Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

At Ethical ELA this week I wrote poems alongside other teacher-writers in the monthly Open Write. Yesterday the prompt came from Denise Hill. She asked us to use an idiom or metaphor in a mixed up way.

My cousin was in town last week participating in a Plein Air (Art) competition. His picture did not get into our local paper, so I texted him, “Sorry, you are not famous…yet!” And he responded, “Best to keep that chip on my shoulder.” So that is what drove my poem.


There are good chips
and bad chips,
chips that crunch or
chips that splinter your shoulder
making sure
you don’t
get a big head
and fall over.
Keep that chip steady and balanced.
A moment of fame
won’t feed the flame
that drives you forward.

Margaret Simon, draft
Daily Iberian

Welcome to a weekly Wednesday photo poetry prompt. If you’d like to get this in your inbox each week, please subscribe to my blog. Join in the community by writing a small poem in the comments and encouraging other writers with your comments.

Today’s photo is one I took at my daughter’s house last weekend. I had returned her two children from a morning at the museum and was getting ready to leave when I saw the shoes posing. Perhaps my daughter had placed them there, but more likely it was Stella who, at the age of two, likes a certain order to things. Her mother was like that, sorting all the cans in the cabinet by size and color at a very young age. She gets that from her father, and her father gets it from his mother. I once took a personality test that labeled me “abstract random” and my husband as “concrete sequential.”

No matter what type of order your keep or don’t, this photo is sure to charm you into writing something. At Ethical ELA this week we wrote a Pile of Good Things poem. I think I could add “Three pairs of shoes all in a row” to my pile.

Photo by Margaret Simon (permission to freely use)

These shoes have seen
the hills of North Carolina
and the backyards of Louisiana
but they are most happy
lined side by side on a bench
in the home where they belong.

Margaret Simon, draft
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

This morning I searched for a writing idea on Lynne Dorfman’s Blog and found this post about underrated joys. Who can resist a list? I am responding with my own list of underrated joys. This is a similar exercise to My Pile Of Good Things, but why not?

  1. First bloom on a Peggy Martin rose.
  2. Re-bloom on an orchid I bought at the grocery store.
  3. The scent of my first sip of coffee.
  4. My engagement ring reflecting the stained glass in church.
  5. A student has an Aha moment.
  6. Students writing poetry with me.
  7. My dog’s unconditional love.
  8. Facetime.
  9. Real time: “Mamere, you’re here!” Stella lights up with joy.
  10. Stained glass egret in my window.
  11. A message on Voxer.
  12. An egret or heron on the bayou.
  13. Creating something new.
  14. An actual letter in the mailbox.
  15. Being with family.
  16. Chats after church.
  17. Comments: Sally has a good post today celebrating comments.
  18. A ping from the Ring: “There is motion in your Wood duck House.”
  19. My mother’s voice.
  20. Hitting publish on a Slice.

What is on your list?

My neighbor’s Peggy Martin (Katrina) Rose is growing up into her crepe myrtle tree. Isn’t it fabulous?!
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

We live on the Bayou Teche (pronounced “tesh”) in New Iberia, Louisiana. Our address/mile marker is 69.4 on the 125 mile bayou. The name came from a Native American word for snake. The legend tells of a huge snake that was killed by arrow and its body made the impression of what is now a water way.

One of our favorite activities on the bayou is our wood duck nesting house. Each year for about 5 years, we have had two clutches of eggs hatch in the box. Jeff mounted a Ring doorbell camera inside the box, so we can watch the mother duck come and go and know when the babies hatch. The very next day, 24 hours, the little tiny hatchlings jump from the house and follow mother duck off into the bayou.

The mother duckling has been sitting for a month now. She’s an experienced mom that has been attentive and dedicated to her eggs. But today is due day, and the temperatures have dropped below freezing, a weird March winter chill. I am worried. I’m hoping they will stay in their safe eggshells for at least another day, so they can jump into milder water.

