Thursday, April 1, 2021

Eight Ways, Easter Oxen & Progressive Poem

  Good Friday Friends,

April is here! Welcome, to the month-of-opening. Mary Lee heads up this week's Poetry Round-up at a Year of Reading.  

There are three parts to this week's post. A SWAGGER Challenge, Easter Oxen, and The Progressive Poem. Take your pick or enjoy it all.


I challenged my SWAGGERs to write: Something seen in many ways. Pattern a poem after Pat Schneider's The Moon Ten Times as appears on Jama's blog here. You choose the 'number of times.' Ten is not a required number. 

Eight Ways an Octopus 

1. Story Inspiration
    beneath the deep   
    On the edge of a kelp forest...

2. Notebook doodles
    quick ink-sketch 
    school escape

3. Rock garden artisan
    designs a gate
    shut--to sleep safe

4. Camouflage fashionista
    plays hide and seek
    Color and chic!

5. Jet fighter pilot
    strikes targets
    with precision beak

6. Problem solver
    brain muscle
    operates tools to deceive

7. Creative Contortionist
    tight-fitting moves
    any time, any space

8. Blue blood poet
    three fluid hearts
    swim-lines of grace

(c) Linda Mitchell

If you are interested in a call for poems about octopuses and other cephalopods, click here.

See how other SWAGGERs met this challenge. Catherine Heidi Margaret Molly


Guess what? Guess what? Guess what?! There are Easter oxen! In Florence, Italy oxen pull a cart that includes fireworks each year to the Duomo on Easter Day. You can find them hanging out with Hamish here. 


The Progressive Poem is rolling. It began with Kat Apel offering two lines to choose from and a lovely concise description of the project. 

From Kat's two lines to choose from I chose....         

  I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

Mary Lee can choose:     Easily contagious sharing smiles is my plan.

                                    Don't fret about a fever, loss of smell, or taste


  1. You've got me feeling the octopus love, Linda! I actually watched "My Octopus Teacher" last night after we talked about it on Sunday. Wow! Now I have all sorts of additional images to go along with the wonderful ones you've created in your poem. I love how you begin with a story and end with the heart of a poet. Thanks for a terrific prompt this month!

  2. You nailed all your challenges, Linda! Happy NPM!

  3. I guess I'll have to re-up Netflix so I can watch "My Octopus Teacher" now that you're the second person to recommend it!

    Thanks for a great couple of lines for the progressive poem. I've never had a line this early. Knowing that I can help set the direction for the poem is a little bit daunting! Off to scribble ideas in my notebook...

  4. Thank you for this fun challenge, Linda! I adore your octopus stanzas, especially that "blue blood poet." Can't wait to see which line Mary Lee will choose.

  5. Love your 8 ways of looking at an octopus--especially the creative contortionist, which reminded me of My Octopus Teacher. I know which line I would choose--but what will Mary Lee pick?

  6. Love the 'swagger' challenge & the many things you included, Linda and made it eight! And wow, those Easter oxen! Time for a wee story for large oxen! The lines when one has to choose are such a challenge. I can see Mary Lee choosing either & it will be intriguing already! Thanks for all!

  7. Love your Octopus challenge poem, your #2 is perfect and so visual,
    "Notebook doodles
    quick ink-sketch
    school escape"

    How lovely those oxen are with their floral headdress.
    I have a favorite line from the two you wrote for the Progressive Poem, but will have to wait till Saturday to see which path Mary Lee will take us on… Lovely post Linda, thanks!

  8. I love your Eight Ways an Octopus. You've done this so well! (Though funnily enough, the only connection I didn't immediately get was the Octopus'Garden gate. My mum, the Beetles fan would be horrified.) And I'm so glad you chose that second line! When that line of thought popped into my head, I very nearly didn't give you the choice. :) And you've written two very fine options for Mary Lee to carry it on with.💕

  9. Oh linda - your octopus suite is a delight - you may have noticed I'm a little octopus (and other things under the sea) obsessed at present. And a call of cephalopod poems too! thankyou!

  10. Because of you, Linda, I'm learning about cephalopods and I love your ten octopus poems. I'd love to see those oxen at the Duomo!

  11. So much here. Where to start? Your octopus poem shaped up to be brilliant. I hope you submit it! The Easter oxen, oh my! And your line choices, to rhyme or not? Thanks for your enthusiastic participation.

  12. So. Much. Goodness, Linda! Love the idea of an octopus being a 'blue blood poet'! I'm partial to that Italian Bimbo ox! And the progressive poem is off to a good start with capable poets at the helm. I look forward to how it develops. Happy NPM! :)

  13. Triple decker richness, Linda. I feel exactly like you do: guess what? guess what? guess what? Easter oxen!!!! Isn't it cool when we find things that FIT? I approve of your choice and your choices for the Prog Poem...I wonder if we can get an octopus in, eight-armed kindness?

  14. Of course your octopus poem should have 8 parts! Yay! I can "see" MY OCTOPUS TEACHER in these lines... so beautiful! And your oxen are so celebratory... I love how your padlet has grown. And yay for the growing Progressive Poem (and not fretting). xo

  15. I love your eight ways about an octopus--each stanza opened a new view of this fascinating creature. I may have to try this with the geese floating on my pond this spring--and nesting on our island. And who knew about Easter oxen? How cool. I'm loving how the Progressive Poem is taking off this year.

  16. Your octopus poem is wonderful! I especially like the camouflage fashionista stanza. And great choices for the progressive poem. I'm watching this one closely as I'm up next week!

  17. Oh, wow - thanks for this rich post. I'm loving the poetry ("three fluid hearts") AND the oxen - I want to wear those flowers on my head all day. Wouldn't get anything done, but I'd look as lovely...!

  18. Much to love here today, Linda - thanks for ALL! And here's to kindness to take us through the month. :0)

  19. Such a rich post. Adore the easter oxen! also an anthology about cephalopods, my latest craze (well, the octopus. The cuttlefish is a bit scary.)

  20. What a clever poem and I really liked how you were so creative after reading Pat S's poem. That creativity streak found a place in the Progressive poem. Your choices are rich with thought. Hamish is meeting new oxen and learning about their backstories. Thanks for the poetic goodness today.

  21. Oh, I love your octopus poem. I have a few octopus poems myself--they are so magical, and your poem really celebrates them. And I had the honor and fun of reading your Easter oxen poem at our last AW circle. We missed you!

  22. Ten ways of seeing...or eight or any number... very fun approach and I love "Camouflage fashionista"! An artist with words, you are. Octopuses fascinate me; I have a couple of books on them. They ARE amazing problem-solvers. And Easter Oxen-! Oxen wonders never cease!

  23. An inspirational doodler-gardener-fashionista-jet pilot-problem solver-contortionist-poet octopus??? Now that sounds like a creature I'd like to meet! So glad your imagination can't be contained, Linda. :)

  24. Wait! Easter oxen? LOVE! Your swaggers had a tricky form to follow. Impressive! -- Christie @

  25. I'm just catching up on everyone's posts so far ... and the poem from its beginnings. I love your second line and I really enjoyed your octopus poem, too. Especially the second Way. :-)


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