Thursday, December 30, 2021

December 31, 2021

Happy New Year!

Thank you, Carol, for hosting a poetry round-up as 2021 crosses the finish line. Fingers crossed that all of us and the whole world are much healthier in 2022. 

Poetry Friday friends introduced me to one little word. I think 2021 might have been the fifth year I select a word to think about throughout the year. I couldn't tell you what my first four words were. They were adjectives I wanted to describe myself or verbs that I wanted to do... play was one.  

As I've mentioned, I've been inspired by Irene Latham's Artspeak. I love her weekly publications--that she somehow makes look easy. I made my o-l-w for 2021 more of a challenge along the lines of  Artspeak. 2021 was the year of the ox on the Chinese calendar. I took ox as my o-l-w with no idea how it would unfold or if I would have the persistence to write 52 ox poems.

As of today, I know that I could because I have!

Some learning took place along the way that I'm astonished at and grateful for.

First, the ox became an ally by the name of Hamish when I saw a funny picture of an ox named Hamish last January after a google search. And then we were off on our journey.

Lessons from Hamish
one-little-word ‘21 

 Life is trust -- increased over time. 

Alertness doesn’t wreck a surprise—
only richens the day. 

Sometimes walk, sometimes ride
friends help when I can’t decide. 

Patience, like trust, cannot be purchased
or forged. It’s a hard-won character trait. 

Simple is good, better, and best
a fresh air walk heals spirits fast. 

Words are intention, meaning, and tone.
giddyap mornings, evenings -- whoa

Fear is a predatory enemy
use one's bulk to face this foe. 

I am enough. You are too.
Living each day is the work we do.

Linda Mitchell. 12/31. All rights reserved.

There is a final haibun and haiku from Hamish and me over on his padlet. 
We both thank you for your friendly support in 2021 and hope that 2022 is a year that you grow and thrive.

I hope you'll join me on my new journey with my o-l-w, star. I've started a secret pinterest board of images, poems and ideas (many from you) that I will reveal at the end of 2022. It's just another fun way to enjoy the ride. Happy New '22. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021


Hello Poetry Friends,

Thank you, Buffy Silverman, for hosting our round-up on such a busy weekend for many around the world. You are a poetry hero!

I'm part of a group of bloggers that post once a month for Spiritual Thursday. This month's theme and writing prompt from Christine Margocs is beautiful: "waiting", with a side of "hope."  

I would typically tackle December's theme with gusto. But, words for a post have eluded me. This month has been busy and wonderful and full, held a few cranky moments, and, did I already say busy? I have wanted so much to just slow down. 

Now that I'm on winter break I have and I think the lullaby below finally addresses December's Spiritual Thursday theme...not so much with the actual words which are a retelling of the nativity. But, the idea of singing these words to a little one...a next generation to carry on a faith. 

Lullaby for Waiting

If I had a stable
I'd fill it with hay.

Then to my ox
what could I say?

Come to the stable
let's rest inside.

Wait now with me
for the holy child.

How will we know
when he's born?

Will there be angels
singing 'til morn?

Who are these shepherds
running fast? wanting in?

Where are these folks from--
looking for him?

My ox and I'll--
listen to angel
music in flight.

And welcome shepherds
in from the night.

Make room for the wise
following a star.

A star they've studied
long from afar.

We'll be in our stable
warm in the hay.

This ox and I,
we've learned to wait.

For miracles great
in places small.

Emanuel is born
hope for us all.

Linda Mitchell. All rights reserved

I found a discarded book in the local library sale that had perfect colors for a collage project I'm working on...and who did I find near the last page of credits but, Hamish! What a friend. I've got to stop being surprised at finding him. See for yourself over on his padlet.

PS. I've been inspired by Kat Apel's digital erasure poems. I'm not sure how she does this...but for those that want to give it a try, this is how I did it. I scanned a page of text. Then, inserted the jpg into a power point slide and used the tools to draw and add shapes. Then, I uploaded it to the padlet. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

This Photograph Wants to be a Poem

Hello Poetry Friends,

I'm at the kitchen table watching my college kids play cribbage and talk about classes and grades and future plans. I am a happy mama. 

