Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy 2021: OLW

Happy New Year, Poets!

I'm so glad we are writing and reading together at this fresh start.

Since joining the Poetry Friday community I've enjoyed selecting one little word. It's more writerly than a resolution. Last year, I broke the rules with a phrase, at-ease

Yikes! Perhaps breaking of the rules added to our 2020 jinx. I'm steering clear of that in 2021 with a word and practice that I've admired of Irene Latham. She not only chooses a word but also writes a related poem each week, posting the poems on a padlet. 

I like the practice of her idea and the surprises that her word lead me to as a reader.

Without any further ado, I present my one-little-word 2021.


I've been collecting artwork, quotations, proverbs, symbolism, and zoological bits of information about Ox and Oxen. 2021 is the Year of the Ox in the Asian calendar.

I'm looking forward to where Ox leads. 


There are reports of people knocking on doors and
offering to lay pine straw...then ask for exorbitant fees.
                                                    ~facebook 8/14/20

Ox is big.
He's not hungry
all the time,
but would eat
if food were offered.

The miller's daughter
brings wildflowers to Ox
to munch in the evenings
after his days walking
patient circles
grinding grain.

Ox loves the chokeberries
the girl gathers 
in her skirts to feed him
with red-purple streaked palms.

She's berrying in the thicket
when the Wicked One arrives.
Ox sniffs the air,

The miller swats big Ox
with his stick
Ox looks up
Stomp, snort.

The miller pays no mind
to Ox as he says, yes
to the Wicked One.

Ox shakes his head
turns his ears this way and that
listening for waxwing trills
listening for the girl
who must be in the thicket still--

Ox lows,
nooooo, nooooo, nooooo

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

Make sure you hop on over to Ruth's There's No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town for our first 2021 Round-up. She's wondering what we'd like to burn from 2020 as well as what unexpected happiness we will hold onto. Thank you, Ruth. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

How wonderful that Christmas falls on Poetry Friday. 

A gift!

So many are celebrating and taking the week off until 2021. Thank you, poets, for the relief you provided this year. Reading your poems and the poems of others you offered has been vital to my mental health. I'm keeping you all in my thoughts as we rush into a new year.

Thanks also, to Irene Latham for hosting our round-up this holiday. I have so enjoyed learning from and with her at her blog, Live Your Poem. Make sure to stop by for some goodies.

Susan Bruck's post from last week inspired the haiga below. 

in hibernation
we live on light memories
lengthening of days

writing this haiku
my mindfulness is now yours
counting syllables

(c)Linda Mitchell--drafts

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Someday is now

 Hello Poets,

Who's got snow? Me! Well, frozen rain on top of snow that can't drain quick enough at 34 degrees. 


I have used my TWO snow days to read a book (an actually paper-pages book!), cook, bake, craft....and sleep-in until the cat and dog demand breakfast. What a lovely tiny break.

Are you familiar with this C.S. Lewis quote?

"But someday you will be old enough for fairy tales again."

It's true! I pulled the leather-bound copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales off a shelf and am reading old stories again. My goodness, they were violent. I don't remember as much of that from my younger days. 

Fairy tales are seeping into my current writing. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a miller saying, yes to The Wicked One...Janice asked, "What did the Wicked One want?" 

I'm writing my way to an answer. 

A flock of waxwings is called a museum

I was a great reader of fairy tales. I tried to read the entire fairy tale section of the library.     ~Beverly Cleary

A Museum, A Thicket, Gravel

A flock of waxwings is called a museum.
A cluster of chokecherries -- a thicket.
Gravel litters the ground beneath birds feeding.
Our miller wonders what the Wicked One wants.
He prepares his heart to say goodbye to Ox
still stamping at the turning lantern gear
or, fabric for flour sacks, even flour itself.


The Wicked One merely wants what's behind the mill.
That scrubby land back yonder?
That bird thicket in gravelly soil?


