Thursday, September 28, 2023

Double Dactyl Giggles

Hello Poets!

I had fun reading Tracy Kiff-Judson's double dactyls last Friday. 

This week, as I was perusing Pinterest, this graphic of the best words popped up in my feed. 

Double Dactyl form and some great words

How could I resist such fun words and then try to poem? I had to give writing double dactyls a try:

Linda's double dactyl giggles 9/29/23

Thank you, Jama, for hosting our Poetry Friday fun at your Alphabet Soup. I find so many good ideas from you there!


Last week, Irene Latham reminded us that there are just 14 weeks left of our year. Oh, my goodness...WORD and I were shocked. We've been having so much fun. But also, I am at that point in my OLW '23 that WORD is chasing me rather than me looking for it! 

Wouldn't you know, this week WORD caught me with this facebook photo. It's posted by one of my favorite paper crafters, Jennifer Collier (that's her typewriter made entirely of old papers). 

And, look! A list of artists that use text in their art. That's 14+ additional sources of art to find WORD. The first play session is on this week's padlet. Take a peek.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Write a fable find a poem

Hello Friend,

It's Friday. Hooray! This week included late afternoon appointments, house guests and, a back-to-school night at work only to be topped off with a flu shot. Hoo boy! I think I'll use this weekend to sleep, sleep, and get a little more sleep.

A few weeks ago, our friend Robyn, shared that she had a book of fables coming out. I excitedly ordered a copy of Out on a Limb: A Book of Fables (Core Essential Values. 2023). 

I loved fables as a kid and taught a lesson using fables with students last year.

Classic Aesop fables, as translated into English aren't easy for today's kids, and English language learners to enjoy. 

Someone should update fables, I thought...and so CEV with help from Robyn has. Thank you!

Out on a Limb contains ten beautiful fables in the classic tradition with updated storylines, new-to-fable animals, science facts, and great discussion questions. These stories, as fables do, share positive lessons on being a good human.

It's difficult to choose a favorite fable from  Out on a Limb. But, to give you a taste of the writing, here is a tiny bit from The Vulture and The Turkey

                "We all live; we all die," said the Vulture.

                The other birds looked at each other.

                "Well, we vultures take care of the dead bodies," she continued.
                "That means, we keep disease               
                 away. You don't get sick, and then you can sing,
                drill holes, or strut around as you please."

                No one spoke.

                "You know the saying, It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it?"
                the Vulture asked. "Well, I am somebody."

After reading Out on a Limb, I thought I'd write my own fable. After several poor starts, I learned just how challenging it can be! I finally scribbled out a beginning, middle, and end of a fable about a jaguar cub (my school's mascot is a jaguar). I found a lesson from a list of Reminders For Hard Days from WholeHearted School Counselor on Teachers Pay Teachers. That really helped me set the moral of the story.

Here's the fable...don't feel obligated to read it. I summarize the highlights in the poem below from words found throughout the fable.

Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your new book with us. I love it! 

Now fly, hop, skitter, or skedaddle on over to Carol at Beyond Literacy for a delightful helping of Poetry Friday. She's back from summer and hosting our round-up this week.

There's a new blitz poem on word's padlet

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Thank you, Summer!

This is it, friends...the last weekend of summer.

Ooooh, it's been a good one. I'm sorry to see it go. The promise of pumpkin spice and apple pie keeps me from being too sad.

goodies from Rose Capelli and Carol Wilcox. Summer 23

One of my summer favorites is the summer poetry swap hosted by Tabatha. I love making things with other poets in mind and receiving fun goodies delivered by snail mail. As part of my farewell and thanks to the season of summer, I'm saying thank you, poet friends as well.

Goodies from Marcie Atkins and Denise Krebs

The Word Padlet has a bit of reflective poetry today with The Middle Word.

Thank you too Rose at Imagine the Possibilities for hosting our round-up this week.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

The Museum on the Moon: a review

Hello Friends. Thanks for being here!

I'm celebrating the publication of Irene Latham's most recent book, The Museum on the Moon: The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface (Moonshower '23) Hooray!

