Thursday, July 1, 2021

Clunker + Challenge = Fun!

Have a cookie.

I'm packing the car with homemade cookies to take to my extended family I haven't seen in three years. 

It's been a looooooooooooooooong pandemic. 

Thank you, Laura Shovan, for hosting this US Independence Day holiday weekend! I'm saving some red, white & blue cookies for you!

I have such a crazy mix of things that went into today's post I can only explain it as an equation post.

These are the bits at the start:

Last week I gathered some outstanding clunkers in the comments from visitors to my post (Thank you!). Laura offered the one in the first orange square above. And, since she's hosting this week, I thought....surely I can twist her clunker into an original poem. Right?

But wait, it's July! Heidi challenged the SWAGGERS to write in the style of Gail Martin from a poem Tabatha posted on her blog last week (see image #2): What Pain Doesn't Know About Me.

Could I combine the two? I thought I'd try.

I googled "unpainted conical body" and got the result of the third image in the equation, a manlave (type of Filipino timber) carving of the Madonna and child titled: Our Lady of the Snows

Ever heard of Our Lady of the Snows? Me neither! I looked this Catholic saint up....see the fourth image.

The sum of all these parts is a poem. 

What Our Lady of Snows
Doesn’t Know About Me

How surprised I was to find his unpainted conical body online. Carved out of manlave wood.

My fingers. How still after my last rosary lifetimes ago
but they still know the chain of prayers.

I can walk miles in the dark. It’s how I solve for X.

She never did deify my faith...more feminized it.

My history with field hockey.

My savvy at cutting paper gemstones. I have decades of love letters
ready to fit into anniversary settings.

We’re both mothers. Although my children eat earth,
ash, and blood. And, my tears fall constantly.

Even as the crown of the hill awaits falling snow
I buy tickets for Rome.

If turned upside down, all my words will fall out
around the outline of this sink where I fill a vase for lilies.

Linda Mitchell 2/7/21

Hamish is trudging through summer. He thought he'd work with Mary Lee's offered clunker, "bicycle grease on my calf." But, when we googled "ox on a bike," we got this photo -- which resulted in a giggle fit for the both of us. 

Photo: Anthony Bianco - The Travel Tart. “How To Ride A Bike With Ox in Vietnam: The Travel Tart Blog.” How To Ride A Bike With Ox in Vietnam | The Travel Tart Blog, 28 Sept. 2018

There is a poem of sorts that we cobbled together on his padlet. 

See how Margaret, Catherine, Molly, and Heidi met our July challenge.


  1. Oh my heavens, Linda, how I love this pile-on of a post. I think you are the motorbike in this equation, carrying all kinds of interesting cargo! My favorite line of this poem (and I love knowing about Our Lady of the Snows) is "I can walk miles in the dark. It’s how I solve for X." Nailed it!

  2. Wow! You have packed this carload with more than cookies! Your travels with Ox have been full of surprises. And Our Lady of Snows is nothing if not surprising. You can find inspiration anywhere. So many lines to love. I think this is my favorite, "If turned upside down, all my words will fall out
    around the outline of this sink where I fill a vase for lilies." But if you ask me tomorrow, it will be another one. Have a wonderful holiday weekend! And happy anniversary!

  3. Linda, I love the way you took all these different elements and wove them into one amazing poem! I agree with Heidi and Margaret about their favorite lines. "Still know[ing] the chain of prayers" after many years reminds me of my grandmother, who gave up the Catholic church, but never her faith, when she married my grandfather. Have a wonderful reunion with your family!

  4. Oh my, that Hamish pic is a giggle for sure, Linda. I am amazed at the way you connected all your dots, this plus this plus this = a poem of your life, right? I hope you share this with the family you are finally visiting! Happiest of reunions to you!

  5. Linda, what an equation. That seems magical how you pulled all those pieces together. That poem is full of images that bring thoughts and ideas to my mind, and it makes me want to talk about this poem with you. My favorite lines are:

    "We’re both mothers. Although my children eat earth,
    ash, and blood. And, my tears fall constantly."

    Have a wonderful cookie-full weekend with family!

  6. I am imagining you at your sink filling a vase and creating poems. I love how each idea and image leads to another. Cone of a body, Gail Martin, Lady of Snows. Your poem seems inevitable.

  7. I love these lines, Linda: "Even as the crown of the hill awaits falling snow
    I buy tickets for Rome."

    Funnily enough, with your theme of religion, I wrote the clunker about the figure of a monk -- an automaton from 1550.

  8. Beautiful poem Linda, from so many sources–and all fits together under the umbrella of sharing unknowns. I especially like your closing lines,
    "If turned upside down, all my words will fall out
    around the outline of this sink where I fill a vase for lilies."
    both falling out and filling up simultaneously, lovely, thanks!

  9. So much to love in this post! Your poem is stunning. The ox on a bike made me almost snort my morning tea. I'm wonder what it makes of the upside down view of the world going back at (maybe not the best adjective, considering the picture) BREAKNECK speeds?!?! I am trying to work the clunker I borrowed from you into the poetry sisters' villanelle challenge. We'll so how that goes...

  10. Fascinating process of discovery, Linda, how one thing leads to another gem of a thing - that you are able to put it all together in such a cohesive whole is astounding artistry! "Our Lady of the Snows" just begged for a poem - and oh, yours is breathtaking, born of Laura's compelling clunker that is indeed a piece of gold (forgive, but it makes me wonder: are clunkers truly clunkers?). Your poem is a marvel and I keep rereading it just for the joy of the flow and the sense of "jewels in my mouth" (there's a clunker for you, borrowed from Frank MccCourt in Angela's Ashes. He was describing the first time he read Shakespeare). Thank you for all these gemstones, and another visit with dear Hamish. -Egads!!

  11. I love the idea of writing a poem about what someone doesn't know about you. I missed PF last week, so I enjoyed the post of Tabatha's that you linked to as well. I'm going to have a go at this poetic form - thank you for sharing it!

  12. I'm so glad you shared your process, Linda. I feel like I was along for a real whiz of a creative ride :) (though I wasn't toting an ox along with me--phew!) I especially loved the lines "I can walk miles in the dark. It’s how I solve for X." Your post reminded me that I missed Poetry Friday when you were hosting. Now that I know there are gems (aka clunkers) up for grabs there, I'm off to plunder for treasures, hoping I can create something as inspired as you have! Enjoy your time with family!

  13. Linda, I am finally here to comment after a jammed packed weekend with my little girls. I read your post a few times and I have to say it is full of surprises. Hamish is having so many travels and you are knee deep in giving him the ride of his life. Now for a side bar on Our Lady of the Snows. Looking back into my childhood, I remember a long trip from Syracuse to the Toronto area where there is a shrine to Our Lady of the Snows. My reflection: I received a very nasty cigarette lighter burn from the device in a car; wore a bandage around my wrist, and watched a huge pilgrimage walk at dark at the shrine. Your reflection" "She never did deify my faith...more feminized it." The ending line is the sum of all your parts completing the equation poem. Now this was a challenge and you got it!


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