Wicked One hands over a velvet sack of gold coin.
This is a payment.
There will be more.
I'll return in three year's time
to claim what is mine.

Wicked vanishes
Miller runs round into the house
calling for his wife.
Ox plods and lows.

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

This week's poetry round-up host is our painter-poet friend, Michelle Kogan. Make sure you stop in for a bit more poetry. She is a gracious host.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Winter Poem Swap WOW!

 Hello Friends,

It's Friday. Let's share poetry. Thank you, Buffy, for rounding up all links so that we can share even more this first night of Hannukah in a second week of advent. What a delicious time of year.

I am a fortunate poet to be able to share a poem in conversation with Tabatha who sent me the most delightful package of Winter Poetry Swap goodies.

First, the poem. I'm delighted that Tabatha took a line from a duplex I wrote to spark her own duplex of response. It becomes our poem to share with you.

Clear The Wreck

by Tabatha Yeatts
from a line by Linda Mitchell

Poets throw lines to clear the wreck
concealed in the secret sea.

     We discover the ship, sunk in the sea,
     Half-whole, half-hidden by sand.

Other poets, faces hidden by sand,
wield pens to pry open portholes.

    Pry them open! What resides inside 
    that barnacled hull? What treasures await? 

Lost treasures scuttle from sight and page,
Will there be enough air for the search? 

    As we search, our attention divides
    between our breath and pens in hand.

Trusty pens dig through rubble
tossing dreck aside. So much debris!

    The ship's debris lies heavy and cold.
    We turn the pens on high, watch it scatter.

Pile high the spoils! Time to ascend.
Poets throw lines to clear the wreck.

Tabatha also fed my latest obsession of mixed media art by sending along some fun and arty scrapbooking papers to play with along with a box of AFFIRMATORS! 50 Affirmation Cards to Help Yourself--without the self-Helpy-Ness!

Oh, boy do I feel seen, Seen, SEEN! 
And, it's pretty great. I thought I'd share an affirmation card with you all and see where it takes you in your writing. If something sparks...please share!

Nothing is Wasted

No experience is ever wasted--even if
what I'm working on turns out to be a total
dumpster fire. When I spend time on a 
project, it's always* good practice. Plus, it
makes me better at making whatever-that-
thing-is. And if what I was trying to make was
a dumpster fire, then I'm already five steps
ahead of the game.

*Well, at least 98.7% of the time.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours. Stay safe, stay healthy we...I...need you.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

What's Always True

 Hello Poetry, Hello Friday

I'm a tad grumpy. My technology didn't work perfectly today. My brain didn't remember everything and, my house feels too small for all the people that work and live in it. 

I'm glad for Friday! Better yet, Mary Lee is hosting our round-up this week with a cover reveal for Irene Latham's next book at A Year of Reading. Hooray! I'm starting to feel better already just having typed this paragraph. 

This month's SWAGGER from Molly is a fun promptGo to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.”

My selected line:

Sometimes we want what we want even if we know it's going to kill us. --Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

What’s Always True

A fairy tale’s miller

has every necessary

tool for success –

a millstone turning

an ox plodding round

and round in a turret

his wife minding home and hearth

their daughter sweeping the yard.

But, a wicked one invariably intrudes to tempt.

    If you give me

    what to you looks like nothing,

    I’ll make you wealthy beyond

    Your wildest dreams.

Of course, our miller

agrees even though

Ox snorts and stamps with warning

turning the mill spindle faster.

The miller’s wife would know a stench of evil as his daughter  would shudder with dread. Yet our miller, stars in his flour-dusted eyes always says yes.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Strada, Jacobus, -1588. Ox-Powered Machine for Grinding or Milling Grain. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Spiritual Thursday December Round-up

 Hello Friends,

Are you in the quiet of December? The hushing of our northern hemisphere as it settles down for a long winter's nap? Or, are you in the hub-bub of holiday preparations? Either way, we've made it to a milestone...the end of 2020. My goodness. So few of us are unscathed. Many of us that participate in Spiritual Thursday have prayer requests. If you pray, please take a moment to ask for healing, safety, protection, and holy covering for those in need.