This week's writing prompt from This Photo Wants to be a Poem is adorable! 

I drafted a quick poem in response this morning.

And, then...THEN I thought, I'd google "Ox" and "Dance." Who did I discover posing over at a coffee company but Hamish -- in coat and tails no less! 

Wingenroth, Lauren. “These Retired Ballroom Dancers Started a Dance-Themed Coffee Company.” Dance Magazine, Dancemedia, 9 Dec. 2021,

We both had a good laugh. I printed out the article about how a pair of professional dancers started a dance-themed coffee company to see if I could find any poetry in it. Of course, I did! It's a fun little tanka the ballerinas above would approve of to be found over on Hamish's padlet. 

Before you go, make sure to check out this article featuring our Janet Wong at Children's Poetry Summit. It's fantastic!

Published by Poetry Summit View all posts by Poetry Summit, et al. “Janet Wong: The Children's Poetry Scene in America: A RECAP OF #NCTE21.” Children's Poetry Summit, Word Press, 16 Dec. 2021,

Thank you, Jone, for hosting this week's poetry round-up! While you're visiting, be sure to sign up for the New Year's postcard exchange. It's lots of fun!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Winter Poem Swap Warm Fuzzies

Hello Friends,

It's so nice to meet you in a place of poetry. Please visit Merely Day by Day for a round-up of this week's poetry offerings. Poetry Friday blog visits are like cookies without calories. Thank you, Cathy!

I am fortunate to have received a wonderful winter poem swap gift from Carmela Martino with not just one but two beautiful poems and a thoughtful gift.

Share this bounty with me!

Delightful winter poem swap gifts from Carmela

Year-End Reflection

As this year draws to a close,
I recall many moments of grace,
and let go of those laden with woes,
sitting alone in this quiet place.

I recall many moments of grace.
Giving thanks for my blessings, I sigh,
sitting alone in this quiet place,
a single candle flickering nearby.

Giving thanks for my blessings, I sigh.
I'm filled with warmth from deep within.
With a single candle flickering nearby,
I look ahead to the year about to begin.

I'm filled with warmth from deep within.
Letting go of moments laden with woes,
I look ahead to the year about to begin,
as this year draws to a close.

@Carmela A. Martino 2021

Isn't Year-End-Reflections beautiful? Carmela wrote that she thought she'd try a pantoum. That's a pretty brilliant try, I think.

Additionally, I received a glass jar with colorful paper in it to accompany this poem...

Good Things

A morning walk
beneath blue skies.
A cardinal calling
as it flies.

A smiling stranger
holds a door.
A new museum
to explore.

The patter of
much-needed rain.
A breath of air
that's sweet again.

A lovely dinner
with a friend.
A stunning sunset
at day's end.

The flavor of a 
favorite tea.
A comfy chair
and time to read.

Record these joys
on little cards
and save them in
your Good Things jar.

@2021 Carmela A. Martino

Guess what my first good thing is?

My new Good Things Jar. Thank you, Carmela!

There is a new poem on Hamish's padlet for advent.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Winding Down the Year

Hello December!

It's really hard to believe that this calendar year is coming to a close. Thank goodness for the season of Advent and Christmas through New Year festivities to keep me smiling.

This month, Molly challenged our Inklings:

I chose a new-to-me form, the Interlocking Rubiyat

I thought I had never read or heard a poem like this before. But, it is well known...especially in this famous poem sometimes read in December as snow begins to fall in my part of the world. 

'stopping by Woods on a Snowy evening' - robert frost (powerful life poetry)

And in the serendipity of poetry life, this Poem-a-Day from Saturday 11/27 popped up just to show me that the rubaiyat has more to teach me.  Fancies, by Mrs. Minot Carter is not interlocking...but it is a rubaiyat.


