Thursday, May 31, 2018

Poetry Friday June 1, 2018

Happy June, poem-lovers 

Welcome dragonflies, hello beach...campfires and late nights....summer thunderstorms and steamy streets.

Buffy Silverman kicks-off Poetry Friday Summer Edition. She's graciously hosting Poetry Friday. Click on her gorgeous dragonfly photo below to visit and congratulate her on a recent poem acceptance for Cricket Magazine.

photo by Buffy Silverman (c) from her facebook page May 22 at 10:19pm 

A couple of weeks ago a writing activity from Evolving English Teacher caught my interest. In essence, students
  • Matched a fine art painting to a poem and shared
  • Responded to the pairing with an original poem 
I want to do that I thought. Then, soon after I saw this neat resource in my twitter feed:

The resource links in the above article are plentiful and I've happily gone off in search of poets and poems in them.  

One link led me to John Masefield (1878-1967) poet of Sea Fever. He had a birthday on June 1st and an interesting life described by John Flood at the link above. I begin with his poem,

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again,

I searched Library of Congress for a photograph of where I first
remember falling in love with the sea, Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
Watch Hill light house, Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .

All there was to do next was write a poem in response. Rhode
Island is one of the oldest resort destinations in America. When my
family visited in the 1970s, not only did we play on the
beach and in the chilly Atlantic, we appreciated history there....lots
of folks came before us that felt the joy we did at the carousel and
salt water taffy shops. Our memories linked arms with theirs.

I just so happen to have an old poem ripe for revision and fit
Glenda's challenge


Why don’t we
go down to the sea?

Steal kisses from the sun.

Run with gulls.

Play in cold tumble surf--
sand pulling between our toes.

We'll catch and release
songs we know by heart into
swelling tides
           and suck on salt water taffy
pulled in shops 
cured by hurricanes
and boiling squalls.

We'll sail along the coast
tacking against the breeze 
of our shiny compass points
jib full to bursting.

(c) Linda Mitchell
My grandparents, my sister and me down at the sea

Thursday, May 24, 2018

5/25/18 Photo Swap

Happy Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by poetry friend and author Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Stop by and spend time with her this week. 

Margaret has talents for writing poetry and making poetry friends.  A few weeks ago, Margaret announced a poetry-photograph swap. I joined and shortly after received two photos from Kim Douillard

Kim and I live on opposite coasts of the US and in areas that are iconic. It was really fun to take inspiration from her photos and I cannot wait to see what she's done with mine.

I sat with Kim's photos and let the ideas play around in my head for a bit...then poems showed up.

Photo 1.

The first is of the flower fields with the Encina Power Plant in the background—iconic images from Carlsbad. Kim Douillard

I'm taking a tip from Alice Nine and writing a little bit about my writing. When I first looked at this photo I was challenged because despite the gorgeous field of flowers, palm trees and Pacific Ocean there is that big ole power plant smack dab in the middle. After some doodling and brain storming the phrase "flower power" rather took over. Ha!

Photo 2.

Sun setting behind a lifeguard tower last week at South Ponto beach—also in Carlsbad. Kim Douillard

South Ponto Beach Carlsbad, California

tide                                       Twilights
to                                           unveil

moon                                   moon

gathers                                and
sunset                                 stars
                                                constellations               Nights
                                                and                                      watch
                                                milky way                         milky way
                                                unveil                                 count
                                                twilights                           galaxies

(c) Linda Mitchell

Writing about my writing--A sunset photo can be intimidating. After all, hasn't everything that can be written already been written about sunsets? When I feel intimidated I grab a form that helps me puzzle out an idea. The Skinny is a form that demands brevity. This series of three Skinny (or is that Skinnies?) allowed for me to write what I saw in a new way.

Thank you Margaret Simon, for continuing to widen my friendship and poetry circles.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Happy Poetry Friday! May is flying by...thankfully with the flowers brought by those chilly April showers.

Today's Poetry Round-Up is hosted by talented Rebecca at Sloth Reads. Enjoy some time with her and a great book, I'm Just No Good at Rhyming(Little, Brown 2017).

I've been spending some time in the Great, I'm not depressed. I mean THE Great Depression, the Dirty Thirties. One of my favorite places for inspiration is the cache of online photos at our U.S. Library of Congress. 

This month, Michelle Barns interviewed Julie Fogliano who challenged us to write a poem about what we see outside our window. I had a tough time finding an original "in" to the challenge. 

It occurred to me that all the searching into the 1930s is a window to the past. I chose a random photo from the Depression era that intrigued me and a favorite form, pantoum, and started playing with words and ideas. I like the draft below. I'm fairly certain this is not a final poem. I'll fiddle with it some more...but its the poetry I've been working on this week.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Poetry Friday 5/11/18

Today's Poetry Feast--er, Friday is hosted by foodie and literature dynamo, Jama of Jama's Alphabet Soup. It's worth the trip to her blog--especially for Tuesday's review & giveaway of the Little Library Cookbook (Sterling Epicure, 2018). You'll be glad you did.

This past week I traveled by train to and from meetings into Washington DC (about 30 miles from home). It was very different from my daily fifteen minute drive to school and work with teenagers. On the second day, standing on the train platform in the warm spring sun, I looked up and found a Corinthian column that gave me a pang of homesickness for Greece. I lived there a long time ago. The sweet memory sent me looking for poetic comfort. 

 Blue is Greece
By Aliki Barnstone

Blue is Greece

where fishermen tame their boats

and islands stand

like white monastery birds
on the Greek flag
of spinning blue,
where the sky has few airplanes
floating like gods,
and if one comes
an angel drops a far banner.

* The Greek spelling for Ellada or Greece

A Response in the form of a Skinny from  memories of mornings catching a ferry out of Rafina...

Wish Ελληνικά*
peach juice

Ελληνικά wish.

 * Greek (Elliniki) --slightly different from Greece in the graphic above. Can't decide which I like better, yet.
**Bougatsa: breakfast pastry

©Linda Mitchell

I think Jama would agree that  a bite of bougatsa with this poem in in, here's a little video of an easy bougatsa recipe.  ελα...come on!