I chose the word reflection as an inspiration for December for the action of reflecting on what has been. December snow and ice can also bring reflected light. 

A mirror cannot be a mirror without a backing. The backing must be darker than the glass for an image to reflect back. 2020 was a seriously dark backing for us. For me, there are some silver linings from 2020. I hope you have found some too.

Some friends also reflecting today:
Ruth at There is No Such Place as a God-Forsaken Town
Carol at Beyond Literacy
Karen at Karen's got a Blog
Fran at Little Bits and Pieces
Julie at November Reflection

Outside the Dining Room window Linda M.

Reflection. noun. 2. the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it. 3. "the reflection of light"

Kayaking at Silver Spring, Florida Linda M.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

At This Table

 Happy Thanksgiving Friends,

What a strange holiday season. I sincerely hope all my poet friends are well. This week's round-up is hosted at Carol's Corner. Thank you, Carol.

One of the poems shared on social media this week was Perhaps The World Ends Here, by Joy Harjo. It's a lovely poem especially as we gather around holiday tables. The fifth stanza's opening grabbed me. I felt a need to respond. 
How about you?

Perhaps The World Ends Here
By Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
(read the rest here)

Response to Joy Harjo...

At This Table

We eat and talk
Sometimes, we are quiet
amongst junk mail, napkins,
and baseball caps
Mom has asked us a million times
to clear away.
These days, there is a plastic bucket
labeled with a sticky note
that reads dirty masks.

At this table we share
Pokemon achievements
and memes from our phones.
We chat about school and work.
We pass the salt, we say please
and thank you, move plates aside
for games of cribbage.

At this table, we alternate between singing prayer
or, real prayer--a bare-bones
quick thanks for the very hungry.

At this table, we laugh and cry
or patch up fights.
Sometimes, rules are laid down
as sure as forks and knives.

At this table, we introduce
girlfriends or boyfriends
to the rest of us.
We are family
no matter who sits in a chair
to butter toast
sip wine
blow out birthday candles
sweep up crumbs
of this delicious life.

(c) Linda Mitchell Thanksgiving '20 (draft)

At this table we are grateful...mixed media card by Linda

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Response to 'The Way In'

 Happy Friday, Poets

This past week I've enjoyed writing along to the prompts of Dr. Sarah Donovan's Ethical ELA's 5-Day Open Write.  During the week, I learned of poet Linda Hogan. I was so taken with her poem, Inside, that I went skipping off to read more at The Poetry Foundation. 

Hogan is a Native American poet with several published works to her credit. If you don't know her, please find poems by her right away. Here's The Way In, which I paired with a photo of a recent walk and reflection of my own...a sort of call and response.

The Poetry Friday round-up is hosted at Teacher Dance this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

If Robyn, haiku

 Hello Poets,

Hooray! Robyn's hosting Poetry Friday. How does our Artsy Letters friend keep up as the holiday's approach? I'm delighted that she's celebrating more haiku publications these days. Pop over to see her beautiful post at Life on the Deckle Edge for an uplifting sampling of her work.

I think of haiku when I see Robyn's name. She's skilled in more poetry forms and art in general. However, her haiku are extraordinary. She inspires me to haiku -- too.

(c) Linda Mitchell November 12, 2020

(c) Linda Mitchell November 12, 2020

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Gratitude Thursday: November

 I am thankful today for a small thing that my mother-in-law made for me. 

I'm not sure what it's called. It's a sort of cozy. I can put it around a bowl or my giant mug when I use the microwave and it keeps my hands from being burned when I retrieve my soup or tea. And, because my office is upstairs in my bedroom during the pandemic, the cozy has saved the carpet on my stairs from wayward drips.