My head knows that wood ducks have been doing this for generations, so they will be OK. But my grandmother heart wants them all to hatch and all to go off into the sunset, so to speak. This is a screenshot from yesterday as the hen was busy turning the eggs. If you want to watch the Jump Day, we will set up a “Duck Door” camera and record the jump. Last year’s footage is on my YouTube channel linked below.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Art by Leo, left, and Stella, right from “Let’s Make Art” activity at the Hilliard Museum.

On the campus of ULL (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) there is a beautiful museum, The Hilliard. Saturday they held a drop in art activity for kids 4 and up. I showed up with Leo, 4, and Stella, 2, and they were the only children there. They had the full attention of the artist instructor.

I was amazed by the focus of both kids on this activity. From the flyers on the table, I realized it was meant to be a quilting activity. There were shapes cut out of various papers. However, Leo immediately grabbed the scissors and started cutting the shapes to his liking and building a 3 dimensional motorcycle. I glued it down for him on the white “quilt piece,” and he continued to add to it a winner’s banner and a man riding (notice the skinny yellow strip sitting on the motorcycle.)

Stella was happy enough to glue and glue and glue. The artist taught her how to put the glue on the back and turn the paper over and press it down. We were also able to freely roam the current art exhibits. It was a great way to spend a rainy cold Saturday morning.

Today, at Ethical ELA Open Write, Stefanie Boutelier is teaching us how to use technology in poetry with a wonderful prompt and model poem “A Pile of Good Things”. You should follow the link and see what it’s all about. Here is my pile:

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
St. John’s Cathedral Lafayette, LA by Andrew M. Liles, from the collection of Margaret and Jeff Simon

My cousin is leaving today. He’s been here all week participating in The Shadows-on-the-Teche Plein Air Competition, a juried art competition for artists who paint outside. They arrived last Saturday and have been painting all over our area until Thursday when they hung their best pieces. Friday night was the awards ceremony. Today, Andrew goes home to New Orleans.

Andrew and I are first cousins; his father was my mother’s brother. He’s like a little brother to me. I will text or call when I am in New Orleans and sometimes we manage to get together for coffee and beignets, but this week we spent every evening together. Hours of talking and sharing and learning more about each other and the family from which we hatched.

I feel like a part of my heart has grown back, a part I didn’t even know was missing.

This was only the second Plein Air competition he’s done. By day, he’s an architect and teaches architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans. At the beginning of the week, he was vulnerable and questioning his style, but by Friday night he had sold 4 of the 7 pieces he put into the show. That feels like success. We purchased the best one, in my opinion, the painting you see above of St. John’s Catholic Cathedral in Lafayette, LA.

The most successful thing for me was claiming back the relationship I have with Andrew. We’ll both treasure this time we had together.

Margaret Simon with artist Andrew Liles at the Delcambre Seafood Market

I am privileged to have the opportunity to write poetry with gifted kids. Their minds are open and in tuned to ideas. Most days they can’t wait to tell me what they are thinking about. Most days they want to write, welcoming the blank page. This week I shared with two of my young students (2nd and 3rd graders) photos of the full moon that I had collected from social media. I actually had another idea for them, but as we were looking at and discussing my picture of the moon above my neighbor’s house, they were full of questions and wonderings and a poem emerged. It was a happy moment because somedays little boys would rather be running outside than writing a poem with their teacher.

Click the image to see a larger view. Photo by Margaret Simon.
There are still a few dates available to sign up for the 2023 Kidlit Progressive poem. Click Here.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

You’d think by my age I would know myself well, have it all figured out, and be sitting with confidence. I’ve got news for you, folks. You are always becoming.

During the labor for my newest grandchild, my two daughters convinced me (we had a lot of time for talking about stuff) that I am a Four, not a Two, on the Enneagram.

I decided to try on the Four for a while. I signed up for EnneaThought for the Day from The Enneagram Institute. The teachings of a Four have been pretty spot on. My mother-in-law told me she had me written down as a Four when we took the test years ago. I’ve always thought I was a Two.

