzling over these. I wonder how many I'll have by Friday?!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

Poetry Friday --hosted today by the outstanding Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

So thankful for our veteran's. I will take some time on Friday thinking about our country and those that serve and sacrifice in my nation's military. The poem below is at the wonderful Poetry Outloud website. I love how Poetry Outloud gives life to poetry through young people's voices.

At the Vietnam Memorial

by George Bilgere

The last time I saw Paul Castle 
it was printed in gold on the wall 
above the showers in the boys’ 
locker room, next to the school 
record for the mile. I don’t recall 
his time, but the year was 1968 
and I can look across the infield 
of memory to see him on the track, 
legs flashing, body bending slightly 
beyond the pack of runners at his back. 

He couldn’t spare a word for me, 
two years younger, junior varsity, 
and hardly worth the waste of breath. 
He owned the hallways, a cool blonde 
at his side, and aimed his interests 
further down the line than we could guess. 

Now, reading the name again, 

read the rest of the poem here

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DaVinci's Tiger by Laura Elliott

Poetry Friday

I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger

Fact:                      The sassy line above is the only remaining line of poetry penned by Ginevra de’ Benci’ a member of fifteenth century high Florence society. We know that this society of the Medici’s didn’t hold with the notion of women learning to read or write, let alone craft verse.

Fiction:             Events portrayed in DaVinci’s Tiger a historical fiction by Laura Elliott (Katherine Tegen Books, 2015) based on the real life of Ginevra de’ Benci’.

Fact:                The only reason we know that Ginevra de’ Benci was a poet in 1470s is from a letter addressed to Ginevra requesting the full poem written by her to demonstrate the wit and sophistication of Florentine women.

Fact:                The portrait below is the first commissioned solo painting of Renaissance artist, Leonardo DaVinci’…..and involved a fair amount of scandal.
"Ginevra De' Benci [obverse]." Art Object Page. National Gallery of Art, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. .

These details pulled me headlong into author Laura Elliott’s presentation at the Virginia Association of School Librarians last month. Admittedly, I’m already a fan of Elliot’s work – especially her WWII Trilogy Under a WarTorn Sky ( Disney-Hyperion, 2001). I am familiar with her immense curiosity, passion for detail and meticulousness reporter’s thoroughness when writing her incredible YA novels.

I am now enjoying DaVinci’s Tiger immensely.

It does make me wonder…..if only one line of poetry that I have written in my lifetime were to survive to be read six hundred years from now…which line would it be? Which line could it be? 

I thought I’d write a found poem from one or a few of the incredible pages of research notes and summaries that Elliot gives as background for DaVinci’s Tiger. But, this story is too fresh and close. I am caught up in the Medici brothers and Leonardo Da’Vinci, Ginevra’s BFF Simonetta and her Platonic Patron, the dashing Ambassador Bembo of Venice. These characters, based on true Renaissance personalities, are real in my mind now. This story will need to sit with me a while.


DaVinci’s portrait of Ginevra is the only work of the maestro on permanent display in the Americas at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I will visit Ginevra in person before attempting to capture anything from her. She is special but also available to grant us an audience.

For now, I am intrigued by Ginevra’s single line of verse, DaVinci’s portrait and the incredible world this woman graced. Fortunately for all of us, author Laura Elliot writes:

“My next novel, in fact, will be about Simonetta, tentatively titled ONE GRACE DANCING”. 

I am already eager for the next part of the story.

Head on over to Laura Salas' blog Writing the World for Children for more Poetry Friday!