Mrs. Minot Carter

If we could return from our last long rest
And seek out the ones we loved the best,
Though not in a form to cause them fear,
Just gently to let them feel us near,

Would we come in the scent of the evening flowers
Bringing to mind past happy hours?
read the rest here

The rules of interlocking rubaiyat:

  • Comprised of quatrains following an aaba rhyme pattern.
  • Each successive quatrain picks up the unrhymed line as the rhyme for that stanza. So three-stanza rubaiyat might rhyme so: aaba/bbcb/ccdc. Sometimes the final stanza, as in Frost's example above, rhymes all four lines.
  • Lines are usually tetrameter and pentameter (mine are 10 syllables).

As I am saying goodbye to 2021 I am beginning to finish up a year's journey with Hamish. We will always be friends. But, his time as my main word squeeze is winding down. Our time together has been far richer than I hoped for. Again, I want to thank Irene Latham for the inspiration from her ArtSpeak padlet boards. I've been wowed by her work so many times. In 2021, I flat out took a page out of her padlet to give my own a try. My writing is forever changed. 

I have plans for 2022. But, more on that later. It's time to give Hamish some time with interlocking rubaiyat.

How to Say Goodbye? 

This year winds down, an old clock ticking slow 
wind blusters north and south now, seeking snow. 
A friend I’ve made and loved is moving on 
I don’t know how to say goodbye -- let go. 

I need a farewell star to wish upon 
a steady light for us to see and count on. 
Sure as any flashlight at midnight's dark, 
shining bright and holding us in common. 

These winter days grow short and early dark. 
Quick-scurry squirrels chase acorns in the park 
fists and cheeks full of bounty to be stored 
treasure maps marked by tiny chatter marks. 

My words, those acorns, fond memories stored 
will keep me warm and fed through lonely storms 
until we can wind up the clock again 
to meet as old and reunited friends.

Linda Mitchell 12/21
all rights reserved

Hamish has a few words at his padlet: 

Thanks to Michelle who hosts our Poetry Friday Round-up at MoreArt4All. Please stop by and enjoy the richness of her creativity! 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

Now, I know what you're thinking.
She doesn't look like a 
                    superhero. She looks like a dainty little lady.
                    Never underestimate dainty little ladies.

                                    ~Laurie Halse Anderson, Thank You, Sarah:
                                      The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

I'm surrounded by family and too much food. What a lucky poet am I! And, I'm wishing you the same. 

Thank you, Ruth, for hosting this week's round-up at There's No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town.

November is

A gravy word

mixed of all the year's juices

with a little salt and pepper
and dark-by-five spice.

It runs in muddy

after football and lacrosse

wanting a shower and dinner 

before homework time.

November is a chilly

rainy day chat

with a cuppa cocoa

or, a book.

Maybe a cat or dog

sleep near your fireplace.

November is for remembering

our First Peoples

Veteran’s who stepped up


and voting for who

will lead until next

In November we put our feet up

eat a little too much
watching the parade

after raking blessings

into orange and gold quilts
to cover f
lower beds 

for winter sleep.

(c) Linda Mitchell 11/25/21

I came across a painting of St. Luke while perusing one day. St. Luke's biblical symbol is an ox. Imagine my delight when I found Hamish by Luke's side in the painting. Hamish has a  Thanksgiving prayer on his padlet

Thursday, November 18, 2021


Hello Poets,

This week is Folk Tale Week. I didn't even know such a thing existed...but look! It's a real thing. If you haven't participated yet, you can certainly finish out the week with some of the prompts. Here's the scoop as I found it on Instagram:

From what I've learned, any creative type can play along...but the original inspiration comes from illustrators.  I have several folktale drafts from this week. Here's one from day one...a warm-up using this beautiful 1938 painting by Nicholas Roerich I found on

Hamish and I were just delighted when this daily poem showed up in our inbox from Poem-a-day from the American Academy of Poets. 