My mother-in-law made several of these for me and our family. Every time I use one I think of her and am grateful.

Yesterday, when appreciating my cozy I attempted writing a naan as I saw shared by the Poetry Sisters last week. 

I'm sending you all some warm and cozy thoughts today. Our friend, Ruth is hosting Spiritual Thursday this month. Find more warmth at her blog, There is no such no such thing as a God-forsaken town

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Last Sunrise of Summer, an aubade

 Hello November,

Welcome, Poets. I hope all is well with you and yours. This time of year is beautiful in its way, isn't it? I always feel the tug of saying goodbye to my friends, the leaves. They take all the stories we've whispered together since spring. Time to rest, my friends.

Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living is hosting our round-up this week with a perfect collection of silly, funny poems to put a smile on all our faces. I am so very grateful to her for these. She makes me want to write some sillies! I just might.

I challenged our Sunday SWAGGERS to write an aubade this month. 

Merriam Webster

Last Sunrise of Summer

To find out what one is fitted to do 

and to secure an 

opportunity to do it is

the key to happiness.

-- John Dewey

We linger this last sunrise

of summer, you and I

each with our work to do

and return to

I have caressed 

as many blossoms 

as Sun called forth

with its many

green thumbs    

your goldenrod nectar

Pungent and bright

our love would heal sorrows--

a tincture for winter nights.

Can we preserve this one last morning? Label a jar in your flowery script sign the date as the title  of this poem

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

See more aubade poems at: 

Reading to the Core
Nix the Comfort Zone
My Juicy Little Universe
Reflections on the Teche

Photo that inspired the poem

paper wasp & goldenrod

Thursday, October 29, 2020

One Last Word: Halloween Haiga

 Happy Halloween Eve,

Our friend Linda is hosting our weekly round-up at Teacher Dance. Please peek in on all the poetry doings there.

I have an oops to correct from last week. I posted some found Penta poems from an article about Ketty Nivyabandi. In my post, I referred to the new form by student Chloe as pento poems and then didn't even follow the form rules. Yikes! How embarrassing. 

I've taken the post down until I can make corrections. Oops! With apologies to Chloe and Margaret. And, thanks to those that saw my oops and let me know with good humor and gentleness. I love my poetry peeps.

Are you in the Halloween spirit? I'm not very much. But, I'm trying. The three haiga below are In One Word, a form invented by April Halprin Wayland. The word? Why, Halloween, of course!

I've listed a few words that can be made from the letters that spell HALLOWEEN. Each haiga line ends with one of the words culled from HALLOWEEN. 


(c) Linda Mitchell 10/30/20

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Two Rhyming Books by Karen Rostoker-Gruber

Hello Poets,

What a glorious week in my corner of our earth. It's not quite sweater weather but the trees are flashing color. Lovely! 

I hope you stop by Salt City Verse for a top-off of wonderful poetry from our Poetry Friday friends. Thank you, Janice, for graciously hosting this week.

Recently, author Karen Rostoker-Gruber asked if I would read and give an honest review of two new books she has coming out this fall. In exchange, I received pdf versions of her books.

Both Ms. Rostoker-Gruber's books are darling. I'm delighted to have had a chance to read both, share them with my students and you!

A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale (Albert Whitman & Co. October 1, 2020) is my favorite of the two books. I couldn't help falling in love with hapless Farmer Earl. His house was so crowded he went to the village wise woman for help. This might have something to do with the fact that I've been hunkered down with my spouse, four older teen and adult children, and pets for weeks (months, years, decades?) during this pandemic.

The wise woman's advice starts out silly and quickly moves to Ludacris but ends up working for Farmer Earl when the reader understands that everything depends on one's point of view. 

Best of all this story is delivered in lively verse and soft, whimsical illustrations by Kristina Swarner. A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale is sure to become a bedtime favorite of toddlers to early readers.

