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Poetry Friday round up is with Rose today at Imagine the Possibilities

Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard is a go-to book for me. I recently came back to it to find an inspiring poetry lesson (page 48) around a stanza of Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem Valentine for Ernest Mann.

We watched this video of Naomi reading it and telling the story of its inception. Then we borrowed the words poems hide for our own poems. Avalyn says it’s the best poem she’s ever written (in her year of writing poetry with me.)

I was reminded of a resident at my parents’ retirement home. When my father was ill, I stayed with my mother in her apartment and got to know many of her friends. This is a true story about Angel, but after I gave her a copy of the poem, she had to correct me that the cats do trust her and let her pet them.

Poems Hide
in an Instagram image
of sunrise
a small songbird
the trickle of water
over a streambed.

Poems hide
in the calico that lost its tail
in the woman named Angel
who sits on the ground
to feed the lonely cat,
her hand out, longing for trust.

Angel laughs in poetry.

She gives me a Styrofoam cup
of cut roses aflame in her hand.
I find poetry
in the things I touch
and in your forever love.

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Poetry Hides
by Avalyn, 2nd grade

poetry hides
in talent,

poetry hides
in your favorite stuffed toy

poetry hides
in the beautiful Robin you saw hurt on the ground

poetry hides
in yourself and all beings

poetry hides
in magnolia flowers

poetry hides
in the things you love most

poetry hides
in the ones that helped you get awards and medals

poetry hides
in the lost and found shared memories

poetry hides
in your life and soul

poetry hides
in the book of quotes that helps you feel grateful


poetry hides  

Photographer-Poet-Teacher Kim Douillard lives in San Diego, California. We’ve never met face-to-face, but we are friends connected by common interests. Her photos of the beaches in California are always inspiring. This week I was taken by this photo of a broken sand dollar. Where will this muse take you? Please leave a small poem in the comments and write encouraging comments to fellow writers.

Half Dollar by Kim Douillard

Allan Wolf lost his father on the same day as I did. We had been in communication over a student Zoom visit when both of our lives were interrupted. Allan posted these words on Facebook, “Writing, like loving, is an act of faith. We bury a piece of ourselves and wait for something better than ourselves to eventually emerge.” Then I saw Kim’s photo. It’s all too fresh for me to write about today. Or maybe I’m just too raw. Nevertheless, friends, I leave these thoughts for you to make something beautiful with, as I know you will.

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

On Poetry Friday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater posted on The Poem Farm a slide show created by teacher/author Emily Callahan. Her 4th graders have been writing proverb poems after Amy’s. I shared the slide show with my student Chloe. She was inspired to write a prequel to Ms. Callahan’s students’ prequel poems. Here is her Fanschool page, Prequel Crazy.

Here it sits
covered from the rain a chess board
broken into pieces.
I allow access to
the board.
He has found a new home. 
I glue it,
I wash it,
I rinse it,
I dry it,
I wrap it up
and drive along a bumpy road
the perfect gift 
to my daughter
She asks, ” Where did you dig this up from?”
“One man’s trash is another mans treasure
Maybe you can do the same
Like with a blanket?”

Chloe, 6th grade

I wrote alongside Chloe. A poem about my sister’s plan to create a quilt from my father’s shirts. I left the last line blank so I could make it a prequel to Chloe’s. We enjoyed this playful poem making. Thanks, Amy and Emily!

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

The girl sees patterns,
pictures in her father’s shirts,
gathered,
sorted,
cut,
stitched
into a quilt of many colors,
into a memory of many hugs,
into a dream of everlasting rest.
She sees more than anyone
a life lived as a husband, a father,
a doctor, an artist, a friend.
She touches every day what he wore,
a treasure in her hands.
Maybe you could do the same.
Maybe with a chess board.

Margaret Simon, draft

Today’s Spiritual Thursday Round-up is with Susan Koehler.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

This month’s spiritual journey topic is from Susan Koehler, abundance. At this time in my grief, I’m aware of the abundance of people who care about me. I have received cards and flowers, texts and messages of love and support. These expressions are good, well-meaning, thoughtful yet sometimes difficult to accept. I’m much more comfortable on the giving end rather than receiving.

Susan offers a poem on her post today, one that can be used as a mentor text. This kind of exercise often helps me say what I mean to say without having to decide on the form. Last week during #verselove on Ethical ELA, Jessica Wiley offered a mentor text by Eloise Greenfield titled By Myself.

I worked through this prompt a few times and would like to share this draft today.

By Myself
after Eloise Greenfield

When I’m by myself
and I close my eyes,
I’m a running river
everchanging, yet steady in its way to go.
I’m a scent of yellow.
I’m a half-filled cup of tea.
I like to sit alone with me.
I grip myself in
I’m a string of violin,
time unfolding, worth gentle holding.
I’m a space for filling up again.
I open my eyes,
and find myself in me.

Margaret Simon, draft
Sunrise walk, by Margaret Simon

It’s Wednesday again and life continues to move forward. May is here and settling in on a warm breeze. Yesterday evening I attended a special Yen Yoga session in Jungle Gardens on Avery Island (known for its production of Tabasco). The evening was beautiful. A light breeze blew through the canopy of oaks, swaying the Spanish Moss. The calming meditation was just what I needed. I took a photo while lying on the mat looking up into the trees. I wish it were higher quality so you could see the moss that almost looked like blossoms as the setting sun glimmered.

