Thursday, August 31, 2017

Poetry Friday--Mistakes

Geesh, it's been another long week here in the US: First week of school for many, relentless worry over loved ones in the path of Hurricane Harvey....and our president never ceases to keep the news cycle interesting.

Thank you to Kathryn Apel for hosting a brilliant and joyful space for poetry in the midst of all that distracts and stresses.

Last week, Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference put out a call for submissions for poems about mistakes for a middle school collection. Pshaw....easy, I thought. I teach middle school. I can fill buckets with poems about mistakes.

Perhaps I put a little too much pressure on myself. Because, when I sat down with a blank page...those poems were being really shy. It turns out that I don't really want to write about a personal mistake.

So, I went looking for mentor poems. This one struck my fancy...and set my course.

I searched for famous mistakes and found fun articles on how items such as the slinky and silly putty, penicillin, microwave ovens and scotch guard began as mistakes. 

Now, we're cooking with gas, I thought. 

I want to convey in a poem about mistakes that they have a silver lining...they are instructional. They are opportunities. So, here is the direction my foray into mistake poems is headed. Who knows where I'll end up?

(c) Linda Mitchell

If you are still with me, there is a great TedEd talk, How to Learn, from Mistakes. It's ten minutes long. If you want to get to the heart of it...skip to minute number Five. 

Happy Poetry Friday....I wish you lots of mistakes!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Poetry Friday

Many friends are remembering their little ones these days--me too. 

Many thanks to Check it Out for hosting this week's Poetry Friday.
Gell, Mark. “Vintage Cycling Advertising.” Flickr, Yahoo!, 8 Dec. 2009,

To A Daughter Leaving Home

When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

(c) Linda Pastan

Society, The Saturday Evening Post. “Gallery: Early Bicycle Advertisements.” The Saturday Evening Post, 10 Jan. 2017,

Thursday, August 17, 2017

About Last Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Round-Up is at A Journey Through the PagesThank You, Kay.

And, thanks everyone for birthday wishes! What a way to kick off a new rotation around the sun.

About Last Friday

I celebrate birthdays when my age ends in a zero or a five. Because that happened last Friday, my husband and I planned a special weekend away celebrating together with--touring, theater, fancy dining. 

However, Life and Death had other celebration plans...

On Friday, my family buried one of our dearest, my Godfather, Uncle John. 

Since before I was born, my uncle battled mental illness. Sometimes, the illness made it difficult to be close. Sometimes, it was a shining example of how God can use one's weakness for God's own strength and glory.

Throughout his life, my Uncle never was judgmental or condemning or unaccepting of anyone...even if that person was in the wrong by his or anyone else's standards. 

My Uncle lived the words of  Saint Francis' prayer.

When it was my turn to speak at his funeral mass I leaned on poetry. 

What to do When a God Father Dies

Think how he’s not your Dad
     but he is a kind of a father
     chosen just for you.

Remember him present for birthdays
     and church – all the sacraments
     graduations and more.

God in an invited father
     who you see – always there
     and who watches over you, too.

Think about a Godfather
     watching you grow and grow
     as he slowed and slowed.

Remember prayers that covered all
     when you didn’t know you needed them
     even when you walked away.

God has gathered your godfather
     into His rest as you take steps in faith
     on a journey without him, but not alone.

This year, I celebrate a golden anniversary
     of knowing God the Father
     more because of Uncle John, my godfather.

I am grateful.

(c) Linda Mitchell

My family celebrating Uncle John's life after his funeral...Amen!

Everyone should be so fortunate as to have an Uncle John in their life. My life is rich beyond measure because I have. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Poetry Friday 8/11/17

Happy Birthday to my Birthday twin, Margaret Simon, at 

Reflections on the Teche this week's host of Poetry Friday.

I've never known a birthday twin before and have started close reading and writing with Catherine, Margaret, Julie, and Heidi.
It's so fun I'm throwing confetti as you read this.

Last week I enjoyed pairing a known painting and a known poem so much, that I wanted to the activity again. 

This might be fun with students....asking students to find (or create) an image to pair with a poem and give reasons why. 

Take a look at one of my favorite poets, Linda Pastan and painter Pierre Bonnard. Both had me at Vermilion.


Pierre Bonnard would enter
the museum with a tube of paint
in his pocket and a sable brush.
Then violating the sanctity
of one of his own frames
he'd add a stroke of vermilion
to the skin of a flower.
Just so I stopped you
at the door this morning
and licking my index finger, removed
an invisible crumb
from your vermilion mouth. As if
at the ritual moment of departure
I had to show you still belonged to me.
As if revision were
the purest form of love. 

~Linda Pastan
Pastan, Linda. “Vermilion.”, The Poem Hunter, 13 Jan. 2003,
Pierre Bonnard | The Green Blouse | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Poetry Friday August 4

“MoMA Learning.” MoMA | Vincent Van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889, Museum of Modern Art,

“Vincent Van Gogh. The Starry Night. Saint Rémy, June 1889 | MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art,

Whitman, Walt. “When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer by Walt Whitman.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation,
St.Claire, Natalya. “The Unexpected Math behind Van Gogh's ‘Starry Night’ - Natalya St. Clair.” TED-Ed, TED CONFERENCES, LLC,

Visit Donna at Mainly Write for more Poetry Friday fun!