In June, Irene invited all of us to write moon poems to welcome this new book into the world. Maybe you wrote one like I did? But, just like a late party guest, we mistake for the birthday girl to shout SUPRISE! there was a bit of a delay for Museum on the Moon to make her debut. Sigh...we've been waiting ever since. 

As I type this, Amazon is having a tough time keeping up with pre-orders for this book--and I'm not surprised. It's beautiful.

The first beauty of MOTM to notice is the color palette of white, blues, orange, and teal. Illustrator Myriam Wares's art for these twenty-one poems about the moon during the years of the US Apollo missions is a mix of lunar cool and kid-friendly invitation.

The poems vary in style from acrostic to ghazal, golden shovel, triolet, and more. Each is paired with short, factual prose about objects on the moon that have turned Earth's closest natural satellite into a curious sort of museum.

There's a sweet poem about a family photo, a memorial poem for astronauts who gave their lives to the space program's development, and a sentimental poem for a man whose ashes were taken to the moon.  Latham has also included poems about things inquisitive kids want to know like what happens to poop when humans are on the moon.

Backmatter in MOTM describes the important people and events of the Apollo missions including the Soviets who inspired, competed with, and even helped NASA sometimes. We poets can soak up the wonderful descriptions of poetic forms and get a peek into Irene's amazing process of creating the book from a form index. 

My favorite poem from this book has to be, 'Lunar Library.' 

From The Museum on the Moon by Irene Latham. Illustrated by Myriam Ware. Moonflower Press. 2023

Of course, my fingers itched to poem back.

Lunar Librarian for the Museum on the Moon

Little free moon library you say?

One sun-bleached Bible inside?
Oh, my--that won’t do!

Young readers are coming; lunar-kids,
with curiosity and imagination–
they’ll be here soon!

Moon newbies need good story books,
cosmic jokes, celestial novels,

and cartoons.

And bedtime poetry. Owl Moon, Goodnight Moon,‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,
or, If You Were the Moon.

With young readers coming they’ll want to know
about the place itself, books of  moon facts
to be attuned. 

to the quiet, pull of the moon on ocean tides,
lovers, witches on brooms. and night owls who

hoot a verse or two.

Linda Mitchell 9/8/23

I hope you'll pick a copy of The Museum on the Moon to share with your favorite people.  Or, ask your local library to order a copy to share with lots of young people. That's what I've done. 

Congratulations to Irene on her beautiful and slightly overdue book. I've enjoyed it immensely and learned a thing or two about the Apollo missions along the way.

Thank you to Amy who is hosting our round-up this week at The Poem Farm this week. 

Word's poem on the padlet today is also a response to Amy LV's 2010 poem, Word Blanket.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

September's Grace & Butterfly People


Thank you, Patricia, for giving us some time to think about your wonderful prompt, life at the speed of grace. This past weekend was four days long for me...and, I consider that a bit of grace.

School has started with students, and so far, so good. My colleagues and I are pleased with the very normal kid stuff our sixth graders are showing and familiar with the 7th and 8th graders still working out how they will navigate middle school.

Happy September Dance Linda Mitchell 

I entered the holiday weekend with a long to-do list as I usually do. And, I made sure I had time for writing and art.  I can lose myself in both these activities. I forget to be aware of time and enjoy the process of typing words, erasing, fixing, typing more words as well as cutting, gluing, and layering re-cycled paper into new things...and then find a sink full of dishes I meant to wash. Ha!

Bon Voyage. Linda Mitchell

I allowed myself time to make whatever came to mind...I allowed myself to play! I've started a new steampunk-themed junk journal and lots of butterfly people.

Butterfly people make me happy. I make them for cards and journals and just for fun. 

Nice Day for a Ride. Linda Mitchell

These butterfly people cards are for my Dad's generation of family. I tucked photos from our July family reunion into them and sent them off by snail mail--sharing grace time with them and now you.

Happy September! If you are a grandparent, September 10th is Grandparent's Day. I'm so lucky to have known my grandparents and carry them in my heart. I think of them often as I upcycle bits of old books that were around when they were. It's another bit of grace for me.

Cheering for Autumn. Linda Mitchell

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Enjambment Practice

 Hello Poetry Friends,

It is hard for me to believe that it's time to type S. E. P. T. E. M. B. E. R. Wow! But, here we are knocking on the door of autumn. 

