Thursday, March 25, 2021

Of Squid Proportions

Happy Friday,

I'm away from my desk today. Responses from me this week will be slow...but I'll get to them.

A lovely poet from Laura Shovan's 9th annual February Poetry Project shared a call for poems for an anthology about octopuses. I want to send a poem. But, I don't know much about octopuses or other cephalopods. One of my favorite websites, The Smithsonian Institution, was a help to get started: 

Page 27 from "A Handbook to the National Museum under the direction of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington" with illustrations of helmet shell (Fig. 21); mollusks dwelling on land or in fresh-water (Fig. 22); calamary (Fig. 23); octopus swimming (Fig. 24); and octopus crawling (Fig. 25).

What a neat document to find poetry in! I fished (haha) through lines of text for phrases in 5 and 7 syllables lengths. From those lines, I found some haiku. And, I was able to form questions that led me to more information in other places. Fun!

haiku found from the article posted above...with some help from the colored pencils college daughter left behind for me-

Do you want to find out more about submitting to the octopus and other cephalopod anthology? Here is the link for more information. Happy writing!

See a new poem on padlet.

Susan is graciously hosting Poetry Friday this week at Soul Blossom Living. Be sure to stop by and see her lovely work and lots more poetry.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Oriel and Ark and Higgins

 Good Bye Winter,

You've been swell. My family and I managed to stay healthy. I wrote lots thanks to Laura Shovan's February Poem Project and Ethical ELA, and my friend Ox. School kept me busy in good and creative ways. 

But, if I'm honest, I won't miss you, winter. I look forward to the warmth and sunshine of approaching spring and summer.

Ox and I continue to play.  I've started thinking of the padlet of ox poems as Hamish's padlet .  His poem was the first of 2021. 

Since January, Hamish has made friends with oxen from China, Mississippi, Australia, Canada as well as people of the past such as photographer Dorthea Lange. This week, Hamish met a hard-working team from County Sligo, Ireland when I learned a mountain range named, The Ox Mountains, is located there.

Oriel and Ark

Oxen friends of Ox Mountain 
County Sligo, Ireland  
Pull and plow  
for Higgins  
a man determined  
to practice organic  
and biodynamic agronomy. 
New names  
for old ways  
in old Eire land  
amuse Oriel and Ark  
who help Higgins  
grow fine and fit plants  
for folk to eat  
in Ireland.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Thank you, Linda Baie for hosting this week's round-up at Teacher Dance. Make sure you stop over to her blog for some fresh poetry from our friends.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Celebrate Women

Hello Friday!

I'm happy to see Friday rolling into my world. And, I'm happy that Heidi is hosting our round-up at My Juicy Little Universe. She is a poet who inspires me as her poems emerge from a full and busy life. 

On Thursdays, Margaret Simon hosts This Photo Wants to be a Poem. This week, she shared a photo of a patch of clover. The miracle of flowers so close to receding winter days caught her photographer and poet's eye. 

The photo sparked me. I thought of Women's History Month. #Womenshistorymonth. 

photo by Margaret Simon

Celebrate Women

Notice clover  
as winter flees. 
Think Rachel Carson and-
Margery Stoneman Douglas 
Greta Thunberg, Berta Caceres--  
entire fields of women who
call into action  
new thought 
within thinking communities-- 
to protect, mend conserve— 
mysteries of the earth  
that ground us  
as she blooms and spins

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

See the newest Ox Poem on Hamish's padlet. He's made friends with Canadians. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Following Amanda Gorman's Lead

 Happy Friday, Poets

It's March, and our friend Kat Apel is hosting Poetry Friday with a shiny new picture book in her cap. Congratulations, Kat! I sincerely hope we get a chance to see A Bird in the Herd (UQP 2020) in US markets. Does anyone know someone that knows someone that can let us ... know?

The SWAGGERs have been trying to keep up with life these days. Teaching and writing sometimes require more minutes than we have to spare. I was thankful Margaret suggested following Amanda Gorman's #agoodtimetowrite by finding words in an existing text to inspire a new poem. See the process explained by Ms. Gorman here--it's simple and fun. Join us!

I listened to Kent State (Scholastic 2020) recently. When I finished the book I made a list of words and chose some from that to create nonets that bookend the cover of Wiles work below. The book is quite an experience to listen to. It touched me deeply and leads me to the final question of my poems. I recommend reading or listening to it.

nonets (c) Linda Mitchell. Book Cover: Wiles, Deborah. “Kent State by Deborah Wiles.” Deborah Wiles, 6 Aug. 2020,


Hey– your papers, you dropped peace, rocks, ring. 
They flutter-fell out of your book 
onto the sidewalk, just here. 
Simple, powerful words— 
too weighty to lose. 
These little gems. 
mean so much 
to me. 

Thank you 
I’m writing-- 
History class-- 
The Kent State shootings. 
My head’s still in the book- 
those eyewitness accounts of 
all those kids protesting a war. 
Just like us – but shot on campus 
Does the past really repeat itself?

My SWAGGER pals are taking up the challenge as well!

Heads up -- there's a new poem on Hamish's padlet. 

In the spirit of Miss Dickinson

Good March, Friends.

When I saw Margaret's invitation for this week, March spirit-wind, I was a little stumped. Yes, I could easily write about the Holy Spirit. Lent is a time for me to think about spiritual matters in preparation for Easter.

Then, this bit of poem came across one of my social media platforms. I wish I could remember which one and when. I snagged it to share with my students thinking it was the whole poem. And, when I returned to the internet hours later to search for it found the entire poem.

I couldn't resist. I had to write back to Miss Dickinson. I've been getting to know her slowly as a poetry student. She is a wonderful teacher. 

read the rest here

Hello Miss Dickinson, Hello! 

Thank you – thank you- 
It’s been too long-- 
a journey like no other- 
This old hat has been battered -
about by the wind- 
My breath comes and goes 
with this lingering cough- 
How are you--Dear Miss Dickinson? 
Have you noticed Nature? 
Oh, let’s go sit— 
and look upon it together. 

I received your response- 
and the woodsmoke 
after our holidays 
when The Maples ran -
with sap over crusted snow. 
But Miss Dickinson, forgive me— 
all that corn snow melted 
for your ink well— 
have you used it up already? 

Will anyone be joining us? 
Miss April always wants in on-
our news. But she can wait-
I long for cold greening hours-
in velvet dressing gowns. 
You can fix my hair --
as I read your newest poems. 

Maybe tomorrow the young ones next door 
will fly a kite and we can watch where it roams.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Wood, Grant. “March.” Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian American Art Museum - Renwick Gallery, 2021,

Thank you Margaret Simon for hosting Spiritual Thursday and participating in Slice of Life this month at her blog, Reflections on the Teche. Make sure you don't miss her newest!