Thursday, May 6, 2021

In Conversation

Hello May Friends,

Wasn't April wonderful? So much fun reading and writing and enjoying the poetry community. As a librarian at my school, I hosted a poetry "something" for every day of the month. We enjoyed a bracket-style Poetry Pandemonium competition and field trip poems on Fridays.

Please visit Bridget at Wee Words for Wee Ones for this week's round-up. I wonder what Smidgey has gotten up to?

This week, I'm in conversation with Cheryl Dumesnil's poem Today's Sermon

Here are the first few lines of Dumesnil's work


is slop buckets knocking
            against each other

and a towel cart
          squeaking down the hall

and grease stains
        worked into cracked palms.

Today's sermon is (read the rest here)

In conversation with Dumesnil's poem

Today’s Poem 

is my carefully parked car 
      in a pull-through space
taking five extra minutes
     to arrange a double mask 
before lining up to swipe my keycard
     socially distanced from colleagues.
Today’s poem is 
     black vultures roosting 
on my suburban house rooftop 
     hissing over death.
Today’s poem is stacking take-out boxes,
     praying the landfill doesn’t overflow 
that there’s room for now. 
     Today’s poem is breaking a twenty 
so I can toss a few bucks to the guitar busker 
     his daughter fiddling the melody
in the grocery store parking lot. 
     Today’s poem is meeting pandemic-worn
languishing -- 
     pretending it will soon end.

(c) Linda Mitchell -- draft

Hamish appreciates the visits to his padlet. This week, he's visited with some extinct ancestors known as aurochs, from the Lascaux Caves of France. 


  1. You have captured the tone, for sure of Dumesnil's poem, a sense of daily grind, so appropriate for the times. We're not done yet, are we? Thanks, Linda.

  2. I love this, Linda, each part connecting to life Whew, wishing for other things, but sometimes this 'sermon' is all we have. Beautiful response to Dumesnil.

  3. Oh, my friend, Linda--just so, it is just so...but also your blossoming of joy. I'm overwhelmed at the moment by the simultaneous holding of all the black vultures and takeout containers and allium globes and poetry field trips. Thank you.

  4. Wow, Linda, you channeled Dumesnil style to absolutely nail the "pandemic-worn languishing" we are all feeling in your poem. Well done.

    Also, thanks for asking about my lil' Smidgey. She wasn't up to the task of co-hosting PF with me today as she had some teeth extracted and is resting and rehabilitating on her pillowed throne. She sends you a *woof* of appreciation. :)

  5. I love Dumesnil's line about dragging grace... and your last several lines. Languishing is the right word for pandemic exhaustion.

  6. Linda, I love the conversation you have with Dumesnil's poem. This stanza seems to say so much...

    "Today’s poem is stacking take-out boxes,
    praying the landfill doesn’t overflow
    that there’s room for now."

    "Pandemic-worn languishing" indeed.

    Thank you for your words.

  7. Oh Linda, so good, both the Dumesnil poem and yours! Thank you!

  8. Oh yes, I wish it was over too, and that we didn't have to pretend… Love the staccato movement in your in-the-moment poem–thanks for bringing me there, and for Dumesnil's poem too!

  9. Today’s sermon is/dragging grace around resonates with me and does your conversation with the poem. Pandemic blues overshadow life but your words bring hope that we continue to write amidst the challenges. Off to read what Hamish is up to now.

  10. What a poem.
    What a day.
    What a world we live in...

  11. You had me hooked from "is my carefully parked car in a pull-through space" (a.k.a. the first line!), as I'm known for that around here. PULL THROUGH! SCORE! So much here, Linda, as always. -- Christie @

  12. Thank you for the introduction to "Today's Sermon" -- I like what Cheryl Dumesnil has to say about writing poetry: "By example, Kim has taught me that, as fierce and edgy as a poet’s writing might be, it comes from a bruise-tender place. You can’t have one without the other. If you’re all edge, you’re pure defensiveness; if you’re all bruise-tenderness, you’ll never get out of bed. Living a poet’s life means developing the ability to be both vulnerable enough to feel the impact of the world and strong enough to speak the truth about it." She doesn't mention joy, but I guess that would be the third leg? (I'm not sure I have edge, to be honest. But I do have weariness sometimes, like we can feel in your poem.)

  13. This is a wonderful response to Dumesnil's poem, Linda. I'm with Christie on pull-through parking spaces, and I love your questions about the landfills. After this weekend, I'm don't feel like we're pretending so much anymore.


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