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. 


  1. Ox! Fantastic! Should be enlightening and expansive for you. Love that ending.
    I think "at-ease" counts as one word. My son picked "No Stress 2020" for his slogan for the year and various people have reminded him about it as 2020 draws to a close.

  2. Your OLW is 'as strong as an ox', Linda! Seriously, I'm fascinated by your word and in awe of the "Warning" poem that it inspired. I look forward to a year of your 'ox-driven' poetry. (I couldn't help myself... ;)

  3. What a fascinating choice of words and commitment. I am becoming attached to your story, the Ox, the girl, and wondering what will happen next, a verse novel of sorts. Intrigued.

  4. It's an awesome word to choose, Linda, makes me leap into wondering how it will change you as you research and write! This poem begins a journey that seems very exciting! And, I received your special bookmark, also connected! Thank you. Happy 2021 wishes!

  5. What a great word choice, and what a great poem! I really love the fairy tale flavor of what you're writing lately. Can't wait to see where your ox takes you this year.

  6. Golly! OX?!? I get it, but how surprising...and yet look where it leads you. The wise Ox, the Miller's daughter, who is that Wicked One? Fascinated.

  7. Hooray for Ox! I look forward to reading your adventures during 2021. When I think "ox," I think: hard-working, humble, kind, overlooked... thank you for making us look! xo

  8. Intriguing choice and poem too, Linda! I would also like to know where this story may go… it sounds like there may be more there under Ox's steps, perhaps he'll lead you on, thanks!

  9. A new adventure looms for 2021 with your one word, Linda. It is an interesting one that sets your course with writing for the year. The Wicked One is there again and I can see that your characters are ready for the road ahead. Happy New Year, my Virginian friend and soon to be neighbor.

  10. At-ease was a fascinating choice, but Ox -- I can hardly imagine the adventures that lie ahead! Speaking of which... is this a serial poem? I need to know what happens next! Happy New Year and thank you for being such a magnificent spinner of tales (tails. Poor Ox - hope not!).

  11. Like all of the other commenters, I'm fascinated by your word choice! Ox! And I love that you have been collecting, it sounds like, for a while. I wonder how this poem/story will evolve over the course of the year. I can't wait to see what other Ox-ioms come forth!

  12. Wow. So foreboding. I love the total unexpectedness of ox as your OLW!

  13. Oh my, Linda - I was not expecting the turn of your poem, nor that wonderful word! Looking forward to more along with everyone else! (I've been purchasing some new supplies from fellow Etsy folks today, and when I hear 'ox', I also go to the shorthand for an 'oxidized' patina - brass ox, silver ox, etc... more layers!!) Thanks for sharing and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you & yours!

  14. Ox is such a wonderful word--and for a whole year! It makes me think that maybe I could choose a word for the year--I haven't done it yet, but it seemed to me that it had to be something more of a quality. I never could choose just one. But you've opened a whole world of possibility for me. Thanks!
    And your poem is wonderful I love fairy tales--and this one told from ox's viewpoint is especially magical. I can't wait to see what else you and ox will bring this year.
    Happy new year!

  15. There is so much rich language in this poem, Linda. I love the ox's stomp and snort, the thicket, waxwing, and chokeberries.

  16. Oh, I'm so excited by your Ox focus with its fairytale slant. Your poem is marvelous, so physically grounded with specific details! There's something about the solidity of the ox that is so appealing right now. I suspect you're heading out on a rich journey indeed and I am so glad that I get to ride along as a spectator!


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