Thursday, August 5, 2021

Inspired by Wordless Picture Book

Hello Poets,

Happy August! Thank you, Mary Lee, for hosting this week's round-up. Make sure to visit her snazzy new site for poem goodies. 

Guess what? the group formerly known as Swaggers is now Inklings! I like the name Inklings much more than swaggers...I think we all do. 

Our August challenge is to write an ekphrastic poem in response to a favorite scene in a wordless picture book. This challenge was inspired by Catherine who was inspired by a current exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum.

First off, choose just one? I always have trouble with choosing one of anything! But, I narrowed my favorites down to two along the same theme. As it turns out, I took inspiration from a favorite poem as well. Win-win.

Weisner, David. Illustration for Flotsam. (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin). 2006 (c) David Weisner


Inspired by Walt Whitman

I listened to the renowned marine biologist

When the slides, and statistics, were displayed on screen,

When I considered ocean temperatures, acidity levels, and deoxygenation

When I heard the scientist share findings with gravity,

How agitated and restless I became.

How I slipped away, wandered out of doors, down the steps, to the shore.

Embraced by salt and afternoon sun, I dug toes deep into cooler sand

and made my way to surf-lace bubbling over shells and rocks and weeds.

I bent down for a closer look, enchanted by tiny creatures

and I recalled myself.

(c) Linda Mitchell 8/21

Suzy Lee. Illustration for Wave (Chronicle Books) 2008. (c) Suzy Lee

More inklings responses:

Hamish wrote his own poem this week. He is a bit of a cheeky ox with a word about Taurus. See it on his padlet. 

Oh, I have some Summer Poetry Swap goodies to share, thanks to Tabatha, but I'm saving those for next week. 


  1. I love "lace bubbling over shells and rocks and weeds." And the toes in "cool sand." I've often noticed these things. This poem is a perfect pairing for this boy, an obvious scientist.

  2. Oh, look at you writing yourself onto the page. This is a wonderful wave of words and moments leading to that enchanting last line. Love it, Linda! (And I too love your name change. Inklings is perfect! AND I love your clunker that inspired Mary Lee's villanelle. You are generous, infections and lovely!)

  3. I love the excitement you've shown in this 'shout-out' to curiosity & the wordless book pages, Linda. It has such a strong voice. What a wonderful prompt! One colleague collected wordless picture books & had her entire class choose one & write their own stories with them.

  4. I love how you have riffed on Walt here, Linda, and that last line is a simple, steady revelation--but I think my favorite part is this little business:
    "When I heard the scientist share findings with gravity,
    How agitated and restless I became."
    Among all the sciency words, gravity takes on so many meanings, all of which explain the ungroundedness of the speaker's response. The tension is perfect!

  5. Linda, I do like your writing group's new name and enjoyed your wordless book poem with its beautiful description of the shoreline. There are many strong action verbs in your poem that share the same space as descriptive words of the ocean,surf-laced bubbling. "Embraced by salt and afternoon sun" takes me right back to my Cape May holiday. Thanks for another very interesting poem from Hamish who is also delivered a science-related poem.

  6. Linda,
    I am reading back some of your amazing entries and art and poetry. Wonderful. I need to come back and immerse myself. I wish I could spend a month just reading the blogs and trying everything. Talk about not being able to choose. Brava for creativity and energy and poetry. Thank you! Janet Clare F.

  7. PS Inklings is a great new name!

  8. How fun that two images + Walt Whitman led you to this fantastic riff! This bit: "surf-lace bubbling over shells and rocks and weeds" LOVE!

  9. Linda, what a fun post. I love all the inspiration you shared, and then made this poem happen. Like Mary Lee, I was struck with "surf-lace bubbling" That is gorgeous!

    Hamish was in a mood this week. I love that the oxen accept the undeserved praise for their bovine cousin...
    "We oxen snort and snore
    renew our strength
    in the night
    for tomorrow’s heavy pulling." He has more important things on his mind!

  10. What a great poem! What a great ending! I definitely connected with that feeling of listening to the stats and facts and feeling that despair creep in. As well as taking care of the self by considering the small. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Linda, I love how you linked these two images through your poem! So clever! Your final lines are prefect, and make me long to stand in "surf-lace bubbling over shells and rocks and weeds."

  12. I loved the slowing down and sense of slipping back until finally able to reconnect with the self. Just beautiful.

  13. I also love the Whitman poem you're referencing! :-)

  14. The merging of words and pictures is a magical thing Linda. It is easy to imagine your inner joy when these two triggers delivered you to this outcome. Great image and the spark of Walt Whitman has bubbled forth in your words.

  15. What a fun challenge for the month! I really like the spread that you chose and your poem is wonderful. So much fun!

  16. This is wonderful Linda. A reminder that we need to balance awareness of what's going on in the world, with experiencing our world. I love how sensory the language is in this line: "Embraced by salt and afternoon sun, I dug toes deep into cooler sand"
    And how lyrical and visual this is: "surf-lace bubbling over shells and rocks and weeds."

    Thank you for sharing this today!

  17. Your post is a perfect combination of inspirations, Linda! As Heidi noted, you really rocked when you riffed off Whitman. The whole poem speaks to me on so many levels, and that ending line is perfect. What a great response to the prompt!

  18. What a wonderful poem and momentary escape it offered, bringing you to find yourself once again, with that lovely turn in your poem Linda! Love the art too—but ah our task ahead for our climate is huge…


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