A Two, to be brief, is a person who is seeking out love. She selflessly does things for others hoping to gain love. She usually does so many things for others that she loses herself and doesn’t take care of herself. She’s the one who will deliver a casserole to someone whether or not they asked for it or even need it. I’ve been taking care of three daughters for a long time. Pride is the negative trait of a Two, and I could even relate to that.

Now I’m trying on the Four and it fits better, feels better, is not as stressful as the constant attention on others. A Four is a romantic, often an artist or poet. Fours are commonly introverted and focus on their feelings. They need to get out of their heads and into their bodies. One of the recent posts from EnneaThought resonated with me: “Remember to stay calm. Emotional volatility and moodiness are not the same as real sensitivity. Keep this thought in mind today.”

The words “real sensitivity” stung. Is my care and concern for the way others feel real? Is my moodiness obvious to others? This message made me want to crawl into a shell and sleep on it.

I think it is a positive thing to keep open and discovering who you really are. Enneagram has to do with your most inner spiritual self. From what need do you function from? Do you need safety, love, a sense of accomplishment and success?

People are complicated. I’m not finished yet and don’t think I ever will be. And while I stew on whether or not my sensitivity to others is real, I read today’s thought:

Your key defense mechanisms are introjection, displacement, splitting, turning against the self. Notice if these impulses arise today. ( Understanding the Enneagram, 90)

EnneaThought® for the Day

Yikes! Maybe I don’t want to know my true self.

Photo by Ju00fcrgen on Pexels.com

Delcambre (pronounced Del-comb) is about 20 minutes south of New Iberia. On Sunday evening, we attended a fundraising dinner for the seafood market. I even ate a piece of fried alligator which tasted a lot like fried chicken. We were there to support my cousin Andrew as he participates in a plein air (painting outside) competition. There will be more posts about this later.

Today I want to introduce you to Markavian. I don’t know him, and I’m not sure that’s how to spell his name, but when I took his picture, he proudly told me what his name was. He was beaming from having caught a huge catfish right off the dock. I asked permission to take his picture. There is so much that I love about this picture. His smile. The largest catfish I’ve ever seen. And how it captures the attitude of a fisherman. My husband says that our newspaper’s sports section is usually just men holding fish. It’s true fishing is a big time sport around here. Perhaps Markavian was competing with his brothers. There seemed to be a family in the background, and I caught him just as he was about to go show off his catch of the day.

Catch of the Day, photo by Margaret Simon

Yesterday was Pi Day, so my students and I wrote Pi-Ku, which is a small poem based on the number 3.14. Please leave your own small poem in the comments and encourage other writers with your responses.

Catch of the Day

Boy’s pride smile
largest catfish

Margaret Simon, pi-ku draft
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I don’t think you should call me a word nerd, because at my age, I have trouble finding them hiding way back in the recesses of my brain, especially names. Last night I was trying to tell my husband about a place, and I said “It starts with an H.” Then it came to me a few minutes later “Rawhide!”

“That starts with an H, right?”

But seriously, who doesn’t love a good word for something. I wanted to start a collection of good words, so I decorated a marbleized journal and subscribed to the daily Word of the Day from Merriam Webster. Today’s word is gallivant. What a great word. I love the way it sounds. Out of the confines of Covid, I think many of us would love to gallivant around the country, freely wandering from place to place. It just sounds like such a regal and carefree word, doesn’t it?

My friend and writing partner in my writing group, the Inklings, Heidi Mordhorst, invented a wonderful poetic form for defining a word and playing with the sounds of it–the definito.

The definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.

Heidi Mordhorst

I save words that I like and every once in a while write a definto.

Flirtatious Definito

A dance in intricate lace,
draped over smooth shoulder,
ribbons flow
as 3-inch heels
reveal a quick flick
of bare ankles–
A dance of coy coquetry


Margaret Simon, 2023

If you have a favorite word, perhaps you’ll try a definito. Tag me in your post if you do.