National Poetry Month 2018

Heron in Flight by John Gibson

After Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. 



Taking flight,
one heron, great and blue,
lifts on kite-wings.


At daybreak, he stalks
early risers
stealthily staring
at the water’s surface.


The heron looks long
at his own reflection,
beauty knows beauty.


Straight as an arrow on a hunt
for its mark, heron’s beak
pierces the sky.


Sun beams dance on waves
winking at heron’s stature,
inviting his participation
in the day.


My totem, Heron,
teach me
your lessons of grace.


As evening falls, heron
circles back
to tell me good night.


Times with heron
I value silence
and know God.


Heron’s squawk
scrapes on Goose’s last nerve.
A cacophony on courthouse steps.


At the sight of heron flying,
barely skimming water’s surface,
even playful children
stop and admire.


Heron lifts his wing
to preen like an awkward teen
crumples over his tall body
to tie his shoelace.


A storm raged during the night,
heron stood still
never losing his grip
on the fallen log.


I haven’t seen Heron for days.
He will return. He may not return.
The light on the lake fades.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

If you are interested in joining a photo-poetry exchange I am hosting, click here.

National Poetry Month 2018


I didn’t post yesterday.  I needed a day off.  The week was long, and my well was dry.  I took the day for myself.  I started with a much needed yoga class.  I’d been away from this practice for too long.  I had lunch with my daughter and son-in-law, then ventured over to an art show, The Big Easel.  There I saturated myself with art and art talk. After the art show, I had a luxurious massage.  I feel a twinge of guilt about this indulgence, but my monthly massages keep me healthy and pain free.

When I arrived back home, I watched hummingbirds at the feeder and other birds around the bayou and just chilled out.  My notebook was nearby, so I did write a poem.  I was comforted in knowing the muse hadn’t left.  I just needed to fill the well back up.

Quilt painting by T. Chase Nelson

One of the artists I talked with painted the painting I am featuring today for ekphrastic poetry, T. Chase Nelson. When I first saw the painting, I thought it was a quilt.  He explained to me that his inspiration was the quilts of Gee’s Bend.  I am familiar with these quilts through a fellow poet-blogger Irene Latham who wrote Leaving Gee’s Bend.  

For my poem, I took a line from Elisabeth Ellington’s Poem “Where do you Come From?” She wrote that each line of her poem was the translated name of a real place.  I responded that each line sounded like the title of a poem, so I took one to begin my poem and used it as a title first line.


Land Beside the Silvery River

where Nettie sews pieces
together like a life
of patchy soil, a garden with
a shady oak and a rope swing
for the grandchillen’ coming
for supper.

Across the river, life
rolls onto a highway.
But in Gee’s Bend,
an inlet of fertile soil,
life slows to the rhythm
of the silvery river.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018



Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

Photo by Molly Hogan, mbhmaine at Nix the Comfort Zone.

The world
inside a crystal ball
feels mystical
and magical,
a fairy tale land
where princes
fall in love
with glass slippers.

The world
inside ocean waves
feels treacherous
and terrifying,
a tossed ship
where pirates
set traps
for fair maidens.

The world
in a child’s mind
feels exciting
and thrilling,
a shore of seashells
where girls and boys
gather treasures
to share.

The photo above took my breath away.  I saw it on Molly Hogan’s blog and thought, “I want to write a poem about this.”  I also went to Amazon to buy my own crystal photo ball.  I changed my header image to one of the bayou with the ball placed on my deck railing.

I had an email conversation with my virtual-poetry-writing-photographer-friend Molly Hogan about exchanging photos and writing poems about them.  The idea grew into something we’d like to share with the Poetry Friday community.  We are calling it “More than Meets the Eye.”

I am hosting the Poetry Friday round-up on Friday, May 25th and would like to invite poets to fill out the form below and I’ll match you with someone to exchange photos with. I’m going to make an effort to match you to someone in a totally different geographical location. Your charge will be to write a poem about the photo you receive and post it on your blog on Friday, May 25th.  The photos should not include people. (People tend to complicate things.) There are no other rules except that the writer should give proper credit to the photographer and vice versa. Please sign up by Friday, April 27th.

#NPM2018: Star

Star by Sarah Hazel

In a field of bluebonnets,
cockerpoo smiles for the Sky.
Royal Star of prairie grass.

Joy twinkles in his Star-eyes,
Inspiration for Sarah’s
hand to oil majestic poise.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

This pet portrait looks just like my childhood dog, Lucky.  I was drawn in immediately, but the poem was elusive.  When I struggle with a poem, I often turn to form to guide me.  This one became a septercet, stanzas of three lines with seven syllables each.  Jane Yolen created the septercet.

Words are another hurdle, so I Googled bluebonnets and collected words.  The dog’s name is Star, but I decided to also capitalize Sky as if it is a character in the poem.  Sarah is the artist, and Joy is one of her daughters.  To see more of Sarah Hazel’s art, click here. 





National Poetry Month 2018

Pileated woodpecker by Ralph Fletcher

When I saw this photo from Ralph on Facebook, I knew I had to write about it.  And yesterday, April 17th was National Haiku Day, and I forgot, so here’s a quick haiku fo honor Mama Woodpecker.

Knocking down walls
wood thin, cleaning out closets
woodpecker nesting

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

Click over to Ralph’s photography page to see a video of this mother nesting.


#NPM2018: Bees Play

National Poetry Month 2018


See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .


My students and I have been writing to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s daily prompts at The Poem Farm.  I usually write alongside my students, so some days I have three poems done because I teach 3 different groups of kids.  On Monday, when we were writing using word play, I started writing at school number one about bees.

Dawson, 4th grade, helped me think about rhymes.  He told me that bees carry pollen in their mouths and spit it back and forth with other bees until it becomes honey, thus “honey primers.”

I turned to bee research and RhymeZone.

At school number two, Chloe, 2nd grade, told me that a bee’s dance is called a waggle.  Google confirmed it.

Last month, I had a bee incident in my classroom at school number 2 that caused a curse word to come out of my mouth, thus “cursing singer.” This incident happened in March, so I sliced about it here.

My students responded with pleasure at my completed poem.  They exclaimed “Boomchakalaka.”  Great word play for the ending!


on flowering trees

through pollen fields
persnickety climbers,
expert mimers
honey primers.

in the hive
insect communication
tapping out dictation
pointing to a destination.

Bee–one bashful bee
in my hair
angry stinger
hand slinger
cursing singer.


I am writing ekphrastic poetry this month for National Poetry Month.  Michelle Kogan is an poet-illustrator I’ve met through Poetry Friday.  Usually I start with the image to inform the poem.  This poem came before the illustration, but I knew Michelle would have one that fit just right. Thanks, Michelle.

Towering Tulip by Michelle Kogan. Click image to see Michelle’s website.

National Poetry Month 2018

Horse Races

This drawing has been in my files since the beginning of the month.  I’ve passed over it again and again, not because I don’t love it, but because I have no experience with horse racing.  I mean, none!  I’ve never been to a horse race.  I’ve never watched horse racing.  It is a total foreign experience to me.

To enter into this drawing, I turned once again to Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge and PoemCrazy.  She writes, “Poetry is a form of deep ecology, allowing us to experience the interdependence of everything on earth.”

Horse Race

Can you feel the beat
of the earth beneath
their feet?

Pounding horse hooves
in the wake
of the news.

Head down, focused strength,
we’ve all been there,
not knowing the outcome,
energy in the air.

Hold on tight.
This ride will be breathtaking.
Don’t let go.
The race is earthshaking.

Ride it out!

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018