Thursday, October 31, 2019

National Author's Day 2019

Hooray for National Author's Day -- which also happens to be Poetry Friday.

Why do we celebrate National Authors Day ?

As a school librarian, author's day is a bit of my every day. But, I don't mind officially celebrating. My hot drink of choice to enjoy with a good book is mocha-coffee. You?

Many thanks to Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for hosting this week's round-up. I appreciated her post two weeks ago, If I could write like...

My Sunday Night Swaggers are sharing responses to our November challenge.

But then, I struggled to find just ONE author for a mentor text. I mean, there are so many!  I dithered a long time.

Finally, I went to a favorite places to play with mentor text, Renee La Tulippe's No Water River. At her site is a series, The History of American Children's Poets by Renee and Lee Bennett Hopkins who were only able to complete four episodes before Lee's passing this year. Each is a treasure.

Since I spend research time in the 1930s I selected Episode 2 to find a mentor text...and oh, Carl Sandburg is there! His poems are pure joy to play with aren't they?


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg


Halloween pounces
on black cat paws.
Rubs ‘round 
glowing orange
And with a hiss—
scampers invisible
into night.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Wardrobe of Dreams

I color store fronts orange
as children head back to school.
I offer row upon row
of princess glitter, frogs
spiderwebs and vampire blood.

I am a source to be reckoned with.
The last week of October
children age
 one to ninety-nine
walk through my doors expectantly
an identity
under twenty bucks.
Werewolf masks
unicorn horns
magic wands, black cat ears
or, leggings to outfit a lizard.
I am a costume
But, everyone knows
I’m the wardrobe
of your dreams.    

(c) Linda Mitchell

Halloween Leaves

Jenni Rodriguez listens to Halloween night.
Dry leaves
skitter and scrap over neighborhood sidewalks
catching in fake spiderwebs draped over shrubbery.
Wind driven whispers play with Mrs. Attleboro’s porch chimes
cause littlest trick-or-treaters to titter as they fill
pumpkins with lollipops and chocolates.
The duet of wind and leaves keep Jenni guessing at where
will swirl next. They brush her ears with burnt-orange summer voices.
Jenni Rodriguez listens.

(c) Linda Mitchell

More Swaggers meet the first Friday challenge:

Molly  @
Heidi @

Catherine @
Margaret @


  1. "The duet of wind and leaves keep Jenni guessing where
    they will swirl next." -- ♥️
    I enjoyed your Halloween poem so much! Love how it leaves with a hiss, scampering invisible into the night...a little bit scary and mysterious, but also fun.

  2. Well, among all the wonderful lines, it seems that Tabatha & I both chose "The duet of wind and leaves keep Jenni guessing". I heard titters, too, last night. One little boy said 'trick 'r treat" over & over. He told me he was practicing! These are all wonderful, Linda. Sandburg is a terrific mentor!

  3. Oh, Carl Sandburg! Another great mentor choice! And you treated us with three poems. Wow! I'm especially partial to your first poem and that wonderful scampering, invisible cat. I also love "burnt-orange summer voices." Well done!

  4. These are terrific, Linda! Sandburg is not a poet I know well, so I appreciate that you shared so many of his poems. Like Molly, I love that invisible cat rubbing "'round jack-o-lanterns." Thank you for this fun challenge!

  5. This is something I should do more often. What better way to get to know the depth and breadth of your own writing skills! You've channeled Sandburg beautifully, Linda. I love "Halloween" for its simplicity, but I also love "Halloween Leaves" for all the descriptive sounds you draw on to build the world of the poem.

  6. WHAT FUN! I had forgotten how much I love Sandburg, his rather stentorian overtones hiding an essential playfulness.I think "black cat paws" is my favorite here, but isn't Jimmy Wimbledon an EXCELLENT mentor poem for listening? Jenni does him justice!

  7. These are fun! Always loved the Fog poem...and then the bounce off was perfect.

  8. These are wonderful! I can relate to dithering on which poet to choose--there are so many. Your Halloween takes on each of these are spot on. You've inspired me to try it myself.

  9. I am a fan of Carl Sandburg although I haven't read his work for a while. So thanks for the reminder. While I appreciate all of these here, after a few rereadings, it's the images that Halloween planted in my head that remain.

  10. Carl Sandburg is an absolute favourite - there is a deceptive simplicity in the way he writes yet each line packs a punch. Loved reading your original poems inspired by your selected mentor texts. :)

  11. "Halloween Leaves" is lovely Linda, I like the wind wisping through and carrying us about your poem. Carl Sandburg is a favorite of mine, I enjoyed reading his and then your poems, thanks!


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