Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New Year Cento

 Hello, hello!

I'm still living in the joy of the our American Library Association's Youth Media Awards held on Monday. What a boost of positive energy!

This week's Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted by Jan at Bookseedstudio. Thank you, Jan!

Each year, I'm thankful for the New Year Postcard exchange hosted by Jone at Deowriter. I took lines from the 2021 cards to create the centos below to create new poetry. Thank you, poets!

Poetry and art from Diane Mayr, Becky Herzog, Margaret Simon, Jone McCulloch 2021

Poetry and art by Linda Baie, Michelle Kogan, Mary Lee Hahn, and Kimberly Hutmacher

Cento for 2021 

A yellow aspen 
makes poetry wishes 
ready to be spent 
upon the lake. 

Universal hope 
fly high, fly free-- 
On wingbeats of blue 
silverdrops dance. 

First full moon 
heralding the new 
shiny coin of here and now. 

But may this new one only hold 
your creative endeavors. 
Springtime is waiting--
music to my ears.

- Lines are taken from postcard exchange '21 Many thanks to Jone McCullouch for organizing!

Poetry and art from Robyn Hood Black, Janice Scully, Carol Varsalona

Another Ox Poem hits the padlet

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Words of Dr. King

Good Friday, Poets

What a good day to share poetry with each other. Thanks to Laura Shovan, who hosts our round-up today, we can. Thank you, Laura!

There have been many works of art shared by my compatriots this week. From the Marine Band playing traditional Sousa marches to Lady Gaga's rendition of our Star-Spangled Banner, Amanda Gorman's jaw-dropping poetry performance to the patriotic party and fireworks show over Washington, DC, beauty reclaimed a place in this time.

I participated in the monthly writing challenges offered by Dr. Sarah Donovan at her blog, Ethical ELA.

The final prompt for the week was to select a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., think on it, and let it take you into writing. I selected this quote:

Only in darkness can you see the stars*

                                                                               ~MLK Jr.

The previous evening I had watched with great emotion the memorial to Americans lost to Covid-19 at the Reflecting Pool of our National Mall. The twilight candles, rendition of Amazing Grace, the tolling of our National Cathedral bells, and pledges made to remember our dear ones will stay with me a long time. 

Sharpe, Scott. “Powerful Photos from the Memorial to COVID-19 Victims.” Raleigh News & Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, 19 Jan. 2021, 09:21 am,

January 20, 2021

At the reflecting pool, only

last night, four hundred lanterns lit in

honor of thousands more. Darkness,

we cast you out. Can

it be winter if you

remember lavender in spring? See

that we don’t forget. We call upon the

heavens to make our tears stars

(c) Linda Mitchell 1/20/21

PS Hamish the Ox poem has a friend :)

*From April 3 1968’s “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Promises for Inauguration Day

 Hello Poets

I'm all out of ways to make light of the events of 2021. How are you doing? Let's share some poetry. In fact, I prescribe poetry an Rx for our souls.

On Constitution Day in September, I shared Goals for Constitution Day

As I count down the minutes to Inauguration Day, I've thought about many things. This inauguration is not going to be something I simply watch. It's going to be something I participate in as well. 

Consider the words of the vesting clause, article 1, section 2, and the definition of respect.

photo by Linda M. in happier times

Inauguration Day 

On inauguration day, 
I join the elected
          standing before all 
give my full attention 
          to promises faithfully made  
          and to the best of my ability, 
full consideration 
of their pledge

I hold in high esteem, efforts to preserve
        the letter and meaning of the oaths 
I swear also to hold in special regard 
        protection of rights of my fellow citizens.

I join my promises to theirs
        to defend the law of our land 
        the Constitution of the United States. 

So help me God.

(c) Linda Mitchell January 2021

Please join Margaret for more poetry medicine at Reflections on the Teche.

I have started a padlet of Ox poems. The one little poem there now looks lonely. Each week, I'll add a friend. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021


Are we there yet? 


Doesn't matter.

Goodness. What a week. I am quite exhausted. How are you holding up? 

This week, SWAGGERS have accepted a challenge to write Nestlings in the style of Irene Latham from her book, This Poem is a Nest (Wordsong 2020).

I went into this challenge with one idea...I need a lot of words. 

In the past year, I played around with Haibun and Tanka. Perfect! A lot of words to play with. My nest is a Haibun and Tanka draft. I didn't clean this draft I only needed to strip words from it. Ha! But, as I read it over and over I see lots of room for improvement. If I create nestlings again, I will be sure to make sure my nest is not so drafty as Molly says. 

Haibun Nest

     In physical therapy, I lay on a table embarrassed over the tears coming out of my eyes. I had no specific sadness. My pain level was just five. But tears, they poured out of the corners of my eyes and down the sides of my face right into my ears. 

      The therapist, working my arm asked, Where is your happy place

      The pond. 

      Tell me... 

      All my favorite ghosts are there.

      You have favorite ghosts? 

      They gather around the fire ring on the shore where we sat in lawn chairs holding wire coat-hangers turned marshmallow roasters. They are silent. But pines tattle Aunt Diane’s secret potato salad recipe. goldenrod giggles over Grandpa’s purposeful drawl of Holy Ghost at dinner prayer that made all of us Holy Spirit raised kids look to see if there was also a wink. 

      Maples weep over Rick’s taking of his own lovely life…his goodbyes somewhere in the woods, embrace shaped. Uncle John’s peaceful stutter of steps rhythmic from years of monastic prayer is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere…sparks from the fire rising to the moon. Peepers trace generations in mud that we tracked home without even thinking to wipe our feet. 


what can a pond do?
a family gathers round
its banks in summer
wrapping up all sun and moon
picnic for their hungry ghosts

Photo by Pixabay

Fire Ring 

sparks wink 
pines tattle 


tears poured without thinking 
sadness over maples 


ghosts everywhere, 
silent lovely life goodbyes 

The Happy Place Bank 
Salad recipe 
Lawn chairs 
Sun and moon 
Marshmallow roasters 



Happy New Year and thanks to Sylvia at Poetry for Children for hosting our round-up this week.

Please look for nestlings from other SWAGGERS

Saturday, January 2, 2021

2021 OLW

Hello Friends,

Many thanks to Carol for hosting our first Spiritual Thursday of 2021.

I wrote about my OLW, OX, in last week's Poetry Friday post. Ox is an animal special to cultures around the globe but is rarely center stage. An ox may be part of a nativity scene or in ancient art of sacrifice, or in photos of agrarian life. But, the ox is not usually the point of what we see.

What parts of life do I not pay attention to?


The photo below is an abstract sculpture of a winged ox on a church in Sheffield England. In the Old Testament, priests would have sacrificed an ox as a blood offering. In New Testament symbolism, the ox represents St. Luke as Christ was portrayed in a priestly manner.

Through the wonders of the internet, I traveled to St. Luke's Church.  I poked around their website, got a feeling for the spiritual and temporal work of the community. Even though I don't know a single person there, I feel connected to them by finding their ox. This week, I notice and keep the people of St. Luke's in prayer.

The abstract form of a winged ox on the wall of a church in Lodge Moor, #Sheffield. Sculpted by Rex Sellers in 1965