Archive for December, 2016

Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.


For the last 13 years my father has created a drawing for my parents’ annual Christmas card.  In 2013, I published a small chapbook of his drawings along with poems that I wrote.  The book, Illuminate, seems to still be available on Amazon.

Earlier this week I visited my parents and talked to my dad about this year’s card.  This summer, my husband Jeff was building a pirogue in our carport.  When he was close to finishing, I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.



The artist in my dad saw this image.



He emailed me and asked for the picture.  Then he blew it up and printed only the trees from the background.  These are crepe myrtle trees that are actually on the front of our house.

The photograph became the inspiration for his abstract drawing.  My dad works with pen and ink in pointillism.  Each drawing is a miracle.  I celebrate this creative gift.

John Gibson, 2016

John Gibson, 2016


Haiku #31

Happy New Year’s Eve!
Even trees have a party.
Sparks of light illume.

Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for the haiku-a-day challenge. I celebrate:

  • We lightened the world with our words.
  • We grew as a community of writers.
  • We made it.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday is at Donna's site: Mainly Write

Poetry Friday is at Donna’s site: Mainly Write

In November at NCTE16, I was privileged to finally meet poet Jeannine Atkins.  I got a copy of her upcoming book in verse, Stone Mirrors.  I didn’t know what this book was about.  I just loved the cover.



The beauty of this book is on the inside and the outside.  Jeannine tells the story of Edmonia Lewis, a Objibwe-Haitian-American woman, who in 1862, had the rare chance to attend Oberlin.  While there, she became mixed up in a controversy over poisoning.  She was acquitted, but forced to leave the school.  Her future took her to Boston and Italy where she became a successful sculptor.

The facts, however, are not the important aspects of this story.  What I found intriguing was Jeannine’s unique way of writing story in verse.  As I read, I was drawn in  by the melody of the language as well as the fascinating story. I loved following Edmonia through her growing confidence as an artist and as a woman.  I wonder how Jeannine got into the mind of Edmonia.  How did she know the feel of the stone she carved?  “She hammers out stillness, holding a life in mid-speech or stride, like a deer between danger and trust.”

Intertwined into the story of Edmonia Lewis are lines of wisdom, carved into Jeannine’s poems like the images Edmonia carved in stone.

Broken Colors

Edmonia carves the smokey smell of drawing pencils,
like a burned-down fire, and hardening clay,
with its whiff of a pond bottom.  She goes to the art room,
where each mark on paper offers a new chance.
She has nothing left but hunger for beauty,
small as the tip of a paintbrush.

She wishes the stove were lit,
though if smoke rose she might not be alone.
She smashes ice that sheathes
a jar of water to rinse a paintbrush.
She no longer draws goddesses, gods,
or anyone in transformation.
White people think metaphor belongs to them.

She opens a cupboard with boxes
printed with names, none hers.
She reads them as if studying a map
of places no one expects her to see.
The shelves and boxes are divided
like classrooms where walls come between
art, poetry, and myth. In history class,
teachers separate the dead from the living.
All through the school, lines are drawn between
right and wrong, white and colored, rich and poor,
truth and lies, facts and dreams, courage and fear,
what belongs to one person and what doesn’t.
They forget that every time the wind blows,
the world asks everyone to bend.

from Stone Mirrors, Jeannine Atkins, January 2017


On a recent trip through New Orleans, we crossed the Hale Boggs Bridge. My daughter was driving, so I could take this amazing picture. As the time changes over to a new year, I contemplate what may lie ahead.

Towers reach for time Carved into parting clouds Tuning my future Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing

Towers reach for time
Carved into parting clouds
Tuning a future
Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

Inspiration for today’s haiku came from my weekly email from Poets & Writers:

Poetry Prompt
“In the red room there is a sky which is painted over in red / but is not red and was, once, the sky. / This is how I live. / A red table in a red room filled with air.” Using these lines from Rachel Zucker’s “Letter [Persephone to Demeter]” as inspiration, write a poem where everything in the environment is red, as though the speaker is looking through red glass.