The Inklings are responding to a challenge from Margaret this month: 

 "Jack Bedell is a former Louisiana Poet Laureate. His poem “Ghost Forest” uses the poetic element of enjambment. Write a poem on any topic using enjambment.

Here is the Poetry Foundation definition: "

I confess that line breaks are something of a mystery to me. I just put them where it feels right. Enjambment requires a tad more purpose than that. My poem with attempted enjambment is from last week's inspiration from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater to students, find something delightful.

Photo by Linda Mitchell

Today's word poem comes from a recent Poetry Unbound episode (number 22) in which Padraic O'Touma interviews Aimee Nezhukumatahil. She said in the interview about her love of writing about nature: "Mother Nature is the ultimate poet. I'm just taking notes."

For more peeks at Inkling takes on enjambment see:

Thank you, Ramona, at Pleasures from the Page for hosting our round-up this week. I loved your slice-of-life piece with photos of your grands. How fun!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Exquisite Corpse with Michelle Kogan

Hello Friday!

The talented and busy teacher lady, Michelle Kogan, asked if I'd swap lines for an exquisite corpse poem inspired by some of the clunkers I shared several weeks ago. 

Sure! I said...I'm a busy teacher lady too. Let's see what we can do with a tiny bit of time and ingenuity.

I promised Michelle I'd grab some art to illustrate this post--it's not quite a perfect match for this poem. But, I find butterfly and collage people super fun to make.

"Roots" and "A Few Thoughts." Mixed media collage.Linda M.

Butterfly People Family. Linda M. mixed media collage

The word on today's padlet is AUGUST!  

Thank you to the immensely kind and talented Linda Baie at Teacher Dance for hosting this week's round-up!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

For my nieces

Hello Friday Poetry Friends

I love to find an art museum anywhere I travel. Hubby and I recently visited the de Young fine arts museum of San Francisco where I happily searched for art with embedded words. 

A gallery that took my breath away was Kehinde Wiley's An Archeology of Silence. You may know Wiley from his famous portrait of President Barack Obama.

These photos do not do justice to Wiley's grand-scale works of art

My nieces come by way of Ethiopia. Being Black in Ethiopia is literally nothing to write home about. But, being an adopted daughter of an American white mother, my sister-in-law, is. My nieces take the brunt of navigating African Americaness for our family. It's a lot for anyone to manage. I admire their strength and grace as they do and we all learn from mistakes and missteps as much as anything. Thankfully, there's a lot of love.

When I entered Wiley's exhibit I wished my nieces with me. The astounding beauty and reverence he brings to his art is something I didn't even realize I needed. But, I do. 

From Wiley's website: "Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley, engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, Black and Brown men found throughout the world."

Wiley primarily invites me to see through his eyes to experience joy, grief, and curiosity. I was awed into actual silence as I searched for words in his larger-than-life paintings and sculpture. All of the larger-than-life pieces were spot-lit in a very dark gallery that felt holy.

My nieces are now young adults. I hope we can someday visit Kehinde Wiley's work together. I would love to know their impressions. His art is a beautiful meeting place for us.

I found a poem in a gallery placard at the Silence of Archeology exhibit.

piercing practice figures
claiming Black
value reveals sanctity 

Freestanding darkness
inspires reverence
and, admiration.


Today's padlet poem is based on the collage of Michelle Miller's 'Head Games. 

Thank you, Molly, at Nix the Comfort Zone, for hosting our round-up this weekend. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

It's My Birthday!

Hello Friends,

I'm so glad I get to share poetry with you on my birthday! At my age, it's at least as good as cake or ice cream.

Happy Birthday to my birthday twins (you know who you are)It's fun getting to share today with you.

The word for padlet today is twin. I'm keeping up with ekphrastic poetry about fine art I viewed this summer that had words embedded in the art. The artwork that this poem is inspired by Rosemari Bernardi's photograph. She's inspired to capture images of antiquated medical specimens. She calls these fragile jars "poetry of forgotten spaces." 

