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Poetry Friday is hosted today by Janice Scully at Salt City Verse

This month’s Inkling challenge comes from Heidi Mordhorst: I’m looking out at my yard, my garden, and no matter what’s happening outside or in, THE PLANTS KEEP GROWING. They rarely give up. There are so many ways in which we’ve all (but especially as women, as educators) had to be persistent, despite our weariness. Write a poem (for kids or adults) about PERSISTENCE.

Heidi suggested a model poem by Tony Hoagland, Please Don’t. I borrowed a few lines and the word swobtoggle.

Dandelion Garden 

Hello, dandelions
in the ditch,

You pop forth
taller than I’ve ever seen,
reaching higher
for a taste of the sun

before the storm comes
to swobtoggle*
your seeds away.

You look at me
with a wispy wink
waiting for a child to hold
& blow.

Persistent in your volunteer work
knowing
someday soon,
you will fly. 

*from Tony Hoagland, “Please Don’t” 

Margaret Simon, draft
Dandelions in a ditch, photo by Margaret Simon

See what other Inklings did with this prompt.

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Mary Lee @ A(nother) Year of Reading

Rain has returned! It helps cool things a bit. Rather than near 100 degrees, we are closer to 90. Afternoon showers make for cooler morning walks, mid-70’s, Ah! With rain comes resurrection fern. It grows on oak trees and after a good soaking, emerges as a deep green shaggy blanket on the branches of the trees. This oak I passed on my walk greeted me with a heart. Use this photo as a muse for your writing today. Leave a small poem in the comments. Encourage other writers with comments. Thanks for stopping by.

Tree Heart with resurrection fern, Margaret Simon, 2022.

From a sleepy, dry bed,
fluffy green feathers
emerge
surrounding your open
heart…
Resurrection!

Margaret Simon, draft

Poetry Friday is with Catherine at Reading to the Core.
Thanks, Tabatha for leading the Summer Poem Swap.

Each summer Tabatha connects us kidlit poets by coordinating a poem swap. My first poem swap was with Kat Apel, all across the globe in Australia. Believe it or not, we have met face to face. She is a tall, sunshiny gal. I finally got around to sending her a poem yesterday, and she has shared it with the world today. Check it out here.

Kat loves nature and often writes about it. She has watched our wood duck nesting box project over social media. She sent me this poem a few weeks ago. She captured the photo from my video, so cute with two ducklings peeking out. The poem is a lai form (which I looked up here.)

by Kat Apel, 2022
Read, write, share

I have a soft spot for the mimosa tree. One was growing in my grandfather’s yard when I was a child. My brother and I would climb its branches and use the seed pods in mud pie and “soup”. On a recent walk I took pictures of the mimosa blossom. It’s beautiful in its feathery flounce. When I took a moment to Google the tree this morning, I found out a few things:

  1. The tree comes from Asia, known as the Persian silk tree or the pink silk tree.
  2. The wood of the mimosa is brittle and prone to break. Thus the tree has a short life span.
  3. The tree is an invasive species from China.
  4. The tree attracts webworm.
  5. The mimosa pod (which my brother and I used in pretend play) is poisonous.

This mimosa tree was growing wild in Mississippi. I’ve also seen a few in our city park and near the bayou in a wooded area. Write a poem based on this image and put it into the comments. Please reply to 3 other writers with encouragement. Thanks for being here.

Fran Haley is leading the Open Write at Ethical ELA today. I used her prompt to create my poem.

Mimosa

evanescent blossoms
perky pink feathering
flames of flower power
invasive Asian tree
reaching for the sunlight
my childhood memory

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.

Two months ago today, I took my mother to see my father in the hospital for the last time. He was not responsive. She held his head and kissed it over and over saying, “I love you.” He died the next morning.

I never heard my parents say “I love you” to each other. My father told me he believed that if you said it often, it would lose its meaning. Ten years ago, after he had colon surgery, I vowed to tell them both I love you every time I talked to them on the phone. Mom would respond, “hmm hmm.” Dad would say something like, “me, too.” Over Covid isolation, they finally said an audible “I love you.”

But this doesn’t mean they didn’t love us or each other.

Yesterday in the dining hall of the retirement home, a resident said she’d never seen such a loving family. She said we cradled my mother. I said, “I wish I could cradle her every day.”

Alzheimer’s is trying to take my mother away from us. She knows Dad died. She knows we planted a tree in his memory. She visits it every day. However, when we took her across the hall to look at a one bedroom apartment for her to move into, she said, “Is Dad moving, too?” I hugged her and said, “No, he’s gone. But he’s in your heart.”

My brother said, “Taking up less space.” We laughed. That’s something Dad would say. He loved irony.

Then Mom said, “You suppose I could find another man?” More laughter.

Mom at the Columbarium visiting Dad on Father’s Day.
Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Michelle Kogan

Honestly, I’m not sure 
if I’ll be home soon. 
I’m glad you were able to see me.
I love how you hear a different story from my eyes,

how we find honesty under the moon– 
a strawberry moon
rising–
like a beacon through the trees. 

You read me with an elder’s wisdom.
Tears well up when you hold my heart with your eyes,
how they flow with knowing.
Your own tears leaking onto your cheek. 

