Thursday, March 26, 2020

Poetry in a Pandemic

Good Friday to you and all poems out there together, separately -- six feet apart.

What a weird world. 

Like you, I've been feeling emotions, getting a grip, learning to live in self-isolation. And, hey! I've been trying to write too. There is a boon of freely offered writing prompts and projects online. 

Liz Garton Scanlon offered a tutorial on writing an etheree. The etherees below are a mash-up of nursery rhymes, covid-19 observations and...well, you tell me.

Falling Off Nursery Rhymes

Two etherees

one today for
extra wishes
that might turn into
horses to someday ride
trit-trotting Boston to Lynn
holding up baby so she won't
tumble into that Gloucester puddle
up to her tummy, face mask on her chin.

(c) Linda Mitchell


poor old
Mother Hubbard's
stockpiled cupboard
cannot hold one more fear.
Her little dog laughs to see
his leash for lots more walks and treats.
When grandchildren call for a check-in 
she’s happy to chat and weeps happy tears.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Margaret Simon offers poetry readings for kids from one to ninety-nine at her youtube channel. Her calm reading and spotlights on where her prompts come from (Michelle Hiedenrich Barns' Today's Little Ditty) in this video. My response to her call.

Outside My Window

spring is walking
along the sidewalk six feet
between each blossom

(c) Linda Mitchell

Laura Shovan's #WaterPoemProject  invites distance learners, again from third to grade ninety-nine to respond to a daily prompt the same way poets have been in her annual February Poem Project. Daily prompts are given by a variety of published and unpublished (me!) authors. It's fun. And, I aim to bring my fun to it. My response to Irene Latham's prompt on Day 1

Be well friends. Use this time of social distancing for creativity, if you can. I look forward to seeing what others are sharing in today's Poetry Friday Round-up at The Opposite of Indifference. Thanks heaps to Tabatha for hosting. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Apology from the Backyard Puddle

Happy Poetry Friday,

     Isn't it nice that in the midst of all that's going on, we can find others who purposely read, write and share beautiful words? Poetry Friday is so much like taking a walk. Want to join as a blogger? No sharing of original poems is required! That's just how I play Poetry Friday. There's lots of ways to participate. See here at No Water River.

     Raise your hand if you are a William Carlos Williams fan. Oh, the richness of this sorry-not-sorry apology for eating those plums.
Poetic snark. no?

William Carlos Williams,''This Is Just to Say'' from The Collected Poems: Volume I, 1909-1939, copyright ©1938 by New Directions Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

     Last month, I was combining Laura Shovan's February Poem Project water prompt with Ethical ELA's Five Day writing prompt. Honestly, I did this for efficiency. My writing time is best in the morning before school...and that time is  was short! I kinda like how this poem turned out. I learned that Jory soil is unique to Oregon (a nod to Jone the photographer of the photo below). Huh!

Photo by Jone Rush MacCulloch
Apology From the Backyard Puddle

This is just to say

I have flooded the
the Jory soil*
in the bald patch
of our backyard

And which
you were probably
going to seed
for spring

Forgive me
the reflected winter tree
in fifth position
prima ballerina dancing

(c) Linda Mitchell

*Jory = the state soil of Oregon. It’s made up of material washed down from higher mountains.

Now, go have some fun at the Poetry Friday Round-up hosted by one of my all time favorite artists, poet's and people in tune with what's good and right, Michelle.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Little Bit of Green

Happy Poetry Friday,

I'm away at a Librarian's conference, learning lots from my friends.   

The previous sentence was written a day ago. Ah, the best laid plans have been set aside in favor of keeping COVID 19 away. Now, two kiddos have extended spring breaks from college and two HS kiddos are looking at at least a day of closing to as school districts in our area sort out distance learning plans. And, my conference has been cancelled. 

Here's a bit of green for the coming holiday! I find paper-crafting very soothing. 

shamrocks from recycled book pages

A little bit of green

and a little bit of fun

will keep you 
from being pinched
by a leprechaun

~Linda M.

shamrocks from recycled book pages
Head on over to Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for Poetry Friday Fun! Thank you, Matt for hosting!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

How ? A poem of questions

How did Poetry Friday come round again so fast?
Who sped up this week's time?
Was it YOU? Slow down please!

Although, I cannot complain about a quick approach of Spring. I need spring, don't you?

Oh, so many questions!

Our Sunday Night Swaggers are writing Question Poems this week. Again, I am inspired by a photograph from Molly Hogan. The question poem below springs from her photo.

Molly Hogan 2020


Can one drop of rain
hold so much memory?
Of thunderclouds grabbing up sky
before the storm?
Scratches of atmosphere
electric with light and sound?
A fall -- steep and free,
landing on branch
to cling to -- see?
Will this drop greet bridge gladly
on rain’s way to the sea?
Barrel along river
at breakneck speed?
With a kiss from leaf
fancying saffron forsythia dreams?
How one drop of rain
can hold so many mysteries--

(c) Linda Mitchell
Want to see more question poems? Stop by blogs of my SWAGGER partners to see!

Reflections on the Teche

Be sure to check out the rest of Poetry Friday at Sloth Reads sometime this weekend!

Balance: Spiritual Thursday

A Short Story of Falling

By Alice Oswald

It is the story of rain falling
to turn into a leaf and fall again

it is the secret of a summer shower
to steal the light and hide it in a flower

read the rest at The Poetry Foundation

LIT BITS AND PIECES: Snippets of Learning and Life is hosting Spiritual Thursday today. Click on the blog title and it will take you to more thoughts on balance.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

SAT Prep

Photo Credit: Thistle by Brenda Lowry

Good Poetry Friday,

It's so nice to welcome the last Friday of this month. What busy-ness we've been up to in these power packed weeks. 

I'm celebrating a continuation of a Thursday morning writing practice that started with Laura Purdie Salas'. 15 Words or Less. Weekly, Laura would post a photo and ask readers to draft a poem of 15 words or less to share in the comment section. 

Throughout the day more and more poets would jot poems and commenters could respond with positive critique. Great community and poem building fun was had by all.

Alas, Laura has become so busy with authorship that she lovingly ended 15 Words or Less on her blog. 

However, Margaret Simon has brought this favorite wake-up writing of mine back with, This Photo Wants to be a Poem, Thursday mornings on her blog, Reflections on the Teche. Hooray!

I sure was happy to play with Thistle by Brenda Lowry.

SAT Test Prep

If thistle is to
sea anemone

as bee is to
clown fish

What can
anyone learn
from this?

(c) Linda Mitchell

Before I pop over to Karen Edminsten's blog who's hosting Poetry Friday this week (thank you, Karen!) I want to put a bug in your ear about David L. Harrison's new book, Dark at Night: Poems of Nocturnal Animals (Word Song 2020). I reviewed it here yesterday, and Word Song is generously offering a book to a randomly selected commenter on my review post.  It's a wonderful picture book poem collection. Take a peek and put your name in the hat! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Animals

Good Morning,

How are you feeling? Did you sleep well last night? Did you feel refreshed upon waking?

Great!  Now it's time for some nocturnal animal friends to sleep, refresh and re-energize. They have been out ALL night in our world on their shift.

After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Animals by David L. Harrison (Word Song 2020) has made its way into our world. Hooray!

Just as loving grown-ups read these 21 poems to sleepy humans before bedtime...our animal counterparts are waking up for their night of ...


If you think this all seems just like a classroom of youngsters. I'd agree! Even though plenty of poems focus on adult animals, Harrison includes young wolf  pups, scorpion larvae, skunk kits, and even hermit crab eggs. These are easy connections for young listeners to make as they themselves are growing.

Adults will enjoy sharing these poems with young people in their lives. This one is my personal favorite:

Insect Texting by David Harrison

Insect Texting
(Common Eastern Firefly)

Firefly flashes
polka dot the lawn.
Blinker off...
Blinker on.

Looking for a mate
before they're all gone.
Blinker off...
Blinker on.

Firefly females
watch from the grass,
checking each flash
as suitors pass.

Checking how bright,
how long it lasts,
firefly females
watch from the grass.

Firefly flashes
polka dot the lawn,
might find a mate
before they're all gone.
Blinker off...
Blinker on.

(c) David L. Harrison

A lovely note to the "hardworking staff and volunteers at the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital," by the illustrator led me to their website where I enjoyed peeking at the marvelous work humans are doing to preserve wildlife in our world.

Intrigued? Want to know more about this book or add it to your to-be-read pile? Super! Publisher Word Song will send a copy of After Dark to a randomly selected commenter of today's post. Thanks for reading...and your curiosity about nocturnal animals. The giveaway ends Sunday 2/1/2020.

More places you can learn about After Dark:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

New Year Cento

Happy Poetry Friday,

When reading Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters (Carolrhoda Books February 4, 2020) I learned that a cento poem is a poem comprised of lines from other poems by other poets. 

I thought, ooooh! I want to try that. Since I so recently received a bunch of New Year's postcards from our Postcard Exchange, thanks to Jone McCullough, I started there.

lines of poets re-typed and cut for arrangement....a cento in progress

New Year Cento

Bold Dreams bursting from the sky
the glitter
in unexpected places

Just enough

for snow to fall

Windows of life
open for our thoughts to inspire
a snow day

Stacks of books, rivers
words on waves

Imagine that
in the poetry
through the new year

Lines of poetry by poets in order of appearance

1. Kimberly Hutmacher
2. Diane Mayr
3. Molly Hogan

4. Christie Wyman
5. Robert Erdman
6. Kay McGriff

7. Carol Varsalona
8. Margaret Simon
9. Christie Wyman

10. Kay McGriff
11. Jone McCullough
12. Christie Wyman

13. Robyn Hood Black
14. Molly Hogan

15. Kay McGriff

Hop over to Library Matters for the rest of this week's poetry goodness. And, pick up a copy of Dictionary for a Better World. It's an amazing book. I have so much more to write about it....soon.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Re-cycled Book Page Valentines

Happy Valentines Day

If ever there was a day for poery, this is it! 

Our dear Linda Baie is hosting today's round-up. She's requested some sugary love. Skip the calories and read to your sweet-tooth's content at Teacher Dance .

I'm crazy for collaging. I can pinpoint the moment I knew I wanted to start. It was after reading Euka Holm's book about Fannie Lou Hamer and then seeing Ms. Holmes present at a Virginia Association of School Librarian's Conference. My fingers just wanted to get into some paper and glue.

I've been collaging for a couple of years and I've learned lots. One of the things I've learned is that my creations aren't quite the way I want them to look...YET. So, I keep trying techniques, poking around pinterest and youtube and having fun.

How to Make a Valentine

Find some paper
and some glue
grab some magic markers too.
Fold the paper
Cut points and curves
Don't let the scissor
wreck your nerves.
Paste little hearts
atop bigger ones.
Write a name
You're nearly done
Spell L-O-V-E
deliver clandestinely.
Aren't you fine?
You've just made
a valentine.

(c) Linda Mitchell -- thanks to Laura Shovan's 8th annual February Poetry Project 

Valentine notes made from weeded library books by Linda

A cherita to go along with recycled book love notes.

Once upon a time

With strong spines, fresh leaves
stories flowered, petals bloomed

Open, close, open, close
sun, moon, wind, laughter
weed pile, shears, new life...Valentine

(c) Linda Mitchell

Thursday, February 6, 2020

First Friday Terza Rima Challenge

Hello Friday, Hello Poetry!

Writing the World for Kids hosts our round-up today. Do pop in and see all the fun offerings Laura has collected.

We SWAGGERS responded to a challenge to write a Terza Rima.
Oh, my.

                                                                                                     I started out...


Ugh! iambic pentameter?
A desperate plea for help...

I'm no good at this.

Dear Linda,
Go rogue!
Your friend, Molly

                                                                                    ps: Heidi tutors
                                                                                    pps: Margaret made hers work with MagNOliAS
                                                                                    ppps: I think Catherine might go rogue, too!

Go Rogue, Linda!

I want to write the perfect  terza rima
It’s tough corralling words that move around
I can’t heard them into just one stanza

I  need a dog to chase the good lines down
to bark my drafts within a shearing pen
So I can gather wool to knit some nouns

Knit red, purl blue rhymes every now and then
Needles one and two click upon my lap
A purple poem grows, and I shout AMEN!

Then quickly run back to my dear free verse--
lest this dire terza rima get worse
But then I overhear, duh-DUH-duh-DUH

(c) Linda Mitchell -- who really wishes she had a pen name today

More responses to the terza rima challenge by SWAGGERS

Spiritual Thursday: Seasonal Bliss

"At ease, Linda. At ease," 2020 encourages.

Photo by Linda

Spiritual Thursday is hosted today by Beyond Literacy 

Thank you, Carol, for your inspiration of Seasonal Bliss.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Call of Words from Stacey Joy's Prompt

Good Friday Poets,

We've arrived at the last Friday of the first are those resolutions holding up? My relationship with "at ease" is growing. This week, DeoWriter hosts the Poetry-Friday Round Up. Thank you, Jone!

I enjoyed a week of writing prompts from Ethical ELA with guest, Stacey Joy (@Joyteamstars). The week of writing from these exercises is intense. It's a little hard for me to keep up. In fact, on Day 5 I fell asleep drafting my poem and woke up dazed in the early hours in a downstairs chair. Ha! 

Nevertheless, I'm amazed at the poems teacher-writers are able to produce quickly. Stacey Joy's prompts helped me connect with memories and write in new ways. 

Day 5 Challenge was 'Call of Words

My Response:

Word List gathered from, Telling My Father, by James Crews, a poem featured on The Slowdown  on the day of the challenge.



storm door
orange juice

Linda's Poem (still untitled)

I found a poem
early this morning

drinking coffee
at the kitchen table.
It was stirring in sugar

watching through the window
at crows perched on power lines
squabbling over night news
from opposite sides of the street.
The written page was eyeliner streaked
after a long night.
Quietly, I grabbed orange juice
from the fridge. Stepped through
the storm door
onto the porch
leaving poem
to write us
some sunlight.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Patch of sunlight taken by Linda

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Hello Poets,

I live several hours drive from where I grew up -- a very beautiful place in western New York State. I don't get there as often as I like. So, I follow some outstanding photographers on twitter from that area. It's a joy to see beautiful photos of familiar spaces. 

One photographer is Jerome Davis (@jdavis2731). His photos make my fingers itch to write alongside his artistry...which occurred one early day in January -- the title for this poem.

Davis, Jerome. “Thursday Morning Glow! It Was Crazy to See It Snowing and the Sun Shinning so Bright. @john_kucko @WHEC_SPensgen @StormHour @News_8 @news10nbc @13WHAM” Twitter, Twitter, 10 Jan. 2020,


There’s no word
for sun meeting snow--
no multi-color rainbow
over pointing fingers
or squeals of delight
no insta-click
from below.
Just glow upon
falling upon this resting field
quilt on my bed

(c) Linda Mitchell

Thanks to Kat Apel for hosting our Poetry Friday Round-Up 
this week. She's got an update on Aussie Kidlit fundraising for 
fire relief and recovery and a new animal poem to share!