Thank you, Tabatha, Opposite of Indifference for hosting the round-up this week.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Learning the Names

Hello Poetry Friday Friends,

I am back from a trip to San Francisco with my sweetie. 

This trip gave me great opportunities for writing to Catherine's August prompt:

        "Robin Wall Kimmerer teaches us that “It's a sign         of respect and connection to learn the name of         someone else, a sign of disrespect to ignore it…         Learning the names of plants and animals is a         powerful act of support for them. When we learn         their names and their gifts, it opens the door to         reciprocity.” Look closely at the flowers, birds,         trees, or other natural features in your neighborhood         (or if you’re traveling, a new-to-you species)         and write a poem about your chosen species.         Free choice of format."

A priority visit for me in the San Francisco area was Angel Island. I taught Social Studies for years before becoming a school librarian. It amazed me that I only learned of Angel Island long after I had started teaching. I wanted to see the place for myself.

Angel Island is the Ellis Island of our American West. From 1910 until World War II, it detained immigrants, mostly from Asia, until their immigration status cleared them access to the mainland. For many, Angel Island was a prison for long stretches of time during an intense period of xenophobia. Some immigrants never made it to the mainland. During World War II the island held prisoners of war and interned Japanese Americans as well as diseased and quarantined patients.

What fascinates me about the barracks at Angel Island is poetry. Dozens and dozens of poems in Asian script, mostly Chinese, cover the walls. The US Immigration Service saw the writing as graffiti and painted the walls over and over again. The poetry always returned.

Much of the poetry is written by men and relays homesickness, desperation, and despair at being held behind fences and bars after a long, journey to America. Translations of many poems were provided for readers.

My photos

Once I arrived at the US Park office and paid my entrance fee, I kind of froze. I wanted to see the historical aspect of this place but the deeply personal experience of those connected to Angel Island isn't mine exactly.

Let me explain...

Three of my children are adopted from Asia. At the time of bringing my children into our family, my only motivation was to love a child as my create a family. As the kids grow, we continuously work through the joys and pains of interracial adoption.

Through the years of my family's experience, I've learned that not all experience is mine to share. My children's thoughts, feelings, and experiences are theirs and harm can be done if I don't respect how they wish to hold those very personal threads in their lives. I'm keenly aware of this as I enter the Angel Island barrack museum.

I decided that my visit would be one of tribute to my children's ancestors. I would hold them in my thoughts as I walked through the museum.

By the time I was ready to leave, I had lots of photos on my phone and lots of conversation in my head with unknown ancestors as I came across a California Poppy so bright and smiley at my feet. How dare this flower look so happy inside the fence of such grim history?

I used one of the Chinese poetry forms described in the museum (4 lines of 2 couplets. 5 or 7 syllables per line) as well as some of the medicinal properties of the California poppy discovered by Native Americans (googled by me) to create a cluster of poems.

For more Inkling takes on Catherine's spectacular prompt, please see:

Reading to the Core
Reflections on the Teche
My Juicy Little Universe
Nix the Comfort Zone
A(noth)er Year of Reading (Also, our Poetry Friday host)

The word on the padlet this week is RIPPLE.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023


Hello Sojourners,

I chose the focus word for this month's journey, turning when the words to the Shaker Hymn, Tis a Gift to be Simple were recently an earworm.

While walking and talking with my friend we had to mind smoke from Canadian wild fires.

A friend and I attended a funeral together and found ourselves discussing church afterward. Each of us has fallen out of the habit of regular face-to-face worship since the pandemic. Our children are adults and the responsibility of exposing them to weekly attendance has lessened. The truth is, I’ve come to enjoy church online. 

In fact, I love it. During online church, I either fold laundry or do very simple paper-crafting.  I don't fall asleep. I don't get distracted by others...I listen, pray, and reflect.

The thing is, I've always believed or been taught to believe that church is the community of the faithful. This includes relationships between church members.

My friend feels similarly. We talked long about this. We never reached any conclusions. But, it felt good to talk about this. She understands my awkward way of spinning out details and questions that make up my thinking on any topic. She doesn't necessarily want to fix the situation or give an answer. She walks with me through it and understands that I'm discerning. I know at some time in the future, she'll circle back to the topic to see if I've any new thoughts. I love this about my friend--gentle accountability.

Maybe because of the church talk, I found myself humming the tune to, 'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free...' Indeed, I felt freer after talking things out with my friend. When I couldn't remember more of the lyrics, I searched Google, and in true Linda fashion fell down a rabbit hole of interesting details about the religious sect.

As it turns out, ex-Shakers in the 1800s possibly shared this tune with the public when performing Shaker songs and dancing. There was money to be made from curiosity about this group back then. The tune was then picked up much later by Aaron Copeland to score Martha Graham's famous ballet, Appalachian Spring

    'To turn, turn will be our delight
    'til by turning, turning we come round right.'

This is when I understood -- my discerning process is what my spirit needs to do right now. And, I decided 'turning' would be the focus word for this month's SJT. 

Turning is natural, turning is OK. I'm not going to give up or run away to join the Shakers (they are no longer in existence). I'm going to let go of the worry about what is right and just be right by practicing what I've learned. 

This, of course, will include some face-to-face church time when I’m ready and it's right. It will also include online time. I’m fortunate this is possible for me. I'm also fortunate that my girlfriend walked and talked with me on our spiritual journey. 

What are your thoughts this month?


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Volunteer Zinnia

Happy Friday, Poets

Margaret has our round-up today at her blog, Reflections on the Teche

I find inspiration from Margaret's work. Poetry fits her life seamlessly. Whether she poems about her students, grandkids, a nearby oak tree, or the bayou...she brings us with her on her journey poetically. Thank you, friend.

The photo below is from  'This Photo Wants to be a Poem,' from Margaret's blog. Even though the purpose of the photo is to offer a quick, at-the-moment response, I like to take time with the image. The photos are any that she finds on her camera roll or on social media (shared with credit and permission).

I haven't been a consistent writer these days. I'd hoped summer would be more for writing but so much else has grabbed my time and attention. One way I ease back into writing is, to begin drafting with the words, "Today's poem is..." 

There is a new poem on WORD's padlet this week. 
It was inspired by the Teacher's Write 2023 haiku week prompts.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Poetry Friday is Here

Hello Beautiful Poets,

I'm hosting the round-up this week. I'd love for you to read my post and the posts of others and then leave a link to yours in the comment section with your link. Even though the widgets are easy, I love organizing a list of posts and me old-fashioned.

My OLW for the year is, WORD. As I've written before, I entered 2023 a bit nervous about how WORD and I would get to know each other. I worried I wouldn't find enough ideas.


WORD is now chasing me with ideas and I'm struggling to keep up.

When I was in New York with my college buddies we did things we love that we know our partners and children don't have patience for. A visit to the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery was one of these activities. 

As I walked through the gallery finding pieces of art that slowed me down for a longer look, I started to notice that some of the pieces had words embedded in the work. Oh, WORD, you silly. You found me! 
I began taking photos of art that had words embedded and now have poems.

I call the drafts below, 'Cluster Poems.' I'm not sure if there is a proper description? If so, I'd love to know.

The art is a very small part of a full wall mural:

I'm behind on clunker writing and sharing summer poetry swap goodies...I'll catch up. Summer has been packed with wonderful hours of fun and rest and thinking. I'm allowing it all to just be. 

Please remember to add your name to your comment. Blogger doesn't automatically show your name. Thanks!

There's a new WORD poem on the padlet today: 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Soduko Poems

Hello Poets,

Heidi challenges us to write Soduko poems this month. Oh, my goodness...these are definitely fun and absorbing. 

Trying to get the words to complement each other in horizontal and vertical paths is a hoot!

Read this sudoku poem...can you guess where the thought started? 

This week there are TWO poems on the WORD padlet to make up for last week's miss. 

Black Swallowtail:
Raw Caw:

We are halfway through the year. I think that's a celebration of some sort...maybe ice cream!

For more Soduko poems check out these poets:

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Catherine at Reading to the Core
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
Mary Lee at Another Year of Reading

Thank you, Marcie Flinchum Atkins for heading up our Round-up this week! She's urging us to join her on the Sealey Challenge.

I'm hosting next week--with some clunkeroonies! See you then.