You never even met my father,
but he was speaking through you,
his presence nowhere and everywhere. 

Honestly, the well of deep compassion 
grows when watered with our tears. 

Margaret Simon, for Carolyn

Welcome back to This Photo Wants to be a Poem. I am finally in full summer mode and able to dedicate time each day to my writing. Whew!

Today’s photo appeared in my Facebook feed from Molly Hogan. I keep telling her I want photography lessons, but she just tells me it’s luck. Luck or persistence? Molly has a steady hand and an eye for beauty.

Dandelion Seed, by Molly Hogan

Hope is the thing

with seeds to blow
beyond our thoughts
and what we know.

Hope drifts on waves of air.

Margaret Simon, draft

You are invited to respond to this photo with a small poem. Write encouraging comments to others. I feel such a sense of peaceful joy to be back here with you.

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

My friend and colleague Erica called me during my Covid days, the last week of school, and asked what she could do to help get my room ready for summer. I told her she could box all the books on the shelves. I have plastic bins for this purpose. She didn’t call me back, so I wasn’t sure if it had been done.

On Monday last week I took Tuffy with me to check on my classroom. I thought I might be there for hours getting it packed up for cleaning. Lucky for us, there was Sophie, the 10 (almost 11) year-old daughter of my principal. She entertained Tuffy while I checked on things. To my pleasant surprise, the only space left to clear was my desktop. All the books were not only boxed, but the bins were neatly stacked over the cubbies. No packing or heavy lifting necessary.

I called Erica to thank her and asked if we could meet somewhere with her daughter (who I taught a few years ago). I wanted to treat her. We decided to meet at a local splash pad. That was the best decision ever. While Erica and I talked, Rylee and Tuffy played.

Tuffy enjoying the shower at the splash pad.

I enjoyed the splash pad so much that I insisted that we meet there on Saturday to play with Leo and Stella. What fun! I made a reel on Instagram of Stella hunting for a ladybug decal.

Because I was sick the last week of school, I did not feel like I had properly said goodbye to my students, so I texted their parents and set up a play time at the splash pad. I brought them bubble sets and bought each a snowball. A perfect day!

One of the lagniappes (a little something extra) of our time together was the relaxed atmosphere for talking with parents. I teach my students year after year while they are in elementary school. Relationships with parents are essential. Without much effort at all, and a lot of fun, the splash pad has saved my life.

Some of my students and me at the splash pad.

This week was the first week of Simon Summer Camp with the visit of Thomas, better known as Tuffy. We have had a wealth of experiences each day. How do you build memories for a 2.9 year old? Why, you sing about it, of course. Tuffy and I have been singing along to the brilliant and everlasting Raffi. (If you’re a grandmother, you must download his songs.)

I haven’t had much time to spend alone writing poetry, but that’s as it should be. I missed posting yesterday on actual Friday. His mother is back from her “trip.” The song we sang together to tell her about his camp week is sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know it.” When I sang it to him last night at bed time, he cuddled up on my shoulder, and I looked at my daughter and whispered, “I think I’m going to cry.” He popped his head right up and said, “Don’t cry, Mamère!” Then we all laughed and laughed. Pure Joy!

Uncle Ric fixed your tires, so you could stroll.
Svitlana gave you vegetables to grow.
CeCe watered flowers and plants in her yard,
And Mr. Al waved good-bye.

KiKi showed you sculptures you could touch.
She told you all about them, oh so much.
Sophie made quesadilla out of play dough,
And Rylee chased water rainbows.

Mamère and Tuffy, Summer Camp Song 2022

Ramona has the Round up today at Pleasures from the Page.

Life has been a challenge for many these days. I’ve adopted the mantra “We Can Do Hard Things” from Glennon Doyle. Because we can, and we do. But today, Ramona suggests we reflect on celebrations. I have a list that includes celebrations big and small.

  1. A family wedding! It’s always joyful to spend time with family. Our family (including all my children and grands) gathered in Seattle, Washington a few weeks ago for the wedding of my niece. The setting was on the Puget Sound facing the Olympic Mountains at sunset. Six days later my sister-in-law brought me to a beach nearby the wedding location as I recovered from Covid. I celebrate beauty, beach, fresh air, and family love!

2. Flowers are blooming! My friend and former student Jennifer and her husband grow fields of sunflowers and hold “You Pick” days. (Petite Anse Farm) I took my grandson Thomas “Tuffy” on Sunday morning (This was our church service) and picked a bucket of sunflowers. Thomas enjoyed having his own pair of scissors and feeding the chickens with Farmer Andy. I celebrate summer, flowers, and farmers who adore curious toddlers.

3. I was absent the last week of school. My colleague next door, Erica, packed up all the books on my shelves (I have a lot of books!) to prepare for summer cleaning. I went to check on things on Monday and was met with this amazing surprise. Also my principal’s daughter, who is 10 going on 11, was there to help with “Tuffy” while I did a few more things. I celebrate the kindness and consideration of colleagues and teaching in a school with this welcoming environment.

4. My friend and unofficial spiritual director Ellen sends me daily quotes. I am amazed how many times the quote she sends hits the exact right spot. Last week when I was recovering she sent me this list. Just what I needed. I celebrate the spiritual guidance of others who give us strength when we need it.