We search the dry land
for Persephone’s
majestic red shoes

–Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

Little blackbird fly; Find in me a soaring joy filling up the sky. Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing
Little blackbird fly;
Find in me a soaring joy
filling up the sky.
Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Before the rain on this grey winter day, I took a walk down Dover Lane where my parents live. Taking a walk in a different place makes me more alert to the #commonplacemarvels. I was also looking for writing inspiration. On this 27th day of Mary Lee Hahn’s haiku challenge, my inspiration is waning. I know as a writer and because Mary Oliver says so, we must pay attention.

I stopped to capture images to later inspire writing.  Haiku can be challenging in its constraint of 5, 7, 5 syllables, but in that constraint, I can find a nugget that says everything.




Old, cracked, leaning in
open to new life, fresh roots
nature’s the sculptor



Tar trails twirl around
dancing on this walking path
road repair art

Read Full Post »


Inspiration for writing can come from unexpected places. My brother-in-law’s family lives in Seattle, WA. His wife sent snacks for all of us. Sahale Snacks. Today’s haiku is a found haiku from the bag of pomegranate vanilla flavored cashews. Not only do they inspire poetry, they are yummy, too.

Happy Boxing Day!

Read Full Post »

Once we know the manger we recognize everyone as someone to love. Margaret Simon #haikuforhealing

Once we know the manger
we recognize everyone
as someone to love.
Margaret Simon

Today’s haiku is inspired by Bishop Jake Owensby’s post, Imagining Jesus, in which he writes: “The challenge for us, now that we have been to the manger, is to live the truth we’ve found there. Everyone we meet is the person God loves. In all their breathtaking otherness and bewildering uniqueness.”

My wish for you and for this nation on this Christmas Day is to remember every day that everyone you meet is a child of God who deserves respect and dignity and love. Last night as I sang in the loft above the crowded sanctuary, I prayed that my voice would be blessed. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always with you, my Lord and My God.” Place the gift of Christmas in your heart. Find love. Express love. Be love. Every day. To every one.

Read Full Post »

Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.


Taking a walk in my neighborhood this season, one sees all kinds of silly yard decorations.  In fact, we have a frog with a Santa hat in ours.  This Santa in an airboat with a duck driver caught my eye.  The propellor actually turns.   Here’s another haiku. Number 24 for haiku-a-day in December.



In the early fall, flood waters claimed many homes here in South Louisiana.  My third grade student Jacob’s was one of them.  He wrote a story about the flood.  I contacted Peter Reynolds about Jacob’s story, and he published it in his magazine for kid authors and illustrators, Hutch.  Jacob’s sister, Emily (6th grade), drew the illustrations.  An exciting collaboration!  I celebrate Jacob and Emily’s first publication!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!



Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday is with Buffy at Buffy's Blog.

Poetry Friday is with Buffy at Buffy’s Blog.

I am an early riser. So most of my haiku writing happens early in the morning. Yesterday I wrote on Laura Purdie Salas’s Thursday 15 Words or Less post in response to an image of a gorilla statue.

I could be a bear
dreaming of spring’s abundance
safely hiding now.

Charlie sits in my lap while I write. Do you know that a sleeping dog has a certain scent?


Today I read Jane Yolen’s poem for the day. I stole her line, “I know you by what you hold.” This one is for my husband of 34+ years.


Peanut, the dog’s ball–
I know you by what you hold–
Lightbulb, fruit, my heart.

–Margaret Simon

The haiku-a-day challenge started by Mary Lee Hahn connects a community of writers:

Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Mary Lee Hahn at Poetrepository
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog
Jone Rush MacCulloch at DeoWriter
Diane Mayr, posted on Thursdays at Random Noodling
Julie Johnson at Raising Readers and Writers
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink
Carol Wilcox at Carol’s Corner
Julianne Harmatz tweeting @jarhartz
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty

Read Full Post »

Haiku Saves


This angel statue was tucked in a small family cemetery on the Natchez Trace in Mississippi.   I was hoping she would inspire a haiku (or two).

My poetry writing friend Marion didn’t see this picture, but she was inspired to write an angel haiku rather than getting angry at the holiday traffic.  When she arrived at our lunch spot, she handed me her poem.

angel choristers
made of Mississippi mud
little bits of love

Marion Rosser

Another writer-teacher-friend, Tara Smith, told me about how she lost her gingerbread man cookie cutter, so she made gingerbread angels.  This haiku is in honor of Tara.

gingerbread angels
baked bits of heavenly love
savors of Christmas

Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »