Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tra la, it's May

Hello Friday,

I hope you are we are at Poetry again. Thank goodness. How do days of staying at home fly by so quickly?

This first Friday of the month means that the SWAGGERS are meeting a challenge. Whoo Hoo!

Our challenge for today comes from Molly who asked us to write an epistolary poem. She pointed us in the direction of Sarah Donovan's Ethical ELA post from February 19th in which guest blogger Allison Berryhill shared two master epistolary poems. Each beautiful mentor texts:

Dear Basketball by Kobe Bryant


Alive by Naomi Shihab Nye

My poem is much less weighty than the two above. It stems from a prompt in Laura Shovan's #WaterPoemProject this March-April.

Dear Karen,

I heard your
mutters over skis
collecting dust this winter
ice skate blades gone dull
your complaints
of not a single snow day
making this school year long.
You fuss about ticks
breeding like crazy this year
for lack of a good deep freeze.
Meanwhile, I’ve been
budding to leafing out
trying to please.
I guess the only thing
I can do to get your attention
is make it look
like snow has fallen
just for you.

XO, your flowering pear tree.

© Linda Mitchell
#waterpoemproject Day 25

Thank you to Elizabeth Steinglass for hosting this week's round-up. I'll be stopping by to check on all my poetry buddies.

More SWAGGER responses to the epistolary poem challenge can be found at:
Catherine at Reading to the Core

Before you go, today is #GlobalGwen Day which is the 50th anniversary of the day Gwendolyn Brooks won a Pulitzer Prize. If you happen to be out and about on twitter, enjoy the celebration and response to this incredible poet. About a year ago, I wrote a poem in the style of Gwendolyn Brooks. I offer that today as part of #GlobalGwen.


Gemma’s in the backyard
toes all up in mud
earth worms surround her
on high ground from a flood.

Gemma loves the worms
she talks to them and plays
that they are little children
to mind her little mama-ways.

It’s getting on toward dinner
today's sun is sinking low
Gemma gently scoops up worms
and rocks them to and fro.

She sings a goodnight worm song
sweepy tune for sleep
tucking worms in drier dirt
then runs inside on muddy feet.

(c) Linda Mitchell


  1. Linda, I love the idea of pear blossoms falling like snow. So lovely! I can tell you enjoyed writing about Gemma's worms. What a fun poem!

  2. That disgruntled tree will show her, right? How fun that is to have a pear tree thinking of revenge, Linda! And the Gemma loving worms is quite an image. Gwendolyn would love it. Happy May, Linda!

  3. I love your letter - how clever that it was from a grumpy tree. And also delighted to hear it is Gwen Day - my youngest granddaughter is a Gwendolyn.

  4. Linda, hats off to you for writing wonderful poetry every day! I love epistolary poems. Your poor tree who is getting the wanted attention. Maybe I'll try one today.

  5. Your clever poem from the pear tree is full of good lines like "I’ve been/budding to leafing out" and "look/like snow has fallen". I remember your Gemma poem and the images it brings. I'm ready for a good goodnight worm song (Hear that spring?). Have a glorious spring day. No matter how gray and rainy it is today, I am going out.

  6. Fun epistolary poem, Linda! I love thinking that a (pear) tree or bush is overhearing and observing the goings on of the humans around them. And thanks for sharing your Gemma poem - 'a goodnight worm song'. :)

  7. I love that epistolary poem, Linda. It was one of my favorites of all the ones I saw by you during April! Lovely Gwen poem, too. So sweet. Reminds me of our younger daughter, Maddie, who turned *everything* into babies and families when she was little: condiments, beaded animals, name it!

  8. Love love love your letter poem, Linda! The flowering pear who, like a neglected child, feels less than appreciated but still tries hard to please. So touching. I think I remember your Gemma poem from when you shared it before. The image of Gemma cradling the earth worms is wonderful!

  9. I like your epistle Linda, such a good sense of humor in trees voice, but poor "flowering pear tree" has tried so hard for Karen, I hope she appreciates it… I can hear the echoing voice of Gwendolyn Brooks in your "Gemma" poem, and especially like your closing lines,
    "a sweepy tune for sleep
    tucking worms in drier dirt
    then runs inside on muddy feet."


  10. Yup. Not a single good snow. I'll take the pear tree's apology, but hubby's not having any of it. He's still cranky about it!

  11. We've had plenty of snow here, but I appreciate the pear tree's efforts nonetheless. Christie Wyman shared a photo recently of a snow covered tree that looked to me like it was covered in blossoms. Now you share a blossoming tree that looks covered in snow! Being a middle child, I can also relate to trying to please and that neglected/overlooked feeling...

  12. Linda, no snow here either, but we do have many beautiful flowering trees. Thank you a lovely poem. The ending was a great surprise!

  13. I love your letter from the pear tree and its instructions to notice. Your poem in the style of Gwendolyn Brooks is wonderful.

  14. I was completely convinced that was your voice and not the voice of the flowering pear. Love that, Linda. I also couldn't help but note the strangely poignant line "your complaints of not a single snow day making this school year long." :-( -- Be well, friend. -- Christie @

  15. Two such delightful poems, Linda! I love how I didn't know who was writing the epistolary poem until the very end -- nice surprise! And what a great job of channeling Brooks. Brava!

  16. You may not be able to ski on it, but it does look like snow! I love epistolary poems :-) So imaginatively personal and unexpected.

  17. Both of these are such fun poems. I can almost relate to Gemma--we've started a worm farm to make it easier for those in our house who like to fish. I don't mind feeding them their dinner (from our scraps) but I think I'll pass on rocking and singing to them!


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