Thursday, January 31, 2019

Riffing on Aileen Fisher

Good Poetry Friday, Friend

Isn't it wonderful that poet extraordinaire, Tabatha, is hosting our round-up this week at: The Opposite of Indifference ? I learn something new and poetical every time I visit.

I've so enjoyed the History of American Poets series by Renee LaTulippe and Lee Bennett Hopkins at No Water River. Episode 2 was about poets of the 1930s.

Aileen Fisher is highlighted in this episode. I'm so taken by her poems, I decided to take her as mentor for my writing this week. Fisher's poetry is deceptively simple--manageable for kids but strong as any grownup's.

In the Spirit of Aileen Fisher...

By Linda Mitchell

From my highest height
I peer a long way down 
past my tummy
and my knees
to my feet on the ground.
Looking back up at me
ten toes wriggling free.

From my highest height
I ponder my toes
ten footsy-fingers
in a low front row
wave from furthest reach
of me to my messy hair
up in the balcony seats.

If you ever want
to break up boredom
and being barefooted
isn’t a problem
pull off your socks and shoes
wave hello to your toes
they can amuse you.

I read Kimberly Hutmacher's post last week, Poem Under Deconstruction with interest. She described how she takes a poem apart to look at its parts. And, she shared a poem by Aileen Fisher as an example. 

Weather is Full of the Nicest Sounds
By Aileen Fisher

Weather is full
of the nicest sounds:
it sings
and rustles
and pings
and pounds
and hums
and tinkles
and strums
and twangs
and whishes
and sprinkles
and splishes
and bangs
and mumbles
and grumbles
and rumbles
and flashes
I wonder
if thunder
frightens a bee,
a mouse in her house,
a bird in a tree,
a bear
or a hare
or a fish in the sea?
Not me!

In the Spirit of Aileen Fisher

Look at this beautiful handmade poetry post card from Christie Wyman. I love how her love of nature is so much a part of her poetry. Thank you, Christie!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

To A Daughter

Good Poetry Friday,

After this chilly week, it's good to snuggle up with blog posts of Poetry Friday friends. Thanks to Tara for hosting our round-up at Going to Walden (isn't that the most marvelous title of a blog?). 

Last weekend was our annual birthday palooza. One daughter turned eighteen and another daughter turned twenty. Ever since the girls entered our lives, the weekend closest to their birthdays have been events. Two cakes to bake, sometimes a shared party, presents and time being family. As they grow into the adult world, my mother's heart remembers simpler times and misses my little girls.

Linda Pastan's poem To a Daughter Leaving Home is a favorite. It brings up a longing in me. It became a mentor text to me in my writing this week.

To a Daughter Leaving Home
By, Linda Pastan

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
(read the rest ...)

A cake made with love by mom is always best

On a Daughter's Birthday
By, Linda Mitchell

When you were small
I didn’t want you to know
that I didn’t
always understand
your babbling.
It was
that I listen.
The intent in your tone
articulation of your little fingers
and stance of your
full of purpose.

I learned to respond,
I love you, 
a look of understanding
would pass between us
as it does
as you step out our door

car keys jingling like an old-time alarm clock
in the dark morning
a new day.

What a lucky poet am I to receive two more New Year post cards this week. They are just the ticket to chase my wistful thoughts of  growing children into new creativity. Thank you so much, Robyn and Kay. 

Live abundantly
With open hands, open hearts--
love shows the way.

(c) Kay McGriff

new year -
sea, fog surrenders
to sun

(c) Robyn Hood Black

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Poetry Friday Jan 18th

Good Poetry Friday Everyone,

This weeks round-up is hosted by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Enjoy the links to lots and lots more poetry.

I'm not sure how many of my poetry friends know that some of my children came into my family by way of adoption from China. Since those days of growing my family I've been attracted to Asian literature--specifically Chinese literature. I collected lots of books, games, puzzles, DVDs when the kids were small. 

When I saw this reading challenge offered this week on twitter I joined it.