Looking up through Live Oaks, photo by Margaret Simon

Moss blooms on an evening breeze
while yogis stretch in tree pose
longing to be held by Mother Earth.

Margaret Simon, draft

Please leave a small poem in the comments and support your fellow writers with encouraging comments.

Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone.

There’s a loss of energy in grief, a sadness that is heavy and weighs you down. I’m not at all sure that writing helps, but writing for me is the most personal act and wherever I am, my writing is there, too.

Over at Ethical ELA, Shaun Ingalls posted a prompt inspired by Alicia Mountain’s “Drift” inviting us to re-encounter something with a new perspective.

I Hold an Acorn

in my hand
in a field of clover.

Am I a child now?
Walking with sun
bright in my eyes as it rises
above the live oaks?

It is spring, to be sure,
a time of resurrection.
Yet you are
not here.

I cannot call
you or text (You never learned how to text),
so I stand in the field,
hold
the acorn
lift it to smell my childhood, like the scent
of the Paschal candle, anointing
to save,
to savor.

I am here.
You are
not.

Margaret Simon, draft
Grandmother oak in the morning. Photo by Margaret Simon

The Kidlit Progressive Poem is nearly complete. You can follow its progress with the schedule on the side bar. Karen has the next to last line today.

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you.

A.A.Milne

Today’s photo prompt appeared in my Facebook feed. Our school librarian has a young daughter who is a dancer. They recently posed these photos for her dance teacher. Melissa told me that this one is her daughter with her best friend. It made me think of how important friends can be in this dance of life. Leave a small poem in the comments. Then comment on others with encouraging words. Thanks for stopping by.

Beach Dancers, by dance instructor Delannie Delcambre

Dance for the ocean
Speak for the earth
Sing for the sky
Write for who you long to be.

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.

My friend and fellow writing group member Linda Mitchell led the writing prompt for #verselove at Ethical ELA yesterday. She directed us to use the steps in the scientific method to craft a poem. As many of you know, my father died on Friday morning. If you follow my blog, I’m afraid there is nothing else so pressing on my mind than this and the care for my mother. Writing is healing for me.

A Place at the Table

You could make this place beautiful.
Can you float a flower in the vase and call it home?
Flowers, a white cat, a black dog, coffee brewing, what could be missing?
The empty seat at the table is cold, lonely.
I move over, sit in his chair, open the last book he was reading.
Time will fill the space at the table, even in the midst of absence.
There will be beauty again.

Margaret Simon, draft
Louisiana iris in our bayou bog

The Kidlit Progressive Poem is stopping here today. It’s been on a long journey and now we are turning toward home. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the participants who without much guidance just kept this poem going and growing.

The last stop was with Kevin Hodgson at Kevin’s Meandering Mind. Here is the poem so far with my line added in italics.

Where they were going, there were no maps.

   Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!

   We have to go back. I forgot something.

But it’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful,

so we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way.

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget –

 it is on our journeys that discoveries are made.

And then it was time for singing.

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky?

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing.

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn 
and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us.
 
The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, 
tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound.
 
Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountains,

Green growing all around, and the cool splash of the fountain.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden,

a bright, secret, quiet place, and rather sad; 
 and they stepped out into the middle of it.

Their minds’ libraries and lightning bugs led them on.

The darkwood sings, the elderhist blooms, the sky lightens; listen and you will find your way home.

The night sky would soon be painted, stars gleaming overhead, a beautiful wild curtain closing on the day.

Mud and dusk, nettles and sky – time to cycle home in the dark. 

 There are no wrong roads to anywhere

I am away from home staying with my mother. My father is in hospice care in the hospital after a stroke ten days ago. This liminal time has been a blessing in many ways. I am listening to my mother play the piano as I write this. She and Dad are big Leonard Cohen fans. My father gave her a picture book of “Dance Me to the End of Love” illustrated by Matisse. I am not sure my line makes sense with the poem, but I also know that poetry is a safe place and a place of mystery. So I’m just going with it.

lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
5. inspired by “[in Just-]” by E. E. Cummings
6. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
9. inspired by Disney songs “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
14. adapted from a line in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
16. Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
17. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
18. Kate DiCamillo’s The Beatryce Prophecy
19. The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith
20. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
21. ThePhantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
22. Dance Me to the End of Love by Leonard Cohen

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This is a difficult time. My father had a stroke last week and is not recovering in the earthly sense. We’ve held holy vigil with him. It’s holy, healing, and horrible all at the same time. This photo is my mother and father’s hands.

I wrote this poem after Lucille Clifton from an Ethical ELA prompt. I know that this is a universal experience for some. Write a small poem in the comments and respond to other poets.

Wishes for Dad

i wish for peace
and a place to write
his thoughts
on a cloud
floating above
all this madness
of machines
pumping oxygen
taking pulse
counting heartbeats

i wish for the smell
of an open field
of wildflowers
where he can
run
free

i wish
i wish
i wish
i could take the cup
of suffering away.

Margaret Simon, draft