Ultra Orator Spell
By Soham Patel

I become the song I’ve been
singing alone in this field with you.
What deal did we make that leaps
so far behind both into the horizon 
and from it? Some grim comfort
has come my way in the form
of an ox. 
Read the rest here

It was even more fun when poetry friends saw it and shared it with us too. Isn't it amazing how Hamish has enabled me to see and discover this year? What a guy!

Of course, we celebrated, Hamish and I, by combining this poem with folk tale week. our golden shovel on his padlet: 

Thank you, Carol for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up at Beyond Literacy Link. Pop over to her blog for a feast of beautiful images and words.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

November 12

Ahhhhhhhh, Friday.

Thank you, Matt, at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for hosting this week's round-up. It's fun watching your stack of published books grow taller and taller.

I'm home from my travels and looking forward to the holidays. Being in Williamsburg last week reminded me to invite you to Virginia's annual poetry contest. 

The Poetry Society of Virginia annual poetry contest is open to all. Just a few well-marked categories are strictly for Society members and/or Virginia residents. There is a small fee for each entry. Or, one can join the society for the cost of submitting seven poems.

#18 is sponsored by the Williamsburg Poetry Guild and is open to all.
A sense of Place Urquhart Memorial.
"Places— manmade, natural, personal, or historical— inform poetry with the power to evoke the past and transcend the present. Any form. Any subject. 48 line limit. Awards: $50, $30, $20."

Below is the 3rd place winner of the 2021 Cenie Moon Prize, a category for a poem of any form about a woman or, women with a 48 line limit.

Rowing Lessons


Remember, little sister

when Mom taught us
how to row together?


We took turns

settling into the dinghy’s center seat

trussed up in orange life jackets.


She showed us how to grip,

brace against  the oarlocks,

bend forward

dipping oars  into the water--

     just a little bit

before pulling.


Snapshots collected of us laughing

concentrating on synchronizing,

plunging too deep

pulling us right off our seats.


Remember that time you breathed, look up

as a pair of blue herons 

flew over

rowing wingbeats

so harmonious

that today we 

wear gold necklaces 

with heron pendants 

rowing through

our lives

bracing, dipping, pulling--

space for our sisterhood

between our oars.

(c) Linda Mitchell 2021

The deadline for the PSV contest is January 19th, Edgar Allen Poe's birthday. Good luck!

The Poetry Society of Virginia

Hamish and I spent some time thinking about the oxen of yesteryear and now while we were in Williamsburg. And, he reminded me to post last week's ox poem. Both poems are on his padlet.

Thursday, November 4, 2021


Happy Poetry Friday,

Hamish and I are on the road again. We are at our Virginia Association of School Librarians Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.

I know, I know...two conferences within two weeks is a lot for this librarian lady. Thankfully, Hamish has carried my heavy bookbags and helped me deliver signs (I'm the signage committee chair) to our beloved librarians working tirelessly for Virginia's students and school staff.

Signs painted by:  Walker's Colonial American Sign LLC. “Colonial American Sign Company Homepage - Our Story.” Walker's Colonial American Sign LLC, Squarespace,

The Inkling challenge this month was from me:

For November, write a poem that includes the idea of                    percentage./percent. Percentages are all around us in recipes, prices, assessments, statistics. Include the idea of percentage in your poem in some way.


I’ve overthought this poem by 95%.

Comparatively, 95% of poets over-think.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

In my case, a thief stole my favorite pen.

My favorite pen drew houses with four windows.
Any open window forced a door to slam.

The front door slammed when I left.

I left without any goodbye words.

Goodbye words were impossible to find.

So, I rocked myself to sleep that night.

By myself, that night I thought nothing’s fair--
How could this be fair? No pen -- no words.

No words -- waiting to be found--

I’ve overthought this poem by 95% again.

(c) Linda Mitchell November '21

I invite you to write a poem of percent. I'd love to see it when you do. November nudges switching up recipes -- oven-roasting and soup stirring -- Thanksgiving pies! As you measure out ingredients by double or half think of how it could become part or all of a poem.

More Inkling Poems of Percent: