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


  1. What a great challenge to have kids match art and poem, and then write a poem in response. So much inspiration and thought before starting to write...I love the rhythm of Masefield's poem, which feels like the pull of the tide to me. And your salt water taffy brought me back many years!

  2. Love this, Linda, the idea, what you did with it, and the picture. Our beach memories are special, hope the grandchildren remember them when they are grown! I like that idea of "sand pulling between our toes", perfect! And the memories of salt water taffy, ah! I remember being mesmerized from that "pulling" machine. Great post!

  3. I love the triple challenge here -- to match poetry and art, then CREATE poetry in response!

    I have never had the opportunity to be an ocean lover, but Masefield's poem is a favorite. It's flat-out amazing what he does with rhythms via his word choices. It's one I can never resist reading aloud when I come across it!

  4. Your poem is lovely. You've created a beautiful scene. The imagery and sensory words you used make me feel like I'm right there experiencing it, too. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Wonderful post. So great reading Masefield's iconic poem again, seeing the photos and reading your response poem. Your sensory details create such a vivid scene. :)

  6. Thanks for this rich post Linda, it's oozing with resources and wonderful poetry! I also love the rolling rhythm in John Masefield's poem, and I like that lighthouse, I haven't seen a squared off one like that. Here are a couple of my favorite lines from your poem, "Steal kisses from the sun." And such nice sounds rolling out here, "Play in cold tumble surf--
    sand pulling between our toes."

  7. I do love that Masefield poem. My husband's Aunt Vi loved it so much that we read it at her committal service. Your poem seems to be answering Masefield's and I hear echoes of gulls and sails and tides. Wonderful!

  8. I love your poetic journey to the sea and back. Your poem fits right in with Laura's post today on odes to places. Thank you for sharing all the treasures you discovered along the way!

  9. You have totally put me in the mood for a summer beach day, Linda! You'd think living in Florida I'd get my fill, but not where I am, right smack in the middle of the state. Love that pulling sand and the catch and release of songs into swelling tides. Also love that sweet photograph!

  10. Wonderful last line. Ahh, such a lovely feeling from your poem and post.

  11. Wow! I love how you're always up for a challenge, Linda! This one was a doozy! The language you use in your response poem is so evocative. You dig deep into "loaded" words with repeated sounds and multiple meanings and weave them all together to create a rich seaside experience. This is wonderful to read aloud!

  12. What gorgeous seaside imagery! I love the idea of kisses from the sun, "We'll catch and release / songs we know by heart," and "jib full to bursting." I think I need a trip to the beach!

  13. Dear Linda, everything here is precious - from that vintage photograph of you with your family, to the poem that makes me ache for the sea. I have this ongoing romance with the wind and sea - never mind that I don't know how to swim. :) - Myra (GatheringBooks)

  14. A post after my own heart. I live the beach...or is that "love"?

  15. I missed this post of yours, Linda, and it just so happens to have a lovely photo memory and poem that I hope you will combine for my spring gallery or maybe the summer one if you prefer. (Please send me a spring one though if you save this one for the summer gallery.)


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!