Linda Kroll’s love of words and stories were sown in her childhood by her poetry-writing grandmother, her poetry-reading mother, and her story-telling father. Hearing the refrain of folk singer Phil Ochs’ When I’m Gone (“I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here”) shortly after her mother’s death sparked her own plunge into writing poems. She loves the music of poetry—the interplay of sounds and the pulse of its rhythms. She primarily writes verse stories for children.
Linda grew up outside of Chicago, and every summer her family spent a few weeks enjoying the silky water and sandy beaches of a lovely lake in central Wisconsin. Although she went on to live in several states and three foreign countries, most summers she managed to spend a week or two back at a that small lake. Eventually she moved closer to it and now resides in the Fox Cities.
Linda has degrees in education, comparative literature, and German. She has been a college instructor, a high school teacher, an elementary school tutor, and a storyteller. She is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
The verse story Winter, Awake! (Bell Pond Press). Available on Amazon.com.
A large, oaken oval
hangs next to the door,
embracing an old photograph,
in which a young girl
in starched, white pinafore
sits on a slat-backed chair.
Stiff, sturdy legs in black shoes
stretch out over its edge.
A sharp line of bangs
cuts across the smooth forehead.
Sleek, dark hair hangs level with
the straight, small mouth.
Eyes bright with tiny stars
stare steadily ahead.
Growing up is serious.
A shining steel rectangle
stands beneath the photograph,
cradling a new bed,
on which an old woman
in soft, faded nightdress
rests amid metal coils and cranks.
Limbs and torso, weak with disuse,
lie in gentle curves.
Wispy tufts of white hair halo
the still smooth forehead.
Beneath the hissing oxygen tube
the slack mouth smiles faintly.
Stars have set in the filmy eyes
that look back and in.
Letting go is easy.
Wood around a photo.
Steel around a body.
Words around a life.
The Snakes Speak
A whispering, quivering sigh arose
From fissure, crevice, marsh, and grass,
As garter snakes with slitted eyes
And slender stripes along their sides
Began to ripple, writhe, and glide,
A hissing, twisting snarl of snakes
That wove a dance on Winter's shape.
"We're sleek and sleepy, sluggish, slow.
It's time for storms to shriek and blow,
For us to rest in beds and dens
Beneath the slush and rushing winds.
Shake off your slumber, frosty prince!
Let sleeping cease and cold commence!"
They shook and shimmied, swayed and heaved.
Ssslither, ssslip! the snakes seethed.
From Winter, Awake!