Thursday, April 28, 2022

And then in the fourth week, a poetic line

My grandmother ended a letter at the end of January 1949 with these words, "Victor sure has a dandy girl. She is worse than the weather if you ask me."  I can practically hear the humph in the antique ink.

Finally, after line after line of daily household details, something juicy. Now, what to do with those two sentences? I have a few attempts scribbled in my notebooks but this triolet makes me giggle.

But is it Love?

Victor sure has a dandy girl 
She’s worse than the weather if you ask me 
Sunny one minute then next a churl 
Victor sure has a dandy girl 
He’s a head-over-heels tilt-a-whirl 
wrapped ‘round her little finger don’t you see? 
Victor sure has a dandy girl 
She’s worse than weather if you ask me

(c) Linda Mitchell 4/29/22

I found stars at school again. These delighted me as they were in response to a read-aloud of, What do you do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada (Compendium 2014). This kid has no idea how delightful it was for me to grade their paper! it's on the padlet 

How can it be that April is over? I was just adjusting to the writing schedule? We Inklings are paying homage to someone else's National Poetry Project with our poems next week, the first week of May. If you want to look over some of the projects they are at Jama's 

Don't forget to stop by Jone's wonderful blog for the Poetry Friday round-up. She amazes me regularly with her interviews and interesting poetry posts.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

When You Need a Break

Hello Poets!

How can it possibly be time for Poetry Friday again? I'm still catching up from last week. I guess this is what happens when I travel for Spring Break and arrive home late on Sunday, diving back into work bright and early on Monday. It's a bit of a blur.

I've been stopping by Ethical ELA for Verse Love this month when I can. The prompts support my April Poetry Month project of using old family letters as inspiration for new poems.  A recent prompt, 'When You Need a Break, Go to a Place of Comfort,' by Leilya Pitre was a lovely jumping-off place for a poem.

The prompt directs writers to go for a mind walk to a favorite place for writing inspiration. Several poems were offered as mentor poems. I used Robert Frost's 'A Late Walk.' as a frame for details of a letter written by my Grandma in 1949.

First, Frost

My draft 

My spring break travels were full of star surprises as I visited with my sisters. These surprises became the inspiration for this quickly dashed off haiku...although it's not sure it qualifies as an actual haiku. See it on the Star Padlet:

Be sure to stop by Margaret Simon's Reflections on the Teche for the latest lines of the Progressive Poem. She's hosting our round-up. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Caption These!

Hello Poets,

I'm traveling this week to have all kinds of spring break fun with my sisters. Before I began my travels, I had fun upcycling some images from weeded books for Easter cards. I'm wondering...what captions or greetings would you include on the backs of these postcards? 

I'll put my captions below. But, I'd love to also know what you'd say!

caption this #1

Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme is hosting Poetry Friday this holiday weekend. Thank you, Matt! 

caption this #2

There is a new star poem up on the padlet that comes from stars popping up wherever I looked at last week. I was out of the library in the wilds of the classroom and it seemed I saw stars everywhere. Isn't it funny how OLW can become such a focus? I felt blessed by those friendly stars. 

caption this #3

My captions:

1. Even though Papa had presented Junior with a specially trained Easter Egg Hunting Hound, this year's hunt proved a disappointment

2. How do you paint your eggs?

3. Franny didn't understand why the bunny ears she recently purchased were so deeply discounted until after she started pedaling. 

I should be back home to respond to posts early next week. Until then, Happy Easter! Good Passover, and Ramadan Mubarak to all those celebrating. 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Poetry Friday -- playing with form and point of view

Are we having fun yet?

I am! Though it's raining like crazy, I'm on the cusp of Spring Break. The promise of seven whole days to sleep in,  see my sisters, craft, write...oh, the possibilities. 

Thank you, Janice, at Salt City Verse for rounding up our Poetry Friday blogs today.

My Poetry Month project has me scratching my head a little bit. These letters I have from my grandmother ... They are newsy I suppose, but also dry. Dentist appointments and weather and the baby sleeping are not great inspirations for poems at first. 

I remember my grandmother. She was sparkly and light. She told stories in all the voices. She taught me things. She bought me a forbidden Barbie doll.

I've been looking for poetic phrases within her letters and a spare form to play with. I've not settled on anything. However, I really like how a cherita serves my purposes. It's short, story-telling in nature, and is a distinct form. It might help me include what's not written on the old yellowed pages.,

First a cherita from a letter:

October 7, 1948 

Paul and the boys have gone to East Hill for more hens
I thought I’d get my letter writing done while it is quiet

The weather here has been swell all week
leaves are starting to come down a little faster
Yesterday was grand for drying

(c) Linda Mitchell

Then in Free Verse:

Letter writing 

A task to accomplish
Better in the quiet
with the boys out of the house.

Just you and your pen
scratching away
on personalized stationery
dutifully accounting for your spent hours 

Autumn leaves fall fast
swirl with wash on the line
Tomorrow is for ironing.

(c) Linda Mitchell

The padlet grows with star shenanigans.

Spiritual Journey Thursday in April

Dear Sojourners,

Our host, Karen, offered a prayer for us to consider before sharing our posts this month:

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

     - from the Northumbria Community

As beautiful as the prayer is, I struggled to see a lesson in it. I didn't see a reflection piece in a prayer in which the speaker has made this commitment. 

I've been quite fretful in these past years. I've worried over Covid, then vaccines, then boosters, divided politics, the behavior of school children, and now another war before the world has cleaned up after the past several. There is no shortage of things for any of us to worry over. I sometimes joke with one of my very anxious kiddos that I'll take their top worry for free! I don't charge. I'll worry over that stinker of a worry like a pro. The only hitch is, that they can't have that worry back. They have to let it go for good.

This is, of course, what God is urging of me.

Years ago, I was in professional development when I began asking quite a few "what if" questions just as my middle school students do. After I sputtered off several questions, the leader simply invited me to "trust the process." That was a moment I'll never forget. The leader was very quiet, and patient and welcomed my questions. The answer to them the process of what I was learning.

Lent has been a productive time for me. My church publishes a devotional each year written by members of our congregation. It is beautiful and funny and painful and wonderful to read. I draw closer to my church family as I read about the ways that they have approached life with God's help. I've used these devotions as writing prompts and the reward has been rich (OK, some giggles and tears too).

When I re-read the prayer above I realize I don't have to find a lesson. All I need to do is trust the process. Trust the beauty of the wonders of nature as true, trust the power of God to hold and lead, watch and hear, hearken and guide and protect. The invitation is there. I simply need to relax into it.

I need to trust the process. And, not take that worry back. Amen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Progressive Poem Day 6


I'm glad you made it. Molly had to step out of the classroom for a moment and I'm minding the store until she gets back. How's that for some seriously and badly mixed metaphors?

Here's what we have so far...some rather back and forth between going or not going...I'm adding my vote for going on the adventure! Always choose adventure. 

My Line for 4/6 comes from Mr. Willy Wonka himself straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roal Dahl. 

"Come with me, and you'll be in a land of pure imagination" 

OK, Kim Johnson, your turn!

Want to follow along on the journey? This list shows where the poem has been and where it’s headed:

1 April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing