Thursday, February 1, 2024

Secret Friend

Hello Poets, 

Our Inkling friend Catherine tossed out this prompt to the Inklings for our first February Friday share.

"Write a poem about secrets--family, community/societal, government, personal, etc. This could be a narrative (how the secrets(s) started, where it or they led, the along-the-way, and final(if any) consequences. For inspiration or starting blocks for your poem here's this poem, "Family Secret" by Nancy Kuhl:"

Photo and poem by Linda Mitchell 2/2/24

Pawprints in recent snow gave me a giggle one day...where was the owner of the paws? I think it's a cat that has managed to live feral in our neighborhood for months. I've tried to feed this cat and make friends...but it's a stray that does not want to be anyone's pet. That's OK. We can be secret friends...until it snows.

Secret Friend Visit

A secret visit by my secret friend

peeking in my window to make sure

all inside is as it should be.

Someday, I hope they’ll be brave enough

to tiptoe inside, purr, or chirp, hello!

sit quietly by me sipping my tea-- happy with a secret friend’s secret visit.


This poem is in a form that's new to me. I learned it from the Ethical ELA January free-write. The form is called Kwansaba. It has:

  • 49 words
  • 7 words per line
  • 7 or less letters per word  
  • Created by Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club, in 1995

For more Inkling poems about secrets see:

Catherine at Reading to the Core
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Mary Lee at A(noth)er Year of Reading -- who is hosting our round-up today

There's a new World mash-up on the padlet--check it out here 


  1. The secret visitor and the mysterious footprints! Very fun. Love the idea of the friend peeking in.

  2. What a fun poem, Linda! During our last snow, we found some prints in the snow outside our house. We can't decide if they were made by a rabbit or some other critter. We have a feral cat in our neighborhood, too!

  3. Oops! I am the Anonymous above. : )

  4. Looks like your secret friend made the 'circle of nope'. (
    Thanks for the intro to Kwansaba...another new-to-me form. :)

  5. I love finding footprints in the snow and wondering who's been here. I hope you get to meet your secret friend someday. Thanks for new form!

  6. Sometimes, people share what's passed by from their door camera, often as a surprise. I like that you wrote about this 'secret', Linda. Your voice is so good, like you're whispering it to us! The form is intriguing, with narrow rules that you followed beautifully!

  7. This poem flowed naturally--no idea you were counting words and maybe even letters in each word? I love the line "all inside is as it should be," and the idea that someone, a feral secret stranger, is looking out for you.

  8. I love the assonance in your poem -- so many EE sounds! And like Heidi said, I had no idea it was a form! It flows so naturally.

  9. Happy to learn about a new poetic form and your secret friend. :) Love seeing paw prints in the snow. Ours are mainly foxes and squirrels.

  10. Linda, that is a fun take on the prompt, and I appreciate seeing another Kwansaba poem. (I haven't tried that one yet, but it looks intriguing.) Your sweet description before your poem of the feral cat makes me smile. I like to imagine it or another critter sitting alongside you drinking your tea. (on the outside of the slider, though)

  11. What a wonderful surprise! I hope that you get to meet in person someday and that he or she sticks around for a quick scratch under the chin. : )

  12. What a wonderful photo, and I love what you did with it! Ruth,

  13. So kind of your secret friend to check on you. :)

  14. I love that secret visitor. :) When we had snow a few weeks ago, I was out in the yard taking pictures and there were paw prints all over--around our house, down to the creek. We think it was a fox.

  15. I love your secret visitor/friend! Those footprints do tell a story, don't they!? What a great place to find a poem. There's such a wonderful open acceptance and gentleness to this poem. Somehow I missed (or already forgot!) the Kwansaba, so thanks for introducing the form here.

  16. Hee hee! Sometimes snow hides secrets, but I love that in this case it gives one away. We once had a stray move onto our porch. I fed him and talked to him for a few years, but he never let me get near him. One day I realized I hadn't seen him in a while. That was years ago. I hope he found another porch to curl up on. The form you used is intriguing. I'll have to give it a try. Thank you for sharing!

  17. A mysterious cat, a new form of poetry, and the thought of sipping tea with you ... what could be better? Love this, Linda!


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