My goal is panda level (31-40 books). One of my kids is from very near the biggest panda sanctuary in it's fitting. I haven't started reading yet. But, I have some time this weekend. I would love your recommendations for reading of any level or genre that fits the challenge.

I am most fortunate to have received Happy New Year greetings in this year's Post Card Exchange hosted by Jone McCulloch. Each postcard represents the sender perfectly and reminds me of the benefits of belonging to this community. Thank you, everyone!  

I'm sharing my postcard treasures so that you can have the goodness too....
Mary Lee Hahn:

Michelle Kogan:
Irene Latham:

Diane Mayr:

Molly Hogan:
Jone Rush MacCulloch:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Soaring Earth -- Book Review

Happy Poetry Friday!

This week's Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted by the energetic and prolific writer, Kat Apel. I love what Kat brings to the table. Fresh ideas, real experience with readers and writers and a dash of fun. Thanks so much for hosting this week, Kat.

I just finished reading Soaring Earth: A companion memoir to Enchanted Air by our Young People's Poet Laureate, Margarita Engle (Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2018). Check out Anansesem's cover reveal of the book and the author's writing goals that made it happen in the link below.

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle

I started reading slowly, with every intention of pacing myself. But, with most of Margarita's books, I got hooked....and read past my bedtime, again. 

The word that comes to mind as I read Soaring Earth is brave. 

Below are some of quotations from poems that made me feel a part of this memoir also. 

Magic, that.

p. 9
Reaching back into one's former self as an observer and recorder is brave. Margarita gives a glimpse into her life as a high school student in love with books and boys. Her intelligence and love of learning set her apart from many of her peers in a way that landed her at Berkeley as an extra-young freshman in  the nineteen-sixties. 


The era was not one to protect young people. So many were dying in Vietnam, protesting the war at home, trying to make sense of assassinations and unrest. Throughout it all, Margarita leans on Quaker strength and her curious mind to move forward, find friends, live a peaceful life. It was not easy. There were dangers. She had good fortune. She worked hard and persevered. She did not fall off the spinning earth.

p. 151

Beautiful cover art was created by Cuban American artist, Edel Rodriguez. I played with it a little bit in setting the quotations in it. It suits the book perfectly.

I sincerely hope Poetry Friday friends will make reading Soaring Earth a part of 2019. Its lovely poetry and incredible poetic memoir mentor text.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happy 2019 - OLW

Hello 2019

It's nice to meet you. We have so much to explore and discover and learn together. Come, sit and chat for a bit before we begin.

I'm heading into this future with one-little-word. This word has been on my mind in one form or another for some time. For a while it was steadfast, then persistence....and then patience. But, my friend, Diane warned me to never to pray for patience lest I be tested by it. I thought about "present" but that seemed too much on the 'mindfulness' bandwagon for us.

See...I want to be active and seeking in this future that we are entering together. I am looking to be...


Yes, my one little word for our time together is true. I hope you like it. Or, I hope it grows on you and me until we ... are true together.

Ready? I'll drive. Get your coat.

Truth Serum

We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,   
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?   
We used that.
Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring.
Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes   
of summer. Dropped in their names.   
Added a mint leaf now and then   
to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry.   
Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder?   
Perfect. And once we had it,
had smelled and tasted the fragrant syrup,   
placing the pan on a back burner for keeping,   
the sorrow lifted in small ways.
We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared.
We washed that pan.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Truth Serum” from 
You and Yours. Copyright © 2005 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., You & Yours (BOA Editions Ltd., 2005)

Truth Serum

By Linda Mitchell

I’m making truth serum
in this new year.
Cookbooks, magazines,
my usual recipe sources lack
just-right ingredients.
Except poetry--
Some language is flowy
and measurements unfamiliar
but I can work with it.
Frozen, sharp words
slap against my door.
They make my nose run
and ears ache when I step out.
Ice and snow cover
my mailbox where--
an old fashioned letter
addressed in a warm hand sits.
It advises some elements
aren’t available just yet.
Wait, the letter implores.
Truth cannot be hurried.

Visit Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children for a proper round-up of poetry this week. 

Thank you for hosting, Sylvia.