I've not reviewed a board book before and am a little nervous to do so. However, 
Happy Birthday, Trees! (Karben November 2020) is a sweet board book I'm happy to discuss.

In ten rhyming tercets, Happy Birthday Trees! introduced me to the Jewish tradition of planting trees for Tu B'Shevat, Jewish Arbor Day. Holly Sterling's illustrations are lively and full of light surrounded by a generous space to rest little eyes.

A sweet and diverse group of children all take part in planting a tree (getting muddy and all) and watching it grow over the next year. This board book is a perfect gift for a toddler whose family, friends, or neighbors are celebrating Tu B'Shevat Sedar this coming January 27th - 28th. 

I also think this book makes a sweet holiday addition to a shelf in need of Jewish literature for young children (as the pdf version has done for my virtual library).

 Happy reading through October!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Poet Promotion

 Hello Friday,

Yesterday or last week or last decade (who can tell?) I was driving and listening to the most interesting news on NPR. A poet, Kevin Young, was tapped as the new Chair of the African American Museum in DC. 

Wow! What a neat cross-pollination of expertise and talent, I thought. At home, I hunted down an article that could help me learn more...which of course, led to a found nonet. Friday is October 9th. Let's celebrate nine a bit.

Make sure you visit Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones for this week's round-up.

McGlone, Peggy. “Smithsonian Taps N.Y. Cultural Director to Lead African American Museum.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 30 Sept. 2020,

Poet Promotion

Telling an American story
we chronicle this moment of
division -- a manuscript
of a lost neighborhood
speak savvy as strength
a poetry
can change

Words found by Linda Mitchell in from Washington Post cited above 10/9/20

Kevin Young is an incredible poet. I found his work at The Poetry Foundation and additional commentary at The Academy of American Poets

Ode to the Hotel Near the Children’s Hospital

Praise the restless beds
Praise the beds that do not adjust
     that won't lift the head to feed
     or lower for shots
     or blood
     or raise to watch the tinny TV
Praise the hotel TV that won't quit
      its murmur & holler
Praise the room service
      that doesn't exist
      just the slow delivery to the front desk
      of cooling pizzas
      & brown bags leaky
      greasy & clear
Praise the...(read the rest here)
Kevin Young,

Thursday, October 1, 2020


 Happy October!

Yesterday, I walked the dog and everything was so perfect; the wind in the grasses, the sleepy crickets, the baseball practice in a nearby field, the temperature on my skin. Oh, I do love Indian Summer. And, I love Tabatha's blog, The Opposite of Indifference where this week's round-up can be found. Join me there!

My SWAGGER friends are challenged to write a duplex this month. 

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine at Reading to the Core
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

I found it pretty challenging. The rhythm of the lines and end words knocked me off-kilter. But, that's all part of the fun!

What's a duplex poem you ask? 

A duplex by Jericho Brown

My attempt at writing a duplex...

Untitled Duplex

This poem brought all the wrong tools for the job

I’ve rolled up my sleeves to dig by hand


2020 is a year to lend a hand

gloved hands, smiles behind masks


Love thy neighbor is spelled w-e-a-r  a  m-a-s-k

After derecho, hurricane, flood, and fires


Hurricane before flood, derecho before fires
too many birds with nowhere to rest


Neither harvest-moon nor harvest time offer rest

There’s a vote to bring in, cell to phones ring


Approved counting is by tree trunk ring

Closed eyes clasped hands circle the wreck 


Poets throw lines to clear the wreck

This poem brought all the wrong tools for the job


(c) Linda Mitchell-draft

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Spiritual Thursday October


This month's inspiration comes from Margaret who shared this quote-prompt from the Enneagram Institute

"Consider the Holy Ideas today: No matter what type you are, in Holy Love, our sense of separateness dissolves, and we know ourselves as arising from the brilliant light of Divine Love that creates and sustains the universe."

    (c) Linda Mitchell